Originally there was a passageway next to the fireplace [South] that joined the two halves (Hi-status - right, Kitchen at our end, left), this was closed with a C20th single skin brick wall. We believe that there was a brick built Bread oven on the Northern side, with a staircase above. The boundary fence in the back garden aligns with this C20th brick wall [Plan].
However, at some point within the last 30 years a previous neighbour has demolished the Tudor Bread oven - only just discovered by us - presumably to enlarge their living room [I've seen the photos of the work, which now make sense...]. This work has removed the rear corner of our Inglenook, which has been crudely repaired with C20th bricks [Photos]. We also think that, in the process, they have 'acquired' a couple of feet from our lounge, this being the space between the current wall and our side of the original Bread oven, now all part of their enlarged Living room.
We have raised this with the local Listed Building Officer, as we wish to repair the damage and await their reply with interest... My understanding is that, whoever demolished the Bread Oven [A previous neighbour that now lives 100 yards away] has committed a criminal offence, but it is now the current owner's responsibility to put this right. There is no Statute of Limitation on unauthorised Listed Building work.
In addition, we have the Party Wall Act issues, in that the demolition work has breached to our side of the boundary - there's a bloody great hole in our wall that you could cycle through - were it not for a pile of modern bricks crudely glued together.
My questions are:
- Should I be getting a Party Wall solicitor involved at this point, or wait to see if the Local Authority are going to take (Listed Building) action?
- What if the Authority just shrug their shoulders, rather than make our neighbour put it right (At their own expense)?
- Who do I need to sue for damages, our current neighbour, or the one that did the demolition work?