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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10720
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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We are owner occupiers and our next door neighbour is a

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We are owner occupiers and our next door neighbour is a housing association tenant. She wanted to erect a fence her side of the party hedge which is a well grown mature hawthorn hedge. That is not our problem but her partner, whilst he was trimming the hedge back on her side in order to erect the fence, cut a 4ft. Stretch right down to the ground. Also, omN a previous occasion he cut a hedge down to the ground which left a 2 ft. gap in the party hedge between them and another neighbour. The result is that this has left our rear garden open. We have tried to contact the housing association but up to date they are not responding. This neighbour is a nightmare, not only to us but to several other people in our small cul-de-sac of 14 bungalows. My husband and I are 88 and 75 yrs. old respectively and we don't know what to do your advice would be appreciated. There is absolutely no use talking to her as all we will get is abuse.

Hello for clarification - what do you mean party hedge?

is this hedge between your garden and next door garden?

so in cutting this hedge on their side he has taken it to the ground is this correct?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Not quite - the hedge is a good, mature hawthorn hedge 24ft. long and about 6ft. high. it is a hedge between the neighbours rear garden and our rear garden. the neighbour's partner has trimmed the hedge right back to the "trunk" of the hedge plants on their side. That is ok - however at one end of the hedge, he has cut a 4ft. stretch of the hedge right down to the ground leaving a gap into our back garden. The fence has been erected but the gap is there. Also at that spot there is another hedge at a 90degree angle where on a previous occasion a 2 ft. stretch of hedging was cut down to the ground. this means that if we were to go through the 4ft. gap and turn left immediately, we could then walk into yet another person's garden. So to make it clear it is the 4ft. gap we are concerned with as well as the 2 ft. gap.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
just to make it clear, if the hedging in the 4ft. gap had not been cut down to the ground, the 2 ft. gap would not be a big problem because that 2.f.t gap would between the two neighbours and not involve us. However, because the 4 ft. stretch has been cut to the ground the 2ft. gap does involve us.

If the hedge is straddling the boundary, and it’s a party hedge, they are quite entitled to cut it right back to the trunk although they must not kill the tree. They can only reduce the height of it with your consent .

If by cutting the branches back, it exposes gaps in the hedge, that is unfortunate I’m sorry to say although if they have done this in order to erect a fence, that will remedy what was previously the removal of your privacy.

Although it may have also removed an element of security, that is not the neighbours responsibility I’m sorry to say.

In respect of the part which he has cut down to the ground, although that is criminal damage, the police will not be interested although you are entitled to have it reinstated and to take the neighbour to court to get that done if necessary. Check your house insurance to see if you have legal expenses cover that would pay for the cost of that.

You say that there is no use talking to the neighbour is all you will get is abuse and therefore, you cannot beat the neighbour with a stick until she plays the game and your only remedy is either court or the housing association. You say that you have tried to contact the housing association but they haven’t responded. I don’t whether you’ve done that on the telephone but if you have, I would suggest you put that in writing because whilst it’s easy for them to ignore a telephone call, it’s not easy for them to ignore a letter.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

I’m happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.

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