The Council will only become involved if negotiation with your neighbour has failed and will assess the case, acting as an independent and impartial third party. On receipt of the high hedges online complaint form, the Planning Department will carry out a validation check. Payment will be not taken until the validation is complete and the hedge owner has had a reasonable opportunity to remedy the complaint or to give a suitable assurance that the complainant’s concerns can be resolved amicably. The payment will either by taken over the phone or a link will be provided to an online payment form.
If the high hedges complaint is validated, it will be logged and acknowledged. We will write to the owner of the hedge asking for a site visit, and referring to the legal powers of enforcement. A site visit will be carried out to verify whether the high hedge is as defined by legislation, to measure and plot the trees or shrubs in the high hedge and assess the impact of the high hedge. The role of the Council is to adjudicate whether the height of the high hedge is in the words of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 ‘adversely affecting the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of their property’, and if so what remedial action should be taken or what action is needed to prevent recurrence. That action cannot include lowering the hedge to below two metres or removing the hedge.
The findings from the site visit and the assessment of the high hedge complaint will be reported and action proposed.
If No Action under Part 8 Anti-Social Behaviour Act is taken a decision letter will be sent to the high hedge owner and high hedge complainant notifying them of the decision and appeal rights.
Government guidance provides detailed information about the matters which the Council are to take into account High Hedge Complaints: Prevention and Cure (paragraphs 5.54 and- 5.104)