UKTC Archive

Re: High Hedges

Subject: Re: High Hedges
From: AClout
Date: Dec 22 2006 11:38:55

Our enforcement team are now picking up these complaints (as I successfully
debated they do with all other complaints dealt with in Planning).  I
attend site visit (as necessary) and identify tree species and give
recommendations on pruning and impact on landscape etc.  Sounds like the
whole deal, but as you no doubt appreciate the real time input to these is
admin. and dialogue with interested parties.

The big rush of complaints in June 2005 did not materialise (primarily I
think due to cost (£340) and our insistence on use of complaint as a last
resort after attempted mediation).  We have had 10 to date.

So far every complaint, resulting in remedial notice or not, has gone to
appeal ( unsurprising in light of free opportunity to a disgruntled party).
Up until recently the Council's decisions had always been upheld and
appeals dismissed, however we have just had a bit of a rogue decision in
relation to a similar situation to the one you are grappling with.

I have to say that the officer attending the appeal site visit allegedly
felt that the inspector had a somewhat unusual approach to the event in
terms of their on-site assessments and somewhat speedy return to their
waiting accomplice in the car.

However, the upshot was that using the guidance contained in section 5.2 of
Hedge Height and Light Loss, the window approximately midpoint of the flank
elevation (1.8m from a Leylandii 'hedge' of good vitality planted to screen
the affected property when it was built) had an action hedge height of 3.25
m. The remedial notice requirements were to bring the height down along its
entire 30m length, both sides of the window (also affecting amenity space
but with higher recommended action hedge height) over a period of 5 years.

The inspector concluded it was unnecessary and unreasonable to require the
whole length to be cut to this height as only the central portion opposite
the flank wall of the dwelling had much effect upon the living room window.
Variation to remedial notice was to reduce the hedge height opposite flank
wall only to 3m, the remainder of the hedge being cut to two slightly
different heights to the front of the property and the rear respectively.

The resulting hedge of many heights will IMHO be interesting.  Trust this
is of some assistance in your judgement and decision making process.

I have had some dialogue with Julie Richardson (sorry Julie) regarding
granting of planning permission for new development that will be affected
by adjacent high hedges.  Seems somewhat unfair on adjacent property owners
who do not want development anyway to have to have 12 months of building
site next door before having a land charge on their property to top their
'row' of mature Western Red Cedar or whatever it may be to 2m to get a
really good view of the new property's internal layout.  Ho hum our legal
eagles currently consider this is not a material consideration when
assessing the development application.

Have a good Xmas one and all and a high hedge free New Year!

Andy Clout
Landscape and Tree Officer
Waverley Borough Council

             "Ian McDonald"                                                
             >                                                          To 
                                       UK Tree Care                        
             21/12/2006 15:17          <>         
             Please respond to                                     Subject 
             uktc@xxxxxx.tree-c         High Hedges                         

Dear All

I am grasping with the problems associated with the High Hedge regs and
in particular where there were pre-existing hedges, I have one case
where a house was built 1.4m from Leylandi that were at least 5m tall
when the house was built and are now around 15m high. There is a kitchen
window looking at this hedge!

The particular hedge-line (or rather tree-line) is about 100m long,
though not all of the length is evergreen trees. However, were it all
evergreen, how great a length should be cut back. The guidance helps
where the hedge is at 90 degrees to the hedge, but doesn't say this
should apply if the window looks onto the hedge. Equally in the FAQs on
the Communities site is decidedly vague over the length to be cut to
give light to a window overlooking the hedge.

Finally, for now, have many of you had cases go to appeal and has PINS
come up with any interesting and helpful case law yet?

Many thanks.

Ian R. McDonald

Ian R. McDonald

Technical Officer, Engineering

Blaby District Council

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