A RESIDENT has been told a tree is her responsibility - despite her not planting it and it being 2ft away from her front garden.

Sue Gunn complained to Essex County Council about the oak tree dripping sticky sap onto her cars, but the council refused to take ownership of the tree, although it mows the grass verge the tree is planted on.

Former Ashingdon parish councillor Mrs Gunn said: “I submitted an information request to Essex County Council to see the verge is part of the public highway.

“It is but they still say it is my tree.

“We only moved here two years ago.

“I’ve spoken to my solicitor who says there is nothing on our deeds to say it is ours.

“For three or four months in the summer it drips sticky sap on our car and we can’t park there.

“The electric wipers stop working and when we went to the car wash it would only last a day.

“That’s not the real issue though. The main thing is I’m told I’m responsible for a tree which could grow very large and potentially fall on someone or a car in a high wind.

“I’m a pensioner and it has been a terrible worry.”

Mrs Gunn, of Ashingdon Road, Ashingdon, who is in her sixties, added: “As a former councillor I know that when a tree is planted, you have to get a licence from highways. I’ve asked to see the licence repeatedly without luck. If they say the tree is mine, let them show me the document.

“How many thousands of other people out there have they done this to?

“We saw the tree on Google Maps when it was a sapling. A previous tree had been removed and this sapling was planted complete with wire around it for protection, so someone official must have done it. There are lots of flaws in their story. They tend the grass on the verge regularly, but say the tree isn’t theirs. It’s ludicrous.”

Her partner Mick Bradbury, 61, said: “It’s been going on for months. It’s ludicrous. If the land isn’t theirs, why do they cut the grass?

“They can’t have it both ways. Either the land and tree are ours or theirs.”

Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois took up Mrs Gunn’s case. He said: “Mrs Gunn came to my surgery and showed me a picture of the tree. A picture paints a thousand words. There is at least a 2ft gap between the boundary wall and the tree which is very clearly in the middle of a public highway and therefore the responsibility of Essex County Council.

“I have written to county council asking them to do the right thing about this.

“As I haven’t yet had a reply, I intend to chase up the letter.”

A spokeswoman for Essex County Council said: “The tree in question is not the responsibility of Essex County Council. The tree is a boundary tree which means it is the landowner’s responsibility. The tree is not ECC property.

“Land ownership and highway rights are two different things. The extent of the highway does not make ECC the landowner. Most highways are built on land that is not owned by ECC.”