Neigh­bour­hood bat­tle over a tree

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HAN­NAH MARTIN AND DILEEPA FONSEKA

A five-year neigh­bour­hood bat­tle over a cedar tree block­ing one cou­ple’s views of the Waitem­ata Har­bour is to head to court.

Ko­hi­marama prop­erty own­ers Robert and Jill Ben­ton have filed a case in the Auck­land Dis­trict Court against tree own­ers Fraser and Emily El­der, ask­ing for the tree to be trimmed or chopped down.

The Ben­tons say the tree blocks their seav­iews, is not suited to a do­mes­tic gar­den, dam­ages the value of their prop­erty and should com­ply with the height re­stric­tions of a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty. The El­ders, who lives sev­eral houses away in the cul de sac, are not giv­ing up with­out a fight.

Their son Gor­don set up a Give a Lit­tle page last Mon­day to raise money for a le­gal defence.

‘‘There is no doubt they’re go­ing to see this fight through,’’ Gor­don said.

Lawyers for both par­ties will ap­pear at Auck­land Dis­trict Court on May 16.

Tree Coun­cil chair­man Sean Free­man said the ar­gu­ment was un­usual given the two cou­ples were not di­rect neigh­bours.

‘‘The tree was on the site when [the neigh­bours] bought their prop­erty,’’ he said.

A spokes­woman for Auck­land Coun­cil said this was an ‘‘en­tirely civil mat­ter,’’ and the coun­cil had no in­volve­ment.

SUP­PLIED

One tree is at the root of a neigh­bour­hood spat-turned le­gal de­bate.

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