A group of neighbours have launched an action against a north-east care home – to force bosses to cut down their trees.
Residents of Park Drive in Stonehaven claim their homes have been overshadowed by the trees at Mowat Court, leaving them without enough sunlight to enjoy their gardens or even dry their clothes.
The trees – a mix of pine, spruce, sycamore, birch, beech and oak – are a towering 80ft, despite repeated pleas to operator Care UK over the last decade for them to be chopped.
Now homeowners have submitted an application under the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013, which could force the removal of the trees.
It is thought to be the first bid made to Aberdeenshire Council since the act came into being last year.
Stephen Manson, who lodged the application with his wife Jennifer, said the trees had grown to a “deplorable” height.
The 49-year-old said: “The south-facing garden was one of the reasons we bought the house so we could enjoy the sun, but we can’t.
“When winter comes we don’t get any light at all because the low sun can’t through the trees. At the height of summer it does peak above the trees ever so slightly, but they’ve grown to such a deplorable height.”
One of Mr Manson’s biggest concerns is that the trees crash through the house on a stormy night, although the act only considers hedges or trees that adversely affect the enjoyment of a property.
Residents also claim the dark conditions are creating moss and damp problems.
They have even offered to split the cost of lopping the trees with Care UK, without success.
Gordon Lamont, 55, said the problem was getting “progressively worse” and that the garden was too shaded to enjoy by the time the family got home from work – limiting its use to weekends before 5pm.
He added: “We were keen gardeners and throughout the years we have had to constantly change our shrubs and plants in our back garden to suit the changing soil and shade conditions.
“Initially we erected a greenhouse and grew all our own bedding plants, vegetable plants, tomatoes etc but now this is no longer possible due to the fact the greenhouse receives so little sunlight. We have become so disheartened with the situation that we no longer carry on with this hobby but instead have taken to going for walks outwith the street in order to get some sun.
“When you walk around Stonehaven in spring or summer it can be lovely and sunny but the people on our street are living in the dark.”
A Care UK spokesman said last night: “There have been ongoing negotiations between Care UK, the local authority, other tenants on the site and our neighbours which have unfortunately taken longer than we would have liked.
“As tenants of the property we are obliged to manage the woodland in the grounds of the home in a certain way and there are legally binding restrictions in place stipulating that no trees shall be topped, lopped or felled without planning permission.
“We have written to the local authority regarding the planning requirements and we look forward to hearing the outcome of the High Hedges Act application made by local residents. Hopefully we will soon be able to find a suitable solution and bring this matter to a close.”