Defiant homeowner refuses council order to trim his 20m high conifer trees

·3-min read
Richard and Sheila Cory in their garden - with the hedge in the background. (SWNS)
Neighbours Richard and Sheila Cory in their garden - with the trees in the background. (SWNS)

A defiant homeowner is refusing a legal order to trim his 20-metre tall trees after neighbours complained they put their garden in shade.

John Rose, 61, was sent a letter last week warning him that he must cut down his leylandii conifer bushes as they “adversely affect the enjoyment” of adjoining houses.

The 20-metre trees have been a permanent fixture at the detached property for decades.

Council papers show neighbours Richard and Sheila Cory originally wrote a letter of complaint about the trees in 2013 as they "block sunlight" from their garden.

North East Derbyshire District Council say the trees must be pruned within six months and failure to do so will result in prosecution or a fine.

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cutting thuja tree with garden hedge clippers
The homeowner says his conifers are doing the neighbours a favour. (Getty)

Planning officers say the two conifer bushes must be trimmed to no more than 2.1 metres and 5.3 metres - and maintained at no more than 3.1 metres and 6.3 metres.

Rose, an IT consultant, claims his house has suffered water damage and cutting the trees down would make the problem worse.

He said: "They're around 20 metres high, but to cut them down to two or three metres, you might as well cut them out all together as they'll just die and will need cutting out.

"The reason they're so big and healthy is because they're soaking up water.

"We don't know where the water is coming from, but it's causing damage and that will get worse if the trees are cut down.

"The irony is one of the trees is soaking up water and stopping it going into their garden. Cutting it down would turn their garden into a bog."

In the letter in 2013, Rose's neighbours wrote: “For much of the year they cast a full shadow across our garden and in the winter months they block the light of the sun when it is low in the sky from our kitchen.

“It disturbs me to think that maybe you are resisting the idea of cutting them down - I think you simply need to be a good neighbour and completely fell all of them.”

In April this year, after asking North East Derbyshire District Council to step in, Corey, 67, said: “They dominate everything.

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"They’re higher than the house now, about 20-25 metres high. It’s ridiculous – we would like them removed."

But Rose, who took the house on from his parents in 2002, said: "I'm suffering more than anyone else, because my garden is totally in shade, but I can't cut them down.

"This has been going for about 10 years and causing so much stress.

"I have been trying to get hold of the council officer who wrote the letter, but he isn't at work and nobody else will talk to me.

"I feel like they're trying to avoid a discussion so don't want to talk to me.

"I've been dealing with so many authorities and I feel like I'm banging my head against the wall."

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