A letter from the LA about our fence

A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby tempusfugit » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:39 pm

Hi All,

I would be very grateful for a bit of advice.

Residents in the close where I live each received a letter from the local authority in the past week. It took us all by surprise and really don't know what to do about it. Its quite a strong letter and we only have 30days to something about the fence in question. It separates the close car park from the public footpath that leads to a small public park.

I've looked at the fence and I've taken some photographs (how can I upload these?)

I have loads of questions but the main one for now is - Can the LA really take down our fence and leave it piled up in the car park? I have the letter and want to upload it but for some reason its not having any of it).

I don't think any of the residents affected in the close are objecting to sorting the fence out but it will take some time to organise and are taken back by the strong wording in the letter. Also some of us think that the fence damage may in part be caused by the Laurel bushes and trees on the council land but not sure if where we stand with this.

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions. It might all make more sense if I can figure out how to insert the letter and pics.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby span » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:56 pm

Make another couple of posts, and then you can insert pics.

You need to have a postcount of 3 or more to be able to put in photos etc.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby tempusfugit » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:59 pm

OK many thanks that explains it.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby tempusfugit » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:21 pm

Letter and some pics. Thanks.


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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby arborlad » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:50 pm

Can we see one photo of the back of the fence please.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby tempusfugit » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:12 pm

I will take some in the morning.

Thanks.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby mr sheen » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:10 am

The key word in the letter is 'advise'. The council advises you to repair or replace ie they are not in any position to insist.
They point out that the fence is being held up by the laurel on their land. This letter notifies you of their intentions to carry out work on their land and remove the laurel that is holding up the fence. They point out that the condition of your fence may pose a H&S risk to their workers. They are entitled to remove the laurel from their land and if in doing so the fence falls down, or is at risk of falling on the workers, they are entitled to take appropriate precautions to protect the workers carrying out works on their land, having given you notice of their intentions.

Having given you such notice, you can either
1. take action as they advise or
2 ignore their advice and take the chance that the fence doesn't fall down and injure their workers (and face a claim for personal injury) or
3 ignore their advice and accept that they may take action to protect their workers wherever the fence poses a risk, thus avoiding a personal injury claim against you, and they take it down and place it tidily on your land.
4 reply to their letter with your position, if you want to take a different stance despite the fence posing a risk to their workers and their right to remove the laurel
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby tempusfugit » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:22 pm

arborlad wrote:Can we see one photo of the back of the fence please.


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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby tempusfugit » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:42 pm

mr sheen wrote:The key word in the letter is 'advise'. The council advises you to repair or replace ie they are not in any position to insist.
They point out that the fence is being held up by the laurel on their land. This letter notifies you of their intentions to carry out work on their land and remove the laurel that is holding up the fence. They point out that the condition of your fence may pose a H&S risk to their workers. They are entitled to remove the laurel from their land and if in doing so the fence falls down, or is at risk of falling on the workers, they are entitled to take appropriate precautions to protect the workers carrying out works on their land, having given you notice of their intentions.

Having given you such notice, you can either
1. take action as they advise or
2 ignore their advice and take the chance that the fence doesn't fall down and injure their workers (and face a claim for personal injury) or
3 ignore their advice and accept that they may take action to protect their workers wherever the fence poses a risk, thus avoiding a personal injury claim against you, and they take it down and place it tidily on your land.
4 reply to their letter with your position, if you want to take a different stance despite the fence posing a risk to their workers and their right to remove the laurel


Thanks mr sheen.

We will talk to the council and try to find an amicable solution. Perhaps we may ask for more time to repair the fence before they dismantle it and place it in our car park. Do they have the power to do that by the way?

I posted more pictures and the more I look the more I think that the fence has become unstable due to the amount of bushes, trees, fallen leaves, etc on the council side. You can see how the fence is being pushed over from their side. I should point out that they have already removed most of the Laurel bushes so it was a very dense on their side which I feel attributed to the fence coming down.

I pushed the fence back upright today, the section backing on to peoples houses. This is why you see the fence down and then upright in the pictures.

I can ask the council to consider repairing the fence at their cost or try to find some middle ground. Not sure if we can do anything else if they refuse?!
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:37 pm

Hi tempusfugit,

Do they have the power to do that by the way?

it's got nothing to do with the fact they're a local authority.

if I was your neighbour and your fence was collapsing into my airspace (or this was patently imminent) I too would have the power to take reasonable steps to abate the nuisance/avoid harm.

just sort your fence out.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby mr sheen » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:52 pm

A negotiated outcome is a good (nothing to lose!) way to go.
It is reasonable to argue that the excessive vegetation of the council's side has contributed to the poor condition of the fence....you have nothing to lose.
It may be better to put together a written response and suggest a settlement, enclosing photos that suggest that the council's vegetation has contributed to its current condition.
You have 30days notice so this is negotiation time.
Since you didn't put them on notice of the damage the plants are causing, and you had the right to cut back the encroaching vegetation, they are not really liable but they may look at settling the matter. If they call your bluff, then you will have to repair it yourself.

I would send a reply along the lines.....

We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated.....

Please find enclosed copies of photographs that confirm that the laurels and other overgrown vegetation on your land contributed to the current poor condition of the fence. We maintained the fence but the dense, overgrown, encroaching laurels caused excessive damp and pushed at the fence over a long period of time causing it to become unstable.

In view of the above, we suggest that it is reasonable for the council to contribute to its replacement, (perhaps we could pay for the materials and the council could remove the existing fence and erect the replacement) which we believe would be a reasonable outcome for all.

Please note that we do not grant any permission for the fence to be taken down. If you do not wish to settle the matter as suggested, Please could you forward details of the legislation that you are relying upon to take the fence down since we believe that such action is beyond the remit of the council and could constitute criminal damage.

We look forward to your response at your earliest convenience.


...and see what happens.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby despair » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:29 pm

Looks to me from the photographs that the fence posts have rotted at ground level whereas the sections of feather edge are retrievable with a little carpentry or metal attachments to new posts

yes the laurel will not have helped the situation just as the pile of rotting vegetation and ivy has added to the problems
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby arborlad » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:39 pm

tempusfugit wrote:I posted more pictures and the more I look the more I think that the fence has become unstable due to the amount of bushes, trees, fallen leaves, etc on the council side. You can see how the fence is being pushed over from their side. I should point out that they have already removed most of the Laurel bushes so it was a very dense on their side which I feel attributed to the fence coming down.



...............as I thought, a featheredge fence, not a panel one.

There does seem to be an element of damage caused by the greenery but of greater significance is the amount of land build up on their side, 6-12" against a structure that was never intended to retain it. The fence does seem suitable for repair although it has got some design flaws, no gravel board (unless it is hidden by leaves) and the bottom arris rail is too low. You can't effectively repair the fence until the build up on the council side is removed.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby tempusfugit » Fri Apr 08, 2016 5:57 pm

Thanks all for your excellent contributions!

I will use the draft letter and modify it a bit to include the depth of vegetation and that also should be remedied before a new fence or repair to existing can be carried out. The LA clearly have been chopping back that area for years and just dumping the cuttings on the ground. Hence ground level has risen significantly.
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Re: A letter from the LA about our fence

Postby mr sheen » Fri Apr 08, 2016 7:22 pm

If you include any offer of settlement, mark the letter

'Without Prejudice'

This means that they could not bring it up as evidence in court without your agreement. This is only relevant if the letter offers a settlement option.
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