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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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Our neighbour has a 40 ft ash tree just over the stone wall

Resolved Question:

Hi. Our neighbour has a 40 ft ash tree just over the stone wall separating our homes. This is his second home and is here infrequently. The tree is a mere 15 ft from our house, the roots have already caused significant bowing to the wall. The tree is constantly shedding broken pieces of branch, some quite large, onto our lawn and sitting area outside our dining room. Our main problem is that the tree blocks sunlight from almost the whole of the back of our property until later in the afternoon when the sun moves to the west. We have tried several polite methods of approaching him regarding this. We have offered to share the cost of pruning the tree or even removing it but we have reached a stalemate. His only concession is a 'light' pruning which we feel will make little improvement to our situation. I should also mention that we live in a conservation area although no tree in our village has a top. We have pointed out to him that the local council should be notified but he refuses to do this as he says he doesn't want them snooping around his garden. He also has further very large trees at the bottom of his garden which don't affect us but do cause issues to other neighbours. What can we do, if in fact anything at all, or do we just have to put up with it. Each time we raise the issue he comes back with the same argument, that the tree was here before us.
Regards
Marilyn
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

Hello Marilyn my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

What is it you want to achieve please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We would like ultimately to achieve the removal of this tree but I suspect this is unlikely. Our hope is to have the tree pruned back sufficiently to restore some sunlight to our garden and also remove the large amounts of 'dead' wood that regularly litters the lawn and seating area.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are also concerned that being in a conservation area the light pruning he has arranged is being done without the knowledge of the council, are we in any way liable?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

You need to speak to the Council and see if they will do anything. If there is a risk of damage and this is already causing you a nuisance then you can write to your neighbour and ask them to prune it back.

If they refuse then you can get a Solicitor to write and ask them to do it. The neighbour is liable for any damage and nuisance caused.

If they still refuse then you can issue proceedings for it to be pruned back.

You would need to complete form N1:

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n1-eng.pdf

N16a:

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n016a-eng.pdf

The court would list the matter for hearing and decide whether or order it be pruned back or removed (as you say this is unlikely). If the Court orders its pruned or removed, then it is not, your neighbour could be in contempt of Court and could be warned, fined or sent to prison.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As I have mentioned, we have already had both face to face conversations, emails and letters requesting action. He has agreed to a 'light' pruning but without permission from the local authority, we are in a conservation area. We did obtain form N1 but he has refused to complete it as he doesn't want to involve the local authority. Where do we stand if he goes ahead, can we be held liable?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry it wasn't form N1 it was the form from the local authority about cutting trees in a conservation area.
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

He does not need to complete it. You complete it and submit it to Court.

He can then either admit or deny it.

A Judge would then decide. Its a matter between you and him.

As for local authority you need to get a Court to order it first then can approach the Council

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay Jamie. I haven't made this clear enough. What will happen to either him or us if he goes ahead and arranges a light pruning without the permission of our local authority, given that we live in a conservation area? We have been told by our parish councillor that trees in conservation areas MUST have the permission of the local authority before work is carried out on them. I ask again, can we be held accountable if he does not comply?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

No. You can't no.

Its not your tree.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 1 year ago.

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