Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby andy1982andy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:48 am

Hi all. Bit of a weird one this but would appreciate any help.
We bought a house approx 3 years ago. Our house is in line with 7 other houses. Behind the fence line at the back of all the houses is land owned by the builder (approx 8m) before the land belongs to the council or highways agency as the land rises and then drops to the motorway. The land owned by the house builder is supposed to be maintained by the builder as it has been called sound barrier land (for the sound from the motorway). The land has never been maintained by the builder and it appears as though the builder has gone out of business so no-one really owns this land. Due to trees/bushes damaging the fence line, the previous owned of our house had maintained the area, cutting down trees etc and laying flags and planting various veg and flowers. Since we purchased the property we have just cut down bushes etc to protect our fence.
2 doors down, the owner extended his garden by 4m, taking his fence back and effectively claiming the land. He then flattened the area behind it (about another 4m and has built a wall and laid artificial grass the put on it a climbing frame/goal posts etc, but hasn't taken the fence back again (so just extended by the original 4m).
Due to being frustrated with the bushes etc behind the fence, myself and my neighbors on both sides flattened the area with an excavator, clearing away the trees and bushes approx 5m behind our fence line. A person who lives in a neighboring street noticed the excavator and reported it to the council. The council came (I wasn't in) and while they haven't contacted us directly, have informed the neighbor who extended that they had no problem at all with what we have done, he shouldn't really have extended. He basically said his fence has been like that for 8 years and only his wall is new and if it needs to come down he will do it. The council haven't come back to him and the issue seems to have gone away (it was approximately May time) so he's been left with a bigger garden with no problems.
With regards to our garden, after clearing the land this left the area open, and with recent nearby burglaries, we installed a second fence blocking off the area as did our immediate neighbour. He then decided to take down his old rotten fence, and therefore we did the same. This has basically extended our garden like the neighbor 2 doors down.
How do we stand on this with the council?
The land isn't council owned, another neighbor wrote to the council ten years ago to ask could they buy the land but were wrote back to by the council saying they cannot sell it as they don't own it, with drawings etc. He has retained this letter so I can have a copy if required. There will be no complaints off any neighbors as they all will likely do the same. The only worry is when the owner at the end extends with his fence, the same person who reported the excavator will be able to see and therefore likely contact the council again. Although this isn't council owned, could this cause problems?
The extended area is just clay soil and therefore we really need to spend money on it, I'm just worried about spending the money and then having problems down the line.
Sorry for the long post!
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby span » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:19 am

Just do it.
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:31 am

span wrote:Just do it.
+1
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby andy1982andy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:39 am

Thanks guys thats the reply i was hoping for! Do you think the council could create problems even though the land isn't theirs? Or say I should have had planning permission for the fence?
I'm just unsure with the house builder going out of business, if the land reverts to the council as I know nothing about land laws etc?
Much appreciated for the replies
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby mugwump » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:10 pm

One now has to wait for the first complaint of motorway noise by a neighbour in the next street.because the sound barrier has been removed.

There might be some council action when it is discovered that a feature that was probably included (or even mandated) in the planning for a very good reason has been removed.
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby andy1982andy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:19 pm

mugwump wrote:One now has to wait for the first complaint of motorway noise by a neighbour in the next street.because the sound barrier has been removed.

There might be some council action when it is discovered that a feature that was probably included (or even mandated) in the planning for a very good reason has been removed.

The sound barrier is still there as the trees behind the house were move than 2m behind the old fence line and haven't been touched. The excavator levelled the area more than removed a barrier, as the old owner had previously had veg and small plants going that didn't create a sound barrier. The council came after they were notified regarding the excavator and had no issue with the clearing/levelling of the area, i'm more worried as to if they come back regarding the new fence. I was wondering if this would be a problem, as the land isn't council owned but was owned by the house builders than are now out of business (so maybe nobody owns this now I don't know?!)
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:27 pm

Hi andy1982andy,

your main issue is whether the LPA (council) require you to retrospectively apply for planning permission for the “change of use” of the land from “vacant” to “garden” - with the threat of enforcement action against the breach of planning if you don’t...

...they have a full 10 years to do this - and could refuse planning permission leaving you with the options of appealing or reinstating the land to its former use.

from which council dept was the rep who made the site visit?

kind regards, Mac
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby andy1982andy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:48 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi andy1982andy,

your main issue is whether the LPA (council) require you to retrospectively apply for planning permission for the “change of use” of the land from “vacant” to “garden” - with the threat of enforcement action against the breach of planning if you don’t...

...they have a full 10 years to do this - and could refuse planning permission leaving you with the options of appealing or reinstating the land to its former use.

from which council dept was the rep who made the site visit?

kind regards, Mac


Thanks Mac. I'm unsure as the the dept they were from as I never directly spoke to them or had any correspondence from them. The neighbour 2 doors down who had extended, and then extended again was contacted. He told them the first time it was extended was years ago (approx 8) and has effectively been claimed, to which the council didn't seem to mind. They said he shouldn't really have extended again by digging out and building a wall, however all has gone quiet on this now and so I think he's just thinking its gone away.
With regards to behind my home, there is no real access to it and its not visable for anybody apart from myself and my neighbours in a line with myself, and none have any issue with it and are all likely to do the same. The only time i think an issue might arise is when the guy on the far end does it (he's intending to), as this is the only garden that is visable from another street. It wont affect anyone in the other street in any way, its just some people like to complain!
To be honest, i think the impression was from the guy at the council that he wasn't bothered as it didn't affect anyone but they had to come due to the complaint. I'm just worried that after seeing the cleared land behind our old fence, if they came again they would see the difference with the new fence and this may cause an issue.
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby andy1982andy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:51 pm

should be approx 8 years (not sure why its done a smiley face!). To be honest, without a complaint from someone from the other street, i don't think anyone would ever come back
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby jonahinoz » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:51 am

Hi Andy,

Have you done a Land Registry search for this land? It should be registered in somebody's name, probably the builder.

I'm not sure what happens to land when the owner becomes bankrupt ... I used to think it became the property of HMC&E, but now I think that doesn't always happen, but if it did happen, would the change be recorded at LR?

What should have happened if the builder died? His heirs should have registered their interest in the land, but if they felt it was of little value, would they think it's not worth paying the LR.

My understanding is that anybody can apply for PP on any piece of land, but they should inform the owner (or is that only agricultural land?) I believe there is provision for the applicant not knowing who is the owner.

John W
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby andy1982andy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:51 pm

jonahinoz wrote:Hi Andy,

Have you done a Land Registry search for this land? It should be registered in somebody's name, probably the builder.

I'm not sure what happens to land when the owner becomes bankrupt ... I used to think it became the property of HMC&E, but now I think that doesn't always happen, but if it did happen, would the change be recorded at LR?

What should have happened if the builder died? His heirs should have registered their interest in the land, but if they felt it was of little value, would they think it's not worth paying the LR.

My understanding is that anybody can apply for PP on any piece of land, but they should inform the owner (or is that only agricultural land?) I believe there is provision for the applicant not knowing who is the owner.

John W


Thanks John. I did a land registery search on my property but this doesn't show the land behind, just basically the old boundary around the land. Is it possible to search online for a section of land? I've looked through the site and I can't see how to do it anywhere or do you need to write off to land registery?
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby Collaborate » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:45 am

andy1982andy wrote:
Thanks John. I did a land registery search on my property but this doesn't show the land behind, just basically the old boundary around the land. Is it possible to search online for a section of land? I've looked through the site and I can't see how to do it anywhere or do you need to write off to land registery?


It's called an Index Map search, and you can do it online. The LR map shows an outline of all registered land - your will be on it and it will be clear of the land at the rear is registered or not. If registered you can obtain an office copy of the title.
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby jonahinoz » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:21 am

The LR map shows an outline of all registered land - your will be on it and it will be clear of the land at the rear is registered or not.

Hi,

A thought hit me, only 2 minutes ago.

The developer may be bound by a covenant, or planning constraint, to maintain the sound barrier. That requirement may be passed onto his "heirs and assigns". If he went bankrupt, or ceased trading as a PLC (or whatever), there may be nobody to force into complying.

If Andy claims this land, will he become liable for maintaining the barrier? He is neither an "heir nor assignee". If land is specified by the Planners as a Sound Barrier, can the Planners require an adverse possessor to re-instate the barrier within four/ten years of it's removal?

602
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby andy1982andy » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:01 pm

jonahinoz wrote:The LR map shows an outline of all registered land - your will be on it and it will be clear of the land at the rear is registered or not.

Hi,

A thought hit me, only 2 minutes ago.

The developer may be bound by a covenant, or planning constraint, to maintain the sound barrier. That requirement may be passed onto his "heirs and assigns". If he went bankrupt, or ceased trading as a PLC (or whatever), there may be nobody to force into complying.

If Andy claims this land, will he become liable for maintaining the barrier? He is neither an "heir nor assignee". If land is specified by the Planners as a Sound Barrier, can the Planners require an adverse possessor to re-instate the barrier within four/ten years of it's removal?

602


Thanks. I believe that the builder did have to maintain the sound barrier. However from talking to the previous owner, no maintanence was ever carried out. Approx 1998/1999 the owners all got together and cut the bushes back etc that were close to the fences, but the larger trees that were 4-5m back were left. These provide a good sound barrier for the houses. Around the time the bushes etc were cut back (1999), the previous owner of my property laid flags, and planted flowers etc on the area behind the fence line behind my house, and he maintained this area (he was a keen gardener). This is the area that has been recently levelled by an excavator (not much was dug out/removed, just the area was levelled). This is the area that i have extended my garden by (2m by the width of the house). As the land was maintain by the previous owner for years, and subsquently by myself, can this land be claimed/adopted? Or if i just carry on without claiming (as I have no intention to move), could we have issues with the council, even though it is not their land?
Thanks All
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Re: Garden Boundary / Adopted Land

Postby jdfi » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:31 pm

Collaborate wrote:
andy1982andy wrote:
Thanks John. I did a land registery search on my property but this doesn't show the land behind, just basically the old boundary around the land. Is it possible to search online for a section of land? I've looked through the site and I can't see how to do it anywhere or do you need to write off to land registery?


It's called an Index Map search, and you can do it online. The LR map shows an outline of all registered land - your will be on it and it will be clear of the land at the rear is registered or not. If registered you can obtain an office copy of the title.


If the Op wanted to pm me a postcode I could send him a screenshot by return, which he could then anonymise and share if he wished.
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