High Hedges: When Can You Complain?
You can make a complaint to the council about your neighbour’s hedge if it is causing a problem (if you cannot resolve the issue yourself).
The council will decide whether the hedge height is creating an adverse effect for the neighbourhood (e.g. obstructing light or access).
As a rule, your council will not reject your complaint providing you have taken all ‘reasonable’ steps to find a solution yourself.
Important: The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government produce a leaflet titled ‘over the garden hedge‘. It explains simple ways to settle common ‘hedge disputes’ before you make an official complaint to your local council authority.
When to Appeal a High Hedge Decision
You must wait for the local council to make a decision about high hedges before appealing against their remedial notice (or decision not to issue one). Remedial notices usually result in a withdrawal or a waiver.
You can start the appeals process if (either):
- You already made a complaint about high hedges to the local authorities.
- You own, rent, or occupy the land where the hedge or hedges are situated.
Important: There are no fees for appealing a council’s decision about high hedges complaints (or part of garden boundaries).
Deadline for Making an Appeal
The deadline for appealing is within twenty eight (28) days of:
- The date that the council issued a remedial notice.
- The council’s decision to change an existing remedial notice or to take no action at all.
Note: As a rule, you will get a decision back from the council once they have ‘validated’ your appeal (around six to eight months).
High Hedges Appeal Form
After filling in the high hedges appeal form, you will need a copy of the decision issued by your local authority, along with:
- The remedial notice (if the council issued one).
- Any other relevant documentation that supports your appeal.
The next step is to send the appeals form and documents to the council who made the original decision and to the Planning Inspectorate.
Email: [email protected]
Note: It is best to send them by email (not by postal methods) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
After Making an Appeal
The Planning Inspectorate needs to validate the appeal. Following that, they will send details of what happens next and how long the appeals process is likely to take (up to 34 weeks).
They decide all appeals based on the information given to them and a visit in person to the hedge site. You will get a letter from the case officer if they require any additional information.
You can complain about a council if you think they did something wrong or you don’t like how they handled your case.
Furthermore, you can also file a complaint about the way the Planning Inspectorate handled your appeal. There are no deadlines for filing complaints.
Disagreeing with the Appeal Decision
What if you believe the Planning Inspectorate made a legal mistake? In this case, you may be able to challenge their decision in the High Court.
Important: It is wise to get advice from a lawyer if you decide to start legal proceedings. The official database of legal professionals may be useful for anyone looking for legal services in England and Wales regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Related Help Guides
You can find and access local council services (e.g. dog wardens, libraries, and rubbish collection) in the master section.
Another section explains more about the rules for trimming overhanging trees and consumer rights for cutting branches.