We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We also set analytics cookies to help us improve it, this information is collected in a way that does not allow us to identify anyone. Find out more about our cookies and how to block them. Find out more about Cookies

High hedges

If you need help resolving a hedge dispute, you may be able to submit a complaint to us. Before you do so, you must attempt to sort out the problem yourself directly.

You can find out full details about making a high hedge complaint on the Gov.UK website.

High hedge complaints are subject to a fee, which is £600.

The hedge you wish to make a complaint to us about must:

  • be made up of a line of at least two evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs

  • not have any significant gaps in it

  • be at least two metres in height when measured from the level of roots at ground level

  • block out light to your home or garden.

Make a high hedge complaint

Before you make a complaint, you must have taken the following steps to sort out the problem yourself:

  • spoken and written to your neighbour about the hedge and how it is affecting the enjoyment of your property. You must have made at least three attempts in the last four months with at least two in writing

  • spoken to a third party mediation group. These are groups run by trained mediators who will mediate between two parties in dispute.

You can then send us your completed icon high hedge complaint form [143.76KB] along with evidence to show you have taken the steps above. Please read our  icon guidance notes [75.94KB]  before completing this form.

As well as sending us the form, you will need to:

  • send us a site plan with the hedge clearly marked on it. This should be to scale and show the relevant site and hedge measurements, including the direction of North

  • make a credit or debit card payment for the correct fee, which is £600, in person at our offices or by phoning 01483 505050.

Investigating your complaint

When we receive your valid complaint, a Planning Enforcement Officer will look at the documents provided and carry out an initial investigation of the site. Officers must let all owners know at least 24 hours before a visit takes place.

As part of the investigation, the officer will need to confirm that all of the information provided in the complaint is correct and genuine.

Having looked at all of the evidence, the officer will write a report recommending a course of action.  It will be for the Development Control Manager to make the decision on how the case should proceed.

If we uphold your complaint

If we decide that the hedge is affecting the enjoyment of your property, we may decide to issue a remedial notice. We will send this notice to you, the owners and occupiers of the land on which the hedge is growing, and any neighbouring owners or occupiers that are affected.

This remedial notice will explain:

  • That you have made a complaint;

  • That we have decided to support your complaint and the reasons for this;

  • The action that the hedge owner must take and the date that this action must be taken by;

  • Any future action which the hedge owner must take to stop the problem happening again;

  • What will happen if the hedge owner does not take this action within the timescale we set; and

  • That the remedial notice is registered as a local land charge for the time it is valid.

At any time before or after a notice has been issued, if we feel that the situation has been dealt with, or the terms of the notice have been met, we can withdraw or dismiss the notice or relax its terms. If we do this we will write to you, and to the owners and occupier of the land on which the hedge is growing.

Please note: we cannot ask for the hedge to be cut below two metres or for it to be removed.

Appealing against a decision

Both the complainant and the owner of the hedge can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against a decision we make:

  • To issue a remedial notice;

  • Not to issue a remedial notice;

  • The terms of the remedial notice;

  • To withdraw a remedial notice; or

  • To dismiss or relax the terms of a remedial notice

Any appeal must be made to the Planning Inspectorate within 28 days of the remedial notice, or the date on which we notify all interested parties of our decision.

To submit an appeal, please follow the directions on the Planning Portal. You can also find further guidance on the Government's page about appealing against the council's decision.

If the owner does not take action

We can take the owner of the hedge to court if they do not take the action set out in the remedial notice and they do not make an appeal. The court can order the owner to pay a fine of up to £1,000 and/or to take the action set out in the notice. A further fine of £1,000 and conviction may become due to if there is a breach of the first court order.

We also have the power to take direct action to reduce the hedge height. We can enter the hedge owner's land and cut the hedge down to the height stated in the remedial notice. However, we must let the owner or occupier of the land know at least 24 hours before we do this. We will recover our costs from the hedge owner for any direct action we have to carry out and trimmings and chippings will be left on site.