Wall, Hedge and a Developer

Wall, Hedge and a Developer

Postby Badbitz66 » Wed May 08, 2013 8:58 am

First post, so please forgive if this or very similar has been answered on the forum before…

We currently live in a barn at the top of a field converted about twenty five years ago by the farmer who owns the field, and who lived in it for a few years . He has recently obtained outline planning to develop seven houses. We knew this was likely to happen at the time we bought five years ago as we understood the village boundary had been moved and there was a “presumption” that permission would be given as infill development. So the farmer now has a conditional offer from a developer to purchase the land and has shown us a proposed layout. So far, so good.

In terms of the boundary of our property, we have a wall round the two sides of frontage that adjoin the field; OUTSIDE this wall there is a cypress leylandii hedge between two and five metres in height and typically 1 to 1.5m wide. We have maintained this hedge on all faces since we moved in, as have previous owners. The title plans we have are pretty vague – the thickness of the marked boundary on a 1:1250 map extract could reasonably be argued to cover both the wall and hedge. There are no “T” marks or notes to confirm exactly what forms the boundary.

Now the problem. Having pegged out the line of the drive for the property closest to ours off the developers proposal suggests the hedge is either assumed to be not there, or the owner of the house will only be parking a motorbike or “smart” car on it; even allowing for scaling off a 1:500 sketch there is clearly an issue with the position of the drive in relation to the hedge. Given the tight fit to get four houses into this side of the site, we assume that Mr Developer he thinks he will be grubbing out the hedge…
“Informative” notes on the planning decision advise that “landscaping scheme in Condition ‘x’ shall have “due regard for the privacy of adjoining properties”, which would include us. Clearly we think the easiest quickest and cheapest way to do that is by retaining the existing mature hedge!

My view currently is why would the farmer have planted a hedge beyond the wall if he didn’t intend that to be the boundary and his screening from any future development? After all he couldn’t be sure he would always own the land, or control what happened to the hedge in those circumstances.

My question is what chance of success might we have to argue that the hedge is ours given the vague nature of the title plan? If we can how do we ensure the developer doesn’t “accidentally” cut the roots when site stripping, constructing drains, drive formation or similar, so removing his space problem?
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Re: Wall, Hedge and a Developer

Postby despair » Wed May 08, 2013 9:30 am

Have you looked at every shred of paper in the planning file for this development because the officers appraisal may indeed site the leylandi as screening for you as a material consideration in granting the PP
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Re: Wall, Hedge and a Developer

Postby Badbitz66 » Wed May 08, 2013 12:38 pm

Thanks Despair - yes, we've ploughed through everything. The only specific item of landscaping mentioned is the revised village boundary line. The inofrmatives in the approval decision require that consideriation is given to the existing properties (we are 1 1/2 storey, bar the plot nearest our hedge all the new ones are two storey with a ridge line about 1.5m higher than us). I hope there is enough vagueness in the plan to argue the hedge is ours, but my worry is that the potential developer is a small regional one with a little bit of a history for "forgetting" or "misunderstanding" planning requirements!
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Re: Wall, Hedge and a Developer

Postby kipper » Wed May 08, 2013 1:14 pm

On the face of the evidence, it would seem that you will have difficulty proving the hedge is yours and is the true boundary. A surveyor would likely be required to determine this with large cost and no guarantee of an outcome in your favour. Why not talk to the planning department about the scheme and what they would expect to meet their conditions? At the moment it is only outline permission and you would have the opportunity to raise the matter formally once full planning permission was applied for.
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Re: Wall, Hedge and a Developer

Postby oorya » Wed May 08, 2013 1:47 pm

What space is there on your side of the wall.

Could you plant your own hedge?
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