Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Gardenia
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by Gardenia »

Dear Collaborate, Eliza, Arborland, MrSheen, Filthwizzard,CherryBlack and MacadamB53,

Firstly, THANK YOU ALL so much for taking the time and energy to respond and post. I sincerely appreciate it!

Having the extra privacy IS welcomed, however, yes, they are cutting down light in that side room and those vertical posts are now level with the roof of that room, making leaving the window to the room above it open a bit risky due to them having provided easy jump points for all the squirrels etc we have here.

He has a long history of intentionally doing things to de-value or cause harm to peoples property. He actually owned the house next door to the one he now lives in now, with both houses sharing an open semi circular driveway. At that time, the house he now lives in belonged to a lovely old, childless couple, Mr & Mrs T. Once Mrs T lost Mr T, she carried on like a trooper, until she became severely incapacitated and her sister had to have her moved to a facility near her in Brighton, but needed to sell the house in order to do so just to cover costs. The house was put on the market, but as its on the corner of a private side road, the For Sale board wasn't that visible to begin with. For over a year, he, intent on getting the house for less, used to go out every night, uproot the board and hide it under the overgrown bushes just outside her house. Needless to say, the house simply did not sell and so, Mrs T's sister got extremely desperate. He then went in with a wayyyy below value offer and got the house for a steal. Normal people with a conscious do not usually act that way.

When we told him we had some plaster cracking issues on that side room after the hot summer of 2010, the first thing he did was to put TPOS on a large group of lime trees in the corner of his garden nearby, knowing they were probably the reason why. They were later identified as being a main reason, but the TPO meant that the Council said they could not be removed, and that he should just pollard them every year to check their growth. They have not been touched since, with him allowing them to grow to now gigantic proportions.

He then went even further and planted a Eucalyptus tree right against the fence next to where he knew the most cracking took place. Those trees are known for causing foundation damage due to the nature of their root systems, so it is hard not to question if it was an intentional move.

Then last year, there was this recent use clear glazing although planning laws meant he has to adhere to frosted. Followed by the lit cigarettes being thrown over since May of this year and now this.

So, it should tell you a bit about the type of person he is - CherryBlack, you nailed it in your post.

He is quite tall and hefty, comes across as very aggressive and I have even heard him being verbally abusive to his own family when angry - and I am a 5ft 4 female of slight build. I just wanted to find out if there any grounds for action because his nature is such that if you let him get away with one thing, he will keep pushing because there is something going on inside him which makes him feel good by making life difficult for others.

It's not just me, even before the latest two episodes, several people around here who have a passing acquaintance have said the same, that there is something just not right about him, that they can see it in his eyes and his general demeanour.

I do not want a fight, legal or otherwise, nor to do I want to prove any point. For me, there are no ego points to be won from something that seems so unnecessary. I just want a peaceful life without causing harm to others, but I also do not want to let too much of this kind of behaviour go, leading him to a point where he starts to think that he can do whatever he wants and to be honest, the cigarette flicking thing really scared me, as it felt threatening. Usually, the person doing that would know they were in the wrong and just keep a low profile, but to follow it up with this, where he must know that we know that there is a chance someone has been in our garden, just feels unsettling and intentional act on his part.

His apparent tendency to not know where to stop or draw the line like normal, reasonable people would is what frightens me.

That is why I was seeking some definitive answer as to whether what he has put up there is permitted or not.

If it is and If the law permits it, I won't mind letting it go, but if not, and he is doing wrong in the eyes of the law, then yes, I do feel it would be the right thing to do to ensure that I do not stay quiet just because of how intimidating he can be.

We deserve to live peacefully and without fear in our home too. I would hope the same for him, but it seems like that is not the case.

I really appreciate you all, but so far It does not sound like there has been no definitive answer either way, so if anyone has any more to add which could give me a steer, please do, as it would be incredibly appreciated.
Collaborate
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by Collaborate »

The definitive answer is that he has trespassed, and you may remove the slats. That may inevitably involve them being damaged (if he has glued them to the posts). That is not your problem.
wtc
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by wtc »

As said by others earlier, it isn't right to the extent it appears built overhanging your land without your consent, plus is a breach of planning rules. However, it is very much down to how much you are willing to tolerate it. If you do not make a fuss, no-one else will and it can stay.

The council will not go looking for breaches themselves and would only consider taking action if tipped off (and no guarantee they will). It seems he did follow the planners' instruction before regarding the window and might do the same again if asked about the fence.

However, It seems as though his earlier run-in with planning over the window has been taken out on you, whether or not it was anything you did to request the obscure glazed window. Similarly, a tip-off to the council planners, whether by you or someone else, and if enforced, might then be taken out on you. I can understand a decision to leave it up for a quiet life. The neighbour seems irrational, so rational arguments will not work.

The the thing that bothers me more than legality is safety of the construction. It does look as if it is glued on if there are no visible fixings. Some adhesives are very strong. Yet there will be a notable weight up there if the slats go to the top and wind or rain could act to weaken it over time. If the adhesive failed. the whole lot might come down at once. If that weak, they would be better taken down before they fall.
Gardenia
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by Gardenia »

Dear All,

I remain extremely grateful for the time and help you have offered thus far with this and would like to update you on events.

This morning, just before sitting down to breakfast, some family members were startled by the sight of a total stranger in our front garden. It was the fence installer that had started the job the other day, wandering around in our garden using one of those sealant guns with CT1 in it.

I went to speak to him, was very polite, but did ask if he could explain why he was on our land WITHOUT having sought permission first. He said that he was working on our neighbours fence and had to come on to this side of it to finish it off, to which I said that that was understandable BUT to access someones land like this was not on and that it is the law, not to mention simple respect for others property, that permission should have been sought first, either by himself or the homeowner. He actually had the audacity to say that yes, maybe he should have, but he did not know how to find the house so doing it this way was easier for him! (Seeing as they are the corner house on a private road which comes straight out on the main road on which we are the next immediate house, that is highly unlikely)

He admitted that he should have asked first, that it was his fault and I said that it was not acceptable behaviour and that he and the owners should have asked us first. That I had never come across any company doing work for us who would have thought it ok to do the same. He apologised.

Obviously, there was no point in carrying on and on about the same subject, so I then moved on to telling him that he and the owners may want to delay progressing with any further additions as we were in the process of contacting the Council to see whether what has been erected is permissable by local law.

He said that it was lawful and that they are entitled to fix anything they like because its their fence, which I agreed that yes, that is what the law says, however, by law it is also true that their land effectively stops in line with where the surface of their fence posts facing us do - anything beyond that is our land not theirs. He said it was only 1 inch , so I pointed out that that is not really an excuse as this year its one inch, next year another inch and so on and so forth, so when does one draw the line and if one does permit these things? And that after a certain period has elapsed, you cannot reclaim space, so it was not something we could ignore.

I asked him to look down the alley and see how narrow it was and how even one inch, in such an instance, therefore made a difference, to which he nodded.

When asked how tall they planned to take it, he said up to the level of the brick wall of our building. At which point I added that it therefore may provide additional reasons why it was best to see what local planning allowed, as there were laws about how high such fences and additional installations atop of them could be and that this may well breach those.

I did tell him we could understand how this would give both parties more privacy, but it was more that they has sited the verticals on our side and that if the Council supported our stance, they would have to be removed. Thereafter, if the owners still wanted them, they could attach to their side of the fence. He replied that that probably could not happen, when asked why, he said it would not look nice because they would then have to look at it, so, of course I retorted by saying that that was exactly the point and asked him to answer why, if that was the case, they think its ok to install it on our side for us to look at?

Anyway, when I asked him how he has installed the verticals the other day, he said he glued them using CT1 and it was done by leaning over, albeit in a rather sheepish manner. When asked if they could be removed, he said it would not be easy, but yes they could be if required.

POINT OF ACCESS FOUND! - Obviously, today he was clearly wandering around in our garden. It turns out that he lifted up small fence panel at the other end of the alley that runs along the entire side of our house and connects the front and back gardens. He lifted that up, propped it up with one of the off Imagecuts of the battons, come through, walked all the way down the alley in the very front corner of our front garden!

This small panel is actually behind a large metal trellis we have attached to two posts on our side - its a bit of a squeeze, so again, how anyone would think its ok to access someones property by such an entry point without consent is questionable. Ones conscious would usually advise that to do so would obviously appear as extremely dodgy behaviour.

I am attaching a photo of the area - it is the narrow panel you can see to the left behind the bushes and our metal trellis and the photo was taken after he completed the first works the other day, you can see that he used a batton wedged in our soil at a diagonal to hold that last glued vertical he installed in place - there is loads of black gluey stuff squigged out on the the left side of that vertical when viewed close up. I thought it looked like Bitumen, but.......

After this morning, I have temporarily knocked two metal marking posts in the soil on our side there and woven thick yet pliable metal cable around and down them, plus piled a whole load of concrete blocks there to prevent any access until it can be made secure permanently. The panel remained propped up and open for about 15-20 minutes after the conversation but was then lowered back in to place.

I know he was wrong, but as I said before, I do not want to cause problems for anyone if it can be avoided especially for what amounts to a middle man. The Neighbours are equally accountable and should have known better too.

We shall now have to wait and see what the Council says and whether their opinion gives us any support in terms of asking that the verticals be removed from our side. Hopefully, he will have relayed the message back to the owners, so that they now know that it could go either way and not to presume that what they have installed is permitted or shall remain in place.

Shall keep you posted (no pun intended!)

And again, THANK YOU sincerely for ALL of your time and help thus far.

When you find yourself in this kind of a position, where peoples actions make you feel uncomfortable in your own space, having people out there who stand to gain nothing, but whom, out of the kindness of their own hearts, take the time and energy to advise and help is just so deeply appreciated. Sincerely.
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arborlad
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by arborlad »

There are two aspects to this, planning and trespass. The fence is limited to 2m in height, the fence, as built, already exceeds that by 150mm, I'd have no hesitation in contacting planning now, with the photos. The council will say the trespass is a private/civil matter, which it is - but a two pronged attack won't do any harm, the neighbour and 'fencer' really have some cheek, and need putting in their place - smartish!! To prevent any future access/trespass issues by neighbour or 'fencer', one half of a timber clothes peg tapped between rail and post will prevent any future raising of panels........

If you throw a mustard seed over the boundary, the law considers it a trespass, do you have any Insurers you can ask for advice - you're almost certainly going to have to go 'legal' to get the trespass removed.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
Gardenia
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by Gardenia »

Thank you very much indeed for your time, advice and response Arborlad.

Things have moved on since this morning - the fencer has now added to the initial 5 battens he installed the other day and has battened up to just about the max height of the black verticals he affixed to the fence posts by adding another 6, so the new erection is now 11 batten high. Photos attached.

It's pretty imposing!

When I heard he was out there again cutting off the few cms left at the top of the verticals, I went out and asked him to please pop his contact details through the door before he left, explaining that I was still awaiting a response from the Council but that if they did say it should be removed, it seemed wise to have his contact details as who better to get to remove them as neatly as possible, than the person who installed them? He said he would leave his number, but we shall see.

He pointed out that the other neighbour further down the line had a high fence too. So, I then had to point out that the ground level is actually higher down there and his fence is behind a long conifer hedge on one side of our garden which is taller than the fence, so it is totally hidden and is hardly the same thing.

I mentioned again that their existing fence was already over the permitted height allowed, which we would never have fussed about, but that this now definitely tipped it way over what was acceptable. Adding that there was also the matter of how much light it would now cut out to those side windows, plus its sheer height severely narrowing the access space previously available for maintaining the guttering that runs down the length of that side room. (Not sure if that is a consideration, but it crossed my mind at the time)

When asked, he did say he had made the owners aware of this mornings conversation, but evidently, they must have told him to continue anyway, so I repeated again that that was their choice but that if the Council said it was not within planning laws, then he should expect to hear from us or them, and be asked to come and take it down and if he could again remind our Neighbours of that too.

He then asked if I didn't think it looked nice! Which was both ludicrous yet amusing to me at the same time.

Anyway, we are still waiting to hear from the Council, but what with it being a Friday, this may now drag on to next week.

I just hope that our Neighbour does not get up to anything over the weekend - he clearly has a different way of thinking and behaving and combined with his temperament, it cannot be ruled out.

It feels quite stressful but we shall just have to sit tight and hope that Monday arrives quickly along with a response from local planning that can finally resolve this.

Thanks again to you and to all the kindness shown by all of you for everything so far!
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Eliza
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by Eliza »

I see what you mean by narrowing what is already a very narrow path of yours.

Wondering whether it would be a good idea to call up a local councillor from the relevant Council re planning permission on houses in your road and ask if they could pay you a personal visit to check this out for themselves? Getting in good-quality coffee and biscuits of course for whilst you are there and your fattest friend just happens to pay you a visit/be ensconced visiting you already and want to walk down your narrow passageway (which would conveniently demonstrate it is narrow anyway). I would certainly not have been nearly as polite as you were if I found a strange workman in my garden - my comment would have been an order to "get OUT of my garden - right now!" and I'd have stood there supervising them fleeing from my premises.

Certainly the relevant Council can get onto an errant householder if they do something against planning permission considerations. When one of my neighbours wanted to do something (ie put up a fence taller than their house is allowed to have) at a particular location that impacted on me I promptly told them the maximum height they were allowed (ie 1 metre - as it's a viewing splay for vehicles) and that anyone involved (ie not just me) had the right to tell the Council within four years. So the Council doesn't have to be told immediately - you've got that 4 year leeway. Obviously it would be just as well to tell them as soon as possible though in the event.

Good luck - and I do get your point re being 5'4" and female (shakes hands with you on that one - as I suspect that's been part of the problem here. ie I've not been treated the same way as a burly great man would have been). Discrimination for being a woman - with no way to prove you're being treated worse for being a woman.
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....
Collaborate
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by Collaborate »

You are free to remove it as you see fit.it is a trespass.
arborlad
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by arborlad »

Gardenia wrote: Fri Jul 12, 2024 5:33 pmI went out and asked him to please pop his contact details through the door before he left,



...............and you want to see his Third Party Insurance certificate.
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
Gardenia
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Re: Neighbour attaching Privacy slats on our side of HIS fence

Post by Gardenia »

Thank you Eliza, Collaborate and arborlad.

Eliza, I agree and have already emailed the Council. Sent it to Building Control who forwarded it on to Development Management, who in turn sent out a standard circular email with a whole load of links to General things like how to apply for planning permission, etc. This is the way the run things here now and it seems impossible to actually get a real person to read and then respond. As a result, I then contacted one of my Cllrs on Wednesday, no response, then yesterday with things moving so fast, I emailed the other too. No response as yet - their party took a bruising on July 4th so I do not know if they have gone off to lick their wounds.

I agreed that it seems silly to drag out such things, so even though we have the 4 year period to do something, I agree that it would be best to get it sorted now. Despite it all, I would prefer for both us and this neighbour and his family to just be able to get on and enjoy our respective garden spaces, so a quick resolution seems best all round.

I did wonder if a possible compromise would be for him to remove this, and then if he wanted to, put in some posts in on HIS side of the fence a foot or so inside his own land and attach some metal mesh/wire type trellis to the top third of those? He could then grow some climbers up them, thereby attaining the screening he seeks. As I believe that an actual trellis of that sort may be perhaps permitted?

What I do not know, is if that type of thing would still be subject to some kind of a height restriction or not?

Collaborate, thank you for being so clear and succinct! So very much appreciate that! I am hoping that if and when they hear it from the Council themselves, they will do the right thing and arrange for this individual they have hired to install, to take return and take them down again, which is what I was trying to warn him off yesterday.

They may chose to conduct themselves in a manner that shows no regard for others property, but IF possible, I would prefer to respond in such a way that sets such an example and shows how simple it is maintain some kind of respect for others property. For me, the preference most in accordance with that would be for the person they chose to install it, then be the one to dismantle it. Respect the materials they have paid for and their choice of worker to do so in the manner least likely to damage their concrete posts. Having said all that, if they they do not take them down, then yes Sir! You can bet I shall definitely make sure they are taken down!

And arborlad, again, I think we are on the same page here in feeling that this chosen "fencer" of theirs, Michael, seems quite dubious to say the least.

When doing the initial site visit to quote, any professional fencer would surely have pointed out that this idea was not feasible, being that their existing fence already teetered above the lawful limit and would usually have then refused to install anything further. Most glaringly, any one experienced in that field, would certainly know better than to simply wander on to someone elses land without having sought their permission first and in fact, would usually advise their client that THEY must seek access permission from their neighbour in advance of any works being able to be completed - total red flags there.

The fact that he did not, plus the other things he said during our conversation, displayed a lack of awareness of any fundamental knowledge a professional would usually be expected to have and it makes me think that he is just some handy man they have employed to do the job on the cheap - something further evidenced by the quality of the wood he has used for the verticals and how roughly it appears to have been cut. Photo attached.

Needless to say, he left without leaving us any contact details yesterday, but that is not a biggie, as if the Council sends them notice that it must be removed, the impetus will be upon them to get it sorted anyway.

Hopefully, we shall hear back from the Council or our Councillors soon and this can be concluded. It just all seems so unnecessary though, especially in the internet age which allows us to check what we can and cannot do with regard to such things in advance of actually hiring someone to do them.

If anyone can advise if the compromise pondered on earlier, of him perhaps having his own posts with a metal mesh trellis across the top sited on his land and if yes, what height would be allowed for such an installation, that would be helpful and appreciated, as, if needs be, it may be a way to satiate both parties without leaving anyone with any lasting resentments.

Again, thank you all ever so much for your time and help.
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