Scottish Ministers intervene in East Lothian hedge row

Wednesday May 24th 2023


Photograph highlighting the high hedges at the centre of the dispute between Aberlady neighbours.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Claims a high hedge was blocking light from a garden have been dismissed on appeal after it was ruled it would have to be nine metres high to have a detrimental impact.

Scottish Ministers were asked to intervene after East Lothian Council refused to step into the row between neighbours over the hedge in Aberlady.

Applicant Alan Armitage, who lives in Whinny View, Aberlady, asked the council to serve a High Hedge order on the owners of a neighbouring house after he said writing to them failed to bring any action.

But when planning officers visited the garden, on neighbouring Mair End in the village, they failed to find a problem.

And they argued that the fact Mr Armitage had put decking in his garden creating a raised seating area meant the hedges were needed to protect his neighbour’s privacy.

Mr Armitage appealed to Scottish Ministers disputing the officers decision to treat the complained about hedging as two separate hedges because there is a small gap between them.

He also pointed to two trees at either end of the hedging which were seven metres high and had not been included in the calculations by the council.

However the Scottish Government Reporter has thrown out the appeal despite agreeing with Mr Armitage that the shrubs should be treated as one hedge.

Rejecting his appeal, the Reporter says that the hedging, which is around 4.5 metres high, would have to be double that to have a detrimental impact on the neighbouring garden.

And he said even if the seven-metre high trees were included as part of the hedging they would still be acceptable.

He said: “I do not consider that the appellant’s reasonable enjoyment of the dwelling house or garden would be affected to a significant extent by the hedge at its current height.

“In addition there is also scope for significant further growth of the hedge before it reaches the actionable height that could potentially justify the issue of a certificate.”

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