Tree danger at derelict centre

High winds bring down a mature tree in the unkept grounds of the now derelict health centre, Batley Road, Flanshaw.'w4369b106
High winds bring down a mature tree in the unkept grounds of the now derelict health centre, Batley Road, Flanshaw.'w4369b106
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GALE FORCE winds felled a tree and sparked fears that others would crash into homes near a disused health centre in Alverthorpe.

People living near the building on Batley Road saw the 30-foot ash up-rooted and narrowly miss houses and cars on Friday morning.

And their fears grew as other poorly maintained trees at the derelict site swayed violently as the blustery weather continued into this week.

Mick Blackburn, who lives on Hawthorne Terrace, rushed his family out of a front bedroom yards from the felled tree after it crashed down at around 10am.

He said: “It was swaying really badly and then we heard this crash. I told my daughter and granddaughter to get out of the front bedroom because if one of them fell this way it could take the whole house out.”

Mr Blackburn, 59, said trees were in a poor condition at the site, but it was not clear who was responsible for them.

The former Primary Care Trust health centre building is boarded up and has been empty for several years.

Mr Blackburn added: “Some of the trees need work doing. We were worried one might fall into the road. It’s lucky the wind is blowing away from our homes and towards the building now.”

Residents reported the damage to Wakefield Council, but the local authority has no jurisdiction over the site as it is private land.

The building is up for sale and managed by Steve Gibbins and Co estate agents but is still owned by NHS Wakefield District.

NHS Wakefield District’s Director of Finance, Andy Leary said: “As soon as we were made aware that a tree had come down in the high winds we visited the site and have made arrangements for it to be cleared. In relation to the safety of the other trees at the property, these are all protected by tree preservation orders.

“That means that we cannot cut back or fell any of the trees without the council’s permission. We are now seeking advice from them as to their safety and any action that we should take.”