NEIGHBOURS of a school are fed up with a sprawling hedge that towers over their back gardens.

The laurel owned by King's Lodge Primary School in Chippenham has grown to more than 3.5m and blocks out light and is enveloping garden sheds on 11 homes in Bramble Drive in Chippenham.

But the school says it regularly cuts the hedge and the neighbours can trim it if it grows over a wire border fence.

"It has grown out of control," said Seren Watson, 55, at number 16, "and it is the school's responsibility to cut the hedge. They used to cut it every year but now it is so tall and wide we can't keep it down on this side."

She said the berries from the laurel hedge are toxic and pose a danger to pets and children. Next door Grant Summersbee 28, said his dog Casper had survived being poisoned by the berries and was equally unhappy at the size of the hedge.

He said: "It is insanely high and bushy and is out of control."

In an email sent to Mrs Watson the headteacher Kim Spencer wrote: "At the meeting of the full governing board held on Wednesday, July 3, the cutting of the hedges was discussed in relation to your email dated July 2. These things were noted. King’s Lodge has continued to cut the hedge annually as they have always done and this is evident along the boundary line.

"The company cuts the hedge usually in August after the nesting season is over. The hedge cutter cuts the hedge to the full depth back to the chain link fence which demarcates our boundary and is clearly visible."

She explained the contractor could not reach over the fence to cut the hedge on the other side as it was too deep.

Mrs Watson dismissed the idea it was trimmed annually saying she had photographic evidence to show it had grown too large.

Cutting it was not an option on the Bramble Drive side as the volume of branches was too large to deal with. She also noted the hedge breached the high hedge guidelines issued by Wiltshire Council.