If you are bothered by a neighbour’s hedge blocking light from your garden it is always best to make a friendly, diplomatic approach to them before resorting to other means. Don’t keep the problem to yourself and get angry or resentful towards your neighbour, politely raise the topic, letting them know how the hedge is affecting you and ask if they’re willing to do anything about it. If you don’t feel able to speak to them directly them, pop a note through their letterbox, maybe with your contact phone number on.
You will need to attempt to resolve the issue with your neighbour before the Council will consider looking into the problem. Make sure you keep a note of the time and date of any conversations or letters sent as evidence that you have tried to tackle the problem.
Generally you can bring a complaint to the Council if you can answer “yes” to all these questions:
- Is it growing on land owned by someone else?
- Is the hedge – or the portion that is causing problems – made up of a line of 2 or more trees or shrubs?
- Is it mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen?
- Is it more than 2 metres tall?
- Even though there might be gaps in the foliage or between the trees or shrubs, is the hedge still capable of obstructing light or views?
For more information on what the Council can do using their powers under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, download this government guide in .pdf format from my website here – High Hedges: complaining to the Council
If you cannot resolve the problem between yourselves and you are the owner or occupier (eg. tenant) of the property affected by the hedge and your property is residential then you may have grounds to make a complaint. You will need to show that the hedge detracts from the reasonable enjoyment of your home or garden because it is too tall. At the time I write it also costs £350 to refer the matter to the Southend Council (£250 for some concessions)
Download Southend Council’s Complaint Form – High_Hedges_Complaints_Form
and their Guidance Notes – High_Hedges_Complaints_Guidance_Notes
to check on the latest info visit Southend Council’s website – HERE