Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Clanger123 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:35 am

Just before I purchased my house the previous owner installed a fence perhaps 100 metres long. The fence runs in a straight line and on the other side of the fence is a public right of way that is maintained by my local Parish Council. The width of the public right of way various from 6 feet to just over 3 feet. My neighbour on the other side of the public right of way has recently pointed out that the width should be 3 feet for the whole length and when the fence was installed it didn't follow the contours of the right of way that is a rather elongated 'S' shape.

I have looked at the map from the Land Registry and it does show the width of the right of way the same width along its whole length. What would be the potential consequences if I reinstated my boundary to the original position? The incorrectly aligned fence has been in place for perhaps 7 or 8 years.
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Collaborate » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:47 am

I don't think you can say from a line on a map that the ROW is the same length throughout, or even that it is your fence that is out of line.

Further evidence needed I think. Perhaps there are some old photographs in existence?
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:09 am

Hi Clanger123,

[ii]My neighbour on the other side of the public right of way has recently pointed out that the width should be 3 feet for the whole length...[/i]

unless your neighbour has consulted the local 'Definitive Map & Statement' (two statutory records maintained by the Local Authority) and found the path has been recorded as 3 feet wide, they may well be passing off opinion/hearsay as fact.

if the 'Definitive Map & Statement' say nothing about the width of the path then the law presumes it is the full available width at the time the path was recorded/made.

an OS map like the one used by HMLR to create the title plan you checked can not be used to work out the width of a PROW.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby arborlad » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:24 am

Clanger123 wrote:Just before I purchased my house the previous owner installed a fence perhaps 100 metres long.



Was this fence a replacement for a previous one, if so, can you find any evidence for where it was located?
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Clanger123 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:49 am

Collaborate wrote:I don't think you can say from a line on a map that the ROW is the same length throughout, or even that it is your fence that is out of line.

Further evidence needed I think. Perhaps there are some old photographs in existence?


Thank you for your reply. There are no photos that I know of.
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Clanger123 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:51 am

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi Clanger123,

[ii]My neighbour on the other side of the public right of way has recently pointed out that the width should be 3 feet for the whole length...[/i]

unless your neighbour has consulted the local 'Definitive Map & Statement' (two statutory records maintained by the Local Authority) and found the path has been recorded as 3 feet wide, they may well be passing off opinion/hearsay as fact.

if the 'Definitive Map & Statement' say nothing about the width of the path then the law presumes it is the full available width at the time the path was recorded/made.

an OS map like the one used by HMLR to create the title plan you checked can not be used to work out the width of a PROW.

Kind regards, Mac


Thank you for your reply. I will make enquiries re 'Definitive Map & Statement' .
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Clanger123 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:53 am

arborlad wrote:
Clanger123 wrote:Just before I purchased my house the previous owner installed a fence perhaps 100 metres long.



Was this fence a replacement for a previous one, if so, can you find any evidence for where it was located?


Running against my neighbours fence about 3 fee wide are black angled slabs with a drainage channel in the middle. The edge to my land is a mixture of soil and patches of old concrete. Nothing to indicate a previous boundary.
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby arborlad » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:04 am

Clanger123 wrote: I will make enquiries re 'Definitive Map & Statement' .



Some councils have this on-line, others don't - then it's a visit to council offices or library to view.
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:10 am

Hi Clanger123,

if there is any possibility the record doesn't show a public right of way over the path (eg no signage, no current usage) then I would advise you to ask to see the 'Definitive Map & Statement' with only a general interest - ie what PROWs are in your area, rather than wanting to look at a specific path.

LAs have been known to follow up specific enquiries with the making of new PROWs...

Hope that makes sense?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Clanger123 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:59 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi Clanger123,

if there is any possibility the record doesn't show a public right of way over the path (eg no signage, no current usage) then I would advise you to ask to see the 'Definitive Map & Statement' with only a general interest - ie what PROWs are in your area, rather than wanting to look at a specific path.

LAs have been known to follow up specific enquiries with the making of new PROWs...

Hope that makes sense?

Kind regards, Mac


I have found the map online with my local council. It isn't marked as a footpath or byway. My neighbour has been trying to get the parish council to repair it but they say they aren't responsible. It is a path that goes from the street to the recreation ground behind our homes. I understand the parish council is trying to get the land registered to them but they have been told it will take 12 years?
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby MacadamB53 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:10 pm

Hi Clanger123,

What would be the potential consequences if I reinstated my boundary to the original position?

if the online version of the map is a true reflection of the actual record (and that's a big "if") then the potential consequences of moving the fence are:

1. the LA issue you with a notice to move it back (failure to comply being something you don't want to consider) - can only be issued once/if the PROW is recorded
2. the landowner steps forward and demands you move it back (failure to comply might land you in a civil court case) - unlikely to happen IMHO
3. nosey neighbours take umbrage and relationships become strained/damaged

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Eliza » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:15 pm

Would it be correct to re-phrase original post as "There is a public ROW near me and I wonder if I can manage to take over part of the width of it and add it to my garden. I am a bit worried that the parish will get in there before me and have public land declared officially as public land".
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby arborlad » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:44 pm

Clanger123 wrote:
arborlad wrote:
Clanger123 wrote:Just before I purchased my house the previous owner installed a fence perhaps 100 metres long.



Was this fence a replacement for a previous one, if so, can you find any evidence for where it was located?


Running against my neighbours fence about 3 fee wide are black angled slabs with a drainage channel in the middle. The edge to my land is a mixture of soil and patches of old concrete. Nothing to indicate a previous boundary.



Anything like these? http://www.ketley-brick.co.uk/patterned_pavers.html
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby cleo5 » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:08 pm

Neighbours will say anything. My distant neighbour told me I could not build a wall because he was having building work done and the delivery lorries would not be able to pass if I had awall/fence instead of grass verge.
So ignore it.
The fence was in place when you bought the property and if you are happy with it being there then why move it.
It would seem no one owns the footpath.
Is the local parish aiming to get adverse possession on it- otherwise why the mention of 12 years?
Surely the previous owner would not have erected the fence in the place it is in without checking the extent of his boundary?
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Re: Moving fence onto Public Right of Way

Postby Clanger123 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:00 pm

Just to update everyone. I have now had sight of old maps etc. When my fence was erected in a straight line along a meandering alleyway some of the path ended up enclosed in my garden and some of my garden became the footpath. People complained but nobody accepted ownership of the path so nothing was done. My neighbour used it as an excuse to move his boundary and build a brick wall taking in some parts 3 feet of footpath. If I move the fence to take back what is my garden will also mean I will have to give up some of the footpath my that was enclosed before I purchased the property. If I move the fence back to where I think the original path was it will mean some parts will be just a foot or so wide due to my neighbour building a new wall. Apparently the path was once wide enough to accommodate horse and cart. Probably best if I just let sleeping dogs lay.
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