AIBU to not do anything about this tree?

(121 Posts)
ChristmasWithDC Thu 14-Oct-21 10:10:20

I’ve (hopefully) attached a high quality diagram to explain the situation as it’s too confusing otherwise. Basically my next door neighbour built a kitchen extension last year which goes up to my garden wall. I have no problem with the extension, it doesn’t bother me at all. However, it’s been built underneath a large branch of one of my trees which has a TPO on it. When it’s very windy (we’re on top of a hill and pretty exposed) the branch seats up and down and bangs on their new kitchen roof.

Neighbour asked me if I could get the branch removed, said they’d be happy to pay for it. I said I was happy for it to be removed but I needed to apply via the council as it has a TPO on it (it’s a Scots Pine of that makes any difference at all). A man from the council came out and had a look and said I’m not allowed to cut it down as it makes up such a large proportion of the tree doing so would almost certainly kill the tree. He did some stress tests on it and said that even though it moves it’s in no danger of snapping or falling.

I told neighbour about this and they were absolutely furious with me. They said that I was deliberately making life in their house stressful and that I had no idea how much strain this tree had put on their lives confused. I told them if they were unhappy that they could phone the council and speak to the man themselves but they’ve decided that I must have bribed him in some way as there’s no possible way anyone would refuse this request. They then applied to the council again to have it removed, the council wouldn’t even come out, just said that they’d already done an assessment and as nothing had changed there was nothing further to discuss.

They are now contacting me at least twice a week telling me that the banging kept them awake and asking me what I’m going to do about it. I keep asking them what they want me to do and they just tell me that it’s my problem and that if it fell through their roof and killed them then I would be held responsible.

I don’t know what they want me to do! I’m not allowed to touch the tree. They built their extension underneath, knowing it was there and not asking me to get it assessed or anything before they started building.

Any suggestions? I don’t want to kill the tree as that genuinely could be dangerous and because the council have been contacted about it so many times I’m sure they’d investigate and find out if it had been done on purpose.

OP’s posts: |
Shoxfordian Thu 14-Oct-21 10:12:09

Just tell them there’s nothing you can do about it and refuse to engage further

AmandaHoldensLips Thu 14-Oct-21 10:12:17

Tell them to go ahead and contact the council themselves regarding the TPO and see if they can get their own resolution to the problem.

missedtherainbow Thu 14-Oct-21 10:12:22

They are idiots. Ignore them

SentDeliveredRead Thu 14-Oct-21 10:16:07

Keep referring them to the council and tell them to stop harassing you or you'll look into taking action against them
They are probably cross with themselves and are taking it out on you
I'd take photos of the tree every month
If anything happens it's between them and the council

negomi90 Thu 14-Oct-21 10:19:11

Tell them in writing that is between them and the council and if you hear more from them you'll report them for harassment.

DingDongDenny Thu 14-Oct-21 10:24:20

I feel a bit sorry for them, but it is entirely their fault.

Just to draw a line under it I would write to them setting out the legal position, the steps you have taken and a reference to the council department they need to interact with. They may have this information already, but putting it in writing and keeping a copy yourself gives you some protection from their harrassment.

If it continues I'd contact a solicitor and have them write to them

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Holskey Thu 14-Oct-21 10:24:31

Tell them that you very kindly went to the trouble of having it assessed purely for them, that you have no right to damage the tree, and no say in the matter! This is between them and the council. You've already tried to help and there's nothing you can do. They're BVU.

SheWoreYellow Thu 14-Oct-21 10:26:34

I would guess they will just cut it off anyway, and probably blame you. Maybe get cctv.

longtompot Thu 14-Oct-21 10:29:00

A good star for your amazing diagram op. I especially like how you've managed to convey the neighbours rage grin

Your neighbours are idiots. They have been told there is nothing to be done about the tree. It should have come up on their planning application there was a tree with a tpo on the boundary.
I would make sure you take some photos of the tree. Maybe a weekly one, just in case they take matters into their own hands. I've read many a thread on here where neighbours hire unscrupulous 'tree surgeons' and remove trees and shrubs, even in their neighbours gardens!

FreeBritnee Thu 14-Oct-21 10:29:26

You send one final communication reiterating everything you have said here.

Explain it has TPO on it and the council has refused any request to remove the branch. If he contacts you any further about this issue you will consider it harassment and may be forced to take legal advice.

longtompot Thu 14-Oct-21 10:29:28

Meant to say gold, damn autocorrect.....

Sausagedogsarethebest Thu 14-Oct-21 10:31:04

I'd reiterate to them, in writing, that you've done what you can by contacting the council regarding the TPO and been told you are not allowed to remove the branch, and that you're not prepared to risk prosecution by touching the tree. I'd also say they need to stop harassing you otherwise you'll take action against them. If they want to continue contacting the council that's their choice.

It's a shame, people don't think about trees when buying houses. They should have looked into whether the tree would cause issues if they wanted to extend their own house, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.

ChristmasWithDC Thu 14-Oct-21 10:39:26

Thanks for the advice. How does this sound?

Hi AngryNeighbour,

Just to reiterate again that there is nothing that I can do to prevent the tree at the bottom of my garden from banging on the roof of your extension. As you know the council visited back in May and confirmed that removing the limb that is directly above your extension would cause the tree to die. The tree is over 150 years old, hence the TPO and, as AngryNeighbourTown is a conservation area, it cannot be touched without express permission from the council, which they have refused. Multiple stress tests were performed which confirmed that the branch is secure and currently poses no risk of breaking or falling into your property.

As both myself and the council have told you many times there is nothing that can currently be done about the branch. I apologise if you feel it disturbs your peace but there is nothing that I can do to change that. Please refrain from contacting me about the tree as it is disturbing my right to peaceful enjoyment of my property.

Love and kisses
TreeLady xoxox

OP’s posts: |
Clovacloud Thu 14-Oct-21 10:40:32

If they decide to ignore the TPO (which they might) and get the branch cut anyway, let the council man know ASAP so you aren’t the one that gets the fine, because those fines are pretty big. They should have thought about it before building their extension.

flotsomandjetsome Thu 14-Oct-21 11:00:10

@ChristmasWithDC

I think that letter is perfect, I would make sure to copy in your contact at the council so they have a physical record of the situation.

NearLifeExperience Thu 14-Oct-21 11:03:46

I'd fix a CCTV camera on the tree in case they sabotage it and you get the blame!

Otherwise, yes, it may come to you getting an anti- harassment order against them if they refuse to stop bothering you.

ChristmasWithDC Thu 14-Oct-21 11:04:56

CCTV on the tree is a good idea. I could watch it patting their extension good night 😁

OP’s posts: |
sunshinesupermum Thu 14-Oct-21 11:05:02

Great letter OP and cc to your Tree person at the council. Good luck.

user1471447863 Thu 14-Oct-21 11:28:39

YANBU to want nothing more to do with the matter as you've really done all you can do. But i can understand your neighbours frustration though (which should be directed to the council not you). They have a part off their property (irrelevant whether new or old really) that is not only overhung by a neighbouring tree, it is being hit by said tree during certain weather conditions and will eventually suffer damage over time from this.
Would it be really any different had the tree over time grown to a size that it was contacting the main house structure?
Personally I'd take the council tree people's views in what would kill the tree with a huge pinch of salt - some of them are for the tree at all costs/nothing shall everbe done to a tree. Your neighbour might find it worthwhile to have their own report done on the tree by an independent competent arbrolgist as if they determine something can be safely done then they would have more ammunition to appeal to the council with.
I'd also take any assertions that there is no risk of the branch breaking ever with another pinch of salt too going by the trail of destruction you see after any big storm where sizable branches of old good condition trees have surprisingly snapped

Brollywasntneededafterall Thu 14-Oct-21 11:28:54

Suggest they knock down and move their extension as they knew the tree was already there... Absolute plonkers!!

NapoleonOzmolysis Thu 14-Oct-21 11:41:07

Ironically, if they'd included cutting that branch off in the planning application for their extension, they might have got permission quite easily. I say that because my neighbour is having an extension where all trees have TPOs on them in the conservation area, they hadn't applied to have cut any down so when they started having at one of the trees I contacted the council to be told it was all covered under the main planning application and they could cut down whatever they wanted as part of it.

HarrietsChariot Thu 14-Oct-21 11:47:06

They're right that it is your problem even if the council won't allow you to cut it. If it falls down and damages their property or kills them, you will be held responsible because it's your tree.

I appreciate your hands are tied but it's not their fault your tree overhangs their property. The poster who said the problem is of their own making is taking the piss, they're entitled to do what they want on their land provided they have planning permission. You don't have an inherent right to allow your property to overhang theirs.

BellesBells Thu 14-Oct-21 11:49:39

Brilliant diagram !
Agree with letter but also maybe suggest to them they have a tree surgeon/arboriculturist look into whether the branch can be tied up away from the extension roof and secured to stop the contact with their roof without breaching the TPO.

Hoppinggreen Thu 14-Oct-21 11:50:03

HarrietsChariot

They're right that it is your problem even if the council won't allow you to cut it. If it falls down and damages their property or kills them, you will be held responsible because it's your tree.

I appreciate your hands are tied but it's not their fault your tree overhangs their property. The poster who said the problem is of their own making is taking the piss, they're entitled to do what they want on their land provided they have planning permission. You don't have an inherent right to allow your property to overhang theirs.

So what do you think she should do?

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