HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby BIRDIE » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:26 pm

We have an ongoing dispute with our local council who refuses to stop cutting back our hedge, even though we are maintaining it ourselves. Our hedge is always cut back to excess, in an unprofessional manner & without notice. In fact they 'butcher' it & it takes forever to recover. Council staff have no regard whatsoever for the numerous nesting bird species occupying the same. Our hedge is located next to a public pathway, however, a narrow section of unadopted land exists between our garden & the public pathway. The unadopted area extends along the entire length of our garden. The previous owners of our house planted the hedge on the unadopted land roughly 30 years ago, so the shrubs cover this area. The council now claim that they are permitted to cut back our hedge without our permission & to our original boundary. We know that they are wrong & we are aware of the provisions of S.154 of the Highways Act 1980. Have we acquired the legal right to the undopted land by 30 years uninterrupted user &, if so, under what statute? The unadopted land is absolutely covered by the hedgerow. Can anyone help?
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby jonahinoz » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:38 am

It ain't your land, so you can't stop the council cutting it.

It might be possible to claim the land, that is on your side of the hedge, as part of your garden, by Adverse Possession, and maybe that would include the width of the hedge too. The experts here will tell you. But that will not stop the council from cutting it, if they feel they have the right.

One answer may be to cut it back yourself, erect some posts within the previous parameters of the hedge, and "spike" it with single strand wire. I presume that you dont wish to erect a fence. Again, the experts will advise.
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby mr sheen » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:18 pm

BIRDIE wrote:The previous owners of our house planted the hedge on the unadopted land roughly 30 years ago, so the shrubs cover this area. The council now claim that they are permitted to cut back our hedge without our permission & to our original boundary.


It appears that the land that the hedge was planted on may actually be part of the public highway. You accept that the hedge is planted on land that does not form part of your property. Your predecessors in title were in the wrong to have planted the hedge on this 'unadopted' land that is probably part of the public highway ('pathway').

The Council have the right (and obligation) to ensure that public highways remain free from obstructions so that the full extent of the land is available for the public, as it was intended. The hedge is therefore an obstruction on the land that is part of the public highway and they can cut it right back and could even remove it if they wished since you accept that it is not on your land.

It is virtually impossible to make a successful adverse possession claim for land that is part of the public highway. Any claim would result in the Council being notified and would probably be strongly contested.

Fence off your own land or plant your own hedge on your own land and leave the Council workers to do their job without further obstruction.
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby jonahinoz » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:04 pm

"Birdie" used the word UNADOPTED which usually refers to roads, but I don't know if he was using it in that context. Perhaps he meant UNREGISTERED. The perhaps it would be worth finding out if the highway is adopted, and if so, what width is claimed by the Highway Authority.
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby BIRDIE » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:55 am

The land is unregistered & no-one owns it. The council concedes this fact. Your comments are ill considered.
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby Roblewis » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:20 am

Hedge cutting should not in fact be done throughout the nesting season unless there is satisfaction that no nesting birds are present. I know Treeman will refine my answer :D but it essentially menas that it is very risky cutting hedges before late August and after Mid March without some sort of survey/inspection. Any disturbance is an offence and the Council and its contractors are both facing liability.

If it is unregistered I would go for AP and see if you can get it under your control. At that point the council may only keep the highway width clear.
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby mr sheen » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:31 pm

BIRDIE wrote:The land is unregistered & no-one owns it. The council concedes this fact. Your comments are ill considered.


ALL land is owned by someone, but not all land has been registered. It is irrelevant who owns the land for it to be considered part of the public highway. If you and the Council have agreed that the 'land is owned by no-one' is a 'fact', you have admitted that you don't own it so you are on a loser since the Council is cutting back a hedge on 'no-mans land'.
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby Sudynim » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:45 pm

Roblewis wrote:If it is unregistered I would go for AP and see if you can get it under your control. At that point the council may only keep the highway width clear.


I agree. Until you obtain ownership it isn't your hedge, and you have no grounds for complain over what's done to it. When the land is yours, the hedge is yours. Then erect a fence or other clear boundary markers (because otherwise they'll still run the flail cutter over the hedge periodically, without getting out with a theodolite to measure encroachment upon the footpath).
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby Clifford Pope » Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:23 am

My understanding is that land can be part of the highway regardless of who owns it.
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Re: HEDGE BOUNDARY & UNADOPTED LAND

Postby Roblewis » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:00 pm

Clifford

No not so if the land is part of the highway it would be in the ownership of the relevant Highway Authority. Many verges on country roads are actually still in the ownership of the local landowner and they maintain them.

I am still unsure whether this road is unadopted or whether the OP was using the wrong term for unregistered land adjacent to the highway. Unadopted roads are not owned, maintained or controlled by the HA except for any RoW that may appertain. Such roads are owned by an absent owner or the Frontagers/or possibly a single frontager and as such the verges also are individually owned by the Frontager/s or totally owned by the absent owner. One really needsw to see the original deeds to clear the issues.
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