Guidance for making a complaint

This provides information about how to make a valid complaint to the Council. Invalid complaints will not be taken further.

Criteria

To quality as a 'high hedge', it needs to be:

  • evergreen
  • more than 2m in height
  • consist of two or more trees.

Attempts to resolve the complaint

Please keep the descriptions brief but tell us how you made the approach, e.g. face to face, phone, letter and what the result was.

Example 1

12 March 2005 - phoned to ask if we could discuss hedge. Met on 19 March but we couldn't agree a solution;

15 April - mediators visited;

29 April - met neighbours and mediators. But still couldn't find an answer we were both happy with;

14 May - wrote to inform neighbour would be complaining to the Council.

Example 2

12 March 2005 - wrote to ask if we could discuss hedge. 2 weeks later still no reply;

9 April - wrote to ask if would speak to mediator. 2 weeks later still no reply;

7 May - wrote to inform neighbour would be complaining to the Council.

Example 3

12 March 2005 - saw neighbour in their garden and asked if we could discuss hedge.

Neighbour came round on 19 March. Saw the effect of the hedge for themselves.

Sympathetic but unwilling to reduce the hedge as much as we wanted;

Neighbours willing to try mediation but discovered that neighbour mediation not available in our area. We live too far from the nearest service;

23 April - saw neighbour again and told them that, if we couldn't agree a solution, we would make a formal complaint to the Council. Left it for a couple of weeks then confirmed in writing that we would be going ahead with the complaint.

It is not necessary to send copies of all correspondence with your neighbour about the hedge especially if the dispute is a long-running one. You need only provide evidence of your latest attempts to settle it, which should be within the last 4 months.

Who can complain?

You must be the owner or occupier of the property affected by a high hedge in order to make a formal complaint to the Council.

If you do not own the property, e.g. because you are a tenant or a leaseholder, you can still make a complaint, but you should let the owner, e.g. landlord or management company, know what you are doing.

The property does not have to be wholly residential but must include some living accommodation otherwise we cannot consider the complaint.

Grounds of complaint

It will help if you provide as much information as you can but keep it factual. Remember that a copy of this form will be sent to the person who owns the site where the hedge is growing and to the person living there if they are different people.

Concentrate on the hedge and the disadvantages you actually experience because it is too tall.

We cannot consider problems that are not connected with the height of the hedge, for example, if the roots of the hedge are pushing up a path.

Nor can we consider things that are not directly about the hedge in question, for example, that other people keep their hedges trimmed to a lower height, or that the worry is making you ill.

Please also provide a photo of the hedge and a diagram showing the location of the hedge and surrounding properties. These can be uploaded via the online form. 

When drawing your diagram, please look at the example below and make sure that you:

  • Mark and name surrounding roads.
  • Sketch in buildings, including adjoining properties. Add house numbers or names.
  • Mark clearly the position of the hedge and how far it extends.
  • Mark which way north is.

High hedge diagram
High hedge diagram

Please include copies of any professional reports that you may have had prepared. If you are complaining about the hedge blocking light, please mark which way is north on your plan and provide relevant measurements e.g. size of garden, distance between the hedge and any windows affected.

All measurements should be in metric (m).

Previous complaints to the Council

We only need to know about formal complaints, made under the high hedges part of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. You don't need to tell us about telephone calls or other informal contact with the Council about your hedge problems.

Who's who/The Parties

We need all these names and addresses because there are some documents that we are required, by law, to send to the owner and occupier of the land on which the hedge grows. These include our decision on the complaint.

Even if someone else is submitting the complaint on your behalf, it is important that we have the complainant's contact details. We need this information because we will have to get in touch with this person to arrange to visit the property so that we can see for ourselves the effect of the hedge.

If the site where the hedge is growing does not have a postal address, use the box to describe as clearly as possible where it is, e.g. 'Land to rear of 12 to 18 High Street' or 'park adjoining Main Road'.

If you are in any doubt about who owns the property where the hedge is situated, you can check with the Land Registry via their on-line contact form at: http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public or phone 0844 892 1111.

Copies of title plans and registers held in electronic format can be downloaded in PDF format for £3 each. The register includes ownership details.

Submitting your complaint

Once you are satisfied that all of the above criteria has been met, you can submit your high hedge complaint online.

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