Woman gives up 20-year fight with neighbour over 50ft trees blocking ‘stunning’ view

Ross McGuinness

Tue, 9 August 2022 at 11:04 am

Val Horton, 83, who has had her view blocked by Leylandii trees in Bathampton. December 5 2016.   See SWNS story SWHEDGE; Residents in a medieval village are up in arms over a neighbour's 50ft-high HEDGE - which has ''ruined'' their view of a hill immortalised by singer Peter Gabriel. Val Horton and Betty Kelley picked their hilltop bungalows for the sweeping views of the Somerset countryside and Solsbury Hill. But for the past decade they've been engaged in a bitter battle with a neighbour they claim is intent on ruining the vista by failing to maintain her giant Leylandii. Valerie Vivian, 70, planted a row of the fast-growing conifers in 2001 in a plot of land she owns in historic Bathampton, near Bath, Somerset.
Val Horton says she has given up the fight to have her neighbour’s trees cut down after 20 years. (SWNS)

A homeowner says she has given up her 20-year battle against her neighbour over a ‘forest’ of trees that stretches 50ft high and blocks a ‘stunning’ view of the famous hill beyond her garden.

Val Horton, who is in her late 80s, says the leylandii trees, planted by her neighbour, Valerie Vivian, in her own garden in 2001, have become a “forest”, blocking her view of the famous Solsbury Hill in Somerset.

Despite prolonged attempts to have the hedge cut down, Ms Horton has been told nothing can be done as the trees do not block out any light or prevent access to her bungalow in Bathampton.

However, she says the “awful” trees have had a negative impact as they cut out one of the UK’s most celebrated views.

Collect photograph of the view from Betty Kelley's, 89, dinning room before the trees went up. December 5 2016.   See SWNS story SWHEDGE; Residents in a medieval village are up in arms over a neighbour's 50ft-high HEDGE - which has ''ruined'' their view of a hill immortalised by singer Peter Gabriel. Val Horton and Betty Kelley picked their hilltop bungalows for the sweeping views of the Somerset countryside and Solsbury Hill. But for the past decade they've been engaged in a bitter battle with a neighbour they claim is intent on ruining the vista by failing to maintain her giant Leylandii. Valerie Vivian, 70, planted a row of the fast-growing conifers in 2001 in a plot of land she owns in historic Bathampton, near Bath, Somerset.
The view of Solsbury Hill in Somerset before the trees grew to their current height. (SWNS)
Val Horton, 83, pictured by the Leylandii trees that are blocking her view in Bathampton. December 5 2016.   See SWNS story SWHEDGE; Residents in a medieval village are up in arms over a neighbour's 50ft-high HEDGE - which has ''ruined'' their view of a hill immortalised by singer Peter Gabriel. Val Horton and Betty Kelley picked their hilltop bungalows for the sweeping views of the Somerset countryside and Solsbury Hill. But for the past decade they've been engaged in a bitter battle with a neighbour they claim is intent on ruining the vista by failing to maintain her giant Leylandii. Valerie Vivian, 70, planted a row of the fast-growing conifers in 2001 in a plot of land she owns in historic Bathampton, near Bath, Somerset.
Val Horton, pictured in 2016 under the trees planted by her neighbour, Valerie Vivian. (SWNS)

Ms Horton, a retired civil servant, spent the past two decades trying to have the trees removed, along with her neighbour Betty Kelley, who died two years ago.

However, she has now admitted defeat in the long-running saga.

In an interview with The Sun, Ms Horton said: “It’s been going on for so long now that we are all completely exhausted by the fight.

“It is dreadful. They were only short when she put them in by they have just grown and grown and grown.

“This has had a big impact on all of our lives – to look over and see a forest of trees is pretty awful.

“But sometimes you have to admit defeat and that time has come.”

Councils can order trees to be cut under the high hedges section of the Antisocial Behaviour Act if they are a “barrier to light or access”.

But Ms Horton and her neighbours still get plenty of sunlight and don’t require access, so the 50ft trees can remain.

Ms Vivian reportedly wanted to build four new houses on land behind her property, but the proposals had been refused by the council six times by 2016 following objections from locals.

Yahoo News UK has contacted Bath and North East Somerset Council for comment.

Ms Vivian has refused to comment publicly on the dispute.

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