A HOLMCROFT resident says it was a miracle no-one was killed when a massive tree fell on a children’s play area.
The poplar tree, believed to be over 100 years old, was uprooted on Sunday afternoon during heavy rain and winds.
It landed on a grassed area at the back of Holmcroft Library, off Holmcroft Road, where youngsters play and just metres from the playground.
Holmcroft Road resident Mark Baker heard the tree fall while he was at The Holmcroft pub on Sunday.
He said: “It sounded like a car crash, it was really bad, so we ran out.
“It’s lucky someone wasn’t killed because children play in that spot. Kids have been on the tree since it fell but if someone was under one of the branches and it fell it would have killed them.”
The tree had been in the grounds of Tillington Hall Hotel.
Tree surgeon Bill Smith, who was at the site yesterday, said it was not uncommon at this time of year for trees of this size to fall. A combination of wind, heavy rain and the tree being in full leaf contributed to its downfall.
Andrew Sanders, general manager at Tillington Hall, said fungus growing on the bottom of the tree was also a factor.
“We have got a tree surgeon on site now and they’re removing it as we speak. Obviously, it’s going to take a few days purely because of the size of the tree,” he said.
“When fungus grows into a tree it makes it like a sponge. At that point any small gust can knock it over.”
He said the tree next to the one that had fallen would be stripped back a little as a safety precaution but that all the other trees on site had been checked and there was no signs of further fungus.
“We’re in negotiations with the council to trim back some of the trees in the driveway too,” he said. “We’re going to keep them all, all we want to do is trim them back a bit.”
“This tree had come to the end of its life.”
Mr Sanders said hotel staff had contacted the council, the police and the fire service as soon as possible to ensure they were satisfied due diligence had been paid.
Stafford Borough Council’s Streetscene team attended the scene to clear debris from the public footpath earlier this week.