Flooded wall protected by ‘lucky’ tree to be fixed

Work will finally start on fixing a garden wall destroyed by July’s flooding which left a giant cedar tree teetering above the Sid.

Bridge House in Mill Street lost 40ft of its brick boundary, which also forms part of Sidmouth’s flood defences, during the summer’s extreme weather.

Since then the 100-year-old cedar, nurtured by the property’s elderly owners for decades, has become a tourist attraction as it hangs over the river.

Judy Greene, whose 93-year-old parents own the house, said she is sick of people asking her in the street about the wall, and wants to reassure them it is now going to be fixed and the tree is safe, with work starting in early January.

“People don’t seem to believe you when you say it isn’t going to fall down, even the council’s Arboricultural Officer said it was safe,” she added.

“My parents are in a nursing home and they don’t need to read in the paper people saying their house is at risk of falling into the river,”

She said the criticism from other residents affected by flooding recently is why she has been pushing for building work to start as soon as possible.

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But it will not be an easy job to fix the damage, with builders expected to be on site for at least 12 weeks, and it could result in Bridge House losing its garden altogether.

Mrs Greene said its garage will have to be taken down and rebuilt, and in order to get the foundations strong enough to face another battering from the elements the garden will have to be removed, and there may not be space to put it back.

But Judy said it is a small price to pay if it protects their house and others nearby from flooding, with only the giant cedar’s roots stopping a further landslip back in July, when a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours.

The beloved tree, described as one of the best in Sidmouth, has a lucky horseshoe nailed into it after it brought owners of Bridge House luck during the floods.

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