Boundary Issues – I think my neighbours tree will die when I build my extension

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  • Boundary Issues – I think my neighbours tree will die when I build my extension
  • Premier Icon Lesanita2

    My dear neighbour is a solicitor and likes a good argument, usually ending in him winning.

    When I build my meagre extension he says there is a risk of his precious tree dying (which is true) and he wants a like for like replacement (or cacsh equivalent). Anyone else come up against this!

    Its a 6m high scabby holly tree which provides him much screening from us poor people (actually it breaks up the view of my gable end, but he can still see 95% of the wall). The tree has been planted hard up against the boundary wall. It will brush against the wall I’m trying to build.

    He wants compenstion £1000+ for a like for like tree. The tree is now only half a tree as the bit that has grown over my side has been pruned back by previous owners. The tree has gone very leggy and is only 1 metre wide. It is a por specimen of a tree, but the guy has seem an opportunity to make a gain from me.

    I know that it is my fault that tree will die, but he has been unneighbourly by growing the tree so close to the boundary.

    I only have a thin strip as I am the end of our terrace.
    I think it would be fair if he accepted that I pay for 2 new smaller trees for say 200 to 300 quid total, but he wants a semi-mature tree craning into positon as a like for like replacement (albeit further from my wall now).
    That’s a long story cut short.

    I have offered him compromises, but he has gone the Party Wall Surveyor route, which I have to pay for.
    I’m sure you are ored with my ramblings now.

    Anybody else come across this. Any good tips?

    Thanks for reading my desparate ramblings.


    £1000 for a holly tree? He’s avn a larf arnt he?

    I’ll sell him any number of holly trees if he wants to pay that much.
    Remember that if any of his trees damage your buildings then he will have to pay for repair work. If he’s a solicitor, sorry smart arse, then get a solicitor of your own. Will work out cheaper in the long run.

    £1000 for a holly tree, oh dear, oh dear.

    Premier Icon scaredypants

    Long before you start work, drill into roots & inject weedkiller
    then offer him a tenner for his dead tree as firewood

    or maybe you’re allowed to cut back his roots at the boundary – as long as you give the bits back

    or kill him & dump body in your new foundations

    Premier Icon Lesanita2

    builder are ready to start in next few weeks, time not on my hands, too late to kill. Maybe an anonymous bit of tree surgery??? best not, he probably has a camera trained on the tree.

    Premier Icon Lesanita2

    Whats a good price for a 6m high Holly Tree then? including installation.

    Same question for a portugal laurel, 6m high, that is less likely to be killed, but he wants the money putting into an account before my work starts that the legal people will dip into if his trees die!!!


    advertise the £1000.00 tree as an attraction and charge 500 people to see it from your garden for £2.50 a view? you make a tidy profit and he gets his £1000.00 but the joy of advertising the “solicitor certified £1000.00 tree” in the local and national gutter press should be fun?

    Premier Icon ton

    get a soliciter involved
    if the roots from his tree damage your build he is at fault.
    also if you have planning permission ther should be no problem.


    This stuff is my job, from what you’ve described it sounds well over the top to me but unfortunately it is fairly typical neighbour behaviour.

    1) there are several ways of valuing trees, it depends on the size etc but £1,000 sounds well over the top for a small holly in a back garden. A couple of smaller ones seems a very reasonable alternative.

    2) you have a common law right to cut roots that cross to your side of the boundary but anything removed must at least be offered back to the owner. If you damage the tree in the process you would probably be liable, although the legal position on that isn’t clear.

    3) There are codes of practice [BS5837:2005] for building near trees, which specify safe distances etc. to avoid damaging roots, but if its growing against an existing boundary wall it is possible that no roots have crossed the boundary anyway. If so you might be able get the new wall in without damaging it too badly.

    4) before it goes much further get a photo or two so you have proof of the tree’s condition. If it is starting to decline that makes it harder for anyone to claim that it started after you did the building work.

    Where is this? I might be able to put you on to someone local.

    Hope this helps

    If you do have to go down the Party Wall Surveyor’s route, that might not be such a bad thing, as remember the appointed surveyors duty is to represent the Act itself, not the person who appointed them.

    Premier Icon Pook

    chop it down whilst wearing a mask. He can’t prove it’s you and the tree will be gone.

    Then wee in his shoes.


    Wee/shoe interface then picolax in his cornflakes.

    Should keep him busy while the pikeys you’ve employed chainsaw and then chip the holly tree all over his back yard.

    Premier Icon Lesanita2

    Thanks Swamp_boy. Thats sound advice.
    BS5837:2005 relates to depth of foundations if you are building close to trees doesn’t it. I’ll check how my contract covers me for the fact teh builders estimate covers the fact he may not have priced for the extra foundations. It was discussed, but I didn’t check the ultrafine print. SHoudl be ok.

    I’ll get the camera out.

    Premier Icon thepurist

    Swamp boy is spot on – you are allowed to prune the tree to your boundary (including roots) & offer the cut material back to your neighbour – it’s his tree but effectively trespassing on your property. You have a duty of care to do this in a responsible manner, but the ‘what if you’re carfeul but the tree still dies’ scenario is poorly covered. If you’ve got planning consent for the build then perhaps get the LA’s tree officer involved (risky!) or tell your neigbour that as you’re entitled to do the work he can appoint an arborist (at his expense) to observe the tree work to ensure it’s done in accordance with the law.

    BS5837:2005 is the standard on building near trees and covers ‘root protection areas’ as well as protection of trees during construction and depths of foundations for close trees. Last time I was involved in this sort of thing not all LA’s had adopted the 2005 standard so there may still be some local variation.

    You could also try asking on


    builder are ready to start in next few weeks, time not on my hands, too late to kill

    Don’t be such a plonker. Did you not learn anything from Grand Designs and the plonker on there who just carried on regardless, without getting everything sorted beforehand. Your neighbour is a solicitor and that means he’s only interested in himself, and what he can get out of any situation.

    See a solicitor, and get everything in writing. If you just start the build you run the risk of a whole lot of trouble.

    Also remember, if you come to sell your house you will have to disclose that there has been a dispute with your neighbour. Regardless of the facts of the case, a dispute with neighbours will put off potential buyers.

    Get it sorted before you do anything.

    Van Halen

    If you do have to go down the Party Wall Surveyor’s route, that might not be such a bad thing, as remember the appointed surveyors duty is to represent the Act itself, not the person who appointed them.

    having been a party wall surveyor on several jobs, if you believe the last bit you are goin to get **** over. If he has aparty wall surveyor working on his behalf (he cant be client and surveyor) then you have to get one too.

    if the foundations are designed correctly the tree/bush wont damage your new extension.

    the chances are the bush will survive. prune build and see what happens. If he wants a replacement say you`ll replace it but *you* can source it. He doesnt have to even see the money.

    get a proper tree person to look at it to see what sort of bush it is and how healthy it is. For the sake of £200 to get a tree guy in its a small price to pay. it could be expensive if its a rare variety and it dies.

    And if you get a solicitor involved make sure they aren’t this guys best mate – then you would never win.


    My Brother who had recently moved into a property, had his neighbour pay contractors to cut down a line of trees ON HIS SIDE of the fence, ok they were 20-30 feet conifers, he came home from work and went kind of mental as you would 😉

    Neighbour argued that the boundary to there properties were wrong, then the previous owner had agreed they could be cut down, then they blamed the contractors for the mistake, then made a complaint to the police for harassment.

    It got very messy and ended up with a number of court cases, my brother eventually won, took nearly 3 years of messing about and he was eventually awarded £1k for each tree, 6 all together needed replacing.

    They then claimed they could not afford to pay and are now paying it off £25 a month!

    My Bro is well out of pocket still, put a real downer on living at the property!

    Try going round and have a friendly civilised if you can chat with the neighbour, offer to replace the tree if it does die.

    Good luck

    Then p33 in his shoes.

    Premier Icon Lesanita2

    I’ve tried to reason with the guy. I’ve offered him a number of options to the value of £1000ish (the price to get the party wall surveors in). He took the mickey and wanted more (approx £3000) and he got all shirty (as did his ex-scholl teacher wife (they are both 65ish)), so I retracted all my offers eventually. Party Wall Surveyors are currently appointed and we’ll wait and see what happens. I’m told I have a really strong case, but I am not getting too excited. This bloke will make it his life’s work to gain out of this. He’s lived round here for 20 years, I’ve only lived here 6 – probably the root cause of the problem. The other neighbours dislike him and I don’t need him. My 9 year old summed it up well “I don’t think he likes being with people daddy”.

    I took loads of photo and video today. Noticed his trees have started pushing over the boundary wall!!! and they have damaged one corner of old stone shed – thats something to mention to my party wall surveyor. He would have to pay for the repairs if I wasn’t going to do the building work and pull the lot down. That must reduce his claim. The tree leaning on the boundary wall may have to be dug up anyway.

    I looked up Holly trees today at the local nursery and portugal laurel.They are £30-£50 each for upto 5 foot high. Its a long way from £1000.

    Building Control coming over next week. The trees may have to go to make way from the build anyway and replanting trees near the border may not be an option.

    Thanks for help, your coments appreciated.


    £1k for a Holly tree is taking the piss, you could buy a decent sized Wellingtonia Redwood for that, if he wants 😉

    My brother, just to piss them off a bit, hired a 20ft inflatable snowman over xmas and stuck it facing them, he had it lit up like a runway.

    In the wind it used to rock and looked as if it was waving at them, I nearly pissed myself when I went round.

    My brother is a bit of a git, neighbour from hell though 😉


    Fahsand pahynd for a fahkin tree???

    What a ****.

    Whilst I’m all for preserving nature, this just sounds like he wants money. Greedy fecker.

    You know what I’d do? Sh1t in a tupperware container, give that to him and say ‘here you go mate, you can have that for free’.



    Wasnt it Moses and the burning bush, a gallon of Shells finest will do the job well, to the bush that is.

    In the wind it used to rock and looked as if it was waving at them, I nearly pissed myself when I went round.

    PMSL!! Thats awesome.

    Premier Icon piedi di formaggio

    A quick bit of research on the net suggests that holly trees can become diseased with the following

    * Honey fungus (butt rot)

    * Perennial canker (which affects twigs, bark, stem etc…)

    * Phytophthora blight & leaf miner (which affects the leaves, shoots, buds, flowers and fruit)

    I think you should investigate Honey Fungus. I’m sure you find it amusing to give your neighbour Butt Rot!!

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    Baseball bat therapy

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