Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby abeslass » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:05 pm

As I write, the neighbour has a contractor in cutting into a mature dividing hedge in order to erect a fence on his side of the property, with absolutely no consultation whatsoever, the houses were built in 1938 and we have lived here for 41 years. Over that time we have had three other neighbours living there who have like us maintained our own side of the hedge, which has provided security and privacy (and a shelter for birds and insects). I have been in contact with Land Registry and have arranged for a boundary inspection to take place. We have our deeds, with some documentation that refers to party fences, being jointly maintained with neither side able to make any alteration without permission from either side which may relate to the original division in place at the time of the original build but other than a couple of boundary posts that still exist we are a little unclear as to what exact rights we have. I'm looking out at what is left of the hedge, and it's a very sorry sight, however further down the garden he needs to entirely remove at least three of the plants which constitute the hedge in order for him to erect the fence. I should be very grateful to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation and to hear how you dealt with it. The inspection may well prove that he can do what he's doing is perfectly acceptable (or not!) but the damage is already done, we are not prepared to spend thousands of pounds contesting it through the courts to defend a hedge but it surely can't be right that someone can just go ahead with a project which affects us as this does and not have to bear any consequence, even if it's just to replace the plants he's fully removing, in order that we may re-establish the hedge. We tried talking to him last Thursday, which was the first day the contractor turned up but he didn't want to know, just shouted about his rights (he's the type of person who knows everything about everything), after another row this morning it transpires that the legal team he refereed to so vocally on Thursday is actually a 24 hour legal team that he has spoken to over the phone and sent them photographs of the hedge!
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby despair » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:20 pm

He can only legally cut back strictly to the boundary and no furthur

hence if he has cut beyond the boundary which is likely to be the trunk line of the hedge he is wrong

check very carefully all mortgages /insurances /credit cards for Legal Expenses Cover
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby span » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:51 pm

abeslass wrote:it transpires that the legal team he refereed to so vocally on Thursday is actually a 24 hour legal team that he has spoken to over the phone and sent them photographs of the hedge!


Be careful. This would suggest to me that he's at least put some thought into his position and researched it. This isn't the actions of an impulsive, gung-ho ( :D for Conveyancer. Inside joke, ignore it) troublemaker but of a calculating actor looking for a considered result.

You may well have to go legal yourself.
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby despair » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:00 pm

however its all a matter of what he told his 24hr legal helpline and how he interpreted what they said
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby Mattylad » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:00 pm

What about the law with regard to nesting etc?
When during the year does that kick in?
Any comments I give here are my own opinions, for legal advise check with a qualified solicitor.
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby despair » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:55 pm

i think its March to August
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby Keepitlegal » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:18 pm

What height is the fench going to be? I ask this because I have spoken to my local council planning department and they told me any fence over 1metre in height would require planning permission, check this out with your planning office if he requires permission I would wait until he starts to put the fence up then complain with the hope the planners make him take it down! Best of luck, and let us know via this site how things progress.
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby Mattylad » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:43 pm

The rule is actually 2m unless it is adjacent to the highway then it is 1m.


I suggest the OP takes plenty of photos while this is going on.
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby Sudynim » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:24 pm

abeslass wrote:we are not prepared to spend thousands of pounds contesting it through the courts to defend a hedge ...

We tried talking to him last Thursday... but he didn't want to know, just shouted about his rights

He is determined to do this, and prepared to pay what's necessary. You are not.

He will get his way.
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Re: Our dividing hedge is being chopped into NOW

Postby abeslass » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:08 pm

Thank you to those who responded to my query. The situation now is that despite saying specifically that he would wait until after the boundary inspection by a surveyor from RICS, the neighbour went ahead and ripped out the majority of the bottom hedge, so the inspector's decision was irrelevant. However, after examining the deeds, he confirmed what we had been trying to tell the neighbour that it was indeed a party hedge and that we should have been consulted before he did any work. It looks so pitiful at the moment that we are seriously considering taking up what's left and growing tall plants, we already have delphinium, lupin, hellebore and the spring bulbs to look forward to for colour and hopefully a bit of cover for the fence. The neighbour insisted that he was doing the work for security and privacy when in actual fact, the fence is lower than the hedge so he is less private than before (so are we!) and I'm sure that scaling a fence is an easier option than penetrating a mature hedge for a determined burglar. We mourn it's demise and the nature of the destruction of a 73 year old hedge has left a very nasty taste.
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