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Couple lose battle with their neighbours after claiming their 65ft trees left them in darkness

A couple who claimed their neighbours 65ft trees left their home in darkness and blocked their views have failed in their bid to have them cut down.

John and Irene Harrower from Oban, Argyll also claim the trees block natural light and have caused their energy bills to soar.   

Mr and Mrs Harrower decided to refer the matter to Argyll and Bute Council. 

However, council bosses ruled there hadn’t been enough communication between the neighbours to merit action under high hedge laws.  

John and Irene Harrower from Oban, Argyll, claim the trees (pictured) block natural light and have caused their energy bills to soar

John and Irene Harrower seen here with their dog called Breac near Tomintoul in the Scottish Highlands during a touring holiday in 2014

John and Irene Harrower seen here with their dog called Breac near Tomintoul in the Scottish Highlands during a touring holiday in 2014

The couple say they have suffered under the trees for the last four years and are locked in a dispute with their neighbours who they claim won't act to do anything about the trees

The couple say they have suffered under the trees for the last four years and are locked in a dispute with their neighbours who they claim won’t act to do anything about the trees

The couple claim they have suffered under the trees for the last four years and are locked in a dispute with neighbours Iain and Nicola Welsh.

In letters between the couples, the Harrowers said: ‘All the rooms, even upstairs which face that way are darkened as a result, requiring us to turn on lights far more than would otherwise be necessary with an obvious cost in electricity.’ 

After Argyll and Bute Council said it wouldn’t take action, Mr and Mrs Harrower appealed to the Scottish Government saying they lived in hope of having ‘light, heat and amenities restored to that side of our property.’

Mr and Mrs Harrower decided to refer the matter to Argyll and Bute Council. However, council bosses ruled there hadn't been enough communication between the neighbours to merit action under high hedge laws

 Mr and Mrs Harrower decided to refer the matter to Argyll and Bute Council. However, council bosses ruled there hadn’t been enough communication between the neighbours to merit action under high hedge laws

In letters between the couples, the Harrowers expressed their upset about having to turn on lights in rooms facing the trees and highlighted the 'obvious cost in electricity'

In letters between the couples, the Harrowers expressed their upset about having to turn on lights in rooms facing the trees and highlighted the ‘obvious cost in electricity’

'In fact our sun room was designed to have the benefit of the early morning sun from the east and to be environmentally friendly by reducing our need for heat and light but your trees are spoiling it,' said a letter to Mr and Mrs Welsh.

‘In fact our sun room was designed to have the benefit of the early morning sun from the east and to be environmentally friendly by reducing our need for heat and light but your trees are spoiling it,’ said a letter to Mr and Mrs Welsh. 

‘It is so depressing to have to turn on lights and radiators when it was rarely needed even in winter for nearly a decade as well as losing our view of the hills,’ the appeal stated.

The appeal goes on to say that Iain and Nicola Welsh have accepted ‘at last’ that the trees can be tackled from their own side, but hadn’t acted. 

‘There is now no reason to believe that any action will ever be taken if our appeal fails and we will be left with what all parties now refer to as ‘the high hedge’ forever growing higher and thicker?’ the appeal continued. 

In letters between the couples, the Harrowers expressed their upset about having to turn on lights in rooms facing the trees and highlighted the ‘obvious cost in electricity.’

Mr and Mrs Welsh maintained they were happy to meet with Mr and Mrs Harrower. The couple said they were happy to 'prune back' the trees and that the matter could be easily resolved. 'We offered to meet to view the shrubs from your side and discuss action required but you did not reply,' a letter from Mr and Mrs Welsh states

Mr and Mrs Welsh maintained they were happy to meet with Mr and Mrs Harrower. The couple said they were happy to ‘prune back’ the trees and that the matter could be easily resolved. ‘We offered to meet to view the shrubs from your side and discuss action required but you did not reply,’ a letter from Mr and Mrs Welsh states

‘In fact our sun room was designed to have the benefit of the early morning sun from the east and to be environmentally friendly by reducing our need for heat and light but your trees are spoiling it,’ the letter states.

Concerns are also expressed over pine needles with the couple saying they are continually forced to vacuum the carpet.

‘Some of the branches have clattered against our garage when the wind gets up and we are concerned they may cause damage,’ the letter continued.  

Mr and Mrs Welsh maintained they were happy to meet with Mr and Mrs Harrower but said no action had been taken. 

The view of the trees from the Harrower's house that they claim blocks out natural light and scenery

The view of the trees from the Harrower’s house that they claim blocks out natural light and scenery 

‘We had been unaware that the shrubs bordering our properties were causing any issues for you until July 2017 when you dumped a large pile of trimmings into this garden, indeed onto the step obstructing the entrance to our garage,’ said a letter sent by Mr and Mrs Welsh last year.

‘The following week you wrote to threaten us with an enforcement order under high hedge legislation and we offered to meet to view the shrubs from your side and discuss action required but you did not reply.’

The couple said they were happy to ‘prune back’ the trees and that the matter could be easily resolved. 

The Scottish Government ruled it didn't have the jurisdiction to determine the appeal

The Scottish Government ruled it didn’t have the jurisdiction to determine the appeal 

‘… to determine exactly what work is required we again request access to your garden in order to do this,’ Mr and Mrs Welsh added.

Referring to the appeal Mr and Mrs Harrower had lodged with the Scottish Government, government reporter Cherie Crystal said:

‘Upon further inspection of the appeal documentation by the reporter, we do not consider that we have jurisdiction to determine this appeal. I am aware that the council said that you had a right of appeal. However, for the reasons set out above, that information is incorrect. ‘I have written to the council separately to inform them and to request that they change the guidance they issue,’ Crystal continued.

High Hedge laws can only be used if all other options have been exhausted.

 

 

  

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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