A PENSIONER from Timperley living on just £130 a week has been ordered to pay Trafford Council more than £800 to cover the cost of felling a tree in her garden.

Janet Panchoo, 68, was told by council tree surgeons before Christmas a dead ash which straddles both her and another property’s boundary had to be removed for safety reasons.

But she told Messenger she was left gobsmacked when a bill for £805 landed on her doorstep last week to cover the cost of the work.Janet, who lives alone and only has a state pension, says she has no savings whatsover and simply can’t afford to pay. She believes the tree died after its roots were damaged when a neighbour extended a garage.

“They said £1,200 at first, and I said don’t be so silly I’m a pensioner,” Janet told SAM. “Then they said a £1,000 pounds, but it’s still too much, and I can’t afford £800 either. I don’t even have any savings either - I just can’t pay.

She added: “I don’t see why I have to pay anyway. The tree died because the root system was damaged when my neighbour had some building work done. It just doesn’t seem fair,” she said.

Messenger contacted the council, who agreed to shave another £100 off the bill, but insisted Janet would have to pay.

Executive Councillor Jonathan Coupe said: "We don’t know what caused the tree to die, although I am aware that there has been some controversy over this issue.

“The property owner, and therefore the owner of the tree, was identified as Mrs Panchoo and we have stayed in touch with her throughout the process.

“We are aware that tree felling can be a costly exercise and will always do everything we can to assist Trafford residents. I can assure Mrs Panchoo that she does not have to pay this bill as a lump sum. We do not intend to cause any distress to our residents and are always happy to discuss more suitable payment methods, where appropriate, to anyone with concerns about settling bills."