High Hedges Legislation

Frede
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High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:53 am

Has anyone used this legislation and what kind of decision was made by the Local Authority? Did you find the decision as a complainant about the hedge/s fair and balanced?

The UK High Hedge Legislation 2003, operational from 2005 was said to have a review in 2010 but this did not take place. Do you feel that it should now take place, taking into account the experiences of the Council, Complainant and Hedge Grower.

Scot hedge (Scotland) are very active and campaigning for vegetation to be taken into account and also the right not to have a view destroyed.

TO
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by TO » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:57 pm

Frede wrote:Has anyone used this legislation
Lots of people have.
Frede wrote:what kind of decision was made by the Local Authority?
The one they thought was right based on the merits of the case.
Frede wrote:Did you find the decision as a complainant about the hedge/s fair and balanced?
Yes if the Council or Planning Inspector agreed with me. If they disagreed, no.
Frede wrote:The UK High Hedge Legislation 2003, operational from 2005 was said to have a review in 2010 but this did not take place. Do you feel that it should now take place, taking into account the experiences of the Council, Complainant and Hedge Grower.
A review would be good, and consultation would be open to all.
Frede wrote:Scot hedge (Scotland) are very active and campaigning for vegetation to be taken into account and also the right not to have a view destroyed
The English legislation already allows for views, or their loss, to be taken into account.

Frede
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:51 pm

Thank you TO for your responses to my questions. Am I right in thinking you have not used the legislation yourself but perhaps administer it?

Relating to your reply:

As so many people have used the High Hedge Legislation it does confirm a need for the Act, As a review taking into account the experiences of the complainant, hedge grower and local authority was said to take place in 2010 and is well overdue it would now enable the anomalies/loopholes to be recognised and dealt with enabling balance and fairness in the administration of the Act. I am so glad we agree :) I do hope people who agree with us would write to their MPs who will send it on to the relevant Minister.

In the case of the above legislation it has to be seen to be right and fair. Calculation explanations given and also other matters on which the decision was made on. After all, this is not a free service. Perhaps each Council could produce a pamphlet on how they administer the High Hedge Legislation. I noticed a certain Local Authority did exactly this and it was very clear.

A decision made by the Local Authority on a high hedge case comprises of calculations regarding both gardens and habitable room windows, with the lower of the calculations giving, hopefully, a growth margin and then an action hedge height .Also there is guidance to the Local Authorities which should be taken into account it is not just Hedge Height and light loss calculations.

How would the views be taken into account? Supposing a calculation was given for a hedge on the top of a bank but against complainant's windows and say it came to 2.9 AHH - 3.0 to 3.5 metres to windows(bungalow built on a very small plot), would the calculation be made lower? In order to enable the views to remain the length of the very small garden and not just be left with seeing the sky would it be brought down to 2 metres or just above to enable growth height? (see 5.87 official advice) The point made by Scothedge was "also the right not to have the views destroyed" They are talking about existing views They are not talking about loss of views - why should there by loss of views when they can be taken into account under the Act?

Another point is could one be given an action hedge height which not only covered the windows but, because the property was a bungalow the action hedge height was higher than the roof.

There are so many points but, of course, the review would enable all of this to aired and taken into account.

Frede
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:07 am

I have replied regarding my original thread. I am disappointed there has not been a response to the last points I made. Maybe there are some High Hedge Legislation experts out there?

Collaborate
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Collaborate » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:18 pm

I suspect people are finding it hard to make sense of your posts. People are generally willing to post advice if the original poster appears to have a relevant problem, and they have set out that problem with sufficient clarity. It seems you can claim neither. I suppose someone might be willing to enter in to an academic debate with you. Not me though.

Frede
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:21 pm

Hi Collaborate

Thank you for explaining that my post is not clear enough. The example I gave was not academic, albeit I respect your reply.

TO
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by TO » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:30 pm

I did reply, but it just disappeared into the ether.

I've administered complaints for my Council.

Don't expect a review anytime soon.

The Act is balanced and fair. That's why it takes account of the complainant and hedge grower.

Drafting a cogent decision letter which considers and balances the arguments then comes to a conclusion is key to the parties understanding of how the decision was arrived at.

Leaflets were produced by the government.

You'd take views into account during the site visit. What can, or can't, you see.

The Act doesn't allow for pre-emptive action to reduce a hedge to prevent the loss of a view, or loss of light, at some time in the future. It's about how the height of the hedge is affecting you, not how it might affect you.

The decision will be based on the merits of the case. Explaining how the decision was arrived at is key to the parties understanding.

Frede
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:46 pm

Hi TO

Thanks for your reply.

I think the Act was brought in for good reason but feel that it cannot be balanced and fair as it is not taking into account the experiences of Complainant, Hedge Grower or even the Council as the review has not taken place and clearly not envisaged for the near future.

In an ideal world Drafting a COGENT decision letter. etc. Am I right in thinking as it is a paid for service there is the opportunity to question the Council Assessor if a point is not understood - or even a calculation is though to be incorrect,etc.

Yes, I have read the information, Hedge Height & Light Loss, Over the Garden Wall, Disappointed Hedge Victims, etc

I understand what pre-emptive means but if one has a view (in this case along a very small garden) and the AHH is so high it takes away all views and leaves sky that is not pre-emptive - it is a cert. One could always physically check by using canes strapped together before AHH given . Or are you saying the hedge owner would not increase the hedge to say just below AHH? I think they would - it's almost like permission to increase a hedge height- after all they get a copy of the report.

Thanks again TO. I do have a lot of questions but I think you have been very patient and, at the end of the day, I think what is generally accepted is that a review should take place

Best wishes

TO
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by TO » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:04 pm

Don't expect a review anytime soon. There are many other bits of legislation that have been waiting for a review much longer.

You can question/appeal the Councils decision via the Planning Inspectorate.

I guess your complaint resulted in a decision that resulted in no action. Included in the decision was an indication of what would be an acceptable hedge height. Unless the loss of a cherished view formed part of your complaint the Council would not have known to give it consideration.

Frede
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:31 pm

Thank you TO. Fortunately the view side has not been assessed yet but you have given me an indication of what I should do. The only decision made was on a side hedge - really much, much too high an AHH - as said it would cover the roof not only the windows but fortunately only a little part of the hedge. Incidentally, one more question, please - if a hedge height is AHH and not enforceable is it legal? One assumes then that the AHH is just a suggestion.

Thank you again and best wishes

TO
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by TO » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:05 am

Without seeing the decision letter it's not possible to say. However, if the decision notice was no action is required and included an advisory note stating what would be considered an acceptable hedge height its not enforceable.

Frede
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:23 pm

To TO

Thank you for your reply. It is a long story and does not follow the norm. Oh for that cogent decision letter. However, I really appreciate your time and please remember, although I think you seem to want to be fair and I am sure a cogent explanation, etc is something you always bear in mind, a lot of misery is caused by the situation of high hedging. You see if one has done everything one can and has to get to the point of referral to a Council there is no relationship left with neighbours who have the high hedge. The complainant has no power at all - their lives and property can be completely blighted. It can be as serious as that.

Many, many thanks and best wishes

APC
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by APC » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:49 pm

Hi Frede,
You mentioned about the decision notice working to the advantage of the hedge owner. This is something I drill into my own potential complainants before they get too embroiled. Rightly or wrongly, and for the sake of avoiding carrying out a full investigation, and due to the relatively small number of enquiries we get, I will use my mapping system to provide vague guidance as to how a complaint might pan out. My advice is heavily caveated and I make it extremely clear that I am sat at a desk looking at a 2d planning image of their property rather than on the ground taking accurate measurements to windows, taking into account differences in levels etc.

The high hedge legislation is prescriptive. The calculations are used to standardise the process. It is discretionary whether councils pursue such claims and so the current situation probably suits complainants better than there being no legislation.

Frede
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by Frede » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:41 pm

Hello APC

Thank you for your reply. I think it is probably wise to provide a vague guidance to potential complainants concerning the high hedge legislation as it stands; at least it manages their expectations.

I understand the legislation came in to deal with the problem of high hedges whereby people were being violent to one another and solve the problems without resorting to Solicitors. Certainly a high hedge fee is more affordable rather than having to deal with this problem through legal methods. One would need to have legal cover and it would only be taken up if it had over a 51% chance of winning (so I believe)

High hedge legislation is prescriptive but in order to be fair, balanced and effective it needs to take on board the experiences of the complainant, hedge grower, and the Council but also people who would like to use the legislation.

High hedge legislation came in for the good but regretfully unless the review is carried out it cannot be the above., i.e., fair, balanced and effective. There are so many exclusions from using the legislation, a hedge is a hedge be it evergreen, deciduous, one or two trees, bushes, vegetation, planted in a group, a bit of space between plantings etc. At the end of the day if it is capable of blocking out light to windows/gardens and yes blocking views, then a fair balance should be reached. It is usually the act of a hedge grower not having the will or need to come to any kind of agreement with the complainant that is the main problem- nor does the hedge grower even have to consider mediation. There will be exceptions to this - could be the complainant that is being unreasonable. The complainant has no control - it is rather a master (hedge grower) and servant (complainant) relationship, and should one have resorted to involving the Council, there is then no relationship.

It is a total misery whereby a neighbour will not come to an agreement to reduce his hedge/s heights; where once there was light and views, gradually becoming less and less. No one should have to be treated in this way and if the legislation is going to be effective it really needs to take account of all of the above. There are rights too for a complainant - the right to enjoy ones property, the right to expect both balance and fairness in the legislation and it be effective.

I do not understand how calculations are used to standardise the process. A 3 meter hedge, 3 metres from a bungalow's windows can cover the windows and the roof as well. A 3 meter hedge, 3 meters from house windows would not do that, surely. In this example, surely the word is penalise not standardise! I may have misunderstood?

I appreciate you replying to my message APC. . I know it is down to the Government to grant a review, but in the legislation having been passed I think there is a responsibility and duty for the Government to honour a review.

I have replied once to you but the ether seems too have swallowed it up. So if you get a reply in a similar vein sorry!

Best wishes.

jdfi
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Re: High Hedges Legislation

Post by jdfi » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:00 pm

Frede wrote:I know it is down to the Government to grant a review, but in the legislation having been passed I think there is a responsibility and duty for the Government to honour a review.
Please correspond with your MP about this, as at the very least his office will solicit a comprehensive reply (from DEFRA? DCMS?) about the matter.

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