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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71130
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Is there any way that a neighbour can be made to clear their

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Is there any way that a neighbour can be made to clear their garden? Brambles,ivy,bindweed now 6ft high. Have 14 sycamore trees very close to our house. Have had Tree Surgeons estimates that range between £2-£500. Cutting off a lot of light. Property is no. 86 in a terraced house. Neighbours in 82, 84 and 88 all had enough. Is there anything legally that we can do to force them to comply?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Are the trees evergreen or deciduous:

Is there rubbish there or just overgrowth:

Have you reported the matter to the Council:

If there are four neighbours all of whom had enough, will whoever occupies this property let you clear it? I am talking thereabout letting you clear it as opposed to you requesting that they clear it
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,


The trees are deciduous. Leaves and seedpods everywhere. There are foxes and mice living at the bottom of their garden. Can't speak about rubbish in in, but if you include the bindweek climbing the swing and slide, that might count. The sycamore trees are the height of my 3-storey house and there are 3 within 15ft of my kitchen window.


Tried the Council, but got the run-around from department to department and no-one seems to know who should deal with it.


The upset neighbours are trying to get the ex-husband of the woman (and 3 children) who lives there to sign a letter of permission for tree men to enter their property to do the work. I just feel that it is wrong that we should have to spend all this money and they not contribute anything.


This is a matter that would be dealt with by the planning department under the Town and Country Planning Act whereby they can compel an owner to clear the area if it is not in keeping with the local area. Usually it applies to rubbish and not over growth but it can apply to overgrowth also.

Contact the planning department.

Anyone directly affected by this has a claim in common-law nuisance particularly with regard to the mice/vermin and the foxes.

You cannot do anything about the leaves and seedpods because that is simply nature.

If the trees are obstructing your light, you can only get a court order if your light is reduced by more than 50% into any building.

The threat of legal proceedings from former neighbours or acting together may focus the owner to do something.

If the planning department will not do anything under their powers under the Town and Country Planning Act you are faced with going to court to bring a claim in common-law nuisance.

If all four neighbours are acting together, that will obviously spread the risk and the obvious cost. Certainly, even at the early stage a solicitors letter would be worth sending.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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