As a Local Authority, we have been given powers under part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 to consider complaints over high hedges, and to assist residents who have concerns about the height of a hedge.
Before we can become involved, you will need to provide evidence that you have attempted to resolve the problem with your neighbour, for example, a written record of any conversations or meetings.
The right hedge can be an ideal garden boundary and help to bring in new wildlife to your garden, but the wrong hedge can cause you, or your neighbours, unwanted impacts such as subsidence and loss of light.
Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act enables us to become involved in judging if the 'reasonable enjoyment' of your property is being adversely affected by the height of a high hedge. In most cases this will be where a hedge is causing a loss of light to your property.
We can become involved if:
- you are the current owner or occupier of a domestic property
- the hedge is a semi-evergreen or an evergreen
- the concern about the hedge relates to its height
- the hedge when measured from the ground is more than 2 metres high
- your attempts to find a solution with your neighbour have failed
The council cannot:
- become involved if your concern about the hedge is about subsidence or other matters not related to its height;
- ask for the hedge to be removed altogether
- insist that the hedge is cut down below 2 metres
- grant you with powers to cut your neighbour's hedge
The gov.uk website have some clear guidelines about engaging with your neighbour when in dispute.
Before making a formal complaint about a hedge you are required to try and resolve the issues with your neighbour first.
This process should be logged and details must be presented with your application before we can become involved.
Your application will be returned if reasonable efforts have not been made to resolve the matter with your neighbour.
The Over The Garden Hedge guide is helpful in setting out measures that need to be taken. These include trying to involve an independent mediator.
High Hedges: Complaining to the Council explains what will happen if we get involved.
The application form and guidance notes provide information on fees and the process that you would be entering into if you wish to involve us.
Either party has the right to appeal against whatever decision we make. Information on the appeal process is available from the Gov.uk website.
Yes the Anti-Social Behaviour Act requires a fee to cover the cost of the work by our officers. The fee is £120.
There is no procedure to claim the fee back from the hedge owner. Once an application is accepted then the fee cannot be refunded.
Once a complaint has been received and considered as to whether it meets the legal tests, we will write to explain the process.
We will publish the details of the action we believe necessary in a formal 'remedial notice'. This may include:
- measures to be taken
- a timescale for such works
- or preventative action to ensure that there is no recurrence of the adverse affect.
While the remedial notice has effect it will be a local land charge and will be binding on each person who is the existing owner or occupier of the land specified in the notice.
A remedial notice can be amended, withdrawn or we can waive or relax a requirement of the notice.
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