Derbyshire residents lodge nearly 50 complaints over neighrbours' overgrown hedges

Nearly 50 complaints have been filed by Derbyshire residents about their neighbour’s overgrown hedges in the past three years.

Friday, 17th December 2021, 12:00 pm

It may be one of the most British things to complain about, a high hedge, but the improper maintenance of a hedge you own is dubbed by UK law as a form of anti-social behaviour.

On nearly 50 occasions in the past three years, Derbyshire residents have felt so aggrieved by their neighbour’s overgrown hedges that they felt it warranted a formal complaint to their local council.

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47 high hedge complaints were filed in the past three years in Derbyshire

Now Freedom of Information requests filed to all of the county’s councils show that 47 high-hedge complaints were filed in the past three years.

Of these, just eight were upheld and eight led to formal remedial notices being served on the owners ordering them to trim or tame their hedges immediately.

This, in turn, netted our councils £3,140.

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South Derbyshire is the district which is home to the lion’s share of complaints – 30 – and subsequent upheld cases (four) and served notices (four).

Meanwhile, no formal complaints have been made by residents about their neighbours’ hedges in Amber Valley or Derby in the past three years.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, says: “The right hedge can be an ideal garden boundary, but the wrong hedge may bring problems.

“Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 allows local councils to deal with complaints about high hedges whose area contains the land on which the hedge is situated.

“When councils are determining a complaint they must first decide whether the height of the high hedge is having an adverse effect on a neighbour’s enjoyment of their home and/or its garden or yard.

“If it is, then councils can order the owner of a high hedge to take action to put right the problem and stop it from happening again.

The legislation also allows councils to set and charge fees for handling these complaints.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities continues: “The council can reject your complaint if they think you haven’t taken all reasonable steps to try to settle your dispute without involving them.

“The council can do no more than issue a ‘remedial notice’ ordering your neighbour to reduce the hedge to a height that will put the problems right and stop them happening again. For example, two metres will only be the right height in some cases.

“If you do anything more than trim overhanging branches, your neighbour could take you to court for damaging their property.”

Council’s cannot order the removal of hedges involved in disputes, take any action “that could result in the hedge’s death or destruction” or order a hedge to be trimmed to less than two metres above ground level.

Local authorities can allow more time for a hedge to be trimmed back to protect birds nesting in the foliage.