Doctor wins battle to lop his neighbour's 28ft Leylandii trees

Doctor wins battle with his antique dealer neighbour to lop his 28ft Leylandii trees that he said blocked sunshine to his £700,000 home

  • Dr David Watts said family’s lives were being made misery by 15 cypress leylandii
  • The trees, owned by James Henderson, 68, stretch over 80ft between the homes
  • Henderson said he would not reduce the height because it would impact privacy
  • Scottish government agreed with Watts they should be kept at no more than 19ft 

A doctor has won a battle with his neighbour to lop his 28ft leylandii trees that he said blocked sunshine to his £700,000 home. 

Dr David Watts said his family’s lives were being made a misery by the 15 cypress leylandii owned by James Henderson, 68, obscuring light to his property.

The trees in the upmarket town of Bridge of Allan in Stirlingshire, Scotland, stretch more than 80ft between the residents’ homes.

Talks between the pair broke down when antique dealer Henderson said he would not reduce the height because it would impact his privacy.

Stirling Council then ruled the trees should be kept at 23ft in height.

But Watts appealed the ruling to the Scottish government, who have agreed they should be maintained at no more than 19ft.

Dr David Watts (home pictured above) said his family’s lives were being made a misery by the 15 cypress leylandii owned by James Henderson, 68, obscuring light to his property

The trees in the upmarket town of Bridge of Allan in Stirlingshire, Scotland, stretch more than 80ft between the residents’ homes. Pictured: Dr Watts’ property

In an appeal letter, Watts said: ‘The year-round shading of our property by the hedge is considerable with loss of light to the garden and house throughout the day after early morning.

‘The decision with regard to action hedge height from Stirling Council does not restore the ‘ enjoyment of our property that we could be reasonably expected to have as set out in the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013.

‘I request the hedge should be reduced to 2.4m or less. This will effect a major reduction to the worst of the shading, thereby restoring the reasonable enjoyment of my property.’

Watts had told the government he would trim trees in his own garden to gain access to more light and had also hired an expert who said the trees should be reduced to 16ft.

In a letter, Henderson said: ‘We value our long-standing privacy, which works both ways, and do not wish the trees reduced in height.

‘Unlike deciduous trees that can be shaped and will regrow in an attractive manner when heavily pruned, conifers trees having their height reduced look an absolute eyesore, resulting in dead vegetation on top, and will not regain their shape.

Talks between the pair broke down when antique dealer Henderson said he would not reduce the height because it would impact his privacy (trees pictured from inside Dr Watts’ home)

But Watts appealed the ruling to the Scottish government, who have agreed the trees (pictured above) should be maintained at no more than 19ft

‘Were they to be reduced in height they would be stumped, hideous, unattractive and extremely detrimental and counterproductive to both parties.’

Government reporter CJ Leigh said: ‘I find that the hedge does have an adverse impact on the enjoyment that the residents could reasonably expect to have from their house and garden. I also find that there are benefits to the hedge in retaining privacy.

‘The notice as issued by the council would address the matter of light. But I have found there is a further adverse impact to the outlook of the property.

‘A reduction in the action hedge height to the eye level of those within the first floor principal rooms would, in my judgement, represent an appreciable reduction in the height of the hedge to effectively avoid the undue overbearing effect, whilst ensuring that there is no loss of privacy to the neighbour.’

The work must be carried out before November.

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