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joannem1965
joannem1965, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience:  I am a solicitor
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AN OFFICE BUILDING HAS A 50 YEAR OLD HEDGE WITHIN 2 METRES

Customer Question

AN OFFICE BUILDING HAS A 50 YEAR OLD HEDGE WITHIN 2 METRES OF ITS WINDOWS ON LAND BELONGING TO A NEIGHBOUR. THE PRESENCE OF THE HEDGE HAS NEVER BEEN CONTESTED. SHOULD THE OFFICE BUILDING BE CONVERTED TO A DWELLING IS THERE A PROSPECT THAT A CLAIM THAT THE HEDGE SHOULD BE REMOVED MIGHT BE SUCCESSFUL.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.
Hello.

Is the hedge maintained by the neighbour?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes re,gularly trimmed but 3 to 4 metres high

Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.
This is a very common question. A person cannot make an adjoining property owner cut the trees per se but please see my later comments about trespass and nuisance.
Consent is needed to trim deciduous trees which are protected by a Tree Preservation Order and a licence may be needed to fell trees which are not protected by a TPO.
Evergreens cannot usually have a TPO.
Regarding evergreens, a complaint can be made to the council and they will deal with them under the nuisance tree legislation but only with regard to the height. They want £300 fee to start the process and if they find that the trees are a nuisance, they can compel a tree owner to cut them down to 2 m high.
With regard to branches and roots growing boundary,(evergreen or deciduous) these are nuisance and trespass. The overhanging pieces can be chopped off as can roots growing underground but they do not belong to anyone other than the tree owner, so the pieces should be given back although if they are unceremoniously dumped over their hedge without warning, it is not good for already fraught neighbour relations.
If a person is unable to cut the overhanging themselves and they have to get outside contractors in, they are entitled to recover the cost of that work from the neighbour
The following are links will give you some reading with regard to high hedges and nuisance trees. Don't worry about where the sites are geographically because the rules apply nationwide.

http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/environment/planning/high_hedges/high_hedges_frequently_asked_questions.htm

http://www.tameside.gov.uk/planning/highhedges

http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/trees.html

Can I help further?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you for your clear and explcit answer.


As regards the question of nuisance, if after the change of use to a residence would the occupant be able to make a complaint even though they adopted the nuisance because it pre-existed the change of use and their occupancy.


Could the residential occupant claim a right to light because of the change of use although office's easement has been nullified by the 20 year rule?

Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.
Thank you.
Before the right to light is obstructed, it must be reduced by at least 50%. Let me tell you now, that is an awful lot of light and it is most unlikely that, from what you describe, it will be anything like that.
If something constitutes nuisance, and the person who came to the nuisance they have no action. The nuisance has to happen or come to them after they arrived for it to be actionable.
Does that answer?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thanks for all your help.I appreciated greatly


John

Expert:  joannem1965 replied 3 years ago.
It was a pleasure to help you.
If you have not already done so, please do not forget to positively rate my answer service (you should see some buttons) or I don’t get any credit for my time. Thank you

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