15:01 PM, 19th December 2019, About 3 years ago 8
We would really appreciate some sound advice here, on the situation we are facing. We bought a mid-terraced grade 2 listed cottage back in 2006. This had been a probate property and had been neglected for over two years and gardens were over grown.
It took our builders a year to refurbish the property before we could move in. In early 2007, our builders hacked back the substantial growth of vegetation in the rear garden and discovered a wooden gate between ours and the neighbouring property. However, access to their garden was blocked by the building of a conservatory. When we brought this to their attention we were told that the previous neighbours got along well and they just kept the gate as an informal arrangement. We did not investigate the matter further as we all seemed to get on and replaced the fence without a gate.
What had actually happened was that in December 2005, the neighbour took advantage of the lack of activity at the property and decided to build a conservatory over the back of their property, completely blocking our right of way, even though they knew the right of way existed as it is shown on their property’s title deed. Now the only way we can now take our wheelie bins out is via some third party land. If we lose this access, our rear garden will be completely blocked in.
Also we cannot store the bins in the front garden because it is small, there are steps and it is a conservation area. If we were to sell our property it would lose value because of lack of rear access, though their solicitor disputes this. This matter has now become entrenched.
They have refused to accept our right of way is still valid, and refuse to remove the conservatory, because it has been there since 2005 and we didn’t really complain about it before.(They also claim it was built under permitted development rules, but we didn’t think these applied to conservation areas) We cannot get them to agree to an alternative right of way without them applying lots of restrictions on when we can and cannot use it even though we have made it clear, we would only use it if we lost our access over the third party land.
Our solicitor has advised against us not to take this matter to litigation because of the risks and costs involved.