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Tree falls onto house and Cannock Chase Forest shut as strong winds batter region

By Jamie Brassington | Streetly | News | Published:

Several trees toppled over as strong winds battered the Black Country and Staffordshire today.

A silver birch tree came down in Bakers Lane, Streetly

Among the trees to fall was a silver birch which fell onto a house in Bakers Lane, Streetly, at around 12.30pm.

Norman and Margaret Strait, 77, and their grandson Bradley Hall, 24, had a lucky escape and were uninjured.

They watched the towering silver birch come crashing down as they stood in their porch.

Photos from the scene showed the tree's roots ripped out of the ground, with the trunk covering the front garden and branches and leaves left resting on the semi-detached house.

The scene in Bakers Lane, Streetly

Bradley and Norman were able to to move their cars five minutes earlier after a passer-by warned them about the wobbly tree.

Bradley, who is a health and wellbeing coach, told the Express & Star: "We were just in the house and all of a sudden we had a knock at the door.

"There was a gentleman there, who was walking past with his wife and kids, who said 'look, you need to move your cars. The tree just outside yourself is going to fall'.

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"Me and my grandad quickly moved our cars. He then told one neighbour, I told the other. By the time we got them out the house, about five minutes later, the tree went.

"My nan and grandad were stood in the porch as it fell on them. I was stood behind it watching this thing happen. I got them out the house and called the fire brigade.

"We have only just been allowed back in the garden. We have been waiting outside for around five hours."

It is not known the full extent of the damage to the house. But the guttering and number of tiles have been knocked off the house, said Bradley.

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A neighbour's car was slightly damaged by the falling tree.

Workers remained on the scene after 5pm cutting down the tree.

Bradley's grandfather Norman had complained to Birmingham City Council about the tree several years but nothing was done about it, said Bradley.

He said the family will be making another complaint to the local authority.

"A couple of years ago, we had the council out to check," he said. "My grandad even said to them 'that is going to fall one day. They went 'no, it is completely safe, it will never fall'.

"We are lucky to be uninjured. Even when we spoke to the fire brigade. If it was three yards closer to our property, the porch would have gone, one of the front windows would have probably gone."

A cordon has since been put in place around the tree, which is expected to be recovered later.

Firefighters and contractors for Birmingham City Council were sent to the scene.

A spokesman for Kier said: "We were made aware of the fallen tree earlier today at 2.08pm and our incident response team arrived on site at 2.52pm.

"At the time of our arrival the emergency services were already on site and the area had been made safe.

"Our arboriculture team are now on their way to the property to clear any remaining debris and assess what further work may be required.

“The tree had fallen into the front garden of the property and as far as we know there may be damage to a front bay window but no persons were injured.”

Meanwhile Forestry England has closed its car parks and facilities at Cannock Chase Forest after trees came down across walking and cycling trails today.

A tree was blown down outside Walsall Arboretum. Photo: @stmatthewswmp

They will remain closed on Saturday.

A Forestry England spokesman said: "We will reopen once the winds have dropped and we have carried out our safety checks.

"For your own safety please do not travel to Cannock Chase Forest."

Trees have also been blown down on Balmoral Road in Wordsley and on Broadway North outside Walsall Arboretum.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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