A Conservative MP is locked in a row with neighbours who say her trees, which cast darkness onto their homes, are causing a living “nightmare.”
During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic Helen Whately appeared to say she could blame scientists for the huge number of Covid-19 care home deaths, before failing to produce figures regarding new quarantine measures during an interview with Sky’s Kay Burley.
At the time Piers Morgan blasted the MP, saying: “She’s the care minister who had no idea how many were dying in care homes, no idea how many health workers were dying.
“She now has no idea how many people are being quarantined. I think we establish, Helen Whately, you have no idea about anything. You’re a member of the cabinet!”
Tall trees at MP Helen Whately’s £1.35 million farmhouse block sunlight and shed piles of leaves onto neighbouring gardens, according to local residents who want them cut down to size.
Mrs Whately, the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, and her company director husband bought the house near Faversham last year.
Pictures show the deciduous trees towering over neighbours’ houses.
Residents living in the row of council and private cottages beside the junior health minister were further enraged after her husband, Marcus Whately, told a neighbour to pay for tree surgery costs herself.
Grandmother Marilyn Kemsley, 67, said: “The Whatelys bought the farmhouse about this time last year, and we’ve had a running battle with them ever since.
“The trees are 50ft to 60ft high. The lady next door to them lives in perpetual twilight. She has to have lights on all day long. It’s absolutely dreadful. We don’t get any sunlight from about 3pm onwards.”
Elderly and alone
She added: “One lady’s back garden is absolutely full of these trees, which have self-seeded. Some are about 20ft now. She’s elderly and alone and she can’t deal with it herself.”
In one text to the grandmother, Mrs Whately’s husband, a father of three, said: “I have no obligation to cut trees to any height.
“I’ve had some work done at my cost as a gesture of goodwill, and I’m sorry that gesture has not been appreciated.
Mr Whately, a managing director at food sustainability firm Vescor, added:“I’m happy to consider other works if you want to pay for them, or to discuss other ways forward.”
The message from the Oxford-educated businessman outraged Mrs Kemsley who said that the neighbours affected are not able to pay.
She said: “I think it’s disgusting. We all voted for Mrs Whately to try and help with everything that was going on in the country, and now we feel totally let down.
“Something silly like this in our own environment, and she can’t even help us.
“And then her husband’s asking us for money.”
Mr and Mrs Whately were approached for comment, but declined.