JK Rowling angers neighbours due to road closure to trim her 30ft leylandii trees

JK Rowling attending a premiere
JK Rowling has caused a storm after carrying out work to trim her leylandii trees that caused the road outside her home to be partially closed off (Image credit: Getty Images)

JK Rowling has attracted criticism after carrying out work to cut down her giant leylandii trees outside her Edinburgh home that were posing a hazard.

The 30ft leylandii trees outside the Harry Potter author's 17th-Century mansion were ordered to be cut down by Edinburgh Council after they were found to be blocking the street lamps and overhanging the pavement.

However, after gaining planning permission and starting the work, which saw four-way traffic lights installed, locals criticised the work stating it was causing major disruption to their daily commutes.

Why was the work being done?

JK Rowling was ordered to cut back the massive 30ft leylandii trees 'as a matter of urgency' outside her home as they were found to be causing a hazard.

Edinburgh Council stated the trees were blocking the light from lampposts, so Ms Rowling sought tree surgeons to carry out the work to trim the trees that were also overhanging the pavement. The leylandii trees acted as a privacy fence for the author's large Edinburgh estate.

Ms Rowling also agreed to trim hedges bordering neighbouring properties that were also affecting the street lights, after she was given permission by the council.

Leylandii trees being trimmed

Leylandii trees can grow up to 20 metres in height and can be used to cover a boring fence but it is recommended to not allow them to grow above 2 metres (Image credit: Getty Images)

'No-one else gets the street shut down to cut their hedge'

The works caused disruption for some homeowners after four-way traffic lights were installed on the road outside of the billionaire author's home.

An 80ft cherry picker was needed to trim the massive plant on the top and sides with the mammoth task taking from 7.30am to 3.30pm for almost an entire week to be completed.

Some parents aiming to get their children to school reacted angrily, with one stating: "Why can't they do it in the February breaks? They have hours through the day when the roads are quiet.

"No-one else gets the street shut down to cut their hedge."

Another added: "To cause traffic to come to a standstill at rush hour to cut a hedge doesn't make sense. [It has resulted] in my child and many others being late.

"I can't understand why the hedge can't be done at the weekend or at less busy times like 9.30am until 2.30pm."

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Needed to be done for the 'safety of the general public'

Ms Rowling's representatives told the MailOnline that the hedge trimming was a necessity in order to maintain public safety and that it was aimed to cause the least amount of disruption as possible.

They stated: "The hedge cutting at JK Rowling's residence is annual maintenance that involves necessary traffic management for the safety of the general public.

"The intention is always to carry out the work with least disruption and the timing requires coordination and agreement with Edinburgh City Council. The work would ideally be scheduled in July, during the summer holidays, but due to other maintenance work in the area, it was agreed to take place this week instead."

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.