The Times September 2010 - 1

The Times September 2010 - 2

Chris Mullin Daily Mail Article

Boris Johnson interview 1998

The Jones Family



Contacts & Links

Hedgeman - The Book

The Berlin Wall

Into the Roaring Nineties

1991 Stanton Turns Really Nasty

Annus Horribilis

The End Of The Annus But Not The Horribilis

The Judgement

The Hand Of Peace


The Big One

No Carte Blanche

Come On Stanton Pay Up

April Fool

Niniteen Ninety Seven

A Little Help From The Lord






(1970/71 Birmingham City Council instructs Bournville Village Trust and Selly Oak Colleges to make a piece of virgin countryside available for housing development. Residents protest. Planning permission is granted and a wire fence with rooted beech cutting alongside it at two feet intervals are set to demark land. Stanton plants ten leylandii saplings amongst them. On the south side Thomson plants row of leylandii six feet away from fence).
1971 JULY 27th. Twentieth wedding anniversary. Move house. Hostile reception. Life changes

1975/76. Rows of Christmassy, seven feet conifers idyllic but showing signs of drought stress in the long hot summers. Michael carries wastewater to keep them alive.
1978. Leylandii growing massively in width and height. Protest ignored.
1979. Storm and snow damage branches detached. First solicitors letter sent. Thinning out and height reduction are insufficient.
1980/81 Gale damage. Stantons apply staves and guide ropes lashed to tree trunks. 1982. Invitation to tea refused by Stanton but reciprocal evening visit accepted. Other hostile neighbours were present. Michael told, “The greater the harm suffered by you or any member of your family suffer –the better pleased are we”.
1983/4 1985. Maureen hospitalized, immobilized and depressed by gloom visits Stantons and given promise.
1986. Letters exchanged with Maureen, excuses given. 1987. Stanton sent solicitor’s letter and he cuts only three feet off treetops. Verbal warning that nuisance will be removed.
1988. Michael removes growth on his own side of fence. Stanton assaults with water hose and iron piping
1989. Michael leans over boundary and cuts five feet off tops. Police involved. Stantons erect scaffolding tower and Freda, wife, mother and grandmother dies. 1990. Michael cuts another four feet off top.
1991. Stanton issues writ and obtains an injunction and plants second line of trees. 1992. Michael sacks his legal team and defends himself in court.
1993. Michael wins the right to reduce height of trees
1994. Court of Appeal upholds County Court judgment.
1995. County court dismisses Stantons claim for exemplary and aggravated damages and removes injunction.
1996. Stantons reject compromise agreement and Michael cuts re-grown trees live on TV with six camera crews and thirty journalists.
1997. First deputation to Minister.
1998. HEDGELINE is formed. “Turnabout” on Lickey Hills, visit to number 10, TV documentaries, demos at party conferences and Parliament.
1999. A “phantom” tops second line of trees after Bournville Village Trust issues writ. First bills introduced into both Houses of Parliament. Massive Ministry consultation. 2000. Clare Hinchliffe succeeds Michael as Hedgeline executive. Law promised.
2001. John Taylor takes High Hedges Bill to report stage when it is talked out.
2002. Clare leads consultation delegations to secure viability of detailed regulations. Michael’s solicitor still refuses a proper account and return of money and shoots himself dead after Law Society visit.
2003. Stephen Pound takes bill to report stage again. Government adds it to Anti-Social Behaviour bill and is passed into law. Long unresolved compensation procedure with Law Society