ex communal land

ex communal land

Postby sheilaleat » Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:08 pm

We recently bought a house which has a garden at the back and a small area of land at the front. The land at the front was originally communal land comprising of grass and some bushes. The previous owners of our house bought this land for £1 from Bovis and it is now part of the property we bought. To make the land more of a garden for us and not just look like a patch of grass in front of our house we have put up some Leylandii to create a short hedge we intend to keep about 1mtr in height. The intention is to add value to our house and create a garden for our kids to be able to play on safely. Our house is on a small cul de sac with 5 other detatched properties. Since we moved in the children from the other houses have played on the grass happily and we have told all parents we are happy for them to do so.

We put the Leylandii in last week and it is very small and will be for some time to come. However, our next door neighbour has approached us to say that they are not happy about us planting a hedge on the land as it is a safety hazard for cars driving onto the close. We have assured them that the hedge will not be kept over a mtr high and will therefore not be an issue for cars coming onto the close. They then asked if we definitely owned the land as they don't think it should have been sold off as all the kids play on it and none of the neighbours were asked about it being sold off. We told them that we did and explained that the previous owners bought it and it was part of the property we bought. We understand the issue is not about traffic at all but is about the fact that they believe the land should have been left as a communal area.

We bought the property as it had a front and back garden which we saw was an investment as well as a pleasant place to live. We are trying to sort this out amicably but the neighbours will only be happy if we remove the Leylandii which we do not intend to do. We are of the opinion that it is actually quite cheeky to tell us what to do with our garden and our property even if they don't agree the land has been sold off. Without the hedge being put up and an opening created from our drive to the grass it does look like a lump of grass on the close which is nothing to do with us. We have compromised by explaining to the neighbours their kids are welcome to play on the garden any time they want and we will keep the hedge to 1mtr high. What else can we do???? :?

Sorry for the long explanation.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby span » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:43 pm

Nothing. You don't have to do anything at all. Or, do whatever you like to enjoy full usage of your own property.

Let them stew in their own bile of resentment and jealousy.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby Sudynim » Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:54 pm

You need to demarcate your ownership of that land. A 1m hedge is perfectly acceptable, and if the neighbours don't like it they can go whistle Dixie.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby sheilaleat » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:14 am

Thank you for your replies. We thought we were being reasonable but it is nice to hear that others agree. Unfortunately it looks like a good relationship with the neighbours is going to end but I guess it wasn't really that good after all. Hopefully we won't wake up one morning and the trees have been 'accidentally' driven over or chopped down. Not sure how we would deal with this. :?
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Re: ex communal land

Postby pilman » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:12 pm

There is just one matter that could effect your ownership of this land.
It is the planning status shown for the land when the developer made the planning application for the development.

If this area was shown as open utility area on that planning application, you could be accused of making a change of use from that granted use to a use as residential garden.

That could be considered a breach of planning control that the local planning authority may object to, or demand that a planning application be made so that a formal consultation procedure be implemented before deciding whether such a change of use was within local policy guidance.

A change of use has to have occurred for a period of 10 years before it becomes immune from enforcement action, so any neighbour complaining to the council may have consequences.

I just thought I'd make you aware of that, as on another posting I had to explain that ownership of land is one thing, planning law is entirely another thing.
In your case your use of the land that you own may be constrained by planning matters under the control of the planners.

You may be able to argue that planting a hedge has not resulted in a change of use of the land to residential garden but it's best you know what could happen if a vindictive neighbour phones the council planning department trying to stir things up for you.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby sheilaleat » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:51 pm

Thank you for that. I will give our local planning office a call to find out the situation. forewarned is definitely best.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby sheilaleat » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:56 pm

Called planning office and you are right we would need to apply to change use of the land to a garden. We can however plant a hedge to go around the land without permission. Really glad you let me know to check as I now understand the regulations far more to discuss with the neighbours.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby hzatph » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:39 pm

It is also worth checking that there are no restrictions imposed by Bovis when you purchased the land.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby sheilaleat » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:21 am

We don't have the restriction laid out by Bovis as they are with the deeds at the mortgage company. When we purchased the house and the solicitor went through the additional land she told us that the only restriction Bovis wrote into it was that we couldn't build a structure on it as the utility companies may need access to it in future years. We presume that means that there are water, gas or electrical pipes beneath. Apart from that nothing else was mentioned. Not sure how we would get a copy of any other restrictions.
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Re: ex communal land

Postby Mattylad » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:58 pm

sheilaleat, please try to keep your conversation to a single topic if they are about the same subject, it confuses readers and poster when it is being discussed twice.

Please see and continue the discussion in the latest modified topic

It can be found at viewtopic.php?f=9&t=16644

Unfortunately merging them may make the responses seem out of order.
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