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Stanmore woman ordered to pay more than £17,000 in compensation for hedge
A woman must pay more than £17,000 compensation to her neighbours after the roots of her 'unattractive' and 'dominating' Cypress hedge took a heavy toll on the foundations of their home.
The offending Lawson Cypress hedge sparked a protracted legal clash between Saqib and Shazia Khan and their neighbour, Helen Kane, after the Khans protested about cracks which appeared in their house in Dennis Lane, Stanmore.
The Khans complained of damage to their parquet floor and to the right hand side of their house, including the sitting room and rear extension.
They first noticed cracks in their property in September 2006, said Mr Justice Ramsey, and the following year a tree expert pinpointed the Cypress hedge as having "the potential to be a significant factor in the current damage".
The Khans took legal action against their neighbour, of Dennis Lane, arguing the hedge amounted to a legal 'nuisance', and the case was heard at London's High Court.
The judge said expert evidence established that the Cypress trees had caused damage to the Khans' home and that a 'reasonably prudent landowner' would have appreciated the real risk of subsidence damage posed by the 30-year-old hedge.
Given the 'dominating position' of the hedge - described by the judge as 'not an attractive feature' - Mr Justice Ramsey said the damage to her neighbours' home was 'reasonably foreseeable' by Mrs Kane, who would have had to spend just £700 to 800 to remove the offending trees.
He added: "I find she failed to take the appropriate steps to eliminate the risk of subsidence damage caused by the roots (of the hedge), and is therefore liable in nuisance for the damage caused by her failure to eliminate that risk."
However, he ruled that damage caused by a 50-year-old oak tree on Mrs Kane's land had not been reasonably foreseeable and lopped 15 per cent off the Khans' compensation because they delayed in complaining to their neighbour.
The judge awarded the Khans compensation for the cost of expert advice, surveys, remedial work and for the "distress and inconvenience" caused by the tree roots' damage. The total payout came to £17,269 after the 15 per cent reduction.
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