Owner of hedge grown over 30 years appeals for more time to cut it back

Harry Melrose has been issued with a high hedge notice for part of it to be cut back to just 2.5 metres from its current 15 metres.

East Lothian owner of hedge grown over 30 years appeals for more time to cut it back LDRS

The owner of a hedge, which has grown as high as 15 metres over 30 years, has appealed to Scottish Ministers to step in and give him more time to cut it back.

Harry Melrose has been issued with a high hedge notice by East Lothian Council calling for part of the hedge to be cut down to just 2.5 metres in three months and the rest brought down to six metres in 18 months.

Mr Melrose said the hedge acts as a windbreak and barrier for his hilltop cottage at West Morham, near Haddington

He claimed when issues with the hedge were first raised the council agreed to a five year plan to stagger the chop over a longer time frame.

And in an appeal to Scottish Ministers, Mr Melrose said he was advised by council experts taking too much off the hedge too quickly could cause terminal damage.

He has lodged an appeal against the demand for action within the timescales saying they are ‘unreasonable’ and  ‘unachievable.’

In his appeal statement, Mr Melrose said: “During a site visit (by the council) to my property…a person introduced to me as a professional landscaper advised me that we would be working on a five year plan with the rationale that the works and cutting back of trees and shrubbery would need to be staggered to reduce the chances of them dying during the reduction process.

“I don’t believe that the three month allocation for section A (a certain part of the hedge)  is a reasonable amount of time and it is significantly less than the five year plan.

“Having sought advice from a professional garden landscaper who has no connections to East Lothian Council, he has advised that the timescales set by the council are unreasonable in both sections and would advise on timescales of at least five years to allow a staggered approach in trimming and pruning.”

Mr Melrose goes on to stress he has no objections to reducing the height of the highest section of the hedge to six metres while questioning the need for the entire length identified by the council to be cut back.

And he asks for the section which the council is demanding is reduced to 2.5 metres to be retained at six metres saying it gives his house protection from a neighbouring property overlooking it.

He said: “I don’t have an issue with reducing the high hedge but the length of reduction on Section A along with the unreasonable timescales on both sections are not going to be achievable.”

East Lothian Council issued the high hedge notice ordering the reduction after a complaint about its impact on neighbouring land.

The case is now being investigated by the Scottish Government Reporter.

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