A COUNCIL will have to stump up tens of thousands of pounds to urgently fell or fix almost 1,000 trees across Bicester.

The blow came as Bicester Town Council completed a £20,000 tree survey after being warned by insurers that liability cover could be withdrawn.

In the past few years the council has been hit with claims totalling about £25,000 after its trees caused subsidence problems to properties, mainly in Langford Village.

Before the end of the current financial year the authority will have to spend £90,000 from its reserves to make 977 “high priority” trees safe.

Many of the problems have stemmed from developers planting inappropriate trees in wrong locations on new estates.

Then, as plants matured, they have caused problems to nearby homes.

Town councillor Les Sibley said the council had to “bite the bullet” and get the work done.

He said: “The problem is these trees look nice when they are planted but they are now causing a nightmare situation for the council and residents. It’s the roots that are a hidden menace.”

Work is planned between now and March next year and will include felling, crown lifting (removal of the lower branches of a tree’s crown to increase the distance between the base of the canopy and ground) and trimming branches. James Porter, the town council’s Conservative leader, said the cost of the work would be covered by reserves and would not impact on council tax.

He said: “It’s essential to do this. It’s a huge amount of money and we have been prudent and pragmatic and it will be dealt with within the budget.”