"IT HAS brought out the best in neighbours and it has brought out the worst of neighbours.”

With that gentle mangling of the words of Charles Dickens, Horsham District Council agreed to more than double the fees charged for dealing with hedge disputes.

Not just any hedge disputes – high hedge disputes.

There have only been 17 such disputes since 2003 and the council charges £300 to cover the costs of the administration and determination of each case.

But an online meeting of the cabinet on Thursday (June 4) was told they had been rather under-cutting themselves, with other councils charging as much as £850.

Members agreed to increase the fees to £645, to rise each year in line with inflation.

And the gentle mangling of Dickens? That was Philip Circus (Con, West Chiltington, Thakeham & Ashington) who wanted to know if the lockdown had increased the number of incidents.

The answer was no.