Wellington woman hedges her bets in council berm fight

A Wellington woman who says she was trying to beautify her front yard has been accused of making a land grab.

Years ago she planted a hedge, but one local's complained she's turned the berm at the front of her property into a private place.

Seven years ago Andrea Skews planted a griselinia hedge to stop people parking on the grass.

"My boundary is going to the mailbox here, so this is entirely council land and I've never claimed it's mine," she says.

But a local who wants to remain anonymous says Ms Skews has taken over land that isn't hers.

When he tried to deliver her a circular, he pushed it through the hedge.

"I was home and I said, 'Just to let you know, we've left space up here for you to walk through,' and he just went off at me," she says.

He then sent her a text message saying: "Because you have a potty mouth Andrea and believe in karma you will soon be contacted by WCC Encroachment team."

Wellington City Council says this is public land and what she's done is made it her own private lawn. They have given her three options - she can pay an annual fee, apply to buy the land or the hedge will have to come down.

"Council is required to act consistently between her and all the other nearly 5800 people who have got encroachments," Councillor Andy Foster says.

Ms Skews insists it's still public because there's a gap between the hedge and her house.

"I'm not trying to take anything; I'm trying to keep my house nice," she says.

Karori Association head Lesleigh Salinger wants the hedge to stay.

"Here we have somebody who is actually put in a huge effort to make the frontage of her house look very attractive," she says.

But if Ms Skews refuses to pay up she'll have to be content to downsize her front garden.