High Hedge Fees

High Hedge Fees

Postby nigelrb » Fri Jun 03, 2005 1:54 pm

Hello all,

Just read an item in Gloucestershire Echo stating that application fees in relation to High Hedge disputes will be £550.00. Other councils in the area - Cheltenham and Wychavon are talking £400 -£450.00.

Are these fees as far out of reach as the hedges themselves? Council claims 'we need to meet our costs.' That's one heck of an admin' bill!!!

Got to go - I'm off to B & Q for a chainsaw!!
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Postby Beech » Fri Jun 03, 2005 2:25 pm

My local council says this on its website

http://www.nfdc.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=4451

(b) the Council will only deal with a complaint if the person affected has taken reasonable steps to settle the dispute themselves before making a formal complaint to the Council; a complaint to the Council should be a last resort.

There's more information on the website about how they suggest you deal with it.

(c) you will have to pay a fee to the Council (£450) to have a formal complaint considered. This will normally be non-refundable even if your complaint is upheld.

Seems a lot! I wonder if this is the "standard" amount?
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Postby Countryman » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:32 pm

It would appear that the fees are more to do with 'putting people OFF from complaining to the council' so that they then are more likely to have only the 'more serious' cases to deal with.

If the person who applies to the council, having tried to resolve the matter with the neighbour without success, pays their £450 - £550 and the council upholds their complaint can the complainant go to the small claims court to get their costs back from the neighbour?

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Postby despair » Fri Jun 03, 2005 3:50 pm

Whether the fee can be reclaimed is still a matter being asked of D of E by Hedgeline

Hedgeline are extremely concerned about the crazy high fees being charged by councils

Could every one please take the time and trouble to advise Hedgeline via the contact e mail on www.hedgeline.org of the name of the council plus the fee to be levied as this is being taken up with the D of E
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extortionate or not?

Postby Arbcat » Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:04 am

I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop on the implementation of the High Hedge part of the Anti Social Behaviour Act. When you consider all the potential factors regarding the council involvement in the process of a high hedge complaint I am not so sure that the fee is as extortionate as it first appears.

The council will have to cover the cost of the officer time and admin in dealing with a complaint in the first instance. Then they will also have to cover the cost of the appeals side. They will not be able to add on an extra charge for this so must cover the cost in the original fee. When you consider that an appeal can be lodged by the complainant because they are not satisfied with the council decision, whether it be because they failed to find in favour of the complainant, or because the complaint feels that the hedge will not be trimmed enough, or the hedge owner can appeal because they object to the decision, and so on. Basically, anyone can appeal any decision that the council does or does not make and the council will have to do a lot more work for the appeal.

As I understand it at the moment the fees are open to each council to set the amount for themselves. There will then be a review of the legislation and the fees being charged in a few years. If warranted the government will then step in a cap the fees and amend the legislation. This does ensure that the true average cost of a high hedge complaint can be more accurately judged. Not sure how fair it is that the cost of complaining should fall on the suffering party though!

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Postby despair » Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:26 am

Oh come off it Arbcat

Theres a darn site more work involved in planning applications which are a mere £120 which include not just one application but also a 2nd bite at the cherry if your first application is turned down and FREE appeals including written appeals , informal hearings and even public hearings

The new High Hedge Law fees are most definitely about fleecing all the innocent victims of hedge bullies who have already suffered years of hell

It simply goes to prove the total insincerity of the entire implementation of the bill and the disgusting attitudes of the head of the OPDM

I wonder what the salary /qualifications is of the treemen who will decide HH Law complaints versus Planning Officers
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Postby Arbcat » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:49 am

Yes, there is more work for each planning application, but most go through on the nod as it were, no real problem, a bit of negociation, but all settled and permission granted. These help cover the cost of appeals on those that are refused. Don't forget, only the applicant has a right of appeal in a planning application. For the high hedges everyone has a right of appeal.

If an appeal is made for each high hedge dispute each one could be 6 months or more in the process before a settlement is reached. I am not saying that I think it is right, or that the fee isn't high, just that the fee will have to cover a lot more work from the councils than it appears at face value. Some councils will be charging much less, one I know of is making the fee £100. In that respect, the fee is based in part on how much of a priority the local authority wants to make it.

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Postby Maverick.uk » Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:57 pm

Arbcat wrote:Yes, there is more work

Arbcat


And there was me thinking that these people were public servants. It is another stealth tax as far as i am concerned. We already pay high taxes and our local council year before last had the cheek to raise its council tax by 28%, justify it to me now.

Public bodies have got along way to go to match the lean ways of work of the private sector to try and start saving some money.

Regards

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Postby nigelrb » Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:18 pm

What have I started with this posting?

Perfectly correct though, Mav. Council tax should provide for the services to its citizens. Perhaps we would not object to a 'token' amount as an application fee- but £400 to £500? It is surely over the top.

I would enjoy reading end of year financial reports of some councils to learn what really happens with OUR money; how much profit is made; and how much is 'washed' away by various overseas/international 'workshop' trips/jaunts and the like.

The shame is that it will be the 'poor' £6.00 per hour (if they're lucky) clerk who will face the brunt of community objections to this fee.

Further to arbcats extraordinary view on the appeal process, an appellant is bound to fund his own appeal and usually has the ability to claim most of the costs if his appeal is successful. If the council is prepared to launch proceeding against a hedge owner, it had better be certain that its process is complete and just, rather than some of the seemingly rash retrospective decisions that are made in favour of some applicants. Despite this, we can only wonder: are councils actually expecting a surge of appeals?

Cheers, Nigel
Life is never what it seems; there is always two sides to every story.
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Postby despair » Sat Jun 11, 2005 6:10 pm

One of the latest councils to set its fee for High Hedge Law cases is charging £650 according to Hedgeline

Thats nothing short of daylight robbery
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Postby Arbcat » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:06 am

nigelrb wrote:
Further to arbcats extraordinary view on the appeal process, an appellant is bound to fund his own appeal and usually has the ability to claim most of the costs if his appeal is successful. Nigel


Sorry Nigel, but that's the point, there is no charge for appealing! If any party feels put out by the council decission they can appeal and there is no charge for appealing.

I am sure that many on this forum can provide examples of how extrodinarily difficult high hedge owners can be when it comes to being told or asked to do something with their hedge. Each of these owners will have the right to appeal the council decission and if they cna be that difficult and cause the whole thing to be dragged out for a few more weeks or months can you honestly say they wont?

I am not saying that this is the right aproach for any party involved but this is what we have been given to work with. The best we can do about the fee issue is complain to our councillors to get it reduced locally and push for a national fee limit.

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Postby leslie411 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:22 am

this country has gone mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby leslie411 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:23 am

my dad didnt fight a war for this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby leslie411 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:32 am

it seems to me this country has gone to the dogs. all we care about is politicly correctness gone made. cant do this, cant do that,when will it stop? i want to grow my own veg, have my own pets and live in peace? go on, ibet somone will have a go?
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Postby subjecttocontract » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:48 am

Anyone here brave, reckless or rich enough to take it to the European ourt of Human Rights ????
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