Tilsworth care home’s feud with neighbour over huge hedge

One of the holes cut into the hedgerow
One of the holes cut into the hedgerow

A boundary feud involving a care home for people with dementia has turned bitter with a neighbour reporting the owners to the police for cutting at his hedge.

Steve Barker, of Stanbridge Road, Tilsworth, was so upset after his hedge was trimmed by Orchard Lodge care home that he alerted the authorities.

The hedgerow (right) leading Mr Barker's gate

The hedgerow (right) leading Mr Barker's gate

Orchard Lodge is owned by businessman Mukesh Patel and Mr Barker said: “Mr Patel has come onto our property and cut two large holes in our leylandi tree hedgerow.

“This has not been done with our permission. The trees have not been professionally cut and are butchered. He is causing us harassment by doing this. I am hoping that this time Mr Patel will be prosecuted over this.”

Mr Barker’s hedge runs along the driveway leading to his cottage, but are planted next to the wall of Orchard Lodge.

Mr Patel countered: “There are old, vulnerable people with dementia staying here.

Steve Barker

Steve Barker

“The tree completely blocks out their views and air couldn’t come in. We couldn’t go on his side of the driveway, so my handyman trimmed it from inside our window!”

The hedge was cut on June 5, but it is not the first time Mr Barker has reported Mr Patel to the police for cutting his trees. Mr Barker said: “About five years ago, he caused damage by cutting down some trees between our properties. These trees were planted by myself to give privacy to our property.”

No action was taken against Mr Patel at the time, and, after making the latest complaint to the police, Mr Barker – who is himself a former Met police officer – then refused to meet with officers.

Meanwhile, the boundary dispute is ongoing, with solicitors involved.

Mr Patel said: “We don’t want to fight or quarrel and tried to speak to him, and he put the phone down on us. It’s very difficult.

“I just can’t understand why it’s gone so far. From his house you can’t see the tree.”

Mr Patel lives in Harrow, and the care home is managed by his son Priyesh.

Priyesh told the LBO: “We have people who cannot see outside of their windows because of his hedges. Mr Barker just seems to not understand that and believes that it is his driveway.”

Edwin Vasey, 73, is one of the residents at Orchard Lodge and the tree was cut from inside the window of his room.

He said: ”I had asked Mr Patel if he could do something about the lack of light and air to my room due to the trees outside my window. The window would only open an inch because of the trees.

“The room is now much brighter and I feel a lot better and happier and so do my friends and family that come to visit. With my health and age I do not ask for much but I think a couple of simple things like natural light and fresh air is only fair.”

Mr Barker was contacted by the LBO for further comment but did not respond before we went to press.

A spokesman for Beds Police said: “We received a report of damage to a tree on private property in Stanbridge Road, Tilsworth.

“The complainant was unwilling to meet with police after making the report, so there will be no further action.”