Retaining Wall onto Council/Public Footpath

Retaining Wall onto Council/Public Footpath

Postby YorkshireMash » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:07 pm

Hi all, I'm new here... I was sent here from another Forum, on which I have already received advice that I think confirms my fears, however...

Our semi detached house was roughly built in 1973 and at the time was the end of the cul de sac. We moved into this property in 2010. The property has a retaining wall to the left as your look at it running, unfortunately, two thirds of the length of the land. This means the wall is roughly 30m. The wall starts at roughly one foot high, and ends up being approximately 4 foot tall. This retaining wall overlooks a public footpath, which runs between our house and the neighbour.

Neighbours to the right of us suggest there were once fields at the end of the cul de sac. However, they have since extended the cul de sac, probably in the early 80s, and there's now another 20 or so houses after ours. Presumably, at this time, the public footpath that runs between us and the neighbours to our left was put into place. It's impossible to say whether or not this retaining wall was built then and by whom.

We recently had a landscaper out for something else and he said that the bricks used for the wall are completely different to those used in/on the house, or any other house on the street. Whether this has any relevance, I have no idea...

We have a copy of a letter that one of the previous owners had sent to the council back in 1999 questioning the condition and ownership of the retaining wall (attached). The council have quite simply denied all responsibility. Whilst this may be the case, I definitely want to investigate and ensure we're not just being fobbed off, as I doubt the cost of repairing/replacing this wall will be cheap.

IMG URL: http://imagizer.imageshackDOTus/v2/640x480q90/922/kHqpp2.jpg

I'm unsure if the condition of the wall has changed since 1999, I would assume it has, but at what rate/speed I don't know. All I know is that it's got a good bow on it, and some bricks are coming loose. It doesn't look the best, thats for sure.

The title deeds and plans that we have (attached) are very vague, as I assume they mostly are.

IMG URL: http://imagizer.imageshackDOTus/v2/640x480q90/924/M635fJ.png

Whats bizarre is that we also have fence posts and a chainlink fence INSIDE this wall (picture drawn to try and make this clearer), on our property. Which either suggests a fence was put up later down the line and folks were lazy and just used owned land. OR, this could be the original boundary. In the Google Maps pic, the chainlink fence is covered by a hideous bush (which is no doubt causing the wall some unnecessary stress!)

IMG URL: http://imagizer.imageshackDOTus/v2/640x480q90/924/xNwjUM.png

IMG URL: http://imagizer.imageshackDOTus/v2/640x480q90/923/dCsvrW.png

If you walk down the footpath, neighbours that have a boundary with this path, having fencing or the like that seems to be consistent with the chain link fence.

How/where can I go with this?
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Re: Retaining Wall onto Council/Public Footpath

Postby Collaborate » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:35 pm ... kHqpp2.jpg ... M635fJ.png ... xNwjUM.png ... dCsvrW.png

The above links may help others out.

Whoever altered the natural height of the land is responsible for the wall.

The LR plan doesn't help you one way or the other, although it does seem to show a path to the side of your house. Your LA will have a register of all public rights of way. If yours is listed on it it may well tell you how long it has been there for.

In the absence of any evidence to the contrary I'd say that whoever built your house built up your back garden and had to build the retaining wall. Your neighbour's garden (to the left) looks to have a slope on it that perhaps yours does not?

That would mean that the wall is your responsibility.
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Re: Retaining Wall onto Council/Public Footpath

Postby YorkshireMash » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:49 pm

Thanks for the links, I assume as I'm new I'm unable to post links/embed pictures. However, bigger, more readable, versions are available;


And some more pics of the actual wall that I took earlier...


Although I suspect, as you, and others on the other forum(s) have suggested. This is probably our wall to look after :(

If it is, then so be it, I've learnt a lot already by looking into this. And I'm keen to find out more, even if its just about the history of the path/house/area.

I'm just intrigued to know if the path existed at the time of building the house, or whether or not the path was made later on. Either way, I suspect it probably makes no difference to the ownership..?

You say whoever altered the natural height. Its unlikely our plot was built on stilts, surely its more likely the path was dropped, and if it came later then...? I know I'm clutching at straws, but...
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Re: Retaining Wall onto Council/Public Footpath

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:10 am

Hi YorkshireMash,

if the wall isn't yours whose do you suppose it is?

since the land immediately next to the wall is a public footpath it's unlikely that the developer of your estate (for that is almost certainly who laid the path IMHO) would not absolve himself of the responsibility of the wall by including it in your plot.

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Retaining Wall onto Council/Public Footpath

Postby YorkshireMash » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:25 am

I am unsure to be honest, I thought. Given we were once the end of the cul de sac, that maybe the path came along later and was laid by the council, who, may have had to supply a wall.

I guess even if at the time, they did supply a wall, it was probably a one time only thing and to be maintained by the property owner.

As you can imagine, I just want(ed) to be very certain its ours before we fork out what, probably close to 10k?
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Re: Retaining Wall onto Council/Public Footpath

Postby Collaborate » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:37 am

If you think about it for a minute, the answer is there somewhere.

When your property was built, there was nothing but a field to the side. There may or may not have been a PROW.

Before the building of your house it was immaterial whether the ground was level or not. So no one would have built up an embankment to make a level garden, or dropped the path.

It was the building of the house that meant that the levels weren't ideal. Your builder will have altered the garden level, and built the retaining wall.

If the wall belongs to you then it is not part of the PROW. You may rebuild it, and can do so in a way that makes it the new boundary marker for your garden.
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