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

Stuart Shackleton - who shares Cuckoos Nest cottage in St Ives, Bingley, 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," he said.

"It's a big weight off my shoulder."

Mr Shackleton had reported his concerns about the tree's weakening structure, which was planted on Council land, at least three times.

He first contacted the Council on July 3, 2018 and July 12, 2018, specifically to let them know about the 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 where it was found the tree had been listed as needing work ‘in the next couple of years to prevent further failure’.

Despite the 18 month period of logging complaints, the tree limb did fall.

The Shackletons inherited the historic cottage more than 50 years ago - all sharing a particular fondness for the “lovely old dove cote”.

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 (Conservative, Shipley) made a representation to Kersten England, Bradford Council's CEO.

Mr Shackleton told the Telegraph & Argus: "The council have decided to look at this case again and instructed Zurich to appoint a loss adjuster to look at this case again from a legal point of view.

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

"I’d just like to say a big thank to the T&A for your support with my dispute against the council and let you know that David can still take on Goliath and win.

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

"It feels like winning a victory."

Mr Shackleton also wants to thank his MP and Councillor Paul Sullivan.

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

A spokesperson for Bradford Council 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.”