Amenity land.

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jonahinoz
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Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:01 pm

Hi,

Is there a legal definition of AMENITY LAND , in statute or case law?

The impression I have is that it is land for everyone to enjoy ... except the owner.

John W

Collaborate
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by Collaborate » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:35 am

Wasn't there a recent thread about this?

jonahinoz
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:46 am

Wasn't there a recent thread about this?

Hi Collaborate,

Sorry, I haven't seen anything that specifically relates to my question. Can you point me in the right direction?

To explain my question ... I have at last persuaded my wife that we need a bungalow. She has just started procedures for getting a pair of new knees. She has agrees that this should be regarded as an opportunity to move nearer to our daughter in Milton Keynes.

The Planners in Milton Keynes seem to have been adroit at getting developers to provide amenity land at the new (then) house buyers expense. Ie: "Must not be fenced, and must be kept as amemity land". Half my daughter's back garden falls into this category, which makes it a convenient dog's toilet, and somewhere for kids to erect (but not remove) ramps on which to play Eval Kneval. A neighbour started shouting about "Amenity Land" when a skip was placed behind my daughter's fence.

We have found the bungalow we really, really want. We are sweating on finding a buyer for our house (averaging one viewing per working day) before the bungalow owners find a buyer (two viewings in several months, including ours). I will ask Rightmove to post details to a couple of friends on this forum.

The bungalow has parking space for several cars, but not really enough space to turn around, which means reversing in, or reversing out onto the road. We would prefer avoid doing either.

The vehicle gates exit onto a tarmac strip across a wide grass verge, then the public footpath, then another grass verge, then a dropped kerb. It would be useful if the grass verge nearest the property boundary could be used as a hammer-head, to facilitate a change of direction.

The vendor's wife told us that the LA mow the grass verges. Why would she mention that, unless the verges were part of the property. (The LA mow my daughter's amenity land. In fact, the LA think they own half my daughter's garden).

So, the secondary question is ... "Does the paper owner of amenity land have authority to drive over, or even park on their own land"? Other properties we are considering have similar lay-outs.

I have heard of LAs threatening to prosecute residents who have the temerity to mow the verge in front of their houses. On the other hand, I have witnessed LAs in South Wales replace deeply rutted grass verges with paving slaps, so that residents can park without getting their feet muddy.

John W

Collaborate
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by Collaborate » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:17 pm


jonahinoz
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:19 am

Hi Both,

Thanks for the pointers. Unfortunately, there is little or no reference to what the owner can do with his land. Most discussions seen to cover what he can't do. There seems little indication about what those who don't own the land, can or can't do.

For instance, you can drive up and park your car on my land, without committing a crime. My only redress is through the civil courts. Would the LA demand that I take legal action against you, as owner of the car? I believe it will take DVLA several weeks to reply to my request for your name and address, by which time you will probably have removed it anyway, so what is the point in demanding I take action? But would they be as benevolent if I parked my car on my land ... or planted a tree, or chopped a tree down?

Most people seem to regard Amenity as visual amenity, although the Act does not say that ... but at the same time, the Planners will tell you that you are not entitled to a view.

John W

MacadamB53
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by MacadamB53 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:35 pm

Hi John W,

I’d say that by establishing what you cannot do you’ll be left with a list of what you possibly can do...

is there anything in particular you had in mind?

kind regards, Mac

jonahinoz
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:46 pm

is there anything in particular you had in mind?

Hi Mac,

We have identified the bungalow we want to buy, but cannot proceed until we have a buyer for our present house, so we are currently planning ahead.

There is plenty of room for a PD garage, leaving space to park several more. But due to the stepped nature of the garden and it's slope, it would be difficult to turn a car round within the boundary, which would mean reversing out onto the road.

There is a very wide strip of grass between the boundary wall and the footpath, which may or may not be amenity land. There is a more conventional width grass verge between the footpath and the kerb, which I guess is not amenity land.

I reckon that the wider grass strip, between the boundary and the footpath, is wide enough to be used as a hammerhead, on which to change direction. There are ways of strengthening grass areas, to prevent damage from car tyres.

I would like to know my rights before rocking the boat.

I have extracted a satellite view of the property from a well known internet site, but am reluctant to post it here without a moderator's approval. I suppose I could do a sketch, and paint between the lines and post it here.

John W

jonahinoz
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:25 am

Hi,

Sketch produced ... a pig of a job as I was trying to work from a satellite photo with perspective. I assumed the width of the road was 7.5m, and guestimated all the other dimensions as a function of the road width. All I can tell you with certainty is that the grass strip is WIDE.

Note that the the environs are varied ... slabs, grass, tarmac, gravel, all at various gradients. It would currently be difficult to reverse between the font on the house and the front boundary wall, do to a step. And even if you could, the angle of approach to the drive gates would be too shallow for a Land Rover.

I an only interested in the legal aspect, not the moral. I assume that other residents already drive onto and/or park on their bit of grass. Let's see what I can do, and then try to improve things.

John W
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MacadamB53
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by MacadamB53 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:39 pm

Hi John W,

in summary, you are asking whether it would be illegal or unlawful to drive your car on your own land after leaving the highway - because said land is thought to be “amenity land”?

I’d say you can drive on that land.
I’d also say you could erect a low picket fence around that land to show it is not part of the highway.

kind regards, Mac

jonahinoz
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:17 am

Hi Mac,

I have avoided getting a copy of the Land Register for this bungalow, as we do not know if we can sell our house before somebody else beats us to the one we wan to buy. We could spend a lot of money getting LR copies of non-starters.

But hey ... £6 is not going to break the bank, provided I don't keep on doing it. So last evening I tried to get a copy of the register. True to form, LR told me that my account had been closed, as I had not used it in the last 12 months, (Strange that they knew I used to have an account, but won't let me use it.)

"It's not you ... it's me!" This Techno-wimp could not find any way of re-registering with LR. Par for the course. I can't do anything till Monday now.

John W

mugwump
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by mugwump » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:26 am

That grass may well be classed as part of the highway since a highway is defined as the portion between boundary features either side of it. The bungalow garden wall/fence being the boundary on that side.

jonahinoz
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:29 pm

Hi Mugwump,

I must assume that you are right, but I'd like to know why you are right. How does that rule apply apply to the un-fenced roads across the Brecon Beacons, where farmhouses are usually about a hundred yards from the highway, and many are a lot further?

Does a LA maintained FOOTPATH count as a highway? I am attaching a satellite view of my daughter's house and gardens, with HER amenity land between a back fence and the tarmac footpath. On the other side of the path is a much narrower grass strip and then a garden fence. My daughter's deeds say this area must not be fenced, and must not be fenced. I believe the developer ceased trading many years ago.

All four residents of her terrace applied for PP to turn this amenity land into gardens. Refused. However, a resident in the next street contrived to purchase a 20ft by 20ft area of land next to his garden and get PP to include it into his garden. I met him while walking my dog, while he was erecting a 6ft high fence. He said he had purchased the land from the LA Parks Dept. All in all, it had cost him £8,000.

If you put your back against his new fence, and started walking, you would cross a tarmac footpath, fight your way through a thicket, cross another tarmac footpath, cross a wide grass verge, and stumble onto an A-class dual carriageway.

All the footpaths seem to be there for the benefit of pedestrians and cyclists, but have collapsible bollards to prevent access by cars.

???

John W
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SJC14
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by SJC14 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:41 pm

Does the local Authority not publish a planning plan that follows the National Planning Policy?

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... amework--2

I thought Amenity land was either environmental (ie open and safe footpaths, not dark and dangerous ones) or outstanding views, greenbelt etc.

If the daughter wants to enclose the amenity land next to her garden then speak to the Council before applying for planning permission. The Council should define why this land has been defined as amenity and what you could do with it that they would be happy to allow. A compromise may be permission to erect a 2m high fence to no closer than 1m of the footpath but keep the land itself as amenity and not garden (so no hedges, sheds and other things one can do with a garden).

mugwump
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by mugwump » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:59 am

Attorney-General v Beynon [1970] Ch 1.
The “hedge to hedge” presumption is that a highway extends to the whole width of the space between fences on either side of the highway and is not limited to the metalled part of the roadway. The hedge is presumed to belong to the adjacent landowner

jonahinoz
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Re: Amenity land.

Post by jonahinoz » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:53 am

Attorney-General v Beynon [1970] Ch 1
The “hedge to hedge” presumption is that a highway extends to the whole width of the space between fences on either side of the highway and is not limited to the metalled part of the roadway.


Hi Mugwump.

A police driver told me about 60 years ago (post 1957) that the highway extended right up to the hedge/fence/wall. I can't remember what the discussion was about, so he obviously let me off with a caution.

I think the case you refer to was an appeal against a ruling using the Public Health Act. I don't know if it related to an infringement of the Public Health Act.

OT ... my one and only endorsement was due to the Finance Act 1956 stating my Minivan was a car and requiring me to pay Purchase Tax, and the Road Traffic Acts 1962 stating it was a Goods Vehicle restricted to 40mph. The RTA trumped the Finance Act. The nasty policeman said he had clocked me at 80mph for one mile. The nice magistrates fined me £2, and apologised for having to endorse my licence. I had alread paid £26 Purchase tax, as I had fitted seats in my van, but not windows. Heads they win, tails I lose. About a year later, I met the lady who was to become my wife. She was a PT Assessment Officer in C&E. I expressed an opinion about her parent's marital status. She looked up my case, was offended by how Local Officer had described my van (I had asked him to be nasty, to keep the tax down). When she next wrote to him, about another unrelated case, she was quite terse with him. We have been married for 53 years, and still exchange insults occasionally. According to her, little girls grow up but little boys have a job for life.*

Take a look at https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/highway/31829.article which seems to say that the Highways Authority cannot claim rights over private land. Please advise me whether it trumps the case you quoted.

John W (* 79, rising 14)

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