Hedge row forces council to intervene after neighbour left 'tearful' over 'ugly' foliage

The hedge in Crieff, Scotland

The neighbours share a fence but both have differing viewpoints on it

Scottish Government
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 27/09/2023

- 13:28

Updated: 27/09/2023

- 13:28

Two neighbours in Scotland have clashed over a 3.4m hedge

A row between neighbours over an "ugly" hedge has forced the Government to get involved.

Two homeowners in Crieff, Scotland have clashed over the 3.4m hedge that separates their homes, as one thinks it’s ugly, whilst the other believes it offers security.

The owner of the house in Macrostry Gardens, Elspeth Dunn, said the hedge at the back of her property provides privacy and makes her feel safe.

Meanwhile, Ali Buchan, a homeowner on Turretbank Road who also borders the hedge, blasted it as unsightly and said it made her feel “sad and tearful”.

The hedge

The council had to get involved

Scottish Government

An investigation conducted by the local council concluded that the hedge did not need to be cut down.

Buchan decided to appeal the decision.

In her appeal submission, she claimed that the hedge had grown since when she first moved to Turretbank Road in 2016.

She wanted it reduced by 0.6m.

The case was then heard by a government planning reporter, who ultimately decided to back the council’s original decision.


In her appeal statement, Bunchan said: “The impact on light, on our reasonable enjoyment of our garden and the health and safety issues in maintaining our side of the hedge (which were not present when we first moved in) should override the slight impact on the ambience and privacy for the owner if the hedge was to be reduced by 2ft.

“I am also concerned about our ability to sell our house in the future with the hedge being so unsightly.

“It is ugly and I just cannot bring myself to spend time in garden or use it with my friends and family as we had when we first moved in.”

Buchan claimed that the hedge and the council and Government’s decision to keep it as it is had negatively impacted her mental health.

“It makes me sad and tearful, every time I look at it,” she said.

Dunn’s daughter, Mairi Ferguson, submitted a response on behalf of her mother.

“In the intervening years it has never been lower nor has it grown significantly higher,” wrote Ferguson.

“The hedge is very important to my mum.

“It provides privacy between her bedroom window and the neighbours’ living rooms to the rear.”

The hedge

The council decided the hedge did not need to be cut down

Scottish Government

Ferguson said if the hedge was cut, it would impact her mother’s sense of wellbeing and security.

Buchan accused her neighbour of “gaslighting” and the council of “positive age discrimination”.

The government planning reporter wrote: “The height of the hedge does not adversely affect the appellant’s amenity which they should be reasonably expected to enjoy.”

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