Q. I was curious to read your column regarding whose responsibility it is for fence and wall boundaries as I have a similar issue only mine concerns the neighbour’s hedge, can I just cut it down on my side at least, or do I have to get permission?
A. Yes, last week we did indeed talk about whose responsibility it was for fence and wall boundaries, this week we look at the issue of the ‘hedge’ which too seems to be causing issues amongst home owners like yourself. So what can you really do if your neighbour has a large and unruly hedge growing on his side of the boundary line and refuses to reduce its height? Can anything be done to make them trim and maintain it? Actually yes, since June 2005, if your neighbour’s hedge is evergreen and over 2m tall and you have made every effort to resolve the situation amicably between yourself and the neighbour first, you can make an official complaint to your local council. They will make further investigations into the situation and make a judgement on the matter and in certain circumstances they can enforce the owner of the hedge to reduce its height. If that doesn’t work, you still have the right to trim the parts of the hedge that affect you and have grown over your side of the boundary, provided you return the removed material to your neighbour’s side. If you want to create your own hedge or fence, it will not normally require planning permission if it is under 2m tall, (unless it is by a highway – always check with your local planning authority before proceeding) just to be on the safe side. You should ensure that it is firmly located on your property. In the case of a hedge, you should make sure make that it has plenty of room to grow before crossing the boundary line. Whatever your plans might be, you should always remember that people are very sensitive about boundaries. That means that the most important factor is to establish a good line of communication with your neighbours before you do anything and that way you will save yourself a lot of time, money and aggravation.