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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10400
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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In 2011 I sold a piece of Land with outline planning

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In 2011 I sold a piece of Land with outline planning approval - the purchaser received planning approval [ subject to conditions] – one concerned a line of trees on the South side of the property to be retained and not lowered without consent from the Council. However when I sold the land with outline planning approval - these conditions were not mentioned or requested by the Council. Importantly the line of trees on the South side and the driveway still belong to me and the purchaser only has "right of way" over the driveway. The trees I am informed by an expert can now be considered a HEDGE [in law] being a mixture of mature trees and Leylandi - all now touching each other and forming a hedge and are at a height of 7 metres - taking away light from my own house and making the driveway very dark. The Council imposed the condition because of the new build "The perception of overlooking other properties which are well below me - My trees and my own house were there before these houses below where even built ! The area is not a “preservation area “
My Question - as the Council made the agreement with the purchaser of the land and not with me - can I be bound to their agreement ?
Can I reduce the trees to a more sensible height ?

How Jack

I can look into this and come back to you shortly.

Kind regards


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
when will you be able to inform us about the situation please ?

Sorry, I have failed to find an answer so I will opt out to let another expert assist.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what happens now then ? I have already paid £ 47 via Visacard yesterday !! will somebody just take over or what happens now please ?

I see that the previous expert has opted out. I will try to assist you. I need some more information please.

Were you going to sell the land with the trees onto the neighbour but subsequently decided to retain it?

Would the neighbour object to lowering the height of the trees?

Don’t understand how you got the planning approval with the mention of the trees but then say that when you sold the land with planning permission the conditions were mentioned. Can you please explain what you mean because it seems contradictory?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply - The driveway and line of trees was never offered to anybody or formed any part of the selling of the plot which was actually part of my garden.The outline planning permission was approved without any mention about the line of trees or the driveway - the purchaser of the plot obtained planning and has built the house in 2011 but he was required to not touch the line of tree height without the permission of the Council -I was not party too it and I still live at the adress but want the trees lowered because of darkness to my own house and the drive is very dark - I own the drive and the trees.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i show the plot of land - which is to the right side and you will notice up and above the driveway

Let me clarify please.

The outline planning permission didn’t mention the trees.

The full planning permission does mention the trees.

The trees which are mentioned belong to another property completely, a neighbour’s property (yours)?

Is that the situation?

I find it rather odd (this may be the point you are making) that someone gets planning permission and it’s a condition that the people in this house don’t touch trees belonging to a neighbour. Unless I’ve misunderstood something.

Notwithstanding the above, would the neighbour object to lowering the height of the trees?

Have you asked the council about lowering the height of the trees? (I’m not saying that you should, I’m just asking whether you have).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the situation is as you understand - my outline planning was approved by the Council and not the condition or mention of the Trees - Full planning by the purchaser of the land - condition about the trees was mention - I understand a neighbour below agitated and complained the new build overlooked him - so the council "said it was a percetion of overllong this property and the trees were subject to their approval - however these trees are mine and the Council did not make me agree to this !!! - the neigbour below - is rather difficult and does have direct conection to the Council - but again say - I was not required to keep the trees and I now object to my own trees being too high - further in 2011 the line of trees were individual but now form a complete hedge and hedges come under differing legislation - and in 2012 the hedges nuisance act came into being

Thank you. One final thing, as it wasn’t you who applied for the full planning permission, how do you know of this condition?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
because i have a copy of all the matter concerning the sold land the land condition was on 13th October 2011 by Carol Cxxx
I send a picture one arrow shows the land before the construction of the new build - the other arrow shows the driveway also with a car on it - the land sold was higher than the drive by about 8ft

So you found out about this condition almost by accident just by virtue of the fact that because you are the adjacent land owner, you were copied in on the permission.

I fail to see how the local planning authority can improve impose a condition on a neighbouring property.

It would have been different if when you applied for the outline permission, they said that you could have the outline permission on the other piece of land provided that you kept the trees on the land you were retaining.

However, if that’s not the case and they have now, out of the blue simply put this condition what is a neighbouring piece of land, over which the other landowner has no control, as I said, I can’t see how they could try to enforce it.

What I suspect here is that because of the veiled connection which the neighbour has with the council, he has asked them to put this condition on hoping that you would think that you were bound by it.

My suggestion would be to write to the council to tell them that you propose to cut these trees down to a height of X and that you are aware there is a condition that they are not lowered without the council’s consent but, that this must be an error on their part as neither the land which they are on nor the trees themselves belong to the person who has the benefit of the planning permission and hence, you cannot be bound by it and that you propose to cut them down by a particular date. Don’t ask them for consent, tell them and then let them come back to you with any argument they wish.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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We can still exchange emails.

Best wishes.


F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10400
Experience: I have been practising for 30 years.
F E Smith and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply - I felt this might be the asnwer - will write to the Council on the matter
many thanks or your reply