Common Ground hedge claimed by neighbour - maintenance?

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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:16 pm

Common Ground hedge claimed by neighbour - maintenance?

Post by lwhitworth » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:22 pm

My house was built in 2003 and we bought it in 2007. Our plans clearly show a boundary on the western side of the property as being with “common ground”. This small area of ground is a gap approximately two to three metres wide against the side of my property which was the hedge line between the original estate and new estate.

Over the years since my property was built, the property owners on the original estate have claimed* ownership of the common land and therefore extended their gardens.

*claimed in this instance I believe to be taken, without malice, but used as their own, without obtaining the official ownership from the land registry. I have no issue with this approach; which seems reasonable given the location and access restrictions for anyone else.

The original hedge was predominately hawthorn, but also had, what were, small self set deciduous trees. Most of the original hedge has now been removed, but the area adjacent to my property has not been attended to and as such one of the trees is now well above the height of my two-storey property and is within three metres at the base. The branches are now touching my property and as such it is probable that the roots are near/under my property. In addition, the hawthorn hedge is now at roof level and blocking a significant amount of light to my garden.

I understand that I am entitled to trim back any branches that overhang my garden, provided that I pass all of the fruit and waste back to my neighbour, but I have some further questions.

1. The large deciduous tree, posed a potential structural hazard to my house. Can I insist it is removed or cut down to ensure this cannot happen? Who would pay for any costs of this activity?
2. Can I insist that the hawthorn is cut down to a sensible height (I would accept 2.5 metres)? Again who should pay for this?
3. Who given this was (and may still legally be,) common land is responsible for the ongoing maintenance.

Please note this dispute is about trees and not boundary definition.

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