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The tree that could cost you

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Leylandii hedges have been voted Britain's most hated garden tree and have been subject to a wealth of property disputes which have been reported in the media.

In 1999, a man who had been battling for 20 years to get his neighbour's 10.5m hedge cut won his court case - at the expense of £100,000 in legal costs. In 2005 a man was sentenced to a day in prison after being convicted of persistently urinating on his neighbour's hedge in an attempt to kill it.

If your property is overshadowed, there are options other than resorting to legal proceedings. One option is to contact your local council who will consider whether the hedge can be cut back. The council will consider the application and take into account factors such as if the hedge blocks too much light. If they agree that the hedge should be cut back, they will issue a notice for the work and the hedge will be cut to the height they have decided on.

However, an application to the Council can set you back hundreds of pounds. In any case, you will not be able to apply until you have exhausted all other methods to resolve the problem. The council may refuse the application. Therefore, the first step is to try and negotiate with your neighbours. If you are worried about approaching them, you should write to them. This often results in an amicable solution without the need to incur significant costs.

By Danielle Watts, graduate paralegal in the dispute resolution department

 

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