Local Council want £350 for a complaint investigation

19 Replies

Hello, As we are here most of the time am not familier with lots of new legislations in the UK.There  seems so many of them!!!  Anyway, at our holiday home in the UK the neighbours leylandii edge is now so tall all my shrubs and plants have died on my side.  It has grown like a huge umberella and, what was once a pretty garden is not any more.  The neighbours were very angry when I tried to chop off one of these huge overhanging pieces.  I wrote to the council to ask how high a leylandii hege could be and they were very unhelpful and said I would have to pay them £350 to ask them a question and they MIGHT investigate it. What do those council people do to earn their money?  Are they there just to extract as much as they can from the public?  I feel really upset with them as they also want to sell of the Public Hall which is still used a lot.  They have sold off everything else so it's awful for people with children. There is nothing for them to do without it costing a fortune.  I have just had a reply to say that cventral government said they can charge up to £700.00 for enquiries like mine and that they (as a council)    are very reasonable!!!!

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demonhighwayman 1452288133

The local councils, just like the police are there to primarily make money for the centralised government. The charge does seem extreme though and if you can contact a C.A.B. in the UK that might be your best bet. Good luck.

Cumbrian-440719 1452288334

If you have legal expenses insurance with your house insurance you will most likely be covered for this sort of dispute. Contact them for advice before you pay the Council anything.

hillhead 1452288405

This gives some guidance for you




geegee42 1452288885

You can chjop off all the branches that overhang your property and as far as I know there are rules regarding height, all you need to do is Google it and get all your info for free, when I had a problem with a neighbour and his hedge he eventually took the lot out and put in a few posts which he stretched wire between, I ended up putting up a whole new fence and then moving, hedge disputes can be quite vexing, I remember a case in Norwich where a chap wanted to cut down his own hedge, the neighbours took out an injunction to stop him doing it because it affected their privacy, the hedge owner got out his chainsaw and did away with the hedge, the police arrived arrested the hedge owner and his wife and they ended up with a month in the clinker.

normandytreesurgery 1452289258

Amazing story Geegee42,

 Do you have a link to this?


geegee42 1452289927

No but if you as usual Google it you should turn it up and you being a tree chopper I would have thought might be aware of the UK regs regarding leylandi.

geegee42 1452290104

Google BBC news Norwich couple jailed over hedge dispute.

moi-383589 1452291970



Kernowboy-10061199 1452294064

Just consider your council's point of view.  If they didn't charge for looking into this, every Tom, Dick and Harry would be asking the council to address all sorts of silly issues. However, your's is a serious issue so putting that money up front will prove to them that you are not just involved in a petty dispute with your neighbour's.  Chances are that should they find in your favour you will be re-emboursed.  Is this problem not worth paying that much to have resolved?

geegee42 1452296754

I thought the op wanted an idea of how he stood legally, not some usual drawn out council investigation, the receptionist at the local authority should just tap the keyboard click on print and hand over a copy of the law, it in the UK just like over here should be part of the service to the public that they should be providing.

Fitter 1452298950

Before moving to France I was about to make out a complaint about our UK neighbour's hedge.

I found this website very helpful then and they are still going.


Hope this helps-best of luck.

There is a legal case somewhere that if you pay your £350 or whatever to register your complaint and your complaint is upheld - then you could sue the neighbour in the small claims court to recover that fee.

geegee42 1452300170

Yes then probably win, find the neighbours are so poor and want to pay you a pound a week, stop paying after a month then you find yourself as the plaintiff on here come the sheriffs or can't pay and we take it away.

oakley-419073 1452335233


Thanks for all your helpful replies.  May be hedges is mainly a Norfolk/Suffolk thing.  I don't know why the council have to be so petty and greedy  and don't understand why the neighbours should be so nasty over such a minor thing.  I have been to the C.A.B. on two separate occasions (nothing to do with this) and I found them hopeless.  They only told me to go to a solicitor!!  That's the thing I would like to avoid because of the time I would reluctantly have to spend in the UK.


I would proably be throwing away £350.00 as (from the very stupid reply I received) I would not get anywhere.  No one who works in the local government will take any decisions at all - everyone is too afraid and act like little mice - it's pathetic.  Just see the geegee42 post and that is the mentality I am dealing with.  Will do a google about the regulations that I had not thought of doing. 

jackorjason 1452611250

Interesting read Geegee - surprised some couldn't find it !

normandytreesurgery 1452808419


 No but if you as usual Google it you should turn it up and you being a tree chopper I would have thought might be aware of the UK regs regarding leylandi.

End Quote


No need for that tone is there?



geegee42 1452814172

What tone? I thought Normandy ranger was a tree surgeon and should be aware of the UK regs regarding height of hedges and usually Google is what you use to search for stuff, but anyway have you had any joy with your hedge problem?.

Cookatreat 1454457975

In the UK -

If it is a question of past cases , or regulations , A freedom of information request must be answered by the council , enclose a £10 fee only .

to get advice and an investigation into your case will probably fall into the planning department area , and there the councils tend to have minimum fees , but £350 seems high , so it's worth checking if they have quoted the right price .

you could also include electern councilors or your mp . 

There is also the court route , but this can be very expensive and time consuming ( uk courts have become very slow since cuts in legal aid and court service funding)

'the other option is say nothing to anyone and chop them down or poison them under cover of darkness !  Just make sure you are not seen , b you will have to choose .............


Fitter 1455138498

The high hedges legislation was thought up and introduced by John Prescott. You may remember that he was, at one time, deputy prime minister of the UK, god help us all.

He left it up to local councils as to how much they should charge for the inspection, and wouldn't you know it - the councils decided to fill their boots on the back of homeowners who had problems with their neighbours high hedges.

oakley-419073 1455277245

The council here say they charge very little to ask them a question (£350) and councils are allowed to charge up to £700 !!!  My point also is that apart from my complaint why are the people who work in the council so very dim and stupid not to be able to answer a very simple question on the phone.  I feel like talking to a person is rather strange to these people and that the general public are just a nuisance so they say to you  'refer to the website .................'.  

I remember a long time ago when they charged nothing if the complaint was serious and I could talk to a real person !!!

They are now starting to charge people for wheelie bins and (if you do not pay) they will confiscate your wheelie!!!.  Surely that is covered in the council taxes??     I can see that loads more fly tipping is going to happen. 

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