Can I build on an old bin alleyway?

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Can I build on an old bin alleyway?

Post by clearbluesky » Tue May 12, 2020 5:16 pm

Hi there,

I’m a new member and this is my first post. I’ve looked around the boards and can’t find this subject addressed so here goes. I’ve moved into a house with a back garden. The back wall of our garden backs onto an old alleyway where bin men used to come and collect the rubbish in “the old days”. The alley has a 1m wide path and 2m wide pile of old compost and rubbish. So there’s 3m of land sitting idle and looking pretty grotty plus there’s no gate at my end so anyone lurking in the car park at the back of mine can stroll up and open my gate or hop over my 1m high brick wall.

The alley runs behind my house and 4 other neighbours. Each of these neighbours had claimed this extra space as theirs so they have extended their gardens by 3m. They have all put a gate between each other and shared the keys so we can all use the route if needs be as it’s very useful for delivering large items or bags of compost etc. None of these neighbours minds each other crossing the back portion of their garden now and again and I’d be of the same mind as it’s useful and also quite sociable for sharing tools and passing things between us.

I’m inclined to go for it and knock my wall down and clear the back area to start using the area as mine but my partner is nervous as the deeds to our property end at our existing back wall. The neighbours have been living in their properties for up to 10 years and they say they claimed the alley 8 years ago with one neighbour putting a locked gate at the opposite end of the alley to mine where the alley runs between their house and the adjacent property out onto the road at the front.

I’d like to have the peace of mind of knowing I won’t have to undo anything I do to make that piece of land “ours”. Ideally I’d like to build a 2m deep shed on the waste land and still have the access gate for my neighbours to use. One of my alley sharing neighbours has done just that and I’m quite jealous of his extra storage!

I’m not sure who I’d ask about this issue. I’m guessing the council. The thing is I don’t want to bring up the issue with them only for them to come and see what everyone else has done and ask them to put it all back! So that’s why I’m asking you guys first.

I thank you all in advance.

P.s I’ve tried to attach pics to help but the files are too large and I’m non tech. Happy to provide pics if someone can let me know what I’m doing wrong!

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Re: Can I build on an old bin alleyway?

Post by MacadamB53 » Tue May 12, 2020 6:53 pm

Hi clearbluesky,

unless you are a council tenant, this has nothing to do with the council.

can you post a copy of your title plan please - highlighting the 3m strip - but make sure you anonymise it.

kind regards, Mac

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Re: Can I build on an old bin alleyway?

Post by pilman » Tue May 19, 2020 7:01 pm

It is highly probable that this back lane was granted as a right of way to allow access to the back gardens of all the houses by the builder who built the row of houses.

That was intended for the coal deliveries to be made to each back garden where the coal sheds were located.

Most of those back lanes have never been registered with Land Registry because the original owners just ignored them after selling all of the houses and banking the profits. The back lanes were never mentioned in any will, or even if they were the beneficiaries knew that this was a worthless piece of land and never bothered dealing with it.

That is why the neighbours have begun occupying the back lane, under what is known as adverse possession.
It seems that each has accepted that a right of way should still be available to each of them, although a 1 metre width is an acceptable width for pedestrians, so that a 2 metre wide area is now used exclusively by each house owner.

Only the true legal owner can come forward to prevent such use of the unregistered land and that is unlikely to ever happen, as can be seen because the other house owners have never been approached by this unknown legal owner.

Just get on with doing what all the others have already done.

There is nothing a local council can do about the use of the land, since it is not the land owner.

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