Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Cambridge City Council (21 013 703)

Category : Environment and regulation > Trees

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 19 Jan 2022

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about a remedial notice issued under high hedges legislation. Ms X exercised her right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and the matter is outside our jurisdiction.

The complaint

  1. Ms X complained about the Council’s implementation of a High Hedges remedial notice on her under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. She says an initial letter in 2018 wrongly identified her property and the Council’s procedures for assessing the hedge were flawed. She says the action under the notice has caused unnecessary damage to her trees and claimed £10,000 in compensation from the Council.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone can appeal to a government minister. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(b))
  2. The Planning Inspectorate is the body representing the Secretary of State with regard to appeals about high hedge remedial notices.
  3. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a government minister. The Planning Inspector acts on behalf of a government minister. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(b), as amended)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

Back to top

My assessment

  1. Ms X says the Council served a remedial notice on her for the height of her hedge which has caused the neighbours to make a complaint. She says an initial letter wrongly identified her property and that the Council’s inspector did not carry out his assessments impartially or view from her property.
  2. The Council says the typing error was corrected in subsequent correspondence and the assessment and notice followed the correct procedure. It has a duty to responded to requests to consider high hedges under the legislation and its actions were part of the statutory process.
  3. Ms X challenged the remedial notice by appealing to the Planning Inspectorate. The appeal was unsuccessful, and the Planning Inspector made his own decision about the site. This decision is binding on the council and the parties involved and we have no authority to investigate once an appeal has been submitted, regardless of the outcome.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Ms X’s this complaint about a remedial notice issued under high hedges legislation. Ms X exercised her right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and the matter is outside our jurisdiction.

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page