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propertylawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 288
Experience:  Property Solicitor with expertise in commercial and residential property transactions.
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A large oak on council owned land on the boundary of my

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A large oak on council owned land on the boundary of my property has branched overhanging the roof of my house. Can I legally enforce them to prune back the offending branches not alone from over the roof but to what distance from the building line?


You can claim that the oak is causing a nuisance and you want the branches pruned back beyond the boundary.

In default, you can prune back to the boundary but not beyond. The branches do belong to the council.

Any further questions or queries. Happy to help further.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. These oaks have tree preservation orders on them and the council have said although they consider they have no legal obligation to prune any further that roof line rental they will prune to 2 meters from the building line. Can I legally make them prune to the boundary line which is 10 metres from the building line and which would virtually destroy the tree.

If they are under a TPO then the council has discretion as to the extent of pruning. You cannot prune without permission.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I need a view if I asked for 3-4 metres as in my opinion this is the distance needed to avoid nuisance to the roof and newly laid patio what are my legal chances.Is there any case history to support such a case?

You can make a formal application to the council. You need formal permission. You can check the procedure on, click the do I need planning permission link, there's a list on the right, scroll down to trees and hedges and click the link, there you will find a link to the government's guidance notes and a link to make an application. In the guidance notes check flowchart 3.

The council has discretion as to its decision but you could appeal. There is no case law precedent that applies.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Am I right in saying that nobody has ever taken a local authority to court in a bid to enforce them to prune back t p o trees and either won or lost. I am just trying to establish my chances ?

The cases I have been able to find relate to works carried out without permission or where a challenge to when the council refused permission. I have not found any report case similar to yours. That is not to say that there is a precedent but on the resources I have access to I have not found it.

My point was that a council would not have to take a decision in accordance with any previous decision, generally in planning decisions a council is not bound by previous decisions. It would be down to you to appeal if you do not agree.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Your answer suggests that in this situation the council can make any decision they like as to the extent of pruning without any recourse from myself. They have indicated that I could apply for planning on their trees at my own expense but l know they would probably refuse so it could continue with an appeal which is a route of last resort for me . Frankly I was looking for an answer that if I took a legal case against them to rectify the nuisance being caused what are the chances of succes percentage wise to getting say a reasonable pruning back of 3-4 metres from the building line? Am I speaking to a barrister?

It is always difficult to give any estimate of chances of success with any degree of certainty. Even when a precedent applies. Each case turns on its facts and can be distinguished from any precedent. If you constitute the overhanging branches to be a nuisance then you can make your application that the branches should be pruned back to 3-4 metres from the building line, you can incorporate a TPO survey that such pruning will not damage the protected tree. You have the right to appeal.

I am not a barrister and if you wish I can opt out on the chance that there is a barrister online who can assist.

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