Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

TO
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by TO » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:23 pm

Hi

keepitlegal, I get more confused about this all the time. You have a neighbour, your NFH, because of their high hedge, but the high hedge isn't on their land, but Council land. You made a high hedge complaint against someone who hasn't got a high hedge, and brand them a NFH. The Council, who have a high hedge affecting your property, and who are the ones you should have made the high hedge complaint about, bizarrely accepted a complaint in relation to a hedge on their land as if it was on some one else's. They then send a Remedial Notice to your NFH telling them to remove hedges from Council land. A Remedial Notice that cannot require the removal of the trees or shrubs from your NFH's land where there is no hedge, let alone from Council land which would require your NFH to trespass and cause criminal damage to comply with.

Have I missed something?

TO

despair
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by despair » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:59 pm

Actually i think keepitlgals neighbour is a council tenant ,,,,,,,,,,,,hence the reference to council land

but maybe i too have misunderstood the whole sorry saga

TO
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by TO » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:13 pm

Hi

Despair said
despair wrote:Actually i think keepitlgals neighbour is a council tenant ,,,,,,,,,,,,hence the reference to council land but maybe i too have misunderstood the whole sorry saga
Arbor lad asked
arborlad wrote:Is this council land, as in a council house garden, or some other situation?
keepitlegal replied
Keepitlegal wrote:No its not a council garden it is land adjacent to the neighbours garden, owned by the council
Despair, if you read the post......

I still can't understand what is happening. Please keeepitlegal explain.

TO

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twits
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by twits » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:40 am

@To
TO wrote:As I said earlier the decision has to be justified, and this justification should be set out in the decision.
This is exactly why I've approached this community to find out if anyone knows how or has first hand experience of how councils come up with the action hedge heights. The only justification we have in the decision are the words 'we believe'. I'm sure they believe marmite tastes good too, put random numbers into a hat and pulled one out as an action hedge height. For all I know, that's what they could have done.

Is it normal to justify a decision with 'we believe' and show no calculations? Has anyone who has gone through the process actually had a council explain how they came to their final decision? Did they accurately describe the hedge, so you know what trees you are supposed to be cutting down? None of this has been done for us.

Surely the councils shouldn't just be making up figures and be allowed to justify them with words like 'we believe', rather than sound calculations. If they have used figures they should be transparent and show all parties involved how they came to their decision.
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TO
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by TO » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:28 pm

Hi twits

The document High Hedges; complaints prevention and cure, which I have posted a link to earlier on gives some model letters/decision/remedial notices for the Council to use and are worth a read.

If light is an issue I always include the calculations, a spread sheet is available to use in association with the written guidance. Put in the distances etc and out pops the action hedge height. Print off or save an electronic copy for inclusion in the decision. Follow the link.
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents ... laints.pdf
But as I said earlier this is not a one size fits all answer, and sometimes you have to think outside the garden.

At the end of the day you should be able to see how the competing interests have been weighed and balanced and how the decision has been reached, if you can't it doesn't mean it's wrong, just badly drafted I believe. I consider the decision should be crystal clear, what is to be done to which trees/shrubs and by when.

I've never made a high hedge complaint but I've dealt with quite a few complaints from the Councils side, and whilst most have been appealed, none have been appealed for lack of clarity.

If you are not happy, ask the Officer who dealt with the complaint for an explanation, and the information. If you're still not happy appeal.

TO

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twits
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by twits » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:49 pm

A quick update for anyone who has been in a similar situation to myself.

We appealed against the remedial notice on the grounds of the active hedge height being too severe.

We pointed out that incorrect calculations were used. A hedge length of 9m was used by the council when only 7m of our property borders the complainants property. When the width of the complainants house and distance from the border is used, we calculated the same active hedge height that was given in the remedial notice.

Our appeal was rejected. We have been given 3 months from the date of the remedial notice to comply.

The council have also included a hedge which runs vertical along the garden and issued another remedial notice on behalf of our next door neighbour. There was no new application and it has just been added onto the initial one started by the neighbour at the rear of the property.
TO wrote:If it's one hedge and two separate neighbours then it's two separate complaints, two separate fees, two separate decisions making process's and two separate decisions. See para 5.19 (a) of the document below
When I informed our council of this clause, this was the reply:

The Secretary of State has not at present, through regulations prescribed a maximum fee for the assessment of high hedge cases and it is currently at the discretion of the Council to apply a fee to each High Hedge application.

So in short, councils can submit incorrect measurements and make up figures to suit them. They can also do all the borders on the property in one application if they wish to do so.
Member of the Trollman fan club since 2011 - I'm right you're wrong, this is the law.

despair
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by despair » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:51 pm

Twits

I am sorry if both your council and the Appeals inspector have not provided back up for their decision it does seem extremely strange and rather unfair

You have not said what height your hedge is and what height you have been ordered to reduce it to

With ref to your point about a hedge affecting 2 properties whilst i am sure TO has quoted his guidance notes correctly i was always given to understand that if a hedge affected 2 neighbours it could be viewed as one complaint and just one fee under the High Hedge Law

border collie
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by border collie » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:13 pm

It is a different hedge though.

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twits
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by twits » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:02 pm

Yes, there are 2 completely separate hedges. One borders property on the rear and the other our next door neighbour and doesn't touch the border at the back.

I don't understand how one person has to pay a fee and the other doesn't. Seems unfair on the people who do pay, like many other people all over the country. Why do they have to pay when this council is handing out remedial notices and doing the work for free when they feel like it.

I would have thought with all the cut backs and funding issues with councils at the moment, they would want to be paid for work they undertake.

Another thing that confused me with the second remedial notice was the lack of paperwork. With the initial one we received a form and had the opportunity to put our side of the story down in writing. The second notice was just that, nothing else. As if it had just been added on after we appealed the initial remedial notice. It felt like we were being punished for asking for proof of calculations (which we still have not been given any proof).

As I've said before, we are not objecting to the height given for the notice. We are trying to find out how councils follow/don't follow guidelines for working out hedge heights. It would be nice to use the spreadsheet that is available for calculating hedge height, tap in the figures and have them match up with the heights the council have given us. But it is apparent that all these guidelines are exactly that, they seem to be under no obligation to follow them. As there are no laws/legislations for calculating a hedge height, Councils can do as they please at their own discretion.
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despair
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by despair » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:45 pm

"councils can do as they please at their own discretion"

You got that right and whats worse is from what i can see the councils who charge Hedge Victims over £600 for a complaint are the very ones who do nothing for months and months and then do not seem to order a realistic hedge height

Even the BRE guidelines do not really take fully into account the true effects of a hedge in different soils and on the victims choice of use of their garden

Alicia
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by Alicia » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:35 pm

It would seem to be more cost effective to simply offer a neighbour with an offending hedge a few hundred pounds to reduce it (and keep it that way) rather than involve the council. A bit like finding a woman you hate and buying her a house (instead of getting married).
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despair
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by despair » Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:18 pm

I agree its more cost effective Alicia but sadly there are some hedge hrowing neighbours who actually enjoy growing a high hedge irrespective of the problem it causes for their neighbour and will only reduce it if they are forced to

TO
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by TO » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:25 pm

Hi
despair wrote:With ref to your point about a hedge affecting 2 properties whilst i am sure TO has quoted his guidance notes correctly
Not my guidance notes
despair wrote:i was always given to understand that if a hedge affected 2 neighbours it could be viewed as one complaint and just one fee under the High Hedge Law
Read the guidance notes
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents ... laints.pdf

which is

Multiple complainants, single hedge, one owner. For example, where there has been infill development, a hedge that bounds a large garden could affect several smaller neighbouring properties. Councils must consider separately and individually the impact of the hedge on each property that is affected. Separate complaints should, therefore, be submitted by the owner or occupier of each of the affected properties, together with the requisite fee. If they are submitted at the same time, Councils are advised to link the complaints as they are processed so that the relationship between them, and the practical implications for the hedge owner, can be considered

Twits, if everything is as you say then make a complaint through the Councils complaints procedure and thereon to the Local Government Ombudsman. The bit about not having the opportunity to have your views heard on the second High Hedge complaint is to my mind clearly maladministration.

TO

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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by Whomping Willow » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:19 pm

I haven't read every word of this subject but there is reference to not getting the spreadsheet from the Council.

Quote letter from the Planning Inspectorate dated 16 March 2010: Lessons learnt from implementation .....of the High Hedge Appeals

"Where a Council use the...calculation spreadsheet to work out the action height they must ensure that this spreadsheet is seen by the parties and is sent to the Inspectorate if the Council's decision is appealed"

So a Council don't need to use the spreadsheet but should have some means of justifying a decision, especially if it is a long way removed from the spreadsheet

Another paragraph refers to open and transparent procedures and the next to reasoned decisions.

The letter should be available from the Planning INspectorate if it is of use

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twits
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Re: Calculation Of Active Hedge Height

Post by twits » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:34 pm

@To thank you for the advice on the Local Government Ombudsman, I didn't even know such a thing existed. I'm sure this information will be of great use to others. I'll start digging around on how to get the ball rolling on that one. There are a few issues I have with the way the council have distributed my personal email & telephone number to all parties involved on the forms we have to fill in by the council. I had no idea they were going to make them available to the complainant.

@ Whomping Willow, the council gave a written description of the garden and heights, then stated that they used the method in the BRE guidelines for calculating..

Example: The hedge lies to the rear of the complainants southern garden boundary. The length of the hedge measures approximately 9 meters.

Very few measurements were given, we got the distance from the house to the hedge, width of the hedge and height of the trees. Of which the width of the hedge was completely wrong.

When giving the active hedge height the council worded it like this:

Example: The findings of the BRE procedure is that the complaint hedge should be not more than 2.5m for a hedge in this location. This finding is reinforce by observations made during the visit on ...

No calculations shown, just a descriptive report the garden and how they think it is out of keeping with the complainants garden style. Claiming it does cause significant loss of ambient skylight, and shadows the garden and house.

Whilst the report was very thorough including Arboriculturist's view, Ecologist's view, every man and his dog's personal opinions. I really wanted to see the calculations, especially when they have claimed to use BRE guidelines.

After seeing the hedge width quoted as 9m when only 7m of our property borders the complainants, does make you wonder if the person doing the report actually knew what they were doing.

Many thanks for the replies and helpful information.
Member of the Trollman fan club since 2011 - I'm right you're wrong, this is the law.

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