Neighbour has used my fence as a retaining wall

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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:32 pm

Neighbour has used my fence as a retaining wall

Post by Northernman » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:04 pm

I'm sure my kind problem has been featured on here before, but I would appreciate advice and opinion from anyone who has experienced a similar issue.

A couple of years ago my neighbour began work on installing a swimming pool in their back garden.
It's quite a large pool and needed a big hole !
Rather than disposing of all the excess soil my neighbour decided to use the earth to raise the height of the entire of their garden except for a patio area directly next to the house.
Along the boundary between the two properties there is a regular 6ft wooden panel fence.
We noticed that the neighbours had decided that the best way to hold back the raised earth was to just pile it up against the fence to a height approx 12 - 14 inches.
They did not build a retaining wall or speak to us regarding upgrading the fence with concrete gravel boards.
At the time (relations with them were pretty amicable back then) I went around to see them and politely asked them to stop piling up the earth.
Obviously wet earth against a fence is a recipe for disaster.
In the couple of years that have passed since then not only have they not removed the original earth, but they have built up flower beds, planted trees very close to the fence, built a patio around the pool and installed a pool heater right next to the fence.
Needless to say the obvious has happened. The lower fence panels have rotted and so have the posts.
During the high winds around Christmas a number of panels gave out and were blown over.
Before we could get this fixed we had a number of invasions by her collection of dogs (4 altogether) leaving their 'calling cards' all over our lawn.
In the area where the panels had been blown down the raised earth began to 'landslip' down into our garden.
We have since had the damaged area repaired, but only with fence posts and mesh as I don't see the point in putting anymore panels up as they too will just rot out in time.
Just last week we noticed that our neighbour has realised that the new mesh fence doesn't offer enough support for their raised beds, so they've started stuffing old slates, ceramic tiles etc, then backfilling their side with even more earth and gravel!!!
This work is obviously all done when they know that we are out.....
But when we mended the fence we informed them exactly when it would happen so that they weren't concerned by a stranger wandering around on the boundary.

Is it just me, or am I correct to assume that it's not my responsibility to provide a retaining wall for their raised beds, patio etc ?
Also, I thought that as it is my fence, my neighbour should not place anything against it, hang anything on it or even paint it on their side without my permission ?
We will be delivering a letter asking again for them to remove all the material that is against the fence, but I don't expect the they will do anything.
If there is no action on their part, what is our next move ?
Any advice appreciated.

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