Wasp-allergic neighbour in £200,000 court fight over garden dispute

Wasp-allergic neighbour runs up £200,000 legal bill suing keen gardener over apple tree that drops fruit onto her lawn and attracts hordes of the stinging insects

  • Warring Surrey neighbours locked in ‘trivial£200,000 court fight over gardens
  • Barbara Pilcher, of Dunsfold, claims she is a ‘prisoner in her own homethanks to her green-fingered neighbour, Antoinette Williams, who owns an adjacent plot
  • Mrs Pilcher says she has suffered years of harassment, trespass and nuisance
  • She is now seeking compensation and an injunction to prevent any future issues
  • Neighbours live in adjacent £600,000 and £500,000 homes in Surrey village
  • A keen gardener is being sued by her wasp-sensitive neighbour in a ‘trivial£200,000 court fight over fruit falling from her apple tree onto next door’s lawn.

    Dunsfold and Hascombe Horticultural Society member Antoinette Williams is at war with her Surrey neighbour Barbara Pilcher, who claims she has plagued her life with smelly compost bins and rotting fruit from her apple tree.

    The court heard that Mrs Williams moved into £600,000 Frensham Cottage, Dunsfold, near Godalming, ほぼ 40 数年前, while Mrs Pilcher bought the adjoining three-bedroom £500,000 Farleigh Cottage, に 2010.

    Wasp-allergic Mrs Pilcher claims she is now a ‘prisoner in her own homeand has been unable to use the bottom of her garden due to the pong of composters and hordes of stinging insects flocking to fallen apples which have dropped from Mrs Williamsoverhanging tree onto her grass.

    If left on the ground, the apples rot and attract wasps, said her barrister, which is alarming for Mrs Pilcher as she has a wasp allergy and was hospitalised in 2018 following an attack.

    Despite collecting around 1,000 fallen apples from the ground in her desperation to avoid being stung, Mrs Pilcher claims she continues to fear falling apples and wasps on her own patch.

    Central London County Court heard that her legal bill could already exceed £200,000 in the fight with her green-fingered neighbour.

    Barbara Pilcher, of Dunsfold, サリー, is understood to have piled up more than £200,000 in legal bills in her bitter battle with neighbour Antoinette Williams over their adjacent gardens

    Barbara Pilcher, of Dunsfold, サリー, is understood to have piled up more than £200,000 in legal bills in her bitter battle with neighbour Antoinette Williams over their adjacent gardens

    Mrs Pilcher claims she has suffered years of harassment, trespass and nuisance and seeks compensationplus an injunction to prevent any future problems.

    But gardener Mrs Williams is defending the claim, and says her neighbour’s case is groundless and ‘trivial’.

    She also told Judge Laurence Cohen QC that Mrs Pilcher ramped up tensions herself when she ‘made a very rude gestureat her in a clash over car parking.

    に 2013, tensions developed over the boundary between their two rear gardens, followed later on by claims from Mrs Pilcher that Mrs Williams had blocked her right of way through her garden and allowed damp to filter into her home.

    Oliver Newman, Mrs Pilcher’s barrister, told Central London County Court the first alleged ‘incident of trespasscame in April 2013 when Mrs Williams strayed into the neighbouring garden and removed a plant.

    Other flare-ups followed over the months and yearswith Mrs Williams allegedly ‘shouting and laughing at her’, blocking her parking outside her own home, and ‘repeatedly and unnecessarilychurning up the grass verge in her car.

    Dunsfold and Hascombe Horticultural Society member Antoinette Williams (写真) is being sued for years of alleged harassment, trespass and nuisance

    Dunsfold and Hascombe Horticultural Society member Antoinette Williams (写真) is being sued for years of alleged harassment, trespass and nuisance

    The feuding neighbours had one highly-charged brush in January 2015, when Mrs Pilcher called the police, complaining her neighbour had banged on her front door and shouted at her before repeatedly driving over the grass verge and gesturing rudely.

    彼女は家の中に入ってドアを閉め、スタンディッシュを外に閉じ込めようとしたが、彼はドアを突っ込んで開けようとしたと裁判所に言った。, Mrs Williams insisted it was she who was provoked by her neighbour after Mrs Pilcher gave her the middle finger from her window earlier in the day.

    ‘I had gone to her front door to ask if she would move her car as it was blocking access and she came to the window and made a very rude gesture,’ said Mrs Williams.

    Mrs Pilcher also claims damages for nuisance based on how her neighbour has positioned her compost bins and the way that fruit falls into her garden from Mrs Williamsapple tree.

    ‘Mrs Williams has positioned her composters on the boundary at the bottom of the gardens,’ explained Mr Newman.

    ‘They are frequently left uncovered and overflowing. Over time the smell has become worse and has left the claimant unable to use the bottom of her garden.

    ‘Mrs Pilcher has as a result been left unable to use the bottom of her garden due to the smell from rotting apples and the composters, the fear of falling apples and the fear of wasps, having been hospitalised in 2018 after being stung multiple times by wasps from a nearby waspsnest.

    彼女は付け加えた: ‘While her allergy makes her more sensitive to issues of rotting fruit leading to insect activity, it is submitted that any reasonable user would regard the amount of rotting fruit and subsequent issues with wasps and other insects as a nuisance.

    The adjoining properties, £600,000 Frensham Cottage (センター) and £500,000 Farleigh Cottage (左) in the sleepy Surrey village of Dunsfold

    The adjoining properties, £600,000 Frensham Cottage (センター) and £500,000 Farleigh Cottage (左) in the sleepy Surrey village of Dunsfold

    The rear garden of Barbara Pilcher's £500,000 Farleigh Cottage home in Surrey

    The rear garden of Barbara Pilcher’s £500,000 Farleigh Cottage home in Surrey

    With the original dispute over boundary rights now resolved, Mrs Pilcher is currently pursuing claims over damp seepage, obstructing her right of wayplus the allegations of harassment, nuisance and trespass.

    Mrs Pilcher has logged some of her neighbour’s antics on CCTV and kept a ‘diary of incidents’, 裁判所は聞いた.

    As well as complaints about obstructing her parking, she claims Mrs Williams harassed her by ‘coughing and making noises near herand by pinching her post.

    And her barrister told Judge Cohen: ‘The cumulative stress of these incidents caused her to seek psychological help and undertake cognitive behavioural therapy.

    ‘The claimant has been left feeling like a prisoner in her own home, frightened of how Mrs Williams will react to any action, having to hide from her and with her family reluctant to visit her.

    ‘It is submitted that Mrs Williamsactions clearly amount to harassment when taken together as a course of conduct.

    But Neil Vickeryfor Mrs Williamsargued that the key issues in the case, such as the boundary dispute, have already been resolved.

    Given that background, he had hoped that the remaining issues ‘would not have been pursued through court proceedings’.

    ‘But Mrs Pilcher has not been deterred,’ 彼が追加した.

    He branded Mrs Pilcher’s trespass, harassment and obstruction claims ‘trivial’, and said he had hoped they would have been dropped before reaching trial.

    ‘Mrs Williams does not know what Mrs Pilcher’s costs are, but it seems unlikely that they are less than £200,000,’ 彼が追加した, dismissing the claim against Mrs Williams as a ‘regrettable and ridiculously expensive piece of litigation.

    ‘To seek to elevate irritation between neighbours into a case of harassment is wrong and inappropriate,’ he told the judge.

    裁判は続く.