It is very difficult to actually deal with a boundary dispute (which what this is after all) without there actually being a dispute, if you know what I mean. You either raise the issue and it becomes a dispute or you put up and shut up which is obviously not satisfactory because then you don’t get what you want.
And so having taken all that into account if the neighbour won’t play ball and you suspect that the neighbour is simply going to rip the hedge out or chop it down to its roots one weekend when you are out or when you’re on holiday or something like that, then your only remedy is to apply to court for an emergency injunction to stop them doing that pending a hearing to determine ownership of the hedge.
A survey by a boundary expert is probably going to cost about £600 plus VAT and may actually decide (likely based upon what you told me) that it is a party feature.
If it is not a party feature because it is not on the boundary but offset slightly to their side, and they decide they want to get rid of it out, they can do so provided there are no nesting birds. If there were, then it is a matter for the local authority and the RSPB
I am assuming that it doesn’t fall within any of these parameters:
if it is, then the statutory provisions would really help you. I think it unlikely but I mention for completeness.
What I think probably happened here is that when the sellers were selling the property they have simply port in the Property Information Form that the hedge between the two of you was either owned and/or maintained by them. However just because they have said that doesn’t necessarily mean that the ownership which they have claimed is correct.
If you don’t want to get into a full-blown dispute (a solicitors letter may be a bit confrontational) it might be an idea to “pop around” to the neighbour and tell them that you were a bit taken aback but what they said earlier and having thought about this, and what’s happened over the last few years, you believe that the hedge is actually on the boundary and therefore jointly owned and whilst you don’t mind them taking it down to about 2 m, you would rather it was left in position as it is.
Depending on the reaction, you may then need to get the solicitors letter and/or the application to court for an injunction to stop them touching it.
As I said, if they are determined to go ahead it’s very difficult to stop it becoming a neighbour dispute unless you simply let them have carte blanche.
Can I clarify anything else for you?
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