A VETERAN'S charity has been ordered to cut back a high hedge at one of its properties after a Scottish Government reporter deemed it was too high.

An appeal had been lodged after Fife Council decided not to issue a High Hedge notice to Veteran Housing Scotland at one of its properties for ex service people in Dunfermline's Cherrybank.

Brian Taylor, who lives in a neighbouring house, raised his concerns about the impact the nine-metre hedge was having on his home.

He said the bushes were blocking out natural daylight, sun and preventing drying of ground in wet weather and turned to the Scottish Government after the local authority said the hedges didn't have a detrimental effect.

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"We in Scotland don’t get too much sun or fine weather therefore when we do we can’t enjoy it for these trees," he said.

"I don't share the view of the council that spacing between trees allows adequate lighting as date of site visit was 28/11/2023 when trees and other hedges and shrubbery are dormant having shed leaves and foliage etc.

Dunfermline Press: A Scottish Government reporter has ordered high hedges at a property in Cherrybank in Dunfermline to be cut back.A Scottish Government reporter has ordered high hedges at a property in Cherrybank in Dunfermline to be cut back. (Image: Fife Council Planning)

"In summertime when other hedges and bushes are in full bloom fills any gaps, in addition the canopy of the trees at height, come together forming an high arch, thus reducing further light and sunlight with more shading. I therefore consider this to be a continuous high hedge."

Veterans Housing Scotland's property manager, Lindsay Dunbar-Shaw, said both of their properties had "co-existed" with the trees for over three decades.

"The trees in question were not arbitrarily planted and have been a part of the landscape for an extended period," she said. "When the homeowners purchased these properties, it is reasonable to assume that they were aware of the presence of these trees.

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"As they have been a prominent feature for such a significant time, it is unlikely that their existence came as a surprise upon purchase.

"Our veterans take great pride in maintaining the trees on their side of the property. Their keenness ensures that the trees remain well-groomed and do not pose any hazard or inconvenience to the surrounding area.

"Importantly, these trees serve a crucial purpose beyond mere aesthetics. They provide a sense of privacy and security to our veterans who have bravely served our country."

Scottish Government reporter Sarah Foster said that whilst the trunks of the pine trees in the curtilage of the Cherrybank property were spaced up to four metres apart in some instances, the branches overlap from around two metres above ground level and form a hedge with no obvious, continuous gaps devoid of vegetation.

"The hedge is particularly thick at the eastern corner of the garden with two trees set 1.5 metres apart and a densely overlapping crown spread," she stated.

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"The key issue in this appeal is the hedge’s impact on the light levels experienced at the rear of the appellant’s property, in the garden room, and in first floor habitable rooms.

"In coming to a view, I must consider whether the hedge’s height adversely affects the level of enjoyment that can be reasonably expected.

"This may not reflect the level of amenity that would be ideal or desirable from the appellant’s point of view.

"My perception is that the hedge is therefore an overbearing and dominant feature that would affect the appellant’s reasonable enjoyment of this amenity space regardless of whether or not it causes any undue loss of light to the garden as a whole."

A high hedge notice has now been issued ordering initial action for the hedge to be reduced to six metres in height by September 30.

The measure also states preventative action should be taken by the owner of the neighbouring land so that the hedges does not exceed a maximum height of 6.5 metres.