Posted: 23/07/2014 at 06:51
There's no reason why there should be a preservation order on a tree. A quick search of a council website will tell you the rules. Pansy and Lizzie seem more upset than you are!
You've had the benefit of the quite large trees on the neighbours garden, but now that he's decided to use his own garden for something else it's time to forget that. At least you have the benefit of a solid 6-foot wall. I wouldn't necessarily go for evergreens - some are slow to grow and others are a bit thuggish. Hollies are OK if you don't mind the spiky dead leaves when you're pottering in the garden or walking around in your flip-flops. The photinia is a good idea as a partial quick fix.
I would look at breaking up the view rather than trying to block it. A group of a very slim-growing variety of silver birch would be a start. Plant odd numbers randomly two or three feet apart. If you buy 5- or 6-ft tall trees they will soon make height and look informal; their bark and leaves as well as their swaying movement will concentrate the eye rather than what's beyond them. You could also consider planting something much closer to your house as this will interrupt the view of your neighbour.