Trimming back a hedge to allow extension build.

Trimming back a hedge to allow extension build.

Postby HoverDonkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:54 pm

Hi all - I found this site on a search for info and would really appreciate some advice here.

We have recently been granted planning permission to build a single storey extension, the edge of which would require the foundations digging up to the trunks of a hedge.

Our deeds, drawn up in 1998, state that 'walls and fences to the E and W of the property are party walls and fences' - no mention is made of hedges. There is a privet hedge, around 7 feet high, on our side of the fence.

The builders arrived today and started trimming back the branches of the hedge on our side to allow them access to build the foundations. As soon as this stared a neighbour came round, saying that the hedge is a party hedge (he contends the boundary runs down the middle of the hedge and that the fence is merely on his land) and we are in breach of the Party Wall Act and told me to 'get ready' (which I assume was his way of telling me he's going to fight this).

Are we actually in breach of this Act, as all we have had to do is trim back the branches of the hedge on our side?

The builders assure me that they will do their utmost to protect the hedge roots as far as they are able.

I can post images if it would clarify things.

Thanks in advance for your advice. :)
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Postby despair » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:17 pm

Have you abided by the Party Wall Act requirements

Its not a matter of whether the hedge is party or not its how close your extention is to his house and how deep your foundations are in relation to his

You need to check out PWA very quickly and apply it
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Postby HoverDonkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:31 pm

Thanks for your reply.

His house is around 21m (approx) from the closest edge of our proposed extension and level with ours. Our foundations will not be more than 3m deep.

His house is actually on another road and the rear of his house faces the side of ours.
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Postby despair » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:35 pm

Then your only concern is ensuring the hedge is not killed

Cut it back to the boundary

Get the builder to block and protect the cut hedge roots with old paving slabs set in against the boundary on their 1 inch thick edges .......ie you will then have 18 or 24 inch deep root barrier
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Postby HoverDonkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:39 pm

Many thanks for your reply, you've reassured me we're acting within our rights.

:D

P.S.

He's just come round, saying his solicitor has told him we have to stop building immediately. I've told him we don't intend to do that, as we are not in breach of any laws and that we will protect the hedge.

The plot thickens...
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Postby despair » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:04 pm

If its truly a party hedge then you should both agree on its cutting

I have to wonder what his solicitor has been told or what he is trying to acheive

Privet is as tough as old boots ......just water it well
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Postby HoverDonkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:12 pm

despair wrote:I have to wonder what his solicitor has been told or what he is trying to acheive


My thoughts exactly - he seems to be taking this whole thing into the realm of bloody-mindedness. He actually came to the planning committee, trying to oppose the build on this basis, but obviously planning permission was granted.

I don't know what else we can do, but we certainly intend to build our extension.

We initially offered to pay for a trellis and climbing plants on our facing wall to minimize the visual impact of our extension but this offer was just ignored by him. I somehow don't think we'll be doing that now.
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Postby subjecttocontract » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:13 pm

You do mean your neighbours house is 21 metres away ? Thats around 70 feet in old money.
Almost everything I say is tinged with irony !
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Postby HoverDonkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:49 pm

subjecttocontract wrote:You do mean your neighbours house is 21 metres away ? Thats around 70 feet in old money.


Yes, the distance from the nearest wall of his house to the outside edge of our extension will be around 21 metres.
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Postby despair » Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:47 pm

Sadly there are some control freaks in this world who simply cant stand anything that changes

What height is the privet hedge surely that will hide a single storey extention ...........of course now you could be really awkward ......as you have Single storey PP you can now automatically get permission to add the 2nd storey
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Postby HoverDonkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:14 pm

despair wrote:Sadly there are some control freaks in this world who simply cant stand anything that changes


This guy's getting on my nerves now. He hand delivered a solicitor's letter to me this evening, telling us that we're in contravention of the Party Walls Act and that he will serve an injunction on us if any further damage is done to the hedge.

As we don't plan on doing any further 'damage' (pruning, in our view) to the hedge we should be hunky-dory.

The privet hedge is 7-8 feet high, so should hide the majority of the extension.

Thanks for all your advice and comments, despair, it's very much appreciated.
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Postby Maverick.uk » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:19 pm

HoverDonkey wrote:
despair wrote: telling us that we're in contravention of the Party Walls Act and that serve an injunction on us if any further damage is done to the hedge..


So you cannot be accused of ignoring him, reply to his solicitor (this will cost him) and tell himyou do not think you are in breach. If he maintains you are in breach then ask them to please identify which section he feels you are in breach of and why.

The only thing i can think of at the moment is that you will be building on the line of junction or your footings are extending into his land. How far from the boundary are you and have you had it surveyed to be sure?

Cheers

Mav
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Postby despair » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:30 pm

The neighbour must have more money than sense

A hedge does not come under PWA and since his house is 21 metres away he truly is nuts
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Postby MooCow » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:33 pm

so if its a party hedge then presumably he gets your agreement every time he wishes to trim his side?
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Postby HoverDonkey » Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:41 pm

Maverick.uk wrote:So you cannot be accused of ignoring him, reply to his solicitor (this will cost him) and tell himyou do not think you are in breach. If he maintains you are in breach then ask them to please identify which section he feels you are in breach of and why.

The only thing i can think of at the moment is that you will be building on the line of junction or your footings are extending into his land. How far from the boundary are you and have you had it surveyed to be sure?

Cheers

Mav


Love that idea, Mav!

I'm not normally a vindictive person, but the idea of replying to his solicitor has a strange attraction right now. :wink:

In his solicitor's letter it states that he believes the boundary to exist down the middle of the hedge (something we don't necessarily agree with, as the title deeds show a perfectly straight boundary, which the hedge isn't - it's slightly bowed in towards us).

The foundations will at no point extend that far, only by a matter of inches though, so we are pretty sure we're not encroaching, despite not having had it professionally surveyed.
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