AN on-going dispute between a Calvia couple and the local council over a tree in the middle of their driveway may be finally resolved.
Eileen Hall and Jo Schuller have been living quite happily at number 11, Avenida de Palma for the past ten years and the “municipal” tree, which has been growing in the middle of their driveway, was never an issue until the council did away with street parking in the busy main road a few years ago. Since then, British resident Eileen and Jo, from Germany, have been forced to carefully avoid the tree when parking their car.
As the photographs show, there is not much room for error and the couple, who are in their 70s, said yesterday that after having lost at least five wing mirrors and a number of bumpers, a few years ago they decided to contact the council in a bid to have the tree removed. “All we wanted was for them to either remove the tree or move it along the pavement,” Jo said yesterday.
However, after a series of site visits and discussions with the council's maintenance department and environmental experts, the tree still held pride of place yesterday as Jo tried to manoevre his car out of the garage. “The road is such a busy one, you always need one person to either stop or watch the traffic as we pull out. There are times that one of us is alone at home and unable to go out because there is no one to watch the traffic - we are often literally trapped at home by the tree,” said Jo. Initially the council agreed to remove the tree but Jo and Eileen would have to pay for the operation.
In accordance with municipal law, if a “municipal” tree is cut down, two new ones have to be planted. On a private plot, five trees have to be re-planted for everyone cut down. What is more, the pavement would have to be repaired.
Jo said that one of the council's suggestions was for him to knock the end of the terrace to widen the driveway.
Jo and Eileen, who have rented the house for the past decade said yesterday that, unless the tree goes soon, they will go when the lease come up for renewal next year. “After all the meetings and visits, we're still waiting for some advice from the council,” Jo said.
The council has given them the option of finding their own cheaper estimate and they have. “But, we are still waiting for the council to give us the permit to have the work done. We don't want to go ahead and remove the tree, to then get into trouble with the council for not having the correct permit,” Jo said. However, Calvia councillor for foreign relations, Kate Mentink, has been involved as an intermediary and she told the Bulletin yesterday that Jo and Eileen are more than welcome to go ahead with their own contractor providing, as the council stipulates, two new trees are planted either side of the property and that the pavement is repaired. Mentink, currently on holiday overseas, explained that the council does not use public funds to pay for these kinds of individual cases.
Eileen welcomed the news yesterday afternoon. “Magic. That's the power of the press, thank you very much. We will be round there on Monday morning and we will see,” she added.
It would appear that the Bulletin has managed to get to the root of the problem.

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