Couple may have to shell out £10,000 to repair rear fence after Council letter states 'no automatic right to compensation'

William Ronan at the back of his home

A temporary fence is all that stands between the playing fields and the home

First published in News
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Almost three months after the St Jude storm hit Enfield, a couple say they still fear for their safety after a tree destroyed their fence.

Bridget and William Ronan of Church Street in Edmonton, were woken in the early hours of October 28, to find a huge tree had fallen across their fence and garden.

The large tree stood in playing fields behind their home and the couple are furious that Enfield Borough Council will not compensate them to replace the fence.

With just a flimsy temporary barrier between their home and the park they are worried burglars could use the gap to break into their home.

Mrs Ronan, 77, said: “Every single day we fear for our safety, it is a disgrace that we are now faced with picking up the bill.

“It will cost nearly £10,000 to repair all the damage and our home insurance won’t cover it because the tree was not part of our property. This is the council’s fault, it is on their land and it is them who should be compensating us.

“It is disgusting that we have left like this for so long and it has taken a long time to get any response. There was a burglary just a couple of doors down and with the back of our house so exposed, people could get us soon.”

Mr Ronan, 81, says he sees people looking into their home every single day from the temporary fencing.

He said: “I can see them everyday peering in to have a look and see what’s happened. Why should it be our responsibility to pay up when the damage was caused by something on Enfield Council land?”

The couples' chances of receiving any compensation look slim after Enfield Council insurance officer Brian Lamotte stated in a letter to the couple on January 16 that “there is no automatic right to compensation.”

It reads: “For a claim to succeed, it must be shown that the damage has been caused by negligence or breach of statutory duty on the part of the council. There is no automatic right to compensation.”

The letter goes onto to say that after an inspection of the tree in March 2013, the tree required no attention and it would not have be possible to identify any decay.

An Enfield Council spokesman said: “We will be contacting the owners of this property in the very near future to discuss their case and agree the best way to deal with it.”

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