Cut-down fir tree becomes Sheffield attraction after neighbour dispute

A tree cleaved in half has become an attraction in a residential part of South Yorkshire after a dispute between neighbours.

Bharat Mistry said he and his family were “gutted” when their nextdoor neighbours asked tree surgeons to cut down half the branches of a 5 metre fir tree that had stood in his garden in the Sheffield suburb of Waterthorpe for 25 years.

He said: “We were absolutely distraught. We pleaded and pleaded with them not to do it, but their mind was made up. That tree was coming down.”

Mistry, 56, said he had been embroiled in a year-long dispute with his neighbours over birds roosting in the tree, which they said generated too much noise and mess in the drive of their bungalow.

Without Mistry’s knowledge, an image of the tree was posted on Reddit with the title: “Some traditional British pettiness on display.” The image and account have since been deleted.

The picture went viral after it was anonymously sent in to Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 TV show, and it has been turned into memes on social media, prompting visits from curious people.

Mistry’s daughter said the family had become “Instagram famous without meaning to”.

Mistry said he had trimmed the tree into a ball shape, which his neighbour had agreed with until birds began roosting in the tree, “which you would expect at this time of the year”. He said relations with the neighbours had previously been amicable and he had trimmed the branches lower down the tree to make space for the neighbours’ car.

Mistry, who lives in a three-bedroom property with his wife and two daughters, asked the neighbours not to have the branches removed, but acknowledged they were entitled to do so as the tree protruded by a metre on to their property.

The neighbours have refused requests to comment. Others in the street shared Mistry’s disappointment at the tree’s misshapen appearance.

One woman who wished to remain anonymous said: “When I saw it, I just thought ‘oh my God, what a shame.’ It’s a lovely tree and adds to the feature of the house and the street.”

Another neighbour who did not want to be named said: “It ruins the visual aspect for everyone.”

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