Storm Eunice: 80-foot tree felled after putting Haywards Heath garden, footpath and apartments in danger

Storm Eunice: 80-foot tree felled after putting Haywards Heath garden, footpath and apartments in danger

Grove Garden chair and trustee Nigel Ryan said the ‘tough decision’ to fell the Scots Pine tree near Clair Park was taken by Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies and Mid Sussex District Council leader Jonathan Ash Edwards, who arrived at the scene with councillor Rod Clarke and councilor Sujan Wickremaratchi.

Nigel said that the tree was felled with support from tree surgeons and the emergency services.

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No one was injured, he said, but the garden was damaged and lost its wall, which means its might face delays before it can open for elderly people in spring.

Mid Sussex District Council leader Jonathan Ash Edwards, Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies and Grove Garden chair Nigel Ryan with the tree surgeons on Saturday (February 19). Picture: Grove Garden.

Nigel said: “After we made some calls to alert the authorities to come and assess the situation, Alastair got a call back from Mims Davies, MP who was in the area and had been alerted to the dangerous situation.”

“When she arrived she took control, called the Fire and Rescue Service and contacted tree surgeons who got there within 20 minutes,” he said.

“We were all incredibly grateful,” Nigel added.

Ms Davies said: “This was a real example of the community coming together to resolve what could have been a terrible accident waiting to happen.”

Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies at Grove Garden.

“Everyone left cold and very wet but delighted no one was hurt, which is what matters most,” she said.

She added: “I do hope Grove Garden can fully recover and rally support so they can repair the damage and get open by the spring and offer what will be something very special for local people.”

After the decision had been made Nigel and Ms Davies told the tenants in the apartment block about what the action that was needed and the fire service taped off the area.

Dan Howick’s Tree Surgeons then felled the tree.

Grove Garden chair Nigel Ryan.

Grove Garden is a charity designed as a safe space for the elderly community to enjoy creative activities, as well as art, music, exercise and socialising.

Nigel Ryan, who has been developing the garden for over seven years, was working there in the morning with fellow trustee, Haywards Heath Deputy Mayor Alastair McPherson, when they realized the tree was ‘swaying to the point of almost tipping over’.

Nigel said the tree will now need to be removed and the wall will need repairing.

The lawn will also have to be reseeded, with planters remade and garden furniture replaced, he said, adding that the aim was to open the garden by June.

“For a charity with little or no funds, volunteers, equipment, garden furniture, landscaping materials, financial donations or general support are always welcome,” said Nigel.

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