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Feeling intimidated in own garden

67 replies

orangepudding · 24/06/2013 12:53

My mum had lived in her house for almost 30 years. For about 25 of those years she has been growing a tree in her garden. It's probably about 2 storeys high.
Recently new neighbours moved in. They do not like the tree. Almost every weekend they have visitors and when they hear my mum open her back door they go into their own back garden and discuss the trees size and how it impacts on the extension they have built - it blocks some light and they don't have a clear view onto the path behind the house.
My mum feels intimidated by this. AIBU to think they should put up with it as the tree was there before they bought the house and built their extensions and they certainly shouldn't make my mum feel intimidated in her own garden?

OP posts:

LifeofPo · 24/06/2013 12:55

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bejeena · 24/06/2013 12:55

Well I don't know legally what the situation is but I would have thought your neighbours have a case if the tree is blocking their light.


arabesque · 24/06/2013 12:58

They may have a good case for wanting the tree cut down a bit; but the way they're making their point is rude and childish.


qme · 24/06/2013 12:58

you are right
I know it must be hard for your mum but she just has to believe they will grow tired of that talk


qme · 24/06/2013 12:59

would they have case if they built extension with the knowledge of the tree being there?


Seeline · 24/06/2013 13:00

I agree with Po
If the tree was there before they built the extension they have no right to light at all. It's hard to prove in any case.
If the tree is overhanging their garden, they have the right to remove any branches that are encroaching over the boundary, but have to return them. That is it.
Your Mum should try commenting loudly on how much light she has lost due to their extension Grin


orangepudding · 24/06/2013 13:03

I think you need to prove you have had 20 years of uninterrupted light to legally force someone to cut a tree

It seems so silly as if it's cut the view changes from a lovely tree to a residential home which has windows facing straight into the gardens. The residential home has never complained.

OP posts:

ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 24/06/2013 13:03

As far as I know, you don't have a legal right to light. I seem to recall this being discussed on here and several people said that was the law.

tbh, your mum needs to not give a shit.

They viewed the house with the tree right there. They bought the house with the tree right there. It's not like anything changed between them buying the house and moving in. If they want to be stupid then let them.

Buy her a walkman and some headphones and get her to put them in every time she goes into the garden, if she really feels like she can't cope with hearing them. Although it would be better if she could see how silly they are being instead, and just chuckle away to herself. She would take back the power she has given them.


SlimePrincess · 24/06/2013 13:07

She should appliqué T O U G H S H I T on some bunting and then drape it over the tree.


orangepudding · 24/06/2013 13:10

SlimePrincess that is so tempting Grin

OP posts:

OKnotOK · 24/06/2013 13:10

I agree with Seeline

The tree has been there since before they even purchased the house.

Tell here to get a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) put on it...then post it through their door! Grin

Tell her that she should give precisely zeo f*cks for her nasty neighbours.
Dont let the bastards wear you down.


bunchamunchycrunchycarrots · 24/06/2013 13:11

Grin I like slime's suggestion.


freddiefrog · 24/06/2013 13:11

I think the 20 year thing is right

We recently had a disagreement over trees with neighbours behind us

Basically, a housing estate was built. Along the edge of the estate there was a row of trees which were left in place, new houses built round them. When our houses were built the neighbours tried to block planning permission by getting tree preservation orders. PP was given, our houses were built round the trees. 10 years later, neighbours demanded trees were cut down, stating right to light. Neighbours lost dispute.


HormonalHousewife · 24/06/2013 13:11

YY to the bunting. that would be fantastic !


2rebecca · 24/06/2013 13:12

If your mum wants the tree and it's not affecting her light or foundations then she just takes the radio into the garden and plays it loudly if the neighbours start up moaning, or she opens her back door twenty minutes before she goes out so by the time she goes out they've finished moaning. I agree that they'll get bored discussing it and she has to toughen up a bit and not give a shit, or get the tree pruned by a tree surgeon so everyone has more light. Large trees and small gardens don't go together.


ImTooHecsyForYourParty · 24/06/2013 13:15

oh god. the bunting would be AMAZING! Grin


farewellfigure · 24/06/2013 13:16

We've been on both sides of this dilemma. Our old house was hideously overshadowed by enormous leylandii and we put up with it (silently) for about 3 years. No way would we have complained loudly in earshot of the owners. How childish. Anyway, when they cut it down, we had a little celebration. So... I do feel for the neighbours but they are being horrible and intimidating and should just put up and shut up. How awful for your mother.

When we moved again, our garden had 3 horrendously offensive cyprus trees and we knew before we bought the house that there was an ongoing dispute with the neighbours about getting them cut down. They were threatening legal action because the roots were undermining their extension. We cut them down to avoid an argument as we're wimps and we knew what it was like to have a garden with no light. We also went to a party in their garden on one of the hottest days of the year and spent the whole time shivering in the shade of our trees!

If your mum is feeling really intimidated then it has to stop. Could she go over there and ask them face to face? Maybe they could come to a compromise and give it a serious hair cut?


THERhubarb · 24/06/2013 13:16

If your mum is feeling intimidated then why don't you call round?

If this were my mum I would knock on the door and ask if I could have a friendly chat.
I would explain that the tree has been there for 20+ years and it was there when they viewed the house. I would also make it clear that they have no legal right to light (we have just bought a house and that is the law) and whilst you sympathise that they obviously don't like the tree, your mum is not going to fell a tree for them.

A friendly chat is always the best start. If that doesn't work then you might have to try one of those mediators, but if you make your mum's position very clear they might shut up at least.


THERhubarb · 24/06/2013 13:17

yy to offering to trim the tree.

It's an olive branch (excuse the pun) to them and might stop them from harrassing your mum.


ceebie · 24/06/2013 13:17

I think that in order to remove any doubt, you should go over to the neighbours and politely inform them that whilst you are aware that they don't like the tree, your mother will not be removing it.

After that, if they want to maintain their petty campaign, let them. Hopefully they will get bored of it eventually. And hopefully their friends will get bored of hearing them on the subject too.

Our neighbours have large trees adjoining our garden. We would get lots more light if they were removed but they were clear (without us even asking) that they wouldn't want to remove any and we respect that. We did pay to have overhanging branches removed (of which there was a huge volume), which lightened up our garden no end.


JRmumma · 24/06/2013 13:18

They should have thought about the impact of the tree on any extension/views onto the path before they bought the house and built the extension. I wouldn't have thought there is anything they could do about it if the tree was there first.

Have they actually asked your mum about cutting the tree down/back, or are they just making these comments from the other side of the fence?

It might be worth doing some light research into the situation to see how the land lies legally, just so you can reassure your mum that there is no danger of her having to do anything to the tree, but if it provides your mum's garden with some privacy from the windows behind then I would have thought that that fact and also that it was there before the new owners and thier extension would mean that the neighbours will have to just put up with it.


orangepudding · 24/06/2013 13:26

They have spoken to her while I was there. He said that the tree was spoiling the new decking they had laid due to the oils conifers release Hmm and asked my mum to remove it. At the time the tree had nesting bird living within it so I said it wasn't being removed. The tree is in the back corner of the garden, the corner furthest from their home so they don't have the issue of over hanging branches and it doesn't affect any foundations.

OP posts:

JustinBsMum · 24/06/2013 13:26

It's possible to have a tree thinned or pollarded, I'm not clear on how the land lies, is the tree in the middle of the garden? Perhaps DM could plant a couple or three of fast growing birch trees to screen the care home and once they are a decent height remove, what I presume is, a big central tree. Neighbours could contribute to the cutting down. You could explain what you are doing and assure them that the tree will go when a replacement screen has grown up.


THERhubarb · 24/06/2013 13:32

Ah right, so they want a beautiful tree destroyed to save their decking which is no doubt made from the wood of a felled tree. Angry

Seriously, go round there and have a word. Your mum should not be made to feel intimidated in her own garden. Make it very clear to them that the tree is going nowhere and that they are welcome to contest this view if they wish. They will only spend money on a fruitless exercise as legally, they have no rights since the tree was there in the first place, it is not overhanging onto their land, it is not blocking their light and the roots are not causing a problem with their foundations.

Tell them that any further comments could be construed as harrassment and that your mother is keeping a log.

They need to be told firmly. Nip this in the bud now.


JustinBsMum · 24/06/2013 13:47

Yes, def get on speaking terms. They are making a mountain out of a molehill. Facing up to them will prob make them back down (go round when neighbour is alone, not when they are all in their garden).

We bought a house where a (daft imo) neighbour had got wound up about the leylandii hedge which was at the end of our garden, he claimed roots were affecting his drive and got a lawyer and a tree expert to confirm this. Our owner got a lawyer and tree expert who denied that the roots were doing any harm. Much money wasted. He cut through roots and one tree died (which we later replaced) and not long after he died unexpectedly of a heart attack Shock - not sure if the neighbour rows contributed but it had been ongoing for years. Sad really.

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