A COTTAGE owner has voiced his relief after winning a long-standing compensation case against Bradford Council.

Stuart Shackleton – who shares Cuckoos Nest cottage in St Ives, Harden, with his family – is set to receive £10,000 after a tree branch fell onto his Grade II listed dove cote and shattered his nearby greenhouse.

“I feel relief at the outcome,” he said.

“It’s a big weight off my shoulders.”

Mr Shackleton had reported his concerns about the weakening state of the tree, which was on council land, at least three times.

He first contacted the council in July, 2018, specifically to let it know about an overhanging branch and that he believed it was in a “dangerous condition”.

An inspection was carried out by the council’s woodland department around this time but Mr Shackleton felt it was “inadequate and failed to properly address the issue”.

Mr Shackleton put in a Freedom of Information request to receive the full reports and found the tree had been listed as needing work ‘in the next couple of years to prevent further failure’.

The tree limb did eventually fall.

Following his first claim, insurers insisted the authority was not negligent despite the evidence provided by Mr Shackleton, a former forester for the council. But his case has since been reassessed after his MP Philip Davies made a representation to Kersten England, Bradford Council’s CEO.

Mr Shackleton said: “The council decided to look at this case again and instructed Zurich to appoint a loss adjuster to look at it from a legal point of view.

“I’ve been informed by the loss adjusters that they have now told Zurich to accept liability for this claim.

“David can still take on Goliath and win.

“My estimates were between £13,000-£15,000. After even more bartering and arguing with the loss adjuster, I have decided to accept £10,000 plus VAT and pay the difference myself.

“It feels like a victory.”

Mr Shackleton thanked his MP and ward councillor Paul Sullivan.

Mr Davies said: “I am pleased this matter has been resolved but I am afraid neither Bradford Council nor their insurers have covered themselves in glory. This has been hugely stressful for Mr Shackleton and whilst I am pleased to have been able to help him get a resolution, it really should have been resolved by Bradford Council without this extensive battle.”

A council spokesman said: “We cannot comment on individual insurance claims against Bradford Council. If anyone has a problem with a tree we would advise them to contact the council’s trees and woodlands service on 01274 431000.”