Neighbours’ war over 60ft conifers that ‘drive up family’s electricity bills’

A bitter row between neighbours over 60ft conifers will be settled by the Scottish Government after a council threw out a bid to have them cut down.

John and Irene Harrower have been locked in a four-year dispute with Iain and Nicola Welsh over the trees, which they say leave their home in Oban, Argyll, in darkness.

They also claim the greenery blocks their views of the scenery and causes their electricity bills to be higher because of the lack of natural light.

John and Irene Harrower have been locked in a four-year dispute with Iain and Nicola Welsh over the trees, which they say leave their home in Oban, Argyll, in darkness. These pictures show the trees from the Harrowers' home

John and Irene Harrower have been locked in a four-year dispute with Iain and Nicola Welsh over the trees, which they say leave their home in Oban, Argyll, in darkness. These pictures show the trees from the Harrowers' home

John and Irene Harrower have been locked in a four-year dispute with Iain and Nicola Welsh over the trees, which they say leave their home in Oban, Argyll, in darkness. These pictures show the trees from the Harrowers’ home 

The Harrowers say the trees (seen from their side) block light to their property and ruin views like this one

The Harrowers say the trees (seen from their side) block light to their property and ruin views like this one

The Harrowers say the trees (seen from their side) block light to their property and ruin views like this one 

Some of the overgrown vegetation the Harrowers say is spoiling their enjoyment of their home

Some of the overgrown vegetation the Harrowers say is spoiling their enjoyment of their home

Some of the overgrown vegetation the Harrowers say is spoiling their enjoyment of their home  

Letters were exchanged between the parties but the Harrowers applied to Argyll and Bute Council to have the trees cut down.

They were left dismayed when council bosses ruled there had not been enough communication between the neighbours to merit action under high hedge laws and the trees have remained untouched.

The Harrowers have turned to the Scottish Government to get them cut down and insist the trees have been a problem since before 2015.

In a letter to the Mr and Mrs Welsh, the Harrowers said their home was being ruined by the trees.

They added: ‘We are writing to you to ask you to cut the trees in your garden that are affecting us enjoying our property. We have lost our view of the hills because of your trees, some of which we estimate to be 60 feet tall.

‘Also all the rooms, even upstairs which face that way are darkened as a result, requiring us to turn on lights far more than would otherwise be necessary with an obvious cost in electricity.

‘In fact our sun room was designed to have the benefit of the early morning sun from the east and to be environmentally friendly by reducing our need for heat and light but your trees are spoiling it.

‘The 60ft pine trees are overhanging our drive dropping pine needles which are then walked right through the house forcing us to continually hoover the carpets, as well as branches and twigs which we have to spend time clearing up from the drive particularly in the winter after high winds.

‘Some of the branches have clattered against our garage when the wind gets up and we are concerned they may cause damage.’

Letters were exchanged between the parties but the Harrowers applied to Argyll and Bute Council to have the trees cut down

Letters were exchanged between the parties but the Harrowers applied to Argyll and Bute Council to have the trees cut down

Letters were exchanged between the parties but the Harrowers applied to Argyll and Bute Council to have the trees cut down

They were left dismayed when council bosses ruled there had not been enough communication between the neighbours to merit action under high hedge laws and the trees have remained untouched

They were left dismayed when council bosses ruled there had not been enough communication between the neighbours to merit action under high hedge laws and the trees have remained untouched

They were left dismayed when council bosses ruled there had not been enough communication between the neighbours to merit action under high hedge laws and the trees have remained untouched

The Harrowers have turned to the Scottish Government to get them cut down and insist the trees have been a problem since before 2015. Pictured: One of the views they say has been spoilt

The Harrowers have turned to the Scottish Government to get them cut down and insist the trees have been a problem since before 2015. Pictured: One of the views they say has been spoilt

The Harrowers have turned to the Scottish Government to get them cut down and insist the trees have been a problem since before 2015. Pictured: One of the views they say has been spoilt

Appealing to the government to overrule the council, they said: ‘We believe that we carried out the requirements of the application by writing three times asking for trees to be cut and allowing our councillor to attempt to mediate for us before we filled in the application form.

‘Almost two years have passed and no trees have been trimmed or cut which would have been a neighbourly act.

‘We are prevented from enjoying this whole side of our house as a result.’

Mr and Mrs Welsh maintained they were happy to meet with the Harrowers but no action had been taken.

In a letter sent last year, they said: ‘We had been unaware that the shrubs bordering our properties were causing any issues for you until July 2017 when you dumped a large pile of trimmings into this garden, indeed onto the step obstructing the entrance to our garage.

‘The following week you wrote to threaten us with an enforcement order under high hedge legislation and we offered to meet to view the shrubs from your side and discuss action required but you did not reply.’

They added: ‘We remain of the view that this can easily be resolved and are happy to prune back and dispose of arisings appropriately, but to determine exactly what work is required we again request access to your garden in order to do this.’

A government reporter will issue a ruling in due course.

High Hedge laws can only be used if all other options have been exhausted leaving frustrated parties no option but to turn to their local council.   

Some of the branches that are currently overhanging the Harrowers' home in Argyll

Some of the branches that are currently overhanging the Harrowers' home in Argyll

Some of the branches that are currently overhanging the Harrowers’ home in Argyll 

The vegetation seen from their back garden. The government will now decide whether it should be cut down

The vegetation seen from their back garden. The government will now decide whether it should be cut down

The vegetation seen from their back garden. The government will now decide whether it should be cut down 

Link hienalouca.com

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