Sadly just over 6 weeks ago, my daughter witnessed (& recorded) my neighbour on a ladder – leaning into my garden, cutting my Buddleia bush & aiming the cuttings into my Koi Pond (the pond I have spent £2000 moving already due to their complaints about the noise of the trickling waterfall & also due to many instances of things being thrown in the pond).
This throwing of rubbish into my garden has happened every year (2-3 times) for the last 7/8 years from both sides, both state as a defence that as I am a Social Housing tenant they are allowed to do it as my landlord says they can….
My daughter captured this particular incidence on Video, (the Neighbour was laughing at her filming & you can hear her shout “you can’t do anything to me” clearly). The Video was shown to the Police & my landlord, BUT as stated previously, the laws do not apply equally & the PRIVATE owner is not subject to “acceptable” behaviour standards as we are (socially housed) & can behave in a manner they see fit, without fear of reprisal due to the unequal way the law works.
So after a multitude of emails & being told by the police the neighbour didn’t realise my pond was there (even though they were the ones who made us move it to that exact position & she had on the day in question put a ladder up, behind her shed next to the fence to aim the cuttings correctly)…. No one could help as usual; I wrote the following letter –
12 september 2012
Mrs * ********
** **** ****
After taking legal advice regarding your insistence on acting in what can only be described as a purposefully aggravating way when dealing with overhanging branches from my Buddleia bush, I am writing to ask if you would try to restrain your vigour in future.
The law states you are indeed entitled to reduce back to the boundary line of a property any overhanging branches which are coming from a neighbouring Garden, but you must put the cuttings in their garden as they are their property.
However – as stated, it mentions “Putting the cuttings back in their garden” – The Citizens advice bureau told me this afternoon via email –
The cuttings are legally the property of your neighbour. Not everyone knows this, however (and your neighbour may not) so I wouldn’t advise simply throwing the cuttings into his garden as people sometimes recommend for such situations; As it’s rather rude to throw unexpected foliage into people’s gardens.
You should tell your neighbour you’d like to trim the parts of the plants that overhang your garden, and ask him whether he would like the cuttings. As with many neighbours who have an untidy garden and overgrowing plants, the answer will probably be “no”, so you can put them in the bin / compost at your convenience.
I am confident you wont want to compost for me – however as you are well aware I have 3 compost bins, purchased from Merton Council 4 years ago, (When I raised this issue with you previously) & asked then, as I am now, for you to please place any and all cuttings you feel necessary to make in the alley, on our side & let us know, so we will happily compost them.
After a month I have received the following response – Clearly again showing their contempt for me – I have written in italics after parts that I wish to talk about (NOT just for me, BUT for every socially housed person who is targeted in this way)
Dear MRS (I am a MISS & THEY ARE WELL AWARE OF THAT) ****** (NAME DELIBERATELY SPELT WRONG.
thank you for your nice letter dated 12th September 2012 regarding the issue of your overgrown shrubs, Please accept my apologies for not responding sooner only I have been on vacation in the USA (inferring I can’t afford a Holiday).
like yourself I obtained advice on Garden law and enclose a copy of some guided information that was provided (inferring I am in need of guidance!). Although it refers to hedges the same principals apply to Shrubs. This approach is directed to neighbours that want to work together, which I feel is near impossible as you may recall you were not prepared to complete the mediation process that we entered into (I left in tears after being called a paedophile, prostitute, drug grower/user in front of the police, environmental health department, 2 mediators, 3 council officials – all on record. However, I received an official apology from my Housing Department for putting me through this – the neighbours actually stated during the mediation they were only there to see what they had to complain about to get the “council scum” evicted.. My landlord said that wouldn’t be happening as I had NEVER been found guilty of any of the 500+ complaints).
I would refer you to the day in question. 10th September. I was not purposefully cutting your shrubs back in an aggravated way, I was following the instructions given to me by **** ******* by email in 2010 (general leaflet/instruction about returning overgrown shrubs to the neighbour – can be found on many Social Housing websites).which was to cut shrubs & out them back over the fence. I think that it really is case that you are purposefully aggravating us by allowing your shrubs to overgrow to the point that they overhang. If you were to maintain them from your side as much as possible, then the need to cut them back to our side is reduced. (The neighbours moved their fence into my garden by 2 foot 6 years ago, bringing their fence directly next to my bushes – I fought to have my garden reclaimed, BUT as the Social housing Landlord said a case would cost to much, they allowed them to have the land – this has left my shrubs right next to their fence. They also called the police when I put up a trellis to stop my shrubs from encroaching over & had me threatened with “criminal damage” to their fence because of the tacks used to hold the trellis up – thereby totally dis-empowering me from stopping my plants from hanging over the top of the moved fencing.)
Now as you know my mother is 82 years old (I actually didn’t know that, Why would I?). and is no longer able to attend the garden as actively as she has done in the past. I am sure you would not expect your own mother to climb a ladder & tidy up someone else’s mess (inferring my home/garden is a mess – I will post a picture below – make up your own mind). I work 40 hours a week (inferring I dont work) and have a spinal condition (maybe she shouldn’t be up a ladder leaning over my back garden?) and therefore despite what you might think, I have difficulty in undertaking certain tasks (I would NEVER use my illness to glean sympathy).
I had one hour spare that day as I was due in London to assist as a volunteer on the Olympic parade & therefore did not have time or energy to maintain your shrubs in the manner you prefer (I just can’t even begin to express whats wrong with the tone of this line). As you can see I prefer to put what little spare time I have doing something useful for my country rather that tidying up your shrubs. (Now I could put down my Charity work, my youth work, the people I have found jobs for, my own 3 jobs I currently have, my dieing mum who I currently care for (I do not claim any benefits for this) , my own illnesses etc, BUT I am not THAT person – Oh & rather than the OLYMPICS, I was with the OCT 20 Austerity marchers & I know which I felt is better for my country right now!)
I therefore suggest the following options for an amenable solution to this ongoing problem.
1) Mrs ** ** ****** appoints **** tree fellers annually (another private Owner of course – letting me know they don’t do their own gardening!). They remove all debris. I am sure an “independent business woman” (in inverted comma’s) like yourself is adequately able to afford & appoint a contractor to undertake this role! (inferring I can’t afford it as I am Socially Housed in this Private owned neighbourhood).
2) I am happy with prior notice to give you access to come into my garden and prune back your shrubs and remove debris yourself. (Would you go into the garden of the person lieing about you, trying to have you evicted, the person who has stolen some of your garden & has also trespassed into your property – actually admitted this to police & landlord , because they wanted to dig up plants they didn’t like in your garden & saw down trees.. all actually done. The garden of the person who has filmed us & sworn at us etc – I don’t think so its an invite to disaster – I am certain we would be accused of stealing/damaging something)
For someone that claims to be such a garden lover I am surprised and amazed that you can complain about cuttings from your own overgrown garden messing up your garden, when you had a pile of rubbish sitting under my bedroom window for the best part of 2 years. (The Social Housing landlord did 3 years worth of work to my severely damp property – it was in the newspapers as it was one of the worse cases seen & they left rubbish in the rear garden for months, YET she blames me – also this is in MY garden, NOT hers – not under her window? Why does My garden become hers?)
The neighbour from Heaven (She actually signs it as the neighbour from heaven)
SOME MORE BACKGROUND
This particular neighbour has written many letters about me over the last 8 years (some actually to me), some are very graphic in their wording – all have been kept on my file as is the law for letters written about the “Socially Housed” – many have been sent to the police also. Many state I am a drug user / seller – I of course submitted myself & my children to the police for testing at any time they see fit – personally I do use Beta-Blockers- Anti/convulsive’s – Anti-Migraines, Thyroxine, most recently a course of prophylactics & other drugs because of my illnesses & if my handbag was shaken, it rattles – BUT none are illegal as she infers regularly..
Also in 2007 before my pond was moved to its new position, someone entered my garden while I was at work, sawed down trees & bushes & threw them into my Koi pond, killed all my fish & punctured the pond. Only my neighbour & I have a key to the alley gate that grants access to my garden (shared alley) BUT the police & authorities again wouldn’t take action as my housing status meant it was a housing matter – NOT Criminal damage as it would’ve been had I been a private owner – This is why I moved the pond further over, to ensure things couldn’t be thrown without a great effort. It seems, some people are willing to get out that ladder, crawl behind that shed, climb a ladder & lean over for that effort!
I have a file about 12 inches thick with complaints/letter in & many used to be posted to me personally – sometimes anon, but sometimes she would sign – sometimes using her married name, sometimes her single. (more recently with “Neighbour from heaven” as the signature……BUT all very condescending & all very cruel.
I have spoken with every authority & because of my housing status I cannot be helped – However I also cannot retaliate – again because of my housing status…
Please see pictures below of my disgusting house & garden – make your own mind up!