Can anyone advise us about the age-old neighbour dispute about conifers?

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nathan060187 | 13:11 Wed 03rd Nov 2010 | Law
15 Answers
My mother has had three conifers removed from her garden. They were causing a nuisance and becoming out of control and as she is nearly 80 she cannot do anything with them herself and has had to pay someone up to now to prune them, which she can no longer afford. They were next to her neighbour's fence but well within my mum's property boundary. The neighbour's fence has not been damaged at all. The only difference is that there is a gap there now and part of the neighbour's lower garden can be seen. Not a part near their house. They say they can't sit in their garden anymore without being seen but their garden backs onto open countryside!! The only way anyone would see, if they cared enough to look, is from passing cars about three gardens away. The woman next door has been round and has been screaming abuse at my mother using all manner of bad language and mum is very upset. Has mum broken any laws at all. She wanted to ask first but they were away on holiday and it was the only time the gardener could fit her in to do the job. As they were her trees she thought there would be no problem. Thanking you in anticipation.


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If they were her trees then she can do what she likes with them end of. If your neighbour now feels exposed, then she can put up her own trees/screening or whatever she likes - i'd get her charged - call the community policeman and tell them she was threatening to an eldery lady.
As long as there was no Tree Preservation Order on the trees, I don't see there is a problem.
Our neighbours that back onto our garden had a lovely birch tree in their garden which had grown quite large and to be fair, it probably did block our light a lttle in the evening, but I would never have raised an issue with it. I woke up one day and looked out and realised that it was gone. I kind of miss it, but it was their tree not mine - makes my garden look a bit bare now, but that's my problem not theirs.
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barmaid - would that not be quite unusual for a conifer - they would be unlikely to be native or rare or protected I would have thought?
if they want privacy they should put something up themselves. Even if it is your mums fence, unless there is is something specific in the deeds she doesnt actually have to put anything there at all. She could take the whole fence out if she wanted

I agree with annie too, if they are threatening your mother then perhaps a quiet word with them or the local police would be wise.
Mother has every right to cut down her conifers and is NOT obliged to supply neighbours with privacy. Neighbors can plant their own trees.

Report neighbors for 'disturbance of the peace' and get URN no. as proof of complaint. Everytime she receives abuse, report to the police. That'll shut them up !
I agree with everyone else. Your Mothers neighbours should be ashamed of themselves contact your community police officer. They were her trees she can do as she likes. If they want privacy they must plant their own trees. (remember they cannot erect a fence over 6 feet high) Hope all is well for your Mum.
I think this is one of the saddest posts I have read for a long time-- an elderly lady being verbally abused by neighbours because she has removed her own trees.Mum has not broken any laws and you must support her in this bad time. Please have a word at your local police station as you have been advised.

By the way if you need a heavy mob to sort these neighbours out , then I'm up for it as will be many others.I feel so angry about such shocking behaviour. Please give Mum my kind regards.
I think it is unlikely Annie, but still possible.

Whilst quite reasonable advice has been given about getting the police involve, I would say only do so with a degree of caution. If the neighbour doesn't do anything else, I would leave be - however disgraceful her behaviour. If she continues, yes, do involve the police.

If it was just a one off rant, I would leave well alone. Firstly, mum has to live next to these unpleasant people and a court case and having her charged will not help. Secondly, any "neighbour" dispute becomes notifiable on selling the property and can put people off or have implications on the price.
what is wrong with some people that they think they are some how justified is being annoyed by this?

are people that stupid? how can anyone think your mum was out of order just because it suits them

A dispute has already reared its head Barmaid and not nipping it in the bud now would affect a selling price. We pay police to protect our rights.
The question is, how does one "nip it in the bud". Whilst in a perfect world the police will turn up, have a quiet chat about their behaviour and everything will be good again, this is not a perfect world. If it was just a one of rant, I would let it lie and it may well never rear its ugly head again. Perhaps nathan could have a quiet friendly chat with the neighbours?

However, if her behaviour continues, yes do contact the police. The difficulty as I foresee it is if you start making complaints to the police and attempt to have this woman charged, it is not going to help matters long term. Mum will be left living next to a neighbour who will be persistently hostile.

A similar thing happened to me a few years ago when a neighbour put an extremely offensive note through my door. Although my initial reaction was to make a complaint to the police I decided to let matters lie and instead had a very quiet and polite word with them. We then became reasonably good neighbours to each other and would have a chat in passing. OK, we were never good friends, but at least we managed to find a way to live next door to each other. Had I made a formal complaint, I am not sure that would have been the outcome.

In my experience, neighbour disputes have the propensity to be some of the most vitriolic, vengeful and stressful types of case. Recourse to the police and courts is one option, but not always the best option.
maclarencat - fences can actually be up to 2m high, which is more like 6 and a half foot. Otherwise, agree with what everyone else said and feel really bad for your mother having neighbours like this, hope you get it sorted.
You can build amfence any height you like but over 2mtrs Nd it will need planning permission

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