High hedge near a wall

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Andrew982
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High hedge near a wall

Post by Andrew982 »

I am wanting to resist a (in my view) vexatious high hedge complaint from a generally abusive neighbour. My property is tenanted.

My boundary hedge is approximately 4 metres high (and 60cm wide) planted about 60cm from the boundary. For almost all of its length (apart from about 2m) the hedge is immediately next to the neighbour's wall with a narrow alleyway.

The wall is a windowless gable end of a 3 story house and is about 12 metres high (i.e. 3 times the height of the hedge).

There is a narrow alleyway between the trimmed hedge and the wall about 90cm wide. An image is below.
hedge.jpg
My understanding reading the legislation is that neighbour has to complain of some loss of amenity. The Council should not infer what that might be.
The only loss of amenity mentioned is "light" (just that one word) and roots (which is not a valid ground)

My question is how to resist this. As I see it (forgetting for the moment the tiny bit that extends beyond the wall)
the amenity loss is zero. There will be no difference in the sunlight duration at the bottom of the alley whether the hedge is 2m or 6m. The only light will be for the 10 minutes each day that the sun passes directly above that slot. The alleyway can also hardly be described as living space, is un-grassed and contains no plants. No windows are obscured.

I would like to maintain that amenity loss is critical to the application, that there is no amenity loss, and that the application must automatically fail (except for the 2m stretch beyond the wall which I would be happy to cut).

Can the council demand that a whole length of hedge is cut when the amenity loss applies only to a part.

Other facts:
a) Wall is west facing
b) The first I heard of the complaint was two months after it was placed with the council (no inkling prior to that).
c) There is nothing special about the house that requires the wall to be sunlit
d) The hedge predates the house wall by about 30 years.

Is there a height calculation that applies when the "garden" is extremely narrow? Much obliged for any advice. There are hundreds of many dozens of bird nests in the hedge.
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cleo5
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by cleo5 »

Birds good!
Get on to RSPB. ASAP.
I would have thought a 4 m hedge was fine as there is space between hedge and wall.
And no loss of light to neiighbouring house.
despair
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by despair »

I understood before any complaint to the council could be considered the complainant was required to contact the hedge owner and engage in mediation
cleo5
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by cleo5 »

Why not chop the first bit lower and leave the rest the four metre height?
Collaborate
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by Collaborate »

There is a very complicated method to work out if a hedge ought to be reduced in height, but if I recall correctly it is all to do with proximity to windows. Given the wall has no windows you should be fine.
MacadamB53
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by MacadamB53 »

Hi Andrew982,

you’ve not actually mentioned what types of tree make up your hedge - because the legislation only gives councils powers to intervene when the hedge is predominantly made up of evergreen and/or semi-evergreen trees...

kind regards, Mac
Paddock
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by Paddock »

MacadamB53 wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:19 pm Hi Andrew982,

you’ve not actually mentioned what types of tree make up your hedge - because the legislation only gives councils powers to intervene when the hedge is predominantly made up of evergreen and/or semi-evergreen trees...

kind regards, Mac
Agree! Paddock
cleo5
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by cleo5 »

Four metres high is no problem given that the wall has no windows where hedge is.
Its the end bit that protrudes that is the problem.

What is at the end of wall where hedge might be blocking light....a bit of garden?

I do not think one has a right to light in your garden....otherwise an awful lot of trees and hedges would have to be chopped down.
Is it users of the alley that feel hemmed in?
And yes we would like to know type of hedge; mixed, leylandii, yew, box, hawthorn or what?
For the sake of peace you could lower the height at the end a little if it will not detract from your own privacy.
despair
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by despair »

4 metres might not be that high in some peoples opinion and it does depend on what exactly the hedge is

However if it needs constant cutting back on the neighbours side and thus needs to employ a tree surgeon or similar the costs of such may simply be too much

Wheras if it was 2.50 metres it would be possible for most to deal with
Collaborate
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by Collaborate »

despair wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 5:13 pm
However if it needs constant cutting back on the neighbours side and thus needs to employ a tree surgeon or similar the costs of such may simply be too much

The cost to the neighbour of cutting it back will be immaterial.
despair
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by despair »

Not if your the affected neighbour ....thats the thing everyone forgets
Collaborate
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by Collaborate »

despair wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 8:19 pm Not if your the affected neighbour ....thats the thing everyone forgets
Sorry. I thought OP was after advice on the law. 🤷‍♂️
Andrew982
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by Andrew982 »

This is the OP here. Apologies for delay. Thank your everybody! Some responses:

- Yes at the end of wall where hedge might be blocking light is a bit of garden.
- Yes it is definitely evergreen - perhaps Cherry Laurel I believe. It has individual trunks that can be cut out not just a continuous box
- I'd have no problem removing completely that bit that extends beyond the wall. In fact I would be happy to do so -- it would totally remove their privacy to all their windows, and have no impact on me at all. Question is if they can demand any of the rest.
- No contact or attempt at mediation or anything. My reading of it is that this requirement is a matter of law - not a matter of Council discretion (which Council seem to believe) they are not allowed to act if this step is not passed.
- I'm planning to appeal this every step of the way - anyone with experience of the process welcome to exchange views - I presume an appeal goes to the same (I anticipate) sham process not some external appeal. Do appeals go outside the city?
- I live in an area where certain insiders seem to have access to Council favours (the same neighbours built their house about 2m higher than their planning consent - and on objection from neighbours were simply granted retrospective approval). A money in brown paper envelopes area.
cleo5
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by cleo5 »

Not just your council. It happens everywhere .

Tread carefully.
Cut the end hedge a bit lower and they will have nothing to complain about.
As for the alley just keep your side well cut back.
Then ask your solicitor what you should do.
Well that is what I would do because you need support in this matter.

How have your tenants behaved in all this?
Have they caused this problem?
Collaborate
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Re: High hedge near a wall

Post by Collaborate »

Why are you talking about an appeal when the LA have not adjudicated on the complaint yet?

The lowest they can make you trim down to is 2m in any event, and if your hedge only extends a small distance beyond the end of the wall I seriously doubt it has much of an effect on the light getting to those windows.

Put all your details in to this spreadsheet and work out for yourself how at risk you might be. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... light-loss
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