My neighbour ‘ripped up hedge’ as he claimed ‘it’s blocking our driveway’ – I feel council’s shunning me & need answers

A WOMAN was left horrified after her neighbour allegedly ripped out her beloved hedge and claims the council are shunning her.

Dorothy Welsh, 58, from Girvan, Scotland, claims that she pleaded with Gavin Scott, 69, to leave her garden alone but he refused to stop.

Daily Record/Media ScotlandDorothy Welsh is in a dispute with neighbour Cllr Gavin Scott over a hedge at her house[/caption]

Daily Record/Media ScotlandCllr Scott claims the hedge is council property and says he has done nothing wrong[/caption]

Dorothy, who says that the garden is “all she has” says she feels “powerless” after the neighbour row.

The disgruntled resident claims that she first saw Scott removing her hedge and told him that she did not want him to touch it.

But a day later Dorothy alleges she saw him “removing my hedge again”.

The resident said she took a video of the alleged incident before preparing a statement for the police.

Scott, who is a councillor for South Ayrshire said that Police Scotland would take no action over the incident and claimed that the hedge is “council property”.

But cops confirmed to The Sun that a 69-year-old man was charged with vandalism and that a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.

Dorothy broke down in tears as she told the Daily Record of her ordeal.

She said: “I’m very nervous because I have autism. I contacted my friend who contacted the council on my behalf.

“I felt so powerless.”

Dorothy, who rarely leaves her home and gets pleasure from tending to her garden, said it’s “all she has”.

She continued: “I don’t even go out so my garden is my whole life. It is all I’ve got. I have nothing else.

“I keep blaming myself and thinking, what did I do? I don’t know what I’ve done.”

But a defiant Scott claims the hedge is council property and that he did nothing wrong.

He told the Daily Record: “This has been going on for three or four months now.

“She is a very keen gardener but I’ve got a new car and plan to use my garden as a driveway. It will be nice when it’s finished.

“The lady next door was upset to say the least, but the hedge is certified as council property officially and I’ve been snipping away.

“She had the police here yesterday but the sergeant said it’s ‘case closed’.

“Above all I am allowed to do everything.”

I don’t even go out so my garden is my whole life. It is all I’ve got. I have nothing else.”

Dorothy Welsh, 58

Dorothy’s friend David Russell, who complained to South Ayrshire council and the Conservative party on her behalf, said they are still waiting on a response.

He said: “I pointed this out to the council but they shunned me.

“Then I phoned the Conservative head office in Edinburgh because he is a conservative councillor.

“They listened to what I said but didn’t respond.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “On Wednesday, 22 May, 2024, officers received a report of vandalism in the Carrick Road area of Girvan.

“A 69-year old man was charged in connection with the incident.

“A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”

A South Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the situation and we are following due process.”

What are your rights over neighbouring hedges?

By Marc Shoffman

OVERGROWN hedges are a common source of neighbourly disputes, but what are your rights if your neighbour’s hedge is taking over your garden?

Hedges do have benefits for homeowners as they provide security, as well as shade and a home for wildlife.

But an overgrown hedge from the next door garden can be a nuisance.

It may block the light and sunshine into your garden, which can be pretty annoying in the summer.

Plus, your garden could be messed up with its dropped leaves and twigs.

So what are your rights?

If you’re in a disagreement with your neighbours over their hedge, there are some steps you can take to try to get the situation sorted.

A useful first port of call is the government guidance on hedge heights, which lays out the rules on when a garden growth has gotten out of control.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) suggests that homeowners should use this guidance first before involving lawyers.

It said: “Where you feel that a hedge is too tall and affects the ‘reasonable’ enjoyment of your house or garden, the first step is to negotiate with your neighbours. 

“Keep a copy of any letters to demonstrate you have tried.”

If this fails, you can contact your local council to enquire about using the high hedges legislation. 

You can find your local council using the website.

There is no guarantee your council will intervene, and there is a fee for making a complaint, typically £400, to deter frivolous applications.

Your local authority will consider both sides’ cases and make a decision.

If the council accepts your complaint, it will issue a notice for the hedge to be cut to a requested height by a set deadline.

Councils have the power to fine homeowners up to £1,000 if they refuse to comply with orders to cut hedges back.

But the neighbour is also able to appeal the decision.

Even if the hedge is within the legal height, your neighbour is responsible for maintaining it so it doesn’t damage your property.

You are also able to trim back any overgrown parts of the hedge that are covering your own boundary, according to Citizens Advice.

But don’t be tempted to trim the whole hedge down – if you are cutting it back you should also check if it’s protected by a tree preservation order.

There is also the option of getting legal advice and taking your neighbour to court if the issue can’t be resolved, but this can be pricey.

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