A “beautiful” hedge is set to be cut down over fears the business that looks after it will face legal action.

Twenty One Dental in Pembroke Gardens, Hove, said it is at the end of its “tether” after being told by Brighton and Hove City Council officers that it may have to consider issuing a formal notice requiring the hedge be cut back.

This came after complaints from people including a partially-sighted person.

The private dental clinic claimed it consulted with tree surgeons who said that heavily pruning the hedge will kill it.

The Argus: The hedge could be completely removed in two weeks' timeThe hedge could be completely removed in two weeks' time (Image: Supplied)

It has now decided to have the hedge cut away completely in two weeks’ time to avoid legal action.

In emails seen by The Argus, the council “agreed that cutting the hedge back to the boundary line is likely to kill it and also damage the wildlife habitat, removing the hedge is likely to create concern amongst local residents” but highway safety “trumps” biodiversity.

Mark Rayner, managing director for Twenty One Dental, said: “We have got to the end of our tether now. We have been told we have to remove it or we will have to appeal in court.

“If we cut it back to the boundary, it will simply die.

“I told the council how much upset and sadness to the local community there was against the few people that have complained.

“We feel powerless. When that hedge comes down, people might think what are we doing removing such beautiful greenery.

The Argus: The most narrow part of the pavement The most narrow part of the pavement (Image: Supplied)

“That hedge has been there for more than 20 years, we have always maintained it very well. Currently it is not maintained as well because I said I’m not going to spend £1,500 a year maintaining it, trimming it gently.

“I have been in arguments with the council for the last year when they approached me saying they have had a few people complain about the hedge being too far from the boundary.

“I had an expert tree surgeon come along and they said if we continue managing it and trimming it, if the council want you to keep cutting it back to the boundary of your wall it will die.

“I provided that and said there has to be a compromise, I understand it’s overhanging the actual boundary. With respect you can see people can walk by the property, you have around five or six foot of clearance.”

The Pembroke area was designated as a conservation area in 1989 which a council document said was “important to preserve or enhance”. The council said conservation area status does not affect him being able to cut down the hedge.

The Argus: The hedge in April 2009, left, compared to June 2023, rightThe hedge in April 2009, left, compared to June 2023, right (Image: Google Maps)

The council also said if Mr Rayner wished to speak with it further to find a solution that does not damage the hedge, he is welcome to do so.

A council spokesman said: “The issue with this hedge has been going on for a number of years and has been the subject of several complaints.

“One of these was from a partially sighted resident, which was of particular concern to us.

“We’ve previously served notice that it needs to be cut back, but wanted to work with the owner to find a solution that did not damage the hedge. Due to poor maintenance this has proved difficult.

“Having not heard from the owner for a considerable time, he contacted us a few weeks ago saying he had decided to remove the hedge – which he has every right to do.”

The council previously came under fire for ordering a woman to prune a lavender plant from the pavement.