A high hedge is defined as two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs growing next to each other which are taller than two meters and obstruct light to the affected property.
The right hedge can be ideal garden boundary, but the wrong hedge may bring problems. Fast growing evergreens such as Leylandii ought to be regularly trimmed by the owner to maintain them at a height which is suitable for the location, as they can grow as much as a metre per year.
High hedges legislation comes under part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 but making a high hedges complaint to the council should be seen as a last resort if all other options to resolve the dispute have been unsuccessful.
Our role is to act as an independent and impartial adjudicator in those cases which people cannot settle for themselves, but before the council becomes involved evidence will be expected to be provided to show that attempts have been made to settle the dispute. We can refuse to intervene if it appears that those involved have not done everything they can to try to settle the dispute themselves.
On receipt of a complaint form, we will decide if the complaint meets the criteria set out in the guidance leaflet. If it does, we will contact the owner of the hedge to ask for information and their opinion. When this has been received, a council officer will arrange to visit and view the hedge from both properties. Measurements and photographs will be taken. When all the information has been gathered, the officer will make a decision whether or not the height of the hedge should be reduced and will write a formal decision report. If necessary, a legal notice may be served on the owner of the hedge if it is decided that the height needs to be reduced.
Please note that a fee of £500 is charged to the complainant for a formal decision report to be prepared and issued. The fee reflects the amount of work involved in investigating and concluding a case. This is another reason why it is important for the parties to try to resolve a case between them before involving the council.
The fee is waived if the complainant is aged over 65. Hillingdon Council does not discount or waive this fee for people who are under 65 and in receipt of benefits, but advice can be given free of charge on whether the hedge is likely to require remedial action.
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