A MAN who labelled his neighbours’ hedge a ‘jungle’ and insisted it ruined the garden of his £450,000 home has won a battle to have it chopped down.
Cluny Sheeler complained 50ft hedges belonging to his neighbours John and Karen Kay formed a ‘dense barrier’ to light and were ‘oppressive’.
Mr Sheeler, of Prestonfield, Edinburgh, used high hedge laws after failing to reach an amicable settlement with his neighbours during their dispute.
Officials from City of Edinburgh Council had rejected Mr Sheeler’s pleas and ruled the sycamore and hawthorn trees should not be cut down to size.
But he has claimed victory after successfully appealing to the Scottish Government who have ordered the hedge to be lopped.
Mr Sheeler had told the Kays the removal of some trees from a neighbouring property had pinpointed their garden as the root of his problem.
Writing in April last year, he said: “I was hoping to have a neighbourly conversation about the trees and ivy overgrowth in the back of your garden.
“Now that the trees in Emmanuel’s old property have been removed (much to my surprise - the new owner told me they would just be pruned) I can see that the jungle I had assumed was all Emmanuel’s appears also to be part of your property.
“Given that the guys are onsite now, I thought it would make sense to tackle the rest of the jungle too.
“Please give me a call to discuss what can be done.”
A further letter following some frosty dialogue between the neighbours saw Mr Sheeler confirm official action.
He said: “You now tell me that you consider the job done and will not be doing anything more.
“The work that has been done is laughably inadequate and does nothing to rectify either the loss of light or the potential hazard of falling branches.
“At no point in this process have you shown any interest or concern in how your choice to neglect that section of your garden impacts on those around you, and you have remained consistently aloof and reluctant to engage.
“Given that my letter represented fair warning that I might have to apply for a High Hedge Notice, I now consider your opportunity to take sufficient action to solve the problem to have lapsed and shall be proceeding with the application.”
The Kays had written to the government confirming they wanted the hedge to remain.
They added: “We have always felt that the main reason for the restriction of light is the direction of the sun.
“For the vast majority of the day it is the neighbour’s own property and/or those adjoining which creates his perceived problem.
“There is little we feel we can add to the professional opinion of the council representative that the trees do not constitute a hedge, do not impede the growing of normal plants and do not prevent the enjoyment of the property which an occupier could reasonably expect to have.”
Council officials had refused Mr Sheeler’s initial request after ruling sycamore trees did not form part of the hedge.
They said: “At the site visit it was apparent that part of the hedge identified in the application was in fact two open grown Sycamore trees which were not considered to form or be part of a hedge.
“One smaller tree was situated at the northern edge and separate from the hedge and the second, a larger tree in early maturity is situated approximately 4.5 metres northeast from the southern end of and separate from the hawthorn hedge.
“Only the four or so multi stemmed hawthorn trees growing along the southwest boundary of the neighbouring land constituted a hedge.
“Consequently the two Sycamore trees could not be included in the high hedge assessment.”
Government reporter Amanda Chisholm said: “At the site inspection I considered the hedge, due to its proximity and height, to be overly dominant and oppressive in the area of the garden immediately adjacent to it.
“The other end of the garden is less affected. I therefore consider that the appellant’s reasonable enjoyment of his property is adversely affected by the height of the hedge.”
The work reducing the hedge to 18ft has to be carried out by September.
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