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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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Hi there, We moved into an old farmhouse which has 2 acres

Resolved Question:

Hi there,

We moved into an old farmhouse which has 2 acres bordering a river, last April.

I am having a problem with my neighbour who owns an old mill upstream of my garden. I have filled a small area of what I believe to be my riverbank with about 20cm of earth on which I have planted grass to create a lawned area. I have not filled the river, the existing bank was around 3 feet above the water level defined by large boulders which have been there for decades. My wealthy neighbour wants me to get the JCB back and remove the earth or face legal action.

He has the title for what looks on the land registry title plan to be the river rather than the river bank. He is arguing that the title map shows the river to be wider and is accusing me of tipping earth on his land (the river bank which is no longer the river). Hope you are following this!

I believe both that I have tipped soil on MY LAND (as I own the river bank) and that this tipping does not represent an increased flood risk to his mill.

I had the environment agency over this morning who were happing with my 'adjustment' and do not consider that I have increased the flood risk to his mill. They also commented that these title maps are not at all accurate.

I have all the deeds, photos and maps.

Please help.

P.S. His title says this (please translate!!)...

3 A Conveyance dated 15 November 1950 made between (1) Christopher Paul
Mansel Methuen Campbell (Vendor) and (2) Rhys Rhys Wiliams and others
(The Special Personal Representatives) (3) The Special Personal
Represenatatives and Percival Charles Fawcett and (4) David George
Harry (Purchaser) contains the following provision:-
"PROVIDED ALWAYS and it is hereby declared that (1) the Purchaser and
his successors in title shall not be entitled to any easement or right
of light or air or other easement or right which would restrict or
interfere with the free use of any adjoining or neighbouring property
of the Vendor either for building or any other purpose and the
assurance hereinbefore contained shall not be deemed or construed to
imply the grant of any such easement or right and (2) all (if any) the
main or party walls dykes ditches or fences between the property
assured and adjoining property which ae now joint party walls dykes
ditches or fence shall continue to be so and shall be so used repaired
and maintained"

map corresponds with
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, thank you for your question. My name is***** should be able to assist with this.

tdlawyer :

Firstly, let's deal with the easy part. You mention at the bottom of your question text , which you would like interpreted. I can tell you that this has nothing to do with the issues with which you are now addressing.

tdlawyer :

The text that you refer to is all about rights of over adjoining land concerning rights of light and air.

tdlawyer :

Basically, that kind of clause would prevent you complaining about a neighbour obstructing light onto your property. It has nothing to do with the location of the boundaries.

tdlawyer :

The more difficult question, is to wher the boundary actually is. Obviously, I cannot say where it is, but I can give you an indication as the basis on which the court works when trying to determine where the boundary lies.

tdlawyer :

My system shows that you are not online in the chat, and I shall pick this up with you as soon as you return.

Customer:

Hi Tony, I am back online now if you are..

tdlawyer :

Hello! Yes, I'm here too!

tdlawyer :

Okay. Back to the difficult question!

Customer:

great.

Customer:

trying to attach the plans but it isnt working

tdlawyer :

The starting point has to be the Land Registry plans (if any).

Customer:

yep have both

Customer:

mine an dhis

tdlawyer :

Don't worry. I will give you the best effort I can without them.

tdlawyer :

This is called the general boundaries rule. The plans are not definitive.

Customer:

our shared boundary is the site of the river

Customer:

yeah i read you cant rely on the maps

tdlawyer :

Probably of more interest to the court, in determining where the boundaries are, is what has been happening on the land over a period of time.

tdlawyer :

This, together with copies of the conveyances themselves (not the land Registry plans) are likely to be more important.

Customer:

I know the shape of the river has been constant for a good while and can prob ask the former owner to confirm this

Customer:

my worry was that there may be some special rules relating to water mills

tdlawyer :

Where you have open plots of land, without defining features, in all honesty, it can sometimes be an incredibly difficult job to identify the true location of the boundary. The difficulty of the task does not mean the court will not do it, it must make a decision. However, people would sometimes be forgiven for thinking it was something of a finger in the air approach. There should be detailed measurements in the conveyances, and those will be the true starting point.

Customer:

ie to maintain the shape of the river downstream

Customer:

where would I find the conveyances - all the LR stuff I have seen is pretty useless

Customer:

surely if the boundary is the riverbank and the river moves over time then so does the boundary

tdlawyer :

The conveyances are often left with the bank or professional lender.

Customer:

do I have a right to ask for them

tdlawyer :

The general rule with boundaries on rivers, is that the boundary goes up to the centre of the river itself. In other words, the landowner owns half of the river bank.

Customer:

for his

Customer:

The funny thing with this is that his title IS the river!

Customer:

so I dont seem to own any of it

tdlawyer :

Okay. So the question is where exactly between the river and your land is the boundary, is that right?

Customer:

Yes. However either 1) the position of the river has changed (slightly) since the map was produced 2) the map is just not accurate

Customer:

Full Size Image

tdlawyer :

Okay. Where the river erodes the riparian land (your land) then that is likely to reduce the size of your land to the benefit of the riverbed owner.

Customer:

his title is the area in red. my land is bordering it to the west

tdlawyer :

I see, got it.

Customer:

the bank is to the east of the depicted line (so the river is actually narrower)

Customer:

we are not taking much, perhaps a meter or two.

tdlawyer :

The amount you are seeking to take does not affect the actual location of the boundary.

Customer:

i don't believe i have taken anything, as the riverbank was already there.

Customer:

even though the boundary IS the river bank on the map?

Customer:

are you suggesting that he may own more than the river?

tdlawyer :

No, I expect he is only likely to own up to the edge of the riverbank.

Customer:

even though the position of it on the map os

Customer:

is not correct (sorry)

Customer:

or current

tdlawyer :

Yes. Rivers, by their very nature, will change the location of land over time. Admittedly, in the usual run of things, by very small margin, but position is usually that the boundary is maked by the bank, even what it changes over time.

Customer:

Great...last question, is it

Customer:

likey to cost me a fortune if he takes me to court for altering his land? I would plan to represent myself if possible.

Customer:

likely (sorry)

Customer:

he is a lot richer than me!

tdlawyer :

Different solicitors will charge different rates, and it is sensible to try and get professional help, as this is not a simple kind of claim to run. A lot of judges will be unfamiliar with the law in this area, and will need to be taken through it in careful detail. A lawyer is obviously better placed to do that.

tdlawyer :

It might be the you can find a solicitor that will help you on a no win no fee basis. This is possible, particularly if the defendant is wealthy and able to pay a judgement that might be made in your favour.

Customer:

cool thanks for that Tony. good night.

tdlawyer :

Thank you very much. Good luck with resolving this! Please do remember to rate the service for me before leaving.

Customer:

excellent service

Customer:

;-)

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