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wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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I live on a private drive that I own and my one neighbour has

Customer Question

I live on a private drive that I own and my one neighbour has an easement to pass over it. For that he pays me half the maintenance of my drive. The drive is about 100 yards long with a pair of posts (width about 7 ft) leading out onto a main road.
My neighbour has a barn built on the front of his property which is empty and is used for storage of his boat. Recently, he asked me about drainage pipes on my property because he was considering moving his 21 year old daughter into the barn and was finding in about installing water to his barn.
The barn was originally built in 1999 by a previous neighbour. When I looked at the plans online the permission was given for storage of a caravan only. This neighbour asked me (at the planning stage) if I would agree for the white posts the end of my drive (which are on my land) to be widened. He offered to pay for new posts and suggested creating a turning circle to the right of the posts. I was worried about this upheaval (I'd come through court for a divorce and was feeling rather bruised) and said that I was happy with the drive and posts as they are. I asked him what would happen if I didn't agree and he said that he would consider legal action. Nothing further happened but my neighbour said he would not help me with the maintenance of the drive anymore and relations were tense up until the time he left in 20004.
I was relieved that the barn could not be turned into living accommodation because it would increase the amount of traffic passing my house from my neighbours to the end of the drive. Not to mention the additional wear and tear to the drive for which I am ultimately responsible.
The maintenance of the drive is set out in my deeds and that of my neighbours. My neighbours deeds say that he should pay 2/3 maintenance because there were two separate pieces of land but the two pieces became one on the sale in 2004. I have only ever asked for half from my current neighbour.
My current neighbour has said no more about moving his daughter into the barn. I thought he had come to same conclusion as me that the building regulations and planning state that the barn is not permitted for living accommodation.
However, my neighbour has asked me if I would consider replacing the posts at the end of the drive as they were 'old, shabby and tipping to one side'. I said that I had not given this much thought to which my neighbour suggested bollards would be a good idea. I left it that I would think it over.
I have looked at Building Regulations requirement from part B of Schedule 1 to building regs 2010 - volume 2 B5 because I was trying to work out why my neighbours seem so keen to move and/or change posts that are a long way from their property.
My questions are:
1). Are my neighbours considering a change of use to their barn and are the regulations around the width of the posts and access for emergency services an issue?
2). Although I own the drive and the posts can my neighbours take legal action against me if I don't agree to the changes they suggest?
3). Perhaps I am being paranoid and maybe my neighbours are genuinely offering to make cosmetic changes to the appearance of the entrance to my drive. But, having been threatened with legal action previously I am a little concerned. Should I just let things go and see what happens next?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 2 years ago.
wingrovebuyer : Hello. In answer: (1) I suspect that you are right, and the neighbour needs the posts widened to allow for development of the barn. However, whether or not this is actually the case depends on local planning rules etc. (2) No. The posts are your property, on your land. The neighbours cannot force you to agree to move them, whether through legal action or otherwise. (3) I think you should just tell the neighbours you like the posts as they are and, if they need it, give them a lick of paint etc so at least it seems you are addressing their concerns. If their motivations are different, you will soon find out! Best, WB
wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience: Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
wingrovebuyer and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good afternoon Wingrovebuyer


Thank you for your reply to my question.


I hope my feedback gave you the credit due.


Please may I ask another question relating to earlier one?


When my neighbour began talking about moving his daughter into the barn earlier this year, he said that he was going to build a studio flat through creating an upper floor whilst keeping the bottom for storage, as he had always done.


My neighbour has now begun ( I think!) to make changes to his barn. He has been taking deliveries of wood and there has been a lot of sawing and banging over this weekend and there has been two guys there working inside the barn. This morning a two seater settee was delivered. So I guess my suspicions are confirmed.


I really thought the issue of the posts would have prevented my neighbour from converting his barn to living accommodation because it (may) be in breach of planning and building regulations.


I am now in a bit of a quandary. I am not bothered about my neighbour's daughter moving into the barn because she has, in effect, just moved from the family home into the barn. I don't want to upset my neighbours because there is only two houses here and it does make it awkward if there is tension. A couple of years ago, my neighbours wanted me to cut a hole in my hedge so that their daughters could walk through to their house rather than use a busy road at the end of the drive. This meant them walking across my land to my drive which I was not really happy about. I agreed for a while but stopped it in the end. A couple of months later their youngest daughter was clipped by a car and so I had to agree for the girls to go through the hedge but again, I was not happy about it because they started bringing their friends through that way. This situation still stays. The problem is that my neighbours are, in effect, land locked and they only way they can get anywhere is over my drive.


One of my neighbour's daughters owns a car and so there are now three family cars going up and down my drive, sometimes for up 3 or 4 times a day. They have lots of visitors too. I have one car and my partner (who does not live with me) has one too but I live alone.


However, I am now concerned that my neighbour has now turned his barn into residential accommodation and how that will develop. The daughter has a boyfriend so...There is another daughter too....The potential for further traffic, noise and pollution affecting me is worrying. Not to mention late night visitors, parties and further detriment to the drive.


I have discovered that the government has changed the criteria about converting barns to living accommodation, provided the barns were originally used for agriculture. This came in in April 2014.


My questions are:


1). Should I make stand now before the daughter moves in and risk bad feeling?


2). Is my neighbour really acting illegally?


3). If so, what should I do about it, if anything?


4). Should I speak to my neighbours, (one of whom challenged the original planning permission) or wait a while?


5). Or should I just wait and see, but if I do that it may be too late once the barn has been converted and there has been a change of use.


6). Would my neighbour need to make a further application for a change of use?


7). If he is going ahead does this mean he has checked with local planning rules or is he taking a gamble that no one will notice the change of use?


Thank you.




Expert:  wingrovebuyer replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Whilst we can respond to follow ups, these questions are new questions. Could you please therefore cut and paste them into a new question? Thanks, WB

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