What can I do?

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icemaiden | 12:32 Mon 25th Jul 2011 | Home & Garden
13 Answers
I am quite concerned about a very large Willow tree in my next door neighbours front garden. It's twice the height of my house, and some (Semi-Detached house). It's branches overhang the public pathway to the point that you have to walk on the road to get past. The Council say it is not their concern as it is on private property. I am concerned about the roots, aparently they should be planted atleast 40metres away from the house. This is only 8 metres away!

Also they have those wonderful trees(!!) called Leylandii in their back garden. They are atleast 80ft, no joke. About 10 of them. We are constantly lopping off branches that overhang our garden, (we return them of course). These trees are just huge. They cut out a lot of light from our garden and again I worry about the roots.

The problem is, they let out the property so we can't speak to the owners directly. No maintenance is ever done in the garden. I don't know who the letting agent is either but I could ask the tennants.

I know people in the past have had long standing arguments with neighbours and I really do not want that to happen. I just want the Willow tree pruned and also the Leylandii.

What's my next move?


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Willow are not deep rooted and therefore can have a tendency to get blown down in gales.
The council should sort out the blocked footpath, go to your local counsiller and complain, something usually happens then!
If you want the council to do something then I think you have to pay £500 towards the cost which is unfair. They will then be told to prune the trees. We have the same thing at the back of our garden where there is a 20ft laurel hedge which blocks out the evening sun. (It also blocks out their sun in the morning but they work mornings so they don't care).
Question Author
£500!!! That's outragous carolegif. I don't have that sort of money.

We are on clay here and I was worried that the roots can cause subsidence in the properties. Which is why they advise that they should be planted atleast 40 metres away from any buildings or driveways.
Question Author
Good idea about the councillor Johnk. Thanks
Phone the Council !
There is no specific legislation relating to 'high trees' but there is legislation in place relating to 'high hedges'. So, if the Leylandii are al individual trees, you can't fall back on the legislation. If though (as would seem to be more likely) then you need to read through this:

You'll see that you'll need to pay a fee if you're to get your local council involved. My local council has this on their website:
"A fee of £350 will be charged to process any complaint regarding high hedges, a 50% discount is available for those on low incomes/benefits (subject to review)."

With regard to the tree overhanging a public footpath, my local council has never been slow to send me a reminder to cut back my Buddleia bush when I let it overhang the footpath! Their letters remind me that the law requires that overhanging trees and bushes must give footpath users (including stilt walkers, perhaps?) a minimum clearance of EIGHT FEET.

To find out who actually owns the house next door to you (hopefully with their address as well) click the 'Find a property' link at the top of this page and invest £4 in downloading the title register:

I don't know what the law is but the Highways people (I think) regularly cut back some bushes which overhang the pavement at the bottom of our road, which block visibility and the footpath. Worth having a word with your local Highways people.
Ice - think you need to devide problem into 2

1. The willow tree - the can be deep rooted and cause damage to drains / house foundations (RATTER15 was you comment tounge in cheek) if planted to close to buildings / drains. Even if you cannot see any visible damage, you can write a "putting you at notice" letter, sent recorded delivery to tenant and registered house owner - details available at land regestry for a few £'s. Look at gardenlaw website how to word a "Putting you at notice" letter together

2. The hedge - a bit more difficult and expensive - you need to use High hedge laws - google it on your local council website

Wishing you all the best luck
Question Author
Thanks everyone. Fantastic answers. Will have a good read up of all your links.

Thanks again!
I hope you get the problem sorted i have the same problem with my next door neibours willow tree.
re willow tree overhanging footpath-its not a council issue-contact roads services instead, who will in turncontact your neighbour--ig neighbour takes no action they will trim tree back and bill neighbour for the work

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