Hedges and Trees on land owned by the Housing Section, Wealden District Council
Do you have concerns about a tree or a hedge?
In the first instance, always contact the occupier. Responsibility for trees and hedges lies with the owner or occupier in most cases, and simply speaking to them about will often answer any queries or concerns you may have, particularly if you think the tree is dangerous or causing damage to your property.
Who is responsible for the hedge or tree?
In most cases, it is the owner of the land. While we will always help where we can, Wealden District Council is not responsible for all trees in the district, nor is it responsible for tracing owners. If you think the tree is on land owned by a Parish or Town Council, or East Sussex County Council, you should contact them first.
Is the hedge or tree in the garden of a Council Property?
The tenancy agreement makes very clear that responsibility for trees within the garden and boundary hedges lies with the tenant. For any concern about a hedge or tree, the matter should first be discussed with the occupier. It is the tenant’s responsibility to maintain the tree, to prevent it from causing damage and to report any damage it is causing to buildings.
I am a Council tenant and I am worried about the trees in my garden
Contact your housing officer. They will be able to discuss any concerns you may have. Trees in your garden are your responsibility, but there may be help we can offer although there is likely to be a charge.
My neighbour’s hedge or tree is overhanging my garden. What can I do?
Whether you are a Council Tenant or an owner-occupier, if your neighbour’s tree or hedge overhangs your garden, then you have the right to cut it back to the joint boundary. However, this should be discussed with your neighbour first and any arisings (timber or fruit, for instance) should be offered back to the occupier; they do not have to accept the arisings. If they do not accept the arisings, you are responsible for deposing of them.
If a tree is subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), then permission must be obtained from the Planning Department. Responsibility for checking whether a tree is subject to a TPO lies with the person who wants to carry out the work. There can be substantial fines if work is carried out to a tree with a TPO and permission is not obtained beforehand.
I am concerned about a hedge or tree and it is on communal land. What do I do?
You need to contact the owner. Within the Council’s housing stock, there are communal areas that are the responsibility of the Council rather than individual tenants. In this case, contact the Housing Officer in the first instance.
What work will the Council do?
Across all our landholdings, we employ contractors to inspect our trees, make recommendations and carry out work. If a query is raised about a specific tree on housing land, one of our officers will investigate it and if necessary, ask the contractor to carry out a more thorough inspection. If the tree needs work carried out, an order will be placed with the contractor. How quickly the work will be carried out will depend on how urgent the work is and the capacity of the contractor.
The work we are able to carry out is very constrained by budget, so we only do work that falls into the following categories:
- Recommended by our contractor
- Reactive emergency – something has fallen, is about to fall or is obviously very dangerous
- Essential to do – touching a building, lifting up a driveway, fence, etc or likely to do so shortly
What we cannot is:
- Prune or remove due to loss of light or spoiling views
- Prune or remove due to poor TV/Satellite reception
- Prune or remove due to leaf fall or seeds making a mess
I know the hedge or tree is on Council owned land. Who do I contact?
Go to the Council’s website, www.wealden.gov.uk and put “contact” into the search page, this will take you directly to an enquiry that you can complete with your contact details and the nature of the enquiry.