A MAN told how he woke up to the sound of chainsaws and saw workers hacking away at a beloved tree in his garden from the other side of the fence.

Stephen Fremantle of Stavordale Road, Weymouth, is demanding an investigation into the extent of the work on the holm oak and wants to know why he wasn’t informed in the first place.

He said his tree was ‘butchered’ and branches which used to shield his property from a neighbouring block of flats had been stripped back leaving him without privacy.

The firm which carried out the work said the tree had become ‘out of control’ and it only trimmed back what had been approved by the council.

The protected tree, which has stood for 110 years, is at the rear of Mr Fremantle’s garden.

Unbeknown to him, an application was submitted to the borough council – and subsequently approved – for work to reduce branches on the side which hangs over a path next to flats in Corscombe Close.

While Mr Fremantle acknowledges some trimming may have been required on his neighbours’ side, he doesn’t believe it should have been stripped back so much.

Privacy has now been lost as windows of flats now have a direct view onto his garden.

Notices were put up informing Corscombe Close residents of the proposed work but as tree owner Mr Fremantle says the council should have told him as well.

He also believed he had a right to the wood which was cut away.

Retired children’s guardian Mr Fremantle, 63, said: “I woke up to the sound of chainsaws and saw a guy in the tree cutting away branches and another man on the chipper machine.

“I remonstrated with them and said I knew nothing about the work but they carried on.”

He added: “I informed the council because the leaf canopy has been stripped back completely and whereas before I had a private garden it’s now overlooked by flats.

“I am horrified.

“The tree has a preservation order on it which leads me to think there should’ve been some supervision on the work.”

Environment spokesman at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Ian Roebuck said: “The borough council gave permission for work on a protected tree.

“We have been made aware of a possible issue over what work was in fact done and are now investigating.”

'Work was approved by council'

THE work was carried out by tree surgeons from Poole Arbor.

Lawrence Whiffen, from the firm, said: “All the work we did was given council approval and we did nothing more except what was necessary. The council is quite strict. I feel bad that someone is unhappy with the work.

“We were asked to do the work by Corscombe Close residents who had no light in their property and had problems with birds defecating and the path was really slippery. The tree was out of control for the plot.

“The tree owner does have a right to the wood but he didn’t ask for it when he came and saw us. The wood is gone but I’d be quite happy to drop some logs down to him.”