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Michelle Mone’s divorce lawyer wins battle over conifers

The row over 20ft conifer trees had sparked a bitter fall out between Tony Caplan and James Neill in one of Scotland’s most exclusive areas

Michelle Mone’s divorce lawyer has won a battle with his neighbour over trees in the grounds of his home.

The row over 20ft conifer trees had sparked a bitter fall out between Tony Caplan and James Neill in one of Scotland’s most exclusive areas, where houses sell for more than half a million pounds.

Mr Neill complained trees belonging to Mr Caplan overshadowed his back garden in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, and ruined his enjoyment of the area and his decking.

He has also claimed the trees caused damage to a garden wall.

Mr Caplan, 61, a successful divorce lawyer who specialises in ‘high value’ cases, dismissed the claims and insisted the trees maintained the privacy of his large property.

Officials from East Renfrewshire Council investigated the spat after Mr Neill contacted them in May and asked for high hedge laws to be used to force his neighbour to take action.

But after they rejected his case and declined to take any measures he turned to the Scottish Government in a last bid to have the trees cut down to size.

However, following a site visit a government reporter has ruled the trees should not be lopped.

Mr Neill complained trees belonging to Mr Caplan overshadowed his back garden in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, and ruined his enjoyment of the area and his decking. Pictured, Mr Neill's property

Mr Neill complained trees belonging to Mr Caplan overshadowed his back garden in Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire, and ruined his enjoyment of the area and his decking. Pictured, Mr Neill’s property

Mr Caplan, 61, dismissed the claims and insisted the trees maintained the privacy of his large property (pictured)

Mr Caplan, 61, dismissed the claims and insisted the trees maintained the privacy of his large property (pictured)

Michelle Mone (pictured in London last night), announced her divorce on Twitter in 2013 when she revealed Mr Caplan had contacted her to confirm the news

Michelle Mone (pictured in London last night), announced her divorce on Twitter in 2013 when she revealed Mr Caplan had contacted her to confirm the news

Mr Neill had written to his neighbour last year detailing his complaints.

He said: ‘The situation is now urgent. I want you to fell the tree in question and reduce the height of your hedge to conform with legislation.

‘Can this not be resolved in a neighbourly fashion without having to involve lawyers? By ignoring the matter the situation is only getting worse.’

Mr Neill’s appeal to the government stated: ‘This application and appeal relate to a significant loss of amenity to the garden of this house, on any objective view.

‘The discussions with the hedge owner have borne no fruit over a lengthy period of time. The height of the hedge has grown considerably over that period of time.

‘The loss of amenity becomes greater with each passing year. The approach of the local authority is flawed and misdirected. The hedges concerned fall four square within the legislation. The decision is contradictory.’

In an email to the government, Mr Caplan confirmed his view that the hedge should stay.

The entrepreneur split from husband and business partner Michael in 2011 

The entrepreneur split from husband and business partner Michael in 2011 

He said: ‘I do not believe the hedges are a significant barrier to light. The sun only reaches the rear of our house and that of Mr Neill for a very short time in the late afternoon, even at the peak of summer.

‘What causes the issue is not the hedge, but the height of the garage and the elevation of our house. For these reasons I think the council’s decision is correct and should not be overturned on appeal.’

Government reporter Grainne O’Keeffe concluded: ‘I conclude that the high hedge at its current height does not have an adverse effect on the enjoyment which an occupant of that property could reasonably expect to have.

‘Therefore I agree with the council that there is no adverse effect from the hedge and dismiss the appeal. I have taken all matters raised into account, however there is nothing which would lead me to alter my conclusion.’

Michelle Mone announced her divorce on Twitter in 2013 when she revealed Mr Caplan had contacted her to confirm the news.

She tweeted: ‘Wow. My design meeting was interrupted by my lawyer Tony Caplan. I am now officially divorced. Drinks on me.’

The entrepreneur split from husband and business partner Michael in 2011.

Mr Caplan and Mr Neill declined to comment.  



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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