HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby tombulgin » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:02 pm

I have lived at my property for 4 years. I have become garden-proud and enjoyed a natural border on one side comprised of trees and shrubs between my property and that of my neighbours. (See photo with laylandii and the like in background). New neighbours moved in during November last year and within 2 weeks the female neighbour came round, with her 12-yr old daughter and a bag of apples to soften the blow, to effectively inform me that she was going to chop down all the trees along that border. The trunks/bases of all these were indeed on her side, but I said that I loved the natural backdrop of the green foliage and didn't want to see some panel fencing going up in place.

She said the trees reduced the light she got in her garden as for her that side of her garden is south facing. I said I was not going to dictate to her what to do as the trees were on the edge of her property but that I would be really unhappy if she did this (don't forget, she's been there 2 weeks so far - not the best 'neighbourly' skills). As a compromise, I suggested that we bring the trees down to fence high (down from nearly 20 feet in places to no more than 8 foot) - that would solve both issues and give her the light she wanted whilst maintaining the natural backdrop I had always enjoyed. Her response was that this required "too much ongoing management!" (Made me wonder why she was living in the country and had a garden!!)

Nothing happened for a while and then one January morning I walked down the garden and the trees had gone! Since then, they have done nothing. No contact with us to discuss what they might do next. No sign of a fence going up. No planting. Nothing. Just an effing great hole in my garden that has robbed us entirely of our privacy. I am absolutely furious and want to know what tack I should take before I try and talk to her (whilst raiming calm!).

Is she compelled to put something there in place of the hedge? I do not currently have the money to pay for a formal fence to be put up (it will likely cost £2-3,000). I feel she is purposely doing nothing in the hope that I end up paying for a fence to be erected from my side! And be aware of this - they are not short of funds as evidenced by the fact that work is continuing on refurbishing the rest of their property, to the tune of close to £100k!!

Any advises much appreciated.
Attachments
garden with hedge.jpg
here's what was there before she chopped it down...
garden with hedge.jpg (123.88 KiB) Viewed 1782 times
garden without hedge2.jpg
and here's what's left - any trees you can see grow from our side which she was kind enough to leave...
garden without hedge2.jpg (137.98 KiB) Viewed 1782 times
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby mr sheen » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:08 pm

tombulgin wrote:The trunks/bases of all these were indeed on her side, ....

Nothing happened for a while and then one January morning I walked down the garden and the trees had gone! Since then, they have done nothing. No contact with us to discuss what they might do next. No sign of a fence going up. No planting. Nothing. Just an effing great hole in my garden that has robbed us entirely of our privacy. I am absolutely furious and want to know what tack I should take before I try and talk to her (whilst raiming calm!).

Is she compelled to put something there in place of the hedge? I do not currently have the money to pay for a formal fence to be put up (it will likely cost £2-3,000). I feel she is purposely doing nothing in the hope that I end up paying for a fence to be erected from my side! And be aware of this - they are not short of funds as evidenced by the fact that work is continuing on refurbishing the rest of their property, to the tune of close to £100k!!

Any advises much appreciated.


Statement 1 above proves she owns the trees so she can choose to do whatever she wants with them.

Para 2 - she doesn't have to inform you of what she intends to do with her own property - she politely informed you before and even brought around some apples. Perhaps the tack you should take is to remove the idea that you have any right to be furious and perhaps return the favour and take around a peace offering.

Para 3 - no she is not compelled to do anything to replace her hedge she can have whatever she wants on her property, or she can choose to have no fence or hedge at all. The amount of money they have is irrelevant.
You have the choice to put up a fence or plant a hedge that is on your land and thus you will be in her position in that you can do with it what you wish
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:02 pm

I agree with above. You now have the option to plant inside your boundary and fence should you wish to. It is nice to have privacy and an attractive backdrop to your garden, but this has to be done within the confines of your own boundary sometimes.

Don't feel angry with your neighbours or fallout over it, I wouldn't even mention it. They haven't done anything wrong, if it was your tree which they had cut down, it would be entirely different.

If you wish to fence your property, it doesn't have to cost the earth. It could be a simple fence, wooden stakes in the ground with wire along just to mark the boundary. Then you could plant something fast growing which will give you what you want.
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby appledore » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:29 pm

I would prefer to see trees rather than a fence, but the trees did belong to your neighbour so they could cut them down. They didn't even have to tell you, so really it was good of them to tell you what they were doing. They've done nothing wrong. They don't have to erect a fence if they don't want to. If you want privacy then it's up to you to erect your own fence and plant shrubs and trees. If you plant something that's fast growing you'll have your own backdrop in no time at all.
Keep calm and carry on.
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby Sudynim » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:32 pm

I agree with the advice given previously.
No point in moping, just buy a fence.
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby Conveyancer » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:10 am

tombulgin wrote:Any advises much appreciated.


As the other posters have said legally there is not a lot you can do.

Whilst you perhaps do not have the right to be furious, I think you do have the right to be considerably peeved. It is exactly as you say - what is the point of buying a house with a large garden in a leafy suburb if the first thing you do is to cut down the trees? People who do not want to do gardening should buy a town house or one of those new "executive" dwellings where the "garden" is a three foot wide terrace that runs round the house.

I think you should write a letter to your neighbour along the following lines:

The removal of the trees at the bottom of your garden has certainly opened things up a bit. Though it has changed the aspect of our garden, to my surprise I find the result is not quite as bad as I thought it would be. Even so, although we are getting used to it we, as I am sure you will appreciate, feel a little "exposed", particularly as in some places there is now no barrier at all between our gardens. That, and the fact that the planting season is now with us, have prompted me to think about doing a little landscaping myself. Before I make the trip to the garden centre I thought I would enquire whether you have any plans to erect a fence at the bottom of your garden. If you do not I shall set a quick growing leylandii hedge.
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby TO » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:01 pm

Hi

Conveyancer wrote:........Before I make the trip to the garden centre I thought I would enquire whether you have any plans to erect a fence at the bottom of your garden. If you do not I shall set a quick growing leylandii hedge on my side of the boundary.
My emphasis for clarity
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby essex_chris » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:29 am

Ultimately it sounds clear that you believe the trees to belong to your neighbour, so they can effectively do what they want with them. You may have benefitted from those trees acting as a screen aiding your privacy, but your neighbour is not obligated to replace that with something you want.

You can put up your own fence, plant a hedge, or tree, on your own land to give yourself the privacy you would like.

It does sound like a shame, but it's your neighbours land, and your neighbours tree, so you rightfully have no say in what they should do.
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby pilman » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:15 pm

When people move, do they choose a house they want to live in or do they chose the type of garden they want to have.

It seems that the new owners of the house next door to the OP are prepared to spend serious amounts of money transforming the house into the type of house that they want to live in.

Shortly after moving into this property they decided to remove trees located on the south side of their garden that had a height of 20 feet and prevented the sun from shining into their garden.

The owner of the land to the north of these trees never had any concern about these trees, as the greenery was visually attractive and caused no problems, especially as there was no requirement to maintain any of these trees located on the neighbouring land that he did not own.

This is the complete opposite to the thousands of home owners whose neighbours have a leylandii hedge that they refuse to cut, so that living in a shade filled property becomes their fate.

I just think that the poster should reflect on whether he is as hard done by as he seems to think he is, because a new neighbour has decided that an existing garden needs to be designed in the way they wish it to be designed in, at the same time they are designing an existing house in the way they want that to be designed in.

I often reflect on the acronym NIMBY.
In this case it seems it should be "Not in Your Back Yard."
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby tombulgin » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:04 pm

Thanks everybody that has offered comments.

At the end of the day, i have to accept that they were indeed their trees and as such they could do what they want with them. What is not clear from the images is how exposed we are now. The houses you see in the second photo are not the neightbour's house. Their house is to the left, just out of shot and now looks directly into my office from close range (which is out of shot to the right). My children cannot play in our garden without being stared at and it has ruined the overall look and enjoyment of my garden. My beef with them is not so much a legal one (although I hoped there might be some angle for recourse ..... which I now accept there isn't) but frustration and anger that they had no consideration of the impact that their actions (however legally justified) might have on their direct neighbours - us!

I can comfrtably say that had the situation been reversed I would have sought a compromise solution (reduce all trees to hedge height, for example).

Common decency and a consideration for others. That's all I want!

I spoke to them (through gritted teeth) and they have said they are out of cash and so have no immediate plans to put a fence up. So I, with an equally stretched budget, have to foot the bill for their actions if I want my privacy back.

Anyway, spleen vented. Tempers somewhat calmed. I am looking at some basic fencing options.

One thing that gives me comfort - they better hope they don't need my permission for any development they might plan in the future!

tahnsk all,
Tb
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Re: HELP: Your opinion on what to do next??

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:31 pm

Your neighbour has cut their tree down to give them more sunlight in their garden, and you can now grow a tree in your garden which I’m guessing could shade their garden again. Yes, it might not have been the best decision they have made.

I have to say although they did not have to consult you about removing their own tree, a little more consideration would have been better for both sides...its a shame.
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