Couple claim victory in 17-year leylandii war as their wealthy building boss neighbour is ordered to cut down the 50ft hedges which ruined their garden
- Roger and Catharine Niven locked in a legal battle with neighbour Brian Rizza
- The couple, in their 60s, first asked Rizza to trim the hedge in Inverness in 2001
- Ruled that Rizza should cut down the hedge, but he lodged a legal complaint
- Despite legal complaint, believed the tree must be trimmed within 10 months
A couple have finally claimed victory in a 17-year legal battle with their neighbour over a 50ft hedge that towered over their property.
Roger and Catharine Niven were locked in the bitter dispute with Brian Rizza over the massive leylandii plant.
The Nivens first asked Mr Rizza, 68, to trim the hedge in 2001 because they said their back garden in Inverness was left in darkness.
Now a ruling has been passed this week that the hedge must be cut within 10 months – finally bringing the dispute to a foreseeable end.
Roger and Catharine Niven were locked in the bitter dispute with Brian Rizza over the towering leylandii plant which towered over their property
Catharine and Roger Niven (pictured) appeared before the Scottish parliament as a result of the legal battle
The couple wrote to him on a number of subsequent occasions, but he ignored their pleas, claiming it would damage wildlife if it was trimmed.
In 2014, the couple used the introduction of high hedge legislation to ask Highland Council to make Mr Rizza to take action.
Other neighbours supported the Nivens’ plea, and they were delighted Rizza was ordered to trim the leylandii to 7ft last year.
The 50ft hedge towered over their property, blocking sunlight onto their home
Mr Rizza was ordered to cut down the 50ft hedge following a bitter legal battle
Rizza launched an appeal with the Scottish government, but a government reporter said the hedges should be cut down within 10 months – meaning it could still be up by September next year.
Mr and Mrs Niven appeared at the Scottish parliament last year and spoke of their dismay at trying to come to an agreement with Mr Rizza.
Mr Niven, 67, said: ‘The hedge is causing us unhappiness because our house is completely overshadowed, even in the height of summer, and because we cannot enjoy our garden at any time because of this high hedge.
‘It is also costing us hundreds of pounds annually to clear the roof of our house of moss generated by the shade of the hedge.
‘Overall, this situation is continuing to cause us considerable stress and a feeling of helplessness.’
Documents submitted on behalf of Mr Rizza had denied the leylandii formed a hedge and said it was only an area of woodland.
High hedge laws were designed to address disputes between neighbours.
Documents submitted on behalf of Mr Rizza had denied the leylandii formed a hedge and said it was only an area of woodland