Neighbours at loggerheads over 50ft hedge

Woman who has been refused planning permission grows enormous hedge

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neighbour row over hedge
A group of neighbours have spoken out in desperation, after a 15 year battle over a row of 50ft conifers. They claim the trees have deliberately been planted in order to ruin their view.

Valerie Vivian, a 70-year-old retiree, planted the conifers in a plot of land she owns in Bathampton in 2001. The trees grow at a rate of three feet a year, so need constant maintenance. Without it, the neighbours say Vivian's trees have reached 50 feet tall. They now stand between them and a spectacular view of Solsbury Hill.

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According to The Sun, the neighbours claim that they were planted in a deliberate act of revenge. Apparently Vivian has repeatedly applied for planning permission for four houses on a plot next to her own property. Each time, the neighbours object, and each time, permission is refused.

The Daily Mail reported that the neighbours had called on the Parish Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council for help, but they have struggled because the law on high hedges only forces people to cut them down if they are a barrier to light, or cause access problems. In this instance, they still get plenty of light, and never had access - they just want their view back.

The view before the hedge grew

Ongoing row

This isn't the first time that Vivian has hit the headlines. Back in November she was arrested for 'stealing grass'. She had laid a 150 foot gravel path across communal gardens in the cul de sac, in an effort to provide access to the plot of land where she wanted the houses to be built.

The council ordered that the path should be removed - but because it was communal land, shared between the neighbours, they all had to pay for the gravel to be taken away and the grass relaid.

In November, we reported that as the grass had started to come through, Vivian had been removing it, bagging it up and dumping it on her land. She was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and 'theft' of the grass.

Neighbour shockers

It goes to show how people can end up going to extraordinary lengths if they get embroiled in a spat with the neighbours. One of the most well-known was back in April last year, where one woman was struggling to get planning permission, so decided to paint her house in red and white stripes.

One of the most extreme was the couple who went to court in 2002, after trimming a hedge beside their property. It had been the subject of a long-running dispute, and they received a court order stopping them from trimming it. So when they broke the order, they were jailed for 28 days. They were in court again the following year, for the same thing - but they weren't jailed again.

But perhaps the most shocking was the Michigan man who in 2013 decided to express his feelings about his ex-wife by buying the house next door to hers, and erecting a 12-foot high statue giving her the finger. The statue alone cost $7,000.

Nightmare neighbours

Nightmare neighbours