High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby TO » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:54 pm

Hi

Appeal decisions vary, as do the workings of the minds of the Inspectors. In all but one case I've dealt with the appeal was dismissed, and the Councils decision upheld. But there's always going to be the odd one and it was a bit of an odd decision by the Inspector to say the least.

gripodkin says
He [the Inspector] believes that the council notice is flawed, as it requires a 30% reduction in height, but does not give a datum point to work from.
The trees are always measured from where they enter the ground at the base of the tree, but it should be clear in the Remedial Notice.

and
The council stipulated a max height for the trees of 17m, however, he believes this to be too high
and
the height of the trees is measured from the base of the tree as it enters the ground, not the level of the neighbours garden (which is 4' lower)
The differences in levels between gardens will be taken into account when working out the action hedge height, 17m according to the Council. Maybe the level changes have not been included in the action hedge height calculation leading to the trees being too tall. So possibly the height of the trees will be reduced by an extra 4' or 1.3m ish to approx 15.6m to take account in the changes in levels.

and
I pointed out that 30% was the max that the trees could be reduced by, but he didnt agree
I agree with the Inspector as previously stated earlier in the thread the amount that can be removed will depend on the individual circumstances of the case, and then phased reduction is also a possibility to get a bit more off.

and
At 10.15am there were no shadows over the garden, or the house (which is 100ft away), I pointed this out but again, seems this isnt always relevant.
Well its relevant, but just what the impact on shading and light loss is, is just one of many elements the Council had to and Inspector has to weigh up.

and
Also, seems this is the first appeal that my Council have been involved in
Must be their first High Hedge complaint as well then as they almost invariably go to appeal. Maybe we're too cheap. Must seek a huge increase in the cost of bringing a complaint at the next opportunity. :P

Anyway good luck and let us know what happens.

TO
TO
 
Posts: 639
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:05 pm

Ads are not endorsed by www.gardenlaw.co.uk or the staff thereof and visitors should perform their own due diligence on the product or service offered.
 

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby gripodkin » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:11 pm

The council notice was a bit confusing.

I estimated the tallest tree at 60ft, so anticipated a reduction to 40' for the tallest, with the others also capped at this height.

The Inspector used some trigonometry to work out the height, and used an inclinometer to obtain the angles.

The line from the base of the tree was 75', and he said the angle was 23deg (this must be the top coming downwards!!). The angle looking up, then, must be 67deg.

I think this gives a height from the datum point of 56ft, which is close enough to my estimate for me not to feel like I'm being cheated.

The trees are about 30 years old, and are slow growing - probably no more than 6ft to 8ft in height over the last 3 years, so they will not recover well from serious reduction.

I have seen the council experts report, and he recomended no more than 25%, although different sources suggest 30-35% wont kill the trees.

I guess I'm hoping for a reduction down to 40' in height - say 12.5m - but the datum point is 1.3m higher than the original council point, so on a like for like basis its 13.8m after reduction, rather than the councils 17m after reduction.

I thought the councils heights were wrong - 17m after reduction suggests the trees are about 24m tall - thats 80ft !!

Will let you know the decision, thanks for your interest.

G.
gripodkin
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby gripodkin » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:22 pm

Had a very odd letter this morning from the Inspectorate, a copy of my neighbours latest Fuhrer Directive.

He again raises the overhang, but now he has introduced the info that he spoke to a senior member of the Planning Inspectorate dealing with this complaint, and that they have given him information and advice on the issue of the overhanging foliage, basically that the order can include overhanging foliage, he then quotes the wording they have given him to reinforce this.

I thought that the Inspectorate werent allowed to discuss this with either party, never mind provide information and advice. I have a suspicion that he doesnt know I'm being sent copies of his letters......

I've pointed this out to the Inspectorate, its not on really, but it does raise the question of whether the Act can allow an order on overhanging foliage to be imposed? I cant see it anywhere, but then I'm not pretending to understand what I have read, so maybe I just missed it?

Regards

G.
gripodkin
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby TO » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:10 pm

Hi

High hedge complaints are about the height of the hedge and everything that entails, including overhanging foliage especially if it is too high for the complainant to deal with themselves. However, I wouldn't give overhanging foliage too much weight as the neighbour has the right to trim it back to the boundary, albeit they may require a competent tree surgeon to do it and have to pay.

Unfortunately for the Planning Inspectorate they can't stop your neighbour writing to them, and I am sure they have to respond, in this instance it would appear to be by way of an explanation of the workings and application of the law. However, it is only right in the interests of even handedness they copy the letters to you. I'm sure they will have told your neighbour they they are forwarding copies.

TO
TO
 
Posts: 639
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:05 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby gripodkin » Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:53 pm

I think its just the type of letter he writes - he likes to give the impression that he knows the top people (did I mention he was a district councillor + niece works in the planning dept).

Cutting back the overhang to the boundary will strip the tree back to within 2ft of the body of the tree, combined with a reduction in height, I'm going to have a line of tall, bald tree stumps !! I think the Inspector wont include overhanging vegetation, because it will kill the tree, whereas if he enforces the reduction the neighbour can then cut the tree back anyway, sadly achieving what he wants ie tree gone.

I really should have put in a new tree line a couple of years ago when this started, it would be up to 10 or 11 feet by now! Next year maybe.

Cheers

G.
gripodkin
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby gripodkin » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:34 pm

Well, had the Inspectors decision this morning - will admit to a certain amount of nervousness / trepidation when I received it.

The short answer is that the inspector has upheld my neighbours appeal, on the grounds that the original notice was flawed - no accurate measures were taken of the height.

The new order states that the height is in fact 18m, and that they must be reduced by 30%, to 12m, then not allowed over 12.6m (allowing for annual growth).

I have to admit to being completely bemused - the original order was for a 30% reduction in height, the new order is for a 30% reduction in height, so the appeal has simply corrected the maths on the paperwork, the actual height of the trees will be 30% lower than they are now.....

The overhanging branch issue....can be covered by the Act, but as the neighbour has a right in law to cut the foliage back, inspector allows that right to take precedence.

They've given me 15 months to do the work as well (birds nest from end of Feb and my tree surgeon is on a council contract until April).

I am not unhappy with the final decision, it falls a long way short of the offers i made to the neighbour, and will cost me considerably less - there is an opportunity to gloat I suppose, but that isnt my way - I have decided to go ahead with the new tree line about 30' back and when they reach a similar 12m height I will completely remove the existing hedgeline, put in a small wall maybe (no more than, say, 12m tall.....no, just joking).

Neighbour tells me he is going to apply for a judicial review, but I'm not scared of the system anymore, and I doubt he will have any success, plus he is going to pursue a claim for nuisance in the civil court (he'll fail, as he himself is contributing to the nuisance by not cutting the trees back and he has refused me access to cut the trees back when I offered to).

Thank you for all the help and advice, and the support over the last few months, much appreciated.

G.
gripodkin
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby TO » Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:11 pm

Hi

Fairly typical result, i.e. Planning Inspector striking a balance and doing the right thing and in doing so correcting the errors of the Local Authority, who I feel really should have done better.

If your neighbour is going to seek Judicial Review I hope they have deep pockets as QC's don't come cheap. The challenge can only be on a point of law, not the decision itself, so chances of success are highly unlikely unless the Inspector has done something extraordinarily stupid, and that I doubt very much. As for a claim for nuisance, no chance. As you point out he has the right to self help by cutting to the boundary, as stated in his appeal, and you are legally required to reduce the hedge height as required by his appeal to a height that is no longer a nuisance. If it actually happened I'd counter sue for costs in dealing with any such vexatious Small Claims Court action, so start keeping a record in your diary of time in meetings/discussions with anyone in dealing with the matter including your neighbour, telephone calls, letters, e-mails etc so you can work at a reasonable amount to go for and have an accurate record of time etc spent.

I am surprised at the length of the time limit, but that is just a matter of opinion. All the farmers round me are busy cutting their hedges at the moment, so I would have argued you could get on with it now, and you are not tied to one contractor. Anyway all in all a result for you, and proof the system does work.

Finally it just goes to show that hedge growers can also be the victims of bullying neighbours. Despair take note.

TO
TO
 
Posts: 639
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:05 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby gripodkin » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:02 pm

New letter arrived this morning from neighbour.

Wish I could post it.....describes the Inspectors order as 'the first step in the official process of tree removal.'

Apparently, in order to save myself 'massive unecessary financial implications' he will cease further action if I organise removal of trees by 28th Feb.

Its very sad, really. I have always been sympathetic as the trees are really too tall, but we seem to be entering a completely different realm of pointlesness.

Ironic that I am now able to use the Inspectors Order as a protection!

Regards

G.
gripodkin
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby despair » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:23 pm

Gripodkin

Clearly your neighbour is a total bully

You have the High Hedge Appeal inspectors decision
You are quite happy to abide by it

Your neighbour can hardly have grounds for any legal challenge that i can see
despair
 
Posts: 16043
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:07 am

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby TO » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:12 pm

Hi gridopin

Your neighbour is persistent I'll give them that, but as to further action to remove the hedge/trees they've gone as as they can, that is, as the Planning Inspector is a Civil servant, in effect if not practice the Queen.

Maybe what your neighbour is intending to do is seek Judicial Review of the Inspectors decision, but that will be a matter for your neighbour and the Inspectorate.

Anyway nothing to worry about, but I'd keep all the correspondence in case you decide to make a formal complaint to the Police about your neighbours harassment.

TO

PS I've stopped laughing now, just.
TO
 
Posts: 639
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:05 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby Sudynim » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:13 pm

gripodkin wrote:New letter arrived this morning from neighbour.

Wish I could post it.....describes the Inspectors order as 'the first step in the official process of tree removal.'


Heh - this chap sounds fun...
Sudynim
 
Posts: 2242
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:31 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby gripodkin » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:17 pm

I've had another couple of letters, but its so daft I dont bother replying.

No judicial review, but last one asks for a contribution to cutting back the overhang, which I offered to pay for in entirety about 3 years ago....

G.
gripodkin
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 7:14 pm

Re: High Hegde appeals procedure, advice please.

Postby despair » Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:09 am

Tee Hee

Clutching at straws is he again
despair
 
Posts: 16043
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:07 am

Ads are not endorsed by www.gardenlaw.co.uk or the staff thereof and visitors should perform their own due diligence on the product or service offered.
 
Previous

Return to Hedges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest