The Yorkshire neighbour row and half-cut tree that has become a tourist attraction

A half-cut tree in a Sheffield suburb has become a tourist attraction following a years-long feud over the plant.

The tree was cut in half following a year-long dispute between Bharat Mistry and his neighbours, Irene and Graham Lee, both in their 70s. Taking place at their homes in Waterthorpe, the feud culimated in the Lees slicing half of the branches off of the fir tree which had stood for 25 years in 2021.

According to Mr Mistry, the couple were angry because of birds nesting in the tree, damaging their driveway with droppings.

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Three years on, many locals still say they see visitors showing up to visit the quiet cul-de-sac for a look at the tree, which has remained cut in half ever since. It even has a Google Maps tourist attraction tag, complete with its own reviews.

One reviewer left a three star rating and said: "Interesting tree that was cut in half due to a feud between the two neighbours.

"The story was also over the news and was interesting to visit the location and see the news turn into real life.

"Google street view is not updated since 10 years ago, so you can actually see the original tree before it was cut off.

"Not worth driving a long distance, but if you were nearby, it’s worth paying a visit."

Neighbours say the pair of families have not repaired their relationship years after the original fight. Neither of the families answered the doors to reporters this week.

One woman, who didn't want to be named said: "I just think it's funny. I think it's been trimmed back again because you'd have thought it would have grown back by now.

"I think now it's like a landmark. You get all the walkers coming round and they all come on the street for a look. They go up to it and take photographs.

"Even when houses have gone for sale, they've used it as a directional tool and said 'it's near that half tree'. It's become famous, so they may as well keep it like that now."

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Another neighbour added: "They're both nice neighbours, I wave to them both.

"When it first happened, people would drive into the street and drive past slowly for a good look.

"It's worn off a bit now, people are used to it, but you still see people having a nosey.

"I think people are just amazed that two neighbours that used to like each other ended up arguing over that and it went that far.

"I can understand both - he wanted his beautiful tree, which was shaped and well-kept and the other one is aways shining his drive and washing his car.

"He puts his car there and the birds went in the tree and it's not even his tree.

"They both keep their gardens nice, so you can understand both of their standpoints.

"But when you go past, they both wave to you, they're both nice people."

The chopped tree at the centre of the neighbour dispute in Sheffield, June 23, 2021
The chopped tree at the centre of the neighbour dispute in Sheffield, June 23, 2021 -Credit: © SWNS

Attention around the tree was first spread when a photo of it was sent into Jeremy Vine's Channel 5 TV show in 2021, quickly spreading over social media. Meanwhile, Mr Mistry said in 2021 that he was "absolutely distraught" when the tree was chopped down.

According to him, his family watched on as tree surgeons cut the branches off. He said: "We pleaded and pleaded with them not to do it, but their mind was made up. That tree was coming down.

"I believe he has the right to cut down anything that is overhanging onto his property. But you have to ask, why after 25 years would you do that? It must have been no more than 3ft onto his land.

"It is above head height, the bottom of the branches start at about 8 ft high and we have cut off the branches lower down to be amiable with them. He can get his car on and off the drive with no issues.

"We had asked if we could get it trimmed back and put a net in it so it would stop birds getting in, but there was no compromise with them. It has been there for 25 years and we'd trimmed into a ball shape with agreement with the neighbour and he has been fine about it.

"But recently there have been birds in the tree which you would expect at this time of the year. He started off by putting black bin liners in the tree to stop the birds sitting there.

"It is really sad to look at, because the tree has been there for so long and it's a really pretty tree.

"We've had a lot of people walking past to look at it, people you can just tell have come out of their way to walk their dog on a different route to have a look. People have stopped to take pictures, there has been a lot posted on social media.

"You think we'd probably do the same if it was another house, but it does feel a bit like an invasion of privacy."