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The County You Live, Work And Play

Top Finance Lawyer Lost Court Battle With Neighbour


A lawyer whose Leylandii trees formed a 'tall, dark green wall' over his neighbour's garden will have to cut them to less than a third of their original height after a long-running dispute which ended up before the Scottish government.

Jonathan Heaney had refused to cut down the 15-metre-tall cypress trees, insisting they pre-dated the construction of his neighbour Philip McAulay's home in Bothwell.

But after the row over the height of the trees went before both their local council and a government officer, he has now been told to reduce them to four metres.

Mr McAulay, 79, complained to council bosses about the trees and invoked laws on high hedges in a bid to have them removed.

He insisted that the conifers impacted on his 'quality of life' and hindered his enjoyment of his home and garden.

His claims fell on sympathetic ears at South Lanarkshire Council, who agreed with him and ordered the trees be chopped down.

But appealing the council's decision, Mr Heaney, 42, insisted his £500,000 Victorian mansion was built before Mr McAulay's house and the trees should not have to go.

He wrote: 'The trees have been on my property for a considerable period of time and pre-date my purchasing of the property.

'My understanding is that the trees also pre-date the construction of Mr McAulay's property.'

He added: 'As such, his property was built with the trees already in place, and it is difficult to see how any serious complaint about impacts on amenity can be made.'

After the intervention of the Scottish Government, whose officer described the trees as a 'tall, dark green wall', Mr Heaney agreed to reduce the trees' height to four metres rather than lose them altogether.

A report by planning official Malcolm Mahony said: 'In the most recent correspondence on behalf of Mr Heaney, it is stated that he has received advice from an arboricultural expert that the trees would be likely to survive pruning to a height of four metres, especially as they have previously been pruned to that height and survived with reasonable vigour.

'He therefore has now offered to prune them to that height, which he considers will continue to offer screening between the respective properties.'

He added: 'I consider that the suggested reduction in height to four metres would be sufficient to reduce loss of light and other impacts to an acceptable level in view of all the above circumstances and in line with the legislation and guidance.'