11 Apr 2017

New twist in battle over 80-year-old hedge

7:09 pm on 11 April 2017

A dispute with the owner of an 80-year-old hedge in Waikanae has taken another turn, with the Kāpiti Coast District Council now saying it has the right to cut it back itself.

The macrocarpa hedge on Te Moana Road in the coastal town was planted by Vincent Osborne's grandfather in the 1930s, and has been in his family for four generations.

In January, neighbours complained that the hedge was a traffic hazard, and the council asked Mr Osborne to trim it back to improve road visibility for motorists.

Council infrastructure services group manager Sean Mallon said the Osbornes had not met the deadline to trim the hedge back by 1 April and the hedge had grown over onto the council-owned berm.

"If council chose to, they could actually go there tomorrow and remove the hedge.

He accepted that Mr Osborne had trimmed part of the hedge, but said it was not enough to satisfy the council.

"We have the ability if we choose to to go in there and remove the hedge but we're trying to come up with a compromise and I think we have come up with a pretty good compromise actually. We now need to get on and get the work finished basically."

Mr Osborne admitted it had taken some time before he trimmed the hedge back, but said he wanted to do it properly and was waiting for a independent traffic report to cross-check what the council had said.

Vincent Osborne says the hedge has been in his family for four generations.

Vincent Osborne says the hedge has been in his family for four generations. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

"In a perfect situation, it would be nice to keep it as it is. I can maintain it and I do maintain it and it hasn't grown since. I've been maintaining it for 20 years.

"I'd like to progressively prune it a little bit more to keep it back, but that will take time and they obviously want a quick-fix solution," he said.

Mr Osborne received an email from the council yesterday telling him they would take matters into their own hands.

He said he would try to hold the council off, but that there was not much he could do if they showed up with chainsaws.

"I'm expecting to come home one day and just find it's been done. They are claiming that the hedge is on their property. It's overgrown onto their property, there's no disputing that," Mr Osborne said.

Mr Mallon said the council would be talking to the owners this week.