Subsidence in neigbours property

Subsidence in neigbours property

Postby Birch » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:25 pm

Subsidence Claim
I live in SW London on a slope, the substructure of which is a deep rift of London clay. Many of the surrounding properties, my own included, have had subsidence claims lodged and remedial work done.

My own property is Grade II listed and sits within a conservation area, though my neighbour’s property does not but borders mine.

Some 10 years ago (2006) this immediate neighbour lodged a claim for subsidence and through their Insurers, sought the removal of some vegetation in my garden. Which I complied with. In 2008 this same neighbour without any notification to ourselves applied for “Certificate of Lawfulness” to the local planning authority to erect a single storey conservatory. This long extension on the shallowest of foundations took their structure to within 500mm of our boundary fence behind which grows a 25 year old hornbeam.

No precautionary work by way of a root barrier was installed, the consequences of which are two months ago another subsidence claim was lodged with the result that the very same Insurers are now insisting on the removal of said hornbeam. They are also requiring the reduction (20%?) of a mature 250 year old oak which thankfully has a TPO on it.

Frankly I am amazed that they, the neighbours built the new structure, presumably without informing their insurers or taking specialist advice , in an area where there had been a previous claim and that the insurers are prepared to accept the claim as valid.

So my question is can a listed building and its surrounding garden/borders have any protection from the actions of neighbours seeking the removal of mature vegetation?

I would very much like to resist the removal of hornbeam.
Birch
 
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Re: Subsidence in neigbours property

Postby APC » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:22 pm

What evidence has your neighbour provided so far?
APC
 
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Re: Subsidence in neigbours property

Postby Birch » Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:29 pm

Subsidence Engineers and Loss Adjusters have sent me an Analysis of site investigation data. Included is a (not to scale) drawing misdescribing the vegetation along with wrong height details etc. Geological reports were also included together with bore holes made and the resulting roots found sent for root analysis. These were found to be from the family fagaceae. In fact the specific root mentioned was from the genusis castanea sativa. Which my clever computor tells me is the sweet chestnut --which does NOT grow in my garden.
Also included is a Arboriculturists report.
Apparently the Arboriculturist writes about my mature oak tree (with a TPO) as follows "Consent is normally needed for work on protected trees, but damage to third party property is a legal nuisance and any work necessary to prevent this is exempt"
My question is ---the TPO oak tree predated most of the houses in the area and certainly the 2008 conservatory. The fact that these neigbours did not take root barrier precautions at the time of foundation work must beg the question whoes liability is it?
Furthermore say the oak is trimmed and the hornbeam felled ----what is next on the agenda? I had hoped that the Grade II listing might bring some relief from this tedium, but this looks unlikely. So my next question is what is my legal situation in fighting this accursed affront? Is there a specialist lawyer out there that can help in once and for all dispensing with these regular ongoing claims?
Birch
 
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Re: Subsidence in neigbours property

Postby mr sheen » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:41 pm

Pass the claim onto your insurance company. They will decide whether to obtain surveys and reports. They will also consider the validity or otherwise of the claim being made and advise on any works you need to carry out to avoid future claims.
If they advise removal of vegetation, you will need to act or in future cover the costs of claims yourself. Mature vegetation is lovely but it can't be retained for aesthetic reasons at the expense of damage to a neighbour's property. Since you are on notice of the risk of such damage you may find getting insurance more difficult and the claim/s would need to be disclosed for any insurance policy application.
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