Q. We live in a conservation area and have a large tree in our garden that is causing damage to our garden wall and the foundations of our house, as well as affecting the TV reception we get from our satellite dish. There is no Tree Preservation Order in place, but my neighbour says I still need to tell the council if I wish to fell the tree. Is this correct? Or is my neighbour misinformed?
A. There are more than 8,000 conservation areas in England, which have been so designated for their special architectural and historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.
In London, English Heritage can designate conservation areas after consulting the local council and getting the consent of the Secretary of State for National Heritage.
Though these areas are usually designated because of the buildings within them, they can also be designated because of their features such as gardens, parks, trees or greens which form part of the character of the area. As you are in a conservation area, before felling your tree you should notify the council of your intention six weeks in advance. This allows the council time to consider and assess the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and to decide whether a Tree Preservation Order needs to be made in respect of it.
Don't forget that, as you are in a conservation area, you may need consent for a satellite dish, so make sure you check this out.
Q. My mother is selling her house and moving into a retirement village. Primarily she needs support, but also recently students moved in next to hers and although kind to her, they are extremely noisy late at night and Mum has often had to complain to them. Do we have tell her solicitor or her buyers about this?
A. When selling a property the seller must complete a Property Information Form (PIF) which the seller's solicitor sends to the buyer's solicitor. One of the enquiries in this PIF relates to disputes or complaints regarding the property being sold or a property nearby. Your mother should reveal the situation with her noisy student neighbours when answering the questions in the PIF. If she fails to disclose this in the PIF she may face legal problems further down the line.