Border Beech Hedge

Border Beech Hedge

Postby branchout » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:01 pm

Can a local council force us to cut back a mature Beech Hedge at the front of our property. The hedge was inherited when we bought our property it is regularly cut but a neigbour has we think complained and the council is suggesting it makes walking along the pavement difficult and obstructs the vision of vehicles turning from a road junction. We have photographs from 15 years ago which clearly shows the hedge is exactly the same as it is now and the road it faces was unmade which we think makes exactly mapping a front boundary very difficult. What professional do we need to employ to guide us on this issue.
Thanks you,
Branch Out.
The neigbour is of course being bloody minded and haunts other people through the council about the smallest of issues. Might sound familiar.
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Re: Border Beech Hedge

Postby arsie » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:13 pm

Hi branchout. Sounds familiar indeed!

To fight your corner I would send the council any pictures you have proving there is no change (except in your neighbours?) and it would be interesting to see on here too - a picture tells a thousand words. The best way is to put the pictures up on a cloud site and then link to them.

If your hedge has grown to obstruct the pavement they have a point but if the hedge is otherwise unchanged then it shouldn't be cut down. I would offer to cut it back to clear the pavement which I would get an expert gardener to do (might be you!)

Of course the traffic rules do change, usually by becoming more onerous, and if I were you I would have a look on your local county council web site (they are usually responsible for highways) and try to learn up. Highways do tend to be a law unto themselves and are not easily intimidated. Getting your own tame consultant seems a bit over the top and I found that if you make sensible comments according to their rules they will give you answers. Trick is to get on their wavelength but it would be a pity - and expensive - to have to employ your own consultant. Find out who is responsible in Highways and try to get into a personal dialogue.

Beech dies back in winter so I would take pictures now ;)
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Re: Border Beech Hedge

Postby arborlad » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:58 pm

branchout wrote:.............. and the council is suggesting it makes walking along the pavement difficult and obstructs the vision of vehicles turning from a road junction.



Does it do either of those two things?...........easy enough to check.

If there is a pavement there, the whole of the width should be available to walk on unobstructed.
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smile...it confuses people
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Re: Border Beech Hedge

Postby TO » Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:57 pm

Hi

You have a legal duty to ensure your vegetation does not obstruct the highway, including the footpath. As arborlad says, the users of the highway have the right to use all of it. Years of obstruction do not confer any right to continue the obstruction.

The Council can't force you to cut the hedge, but they can do it for you. Then send you the bill, and if you don't pay pursue you for payment via the Courts. If you've received a s154 notice you will know how to challenge it and its not back to the Council, but in the Magistrates Court, and that should give you some idea of the seriousness of the matter.

If you are going to claim the hedge doesn't overhang the path you will need to determine the boundary, so first up in the list of people to employ is a surveyor to define the boundary and prove the hedge doesn't encroach onto the path, but then they might of course prove it does, and they'll still want paying. Then it would be advisable to use a solicitor to deal with the Magistrates. Separately I would expect them to cost more than trimming the hedge. Together an awful lot more than trimming the hedge.

Hedges are common boundary features, as such they are invariably planted on the boundary, so guess what the surveyors most likely to say. My advice is take the cheapest and easiest option and trim the hedge. Then spend the money you've saved by not employing surveyors and solicitors on a nice bottle or three of wine and sit down in front of the fire with your feet up and glass in hand.

TO
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Re: Border Beech Hedge

Postby branchout » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:12 pm

Thank you for useful replies. Cut it back and shut up is a sensible option but problem is I get the feeling this will further encourage our "serial complainer" neighbour to find further issues to harass us with. We suspect a piece of paper in a side window is being used to measure growth of a dividing hedge that has lived their for probably 30 or 40 years. I am ready for that one. My Beech of course even cut back will sprout again in the Spring I assume even with a professional hard cut back?
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Re: Border Beech Hedge

Postby arsie » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:24 pm

Re serial complaints, all you can do is abate the nuisance and/or transgression and wait for incoming. First off you should trim the hedge back as advised. Just because they are causing you grief doesn't necessarily mean they are wrong or that you are in the right. Squeaky clean time unfortunately :roll:
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Re: Border Beech Hedge

Postby arborlad » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:31 pm

branchout wrote: the road it faces was unmade which we think makes exactly mapping a front boundary very difficult.



............not usually - how does the pavement line up with other parts of your property, where there is a drive or path?



What professional do we need to employ to guide us on this issue.



At least two full time professionals have responded.



arborlad wrote:
branchout wrote:.............. and the council is suggesting it makes walking along the pavement difficult and obstructs the vision of vehicles turning from a road junction.



Does it do either of those two things?...........easy enough to check.
.



That's a yes to both then.
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