Couple claim 11-year dispute over neighbor’s 36ft hedge has sent energy bill soaring


Gary and Joanna Short from Renfrewshire say they have been left frustrated over utility costs and lack of sunlight caused by their neighbour’s trees

Trees growing over fence
Gary and Joanna Short claim they have been left frustrated over utility costs and lack of sunlight caused by trees

A couple who claim an 11 year dispute over their neighbor’s 36ft hedge has sent their energy bills soaring have taken their fight to the government.

Gary and Joanna Short claim they have been left frustrated over utility costs and lack of sunlight caused by trees belonging to Eliza Wylie.

They said trees between their properties in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, have ruined their enjoyment of their £500,000 family home.

It is also claimed that foliage from the trees had blocked drains and there were concerns about damage to their property.

They applied to Renfrewshire Council under high hedge legislation to have the hedge cut down but were left disappointed when the move was rejected.

They said trees between their properties have ruined their enjoyment of their £500,000 family home

They applied to Renfrewshire Council under high hedge legislation to have the hedge cut down

The Shorts have now appealed the council decision and taken their fight to the Scottish Government.

In an appeal document, they said: “As the hedge has not been maintained by the owner for over 11 years, it has become massively overgrown in both height and width.

“Due to the height and width, professional tree surgeons would be required to maintain the hedge which now significantly overhangs our property. There are also potential costs with damage to property with branches now growing near gutters and roofline.

“Allowing this hedge to keep growing will bring continued costs to us.

Documents sent to the council revealed Wylie did not think the trees caused any ‘restriction of the enjoyment’

“We have tried to get this unmaintained hedge brought under control, through dialogue with the owner.

“Her own evidence confirms that she hasn’t touched the hedge for 11 years and her responses to us shows she has no desire to do the neighborly thing.

“In dialogue with our neighbor and the council, we have always stated that we don’t want the hedge to be removed, we just requested for it to be brought under control to allow us to enjoy our space and right to sunlight into our garden and main living room.”

They added: “Another example is higher energy bills due to the lights and heating in the lounge having to be on more due to the poor light entering the front of the property.”

Documents sent to the council revealed Wylie did not think the trees caused any ‘restriction of the enjoyment’ on the Shorts garden.

She also claimed that trees afforded her ‘privacy’ and provided ‘environmental benefit’ to nesting birds and bats and added that the trees were present long before the Shorts property had been built.

Rejecting the Shorts bid to have the trees lopped, Renfrewshire Council said: “As a result of the position of the hedge in relation to the front garden, it is considered that the subject hedge does not result in a significant adverse impact upon the reasonable enjoyment of the applicant’s property, which would warrant the serving of a high hedge notice.”

A government reporter will issue a decision in due course.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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