Neighbour's Beech Tree with TPO

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Neighbour's Beech Tree with TPO

Post by Lee01 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:23 pm

I think there are many people in my situation as I have read through similar posts although I must admit I have been dismayed over the lack of options available when your house is overshadowed by a TPO which seems to trump all arguments.

Anyway let me lay out my situation and hopefully someone will be able to provide some insight or advice other than to pack up and move – which we are seriously considering.

There is a large beech tree that just sits inside our neighbour’s front garden, right up to our boundary. The tree is at least 3 times the height of the house. Because of the positions of the house the tree affects our property much more than next door. As far as I am aware the tree has been pruned twice in 28 years – both time only removing 15% of the hanging branches.

In Feb 2013 I spoke to the neighbour about getting the tree pruned as I had noticed a small tree root coming up through our front garden. I even took the time to get some quotes to prune the tree and remove the roots, which at that time was less that 3cm in diameter and was deemed acceptable. However next door where not interested. They eventually had the tree pruned in nov 2016 without even mentioning the now much larger roots.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to another tree surgeon who said that he couldn’t advice removing the roots because they could cause die back. He did say however that the tree could be pruned again and that previous pruning had been very much in the favour of the neighbours with the majority of the canopy on our side with several branches going over our roof space. He suggested I pay for a Tree Consultant to come out and assess the impact on the tree for the removal of the roots. The roots have now grown larger, they come up under the driveway with a large system that goes past the front door and has lifted the patio slabs that make up the path at the front of the house. They are slippery and are also a trip hazard.

On another note we also want to replace our driveway. The drive is the original 1970 concrete slab that is too narrow for modern cars. The cars fit on the drive but when you or the passengers get out of the car you have to step onto the muddy grass. The drive also slops down towards the house and has no drainage so any significant rainfall causes a large puddle to block the drive at the front of the house. In wet weather, to get into the house you have a choice of wading through the puddle or taking your chances on the muddy grass and slippery roots. This sounds comical but I have an autistic daughter who also has dyspraxia (meaning she finds coordination difficult) who has already fallen over on the roots.

The driveway runs within 3 metres of the base of the tree and it can’t be diverted because it runs up to the garage. The tree guy I spoke to doubted that I would be able to replace the driveway with a like for like, let alone extending it, because lifting it would disturb the RPA. Again, he said the Consultant could do a full analysis.

So as well as all the usual problems ie serious lack of light in the summer, broken, rotten branches falling of everyday, sacks of nuts and prickly shells in the spring, more leaves than I could mention, gutters that need cleaning out 3 times a year, no terrestrial TV signal at all – I also get dangerous roots that are threatening the house and a driveway that is not fit for purpose. How much more of a nuisance does the tree have to be?

Incidentally the tree is covered by an area TPO, all the other trees that are also in the area and are in such close proximity to houses have been pruned back much harder and more frequently.

So what do I do next? I know I should have probably written to my neighbours with my concerns but it didn’t seem, well neighbourly. I can’t commission any work on the tree myself as its not on my land. I haven’t written to the council as I am not convinced it would do any good (beech trees don’t like being pruned hard don’t you know). I am reluctant to employee a Tree Consultant because I think I will just end up paying through the nose to be told I am stuffed. We really feel we are being held hostage by next door and the damn TPO. So much for an Englishman’s’ house…..

Any advice would be greatly appreciated because we are at the end of our tether.


mr sheen
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Re: Neighbour's Beech Tree with TPO

Post by mr sheen » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:47 am

You indicate root encroachment onto your land, so presumably some of the canopy also encroaches??? The parts of the tree that are on/overhanging your land are an issue for YOU and the TPO authorities, not the neighbour.

Contact the Tree Officer and get his/her advice. You will probably need a tree surveyor and tree surgeon, for which you will have to pay. All of these people will give you advice about what can be done and how it can be done in line with the rules and to preserve the tree's health. THis info can be given to the neighbour to advise of the actions you intend to take and there will be nothing he can do about it as long as it involves your land only. then a tree surgeon will be able to carry out the works advised and agreed with the TPO officer/authorities. You will have to pay.

If all the tree and all the branches and all the roots are on the neighbours land and don't encroach onto yours then there is nothing you can do without the neighbours involvement.

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Re: Neighbour's Beech Tree with TPO

Post by TO » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:06 pm


Clean and re-lay the slabs so they are not slippery or a trip hazard. You could replace the slabs with a gravel path which wouldn't be affected by roots, and would help with the drainage issues. You can abate a nuisance without the need to apply to the Council. If roots are lifting the path you could remove them before relaying the slabs.

There's no reason why you can't replace the drive. You just have to take account of the tree. Remove the old drive and undertake any excavations by hand and don't damage the roots if you come across any.

You can remove dead wood from a living tree without the need to apply. You could undertake the deadwwooding on your side of the tree without informing your neighbour, just get on with it.

You can make an application to have whatever works you want done to the tree, including the roots. If you get consent you can undertake the works on your side of the tree without your neighbours consent. If the application is refused you can appeal. Be sure to include the poor living conditions you are experiencing as a reason for the works.

Speaking to the tree officer would be a good start to find out what would be acceptable pruning works, and how to go about replacing the drive.

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Re: Neighbour's Beech Tree with TPO

Post by Lee01 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:19 pm

Thanks for the info - I was under the impression I had to ask next door as they own the tree, I wish I had known that in 2013.

I will approach the council initially and see what response I get


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Re: Neighbour's Beech Tree with TPO

Post by henners » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:57 am

[quote="mr sheen"]You indicate root encroachment onto your land, so presumably some of the canopy also encroaches??? The parts of the tree that are on/overhanging your land are an issue for YOU and the TPO authorities, not the neighbour.
Mr Sheen,
What you claim is not true.
The ownership of a tree, the responsibilities of tree ownership, and any liabilities that flow from ownership of the tree, remain with the owner, whether a tree is protected or not.
If what you say were tree, the LA would be responsible for any loss or damage caused by root or branch encroachment onto neighbouring land.
The legislation provides that that owner of the tree can do works to the tree, so far as is necessary, to prevent damage or loss caused by the tree to neighbouring property.
If the roots of a neighbour's tree is undermining the footing of my garage my claim is against the owner of the tree. And the owner of the tree is responsible for the loss and for rectifying the situation within the boundary of his property.

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