Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby carissa100 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:18 pm

Hello

I planted a row of 12 Pyrus Chanticleer (Ornamental Pears) in my garden in total good faith along a boundary line between our house and the neighbours a year ago. The moment they went in the neighbours were up in arms (we were surprised as we thought they would want some screening from us) and claimed we were blocking light to their lounge. The trees were 3.9 metres high. My husband shot out and within hours had cut a foot off the leader branch and surrounding ones (he hates conflict) even though I was devastated that our new expensive trees had been hacked like this given we'd saved up for them! The neighbours went quiet. We've just had them calling again to ask us to prune them claiming loss of light again in their lounge. The trees have not really grown since last year (they currently have a few buds but no leaves etc as deciduous) and are about 3.5m (the tallest) so it is time to see where we stand on all of this. Hoping some of you can help.

Just to set the scene - both houses are new builds, both have South facing gardens, both are next to each other pretty much in line. As you look out to the back garden our house is on the left, theirs on the right and the trees run down a fence boundary at 90 degrees. The trees don't over hang the fence (they are pretty upright in foliage). Hopefully the picture helps here.

We understand that they couldn't get us under the high hedges act as they are not evergreens or semi-evergreens.

However, our deeds to the house may be an issue. There are certain restrictive covenants in our transfer title documents:

1. No hedge fence or wall shall be erected...to a greater height than 1.8 metres
2. Nothing shall be done on the Property so as to create a nuisance or inconvenience to the owners and occupiers of the Neighbouring Premises or any part thereof

Whilst this document is between ourselves and the developer we understand all new homeowners on this site were required to sign up to the same covenants. Our neighbours are clearly aware of these clauses. Would this count as a 'hedge fence'? Could they take legal action if indeed those clauses apply and what action could be taken against us (big fines? court case?).

I am attaching photos to set the scene. It is the row of trees with no leaf. It's a balcony of theirs you can see on the right hand side which totally overlooks our garden. Their lounge is the room under the balcony.

Many thanks to anyone that can help.
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby despair » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:07 pm

I do not for one minute think these trees could constiute legal nuiscance or contravene your covenants

However have they been planted with consideration to height and more importantly spread
Because if they are tight to the boundary you will be seeing these neighbours hacking off every twig that crosses the boundary and more
Seems on the face of things your neighbours are paranoid about trees and light and will not face things realistically
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby cloudyeyes » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:28 pm

Assuming these are relatively new builds from the references to the developer, there's probably no automatic right to light - see here.

Is the developer still around - only they can enforce the covenants, not the neighbour. Are the existing fences more than 1.8m - they certainly look it.

As it stands, I'd say you have a row of specimen trees rather than a hedge. They are discrete and separate. However, when the canopies grow and if they join, it will certainly look more like a hedge. Do you intend to maintain them as separate trees? I think the neighbout might be a little previous as it doesn't seem to me that those leafless canopies cast much shade.

However, it's always best to try to maintain good neighbour relations and not get into a dispute so I wonder if there's a compromise to be had by, say, identifying which tree/s (if any) are likely to shade the living room and break the line up by moving them elsewhere?
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby span » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:08 pm

Nah, ignore them. If you don't please yourself, then who else will?
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby ukmicky » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:50 pm

Your trees are fine and dont breach any covenants,ignore the neighbours
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby appledore » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:57 pm

I'd just ignore them too. Your neighbours have obviously got a 'thing' about trees, and no matter what you plant or where you plant them they're going to moan. They'd obviously be happier living in the middle of a car park.
Keep calm and carry on.
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby Mojisola » Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:23 pm

despair wrote: Because if they are tight to the boundary you will be seeing these neighbours hacking off every twig that crosses the boundary and more


I, too, think you're fine planting them - I doubt the neighbours can do anything to stop you - but they do seem to be close to the fence.

Check out on google images the spread of mature trees. The RHS gives its eventual spread as 4 - 8m - you'll probably have moved before the trees ever reach the maximum spread but your neighbours aren't going to be happy if even a metre of growth is encroaching into their garden.

Pyrus Chanticleer are lovely trees but they are going to be spoilt if the neighbours cut off every bit that grows across the fence.
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby carissa100 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:21 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. Interesting views... and a relief :D

We planted them at the time with the eventual plan to remove every other tree and relocate the 'spares' to the other part of our garden. We bunched them like this as English Woodlands (who we bought them from) said at this distance it would take about 7 years for them to knit together ad at least we would get screening now and not have to wait 7 years! Point taken about them being a bit close to the fence though. Thanks for that.
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Re: Neighbour at me again - do I have to prune? Please help.

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:40 pm

I can see why you want the trees for screening, your neighbour is taking the mick to moan about something which is not yet a nuisanace of any sort, but you have to live next to the person with treeaphobiawithaddedlightfetishmoanyitis. :roll: :lol:
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