- Two gardens back on to each other with conifer trees planted on the border
- Neighbour says trees are too high and make garden ‘dark, damp, shadowy’
- The homeowner with trees on her land lives away from Scotland in Australia
- Aggrieved neighbours case has been rejected by the council and government
A homeowner has failed in a bid to force her absentee neighbours to chop down 60ft trees she claims have ruined her garden.
Donna Nicol used high hedge laws to try and force Madge Stephen-Spall and her parents to lop conifers that separate their gardens in the coastal town of Ayr.
Mrs Stephen-Spall lives in Australia but her family still own a £400,000 detached seafront property in the town.
The Scottish Government has a refused a homeowner’s request that these trees be cut because they are cutting out light to her garden
Donna Nicol says the trees have turned her garden into a ‘dark, damp, shadowy environment’
Mrs Nicol claims her neighbours have ignored her pleas over a hedge that overshadows her garden and no action has been taken since they first discussed the issue two years ago.
Mrs Nicol tried to push into South Ayrshire Council forcing a reduction in height for the conifers but officials rejected her claims.
She then turned to the Scottish Government in a last ditch bid to have them chopped, but has again failed.
Mrs Nicol wrote to council bosses: ‘Overall the impact of these non-native trees is to create a dark, damp, shadowy environment out of keeping with a bright sea front landscape and premier homes.’
The family of Madge Stephen-Spall own the property where the trees are growing
She added: ‘Further more, due to the absentee home ownership this situation has deteriorated until legal intervention is the only practical option.
‘Neighbours have for many years tried to convince the homeowners to manage the trees. There is a legal and moral responsibility upon all such homeowners in Scotland.’
Her appeal to the government stated: ‘I can find no robust evidence from the council that would convince any lay person viewing this site that no negative effects are evident on my property.’
But ruling against Mrs Nicol, government reporter Robert Maslin said: ‘I find the high hedge does reduce light in the rear garden and on the rear elevation of the house but I also find that the amount of reduction is limited and that a reasonable amount of light still reaches the rear garden and the rear of the house.’
Mrs Stephen-Spall was unavailable for comment.
The trees are visible in this picture of Mrs Nicol’s home in the seaside town of Ayr
Mrs Stephen-Spall owns a house which backs on to her neighbour’s garden