A Scots couple who claimed their neighbour’s 36ft hedge sent their energy bills soaring have won a fight to have it chopped down.
Gary and Joanna Short insisted they had been left out of pocket over rising utility costs due to trees belonging to Eliza Wylie.
They said trees between their properties in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, had ruined their enjoyment of their £500,000 family home.
It was also claimed that foliage from the trees had blocked drains and damaged their property.
They applied to Renfrewshire Council to have the hedge cut down but were left disappointed when the move was rejected.
The couple appealed the ruling to the Scottish Government who have now said the trees should be lopped to 16ft.
In an appeal document, the Shorts 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.
“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 neighbourly thing.
“In dialogue with our neighbour 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.”
Overturning the council decision, government reporter Trevor Croft said: “During my site inspection I saw a significant amount of overhanging of the appeal property by the hedge and given its proximity to the garden this would be impossible to avoid.
“Close to the hedge when standing on the driveway, and particularly when coming down the external stair, this could lead to an oppressive feeling.
“I allow the appeal and issue a high hedge notice. I have considered all the other matters raised but there are none which would lead me to alter my conclusions.”
Work on the trees must be carried out by September this year.
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