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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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I own a 3 bedroom house which does not have mains drainage

Resolved Question:

I own a 3 bedroom house which does not have mains drainage but is served by a septic tank which I own and which I located in a field I also own. My neighbour, also without mains drainage, has rights of use to the septic tank for his one bedroom cottage. He has been given planning permission to convert his cottage to a 4 bed 2 bathroom house. The planning authority have made the consent subject to a condition: that the septic tank has sufficient capacity to cope with the extra load the extension entails. I have argued that any spare capacity the tank may have is mine and that if the applicant uses it, it will prevent me from extending my home with additional bedrooms in the future. Does the planning authority have the right or the power to make a decision in his favour or are they exceeding their powers? How can planning permission be granted on the basis of something which I own and which is not owned by the candidate?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hi, thanks for your question.

tdlawyer :

My name isXXXXX can assist with this.

tdlawyer :

The planning authorities have no right to interfere with the rights between landowners like in your case. They are basically saying that if there is extra sewage provision, then they can have their planning permission. So the issue will be whether you have given the neighbour that right.

tdlawyer :

What does the grant you made say?

Customer:

Do I have to pay more to get clarification of your answer and to answer your question,?

tdlawyer :

No, you don't. Just ask me what you need to know.

Customer:

The neighbours title deeds gives him right of use, shared responsibility for maintenance and 'not for any other purpose whatsoever'. This was granted in the 1970's before I bought my house. I have made it clear to my neighbour and to the planning authority that I do not wish to have any additional load on the septic tank as a result of his extension.

tdlawyer :

Do the terms of the grant refer to the amount of usage?

Customer:

No

tdlawyer :

Okay. Then you would need to argue that the terms of the deed of grant gave permission limited to the premises as they were at the time (which is a feasible argument).

tdlawyer :

I think that is a sound argument, and you would need to point that out to him, and perhaps even the planning authorities. In other words, you're saying that you do not believe it is possible, without a new tank being put in place to deal with the increased waste.

Customer:

This is my view also and I have made this view clear to the authority and to my neighbour. My neighbour refuses to answer me and the authority also refse to address this point. They merely say the will decide the matter which I can't accept as it is my tank. What do you think I should do? I am a pensioner and cannot afford protracted solicitors fees.

tdlawyer :

The planning appear to have decided anyway, which is fine, becuse it's still subject to their being extra capacity.

tdlawyer :

You say there isn't, which means, that there is no planning at all.

tdlawyer :

This is because it's conditional - do you see what I mean?

tdlawyer :

Ultimately, if they start the work without the additional capacity, which you say is not available to them, they're in breach of the planning regualtions as there will have been no planning at all.

tdlawyer :

The Coucil would then consider taking enforcement action to prevent the build.

tdlawyer :

You could, however, pre-empt that and sue in the High Court for a declaration at the extra capacity does not belong to the neighbour, but the problem with that is it's expensive.

Customer:

Thank you but I don't understand what you mean about it being conditional and that there is no planning.

tdlawyer :

For their to be a valid planning permission, it sounds like they're saying there MUST be spsare capacity. If there is such capacity, then planning is granted. So, as you say there is no capacity, there is never any planning consent.

Customer:

Our point is that any spare capacity belongs to as owners of the tank.we can't accept that he planning authory has the right to give something that belongs to to a neighbour. Is there anything I can do without going to court?

tdlawyer :

Only the courts can determine who is entitled to what, BUT you could try writing to the planning authorities pointing out your position.

Customer:

Thanks we will try again

tdlawyer :

Thank you. Is there anything else I can answer for you?

Customer:

Yes p

tdlawyer :

What would you like to know?

Customer:

Why is the onus on me to prove ownership and not on the neighbour. I am happy with the status quo . he wants to change it. Does the authority have the right of access to my land and tank on my neighbours behalf?

tdlawyer :

No, the authority has no right of access to your land.

tdlawyer :

They are not forcing you to prove anything. The planning are telling him he can build only if he has capacity in the sewage.

tdlawyer :

The statuts quo is preserved.

tdlawyer :

However, he might be in breach of planning by saying he has extra capacity entitlements if he does not.

tdlawyer :

That's an issue with planning - not you.

tdlawyer :

I'm saying you could, if you really wanted to, prove that he has no such rights for the future if you wanted to by issuing your own court claim, but you do not have to do that.

Customer:

Thanks for all your help

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