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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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We are building a new detached house. For sewage waste, we

Resolved Question:

We are building a new detached house. For sewage waste, we have access to an unadopted drain in the shared driveway owned by us. This is already being used by a property before us and one after us and drains into the main sewer. This connection has been approved by Severn Trent and the local building control. We could potentially also create a totally new drain down to the main road (about 50 metres).

However approximately 2 (two) metres behind our rear boundary wall is an adopted sewer on the open grass area in front of some bungalows, all owned by the local housing association. We would much prefer to connect into this sewer, as it is adopted and is very much closer, has a better drop, is newer and would be much easier to do. It would require very little disruption on the housing association's land as it is approximately two metres of very narrow channel. We don't even need a manhole cover. We would be very careful and re-instate everything to high quality.

We gather that the housing association will need to create an easement and are happy to pay something to the housing association for the legalities and for making our job easier. However this has been on the go since our first request back in January this year and we are no further forward.

Is there anything we can do? We realise that it is private land and that we do have an alternative but, particularly as it is a housing association, do they have any obligations rather than just stone walling this? They haven't said no but whatever we provide them with they are not moving it forwards.

I would really appreciate a specialist in this area to give us any help on moving this forward.

Many thanks for any help
Janet
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask if you have gotten as far as agreeing a premium for a drainage easement please?

Customer:

No, we haven't reached that point yet

Joshua :

Thanks. H.As are frustrating animals to deal with.

Joshua :

Many of the HA officers are ex council officials and in my experience are used to getting their own way on their own terms. Occasionally you can find them reasonable but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

Joshua :

There are two approaches to installing drainage. You can either do so by direct negotiation of a private easement or you can ask the water undertaker to connect your property using statutory powers to connect.

Joshua :

The water undertaker is required to use its powers proportionately connecting you in the manner that causes least disturbance; if you are at stalemate with the HA you may consider approaching the water undertaker to arrange to connect the drainage using statutory powers. They may not be able to connect you to the HA land if there is a more appropriate connection option available however this is the alternative approach if the HA is not progressing the matter.

Joshua :

The HA has no obligations to you privately and is free to agre or refuse a private approach for a negotiated easement.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help with any further?

Customer:

I have spoken to Severn Trent and because we have another possible route it is unlikely that they would go to the housing association to insist that we could use that drain. From your experience, as I would like to give this at least one last shot, is there any one higher up in a huousing association that it might be worth contacting as

Customer:

(sorry, I hit the enter key!) this whole situation seems ridiculous. What has been most frustrating is that if they were always going to say NO then why have they let this keep going on for 5 months. Is there nothing I can do as this has held up other decisions because they led us to believe they were going to go ahead with this.Thanks

Joshua :

If they have promised you a connection then you can hold to them to that promise but ideally you would need to be able to show a promise in writing. The decision makes in HAs tend not to be "customer facing" - you typically deal with their legal department or agents who have to defer to officers in the HA for decisions. It may simply be that there is a breakdown in communication. A twin tack approach may be appropriate where you push the HA hard for a response, possibly requesting a meeting and continuously badgering them by email or phone whilst at the same time commencing enquiries through the water undertaker so you are not further delayed if negotiations with the HA do not go anywhere.

Joshua :

Re the water undertaker, whilst they do have statutory powers to compel landowners where necessary, as above they are required to use these powers proportionately and so it is likely that they will use such powers if necessary for the minimal disruptive connection which may not be from what you say the one you want.

Joshua :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

Customer:

That was very clear. Many thanks for your help. Janet

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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