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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10974
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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A field drain flows through my property, across my garden,

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A field drain flows through my property, across my garden, underground via a concrete culvert under a road and into a neighbour's garden en route to a river at the bottom of the hill.
I have received planning permission for a five-property development, but my neighbour, who wishes to buy my property for development, is telling me that the project cannot go ahead without his approval and that because of that he is not prepared to pay the market price for the land.
He insists that additional surface water gives he the power to prevent MY development of the site (NOT HIS), quoting the Stokes v Cambridge Corporation ransom strip case as the basis of his position.
Does he have me 'over a barrel' as he suggests or am I being 'legged up' by an un-neighbourly neighbour?
1. Dear *****, I am afraid but you are being "legged up" by a chancer of a neighbour! Essentially, once you got planning permission this legalised your development. Your neighbour does not have the ability to prevent you going ahead with it. He does not have the ability to prevent the development going ahead without his approval and he knows it. Stokes v. Cambridge Corporation applies to pieces of land, not to increased water egress. Instead the relevant caselaw would be Leakey v. National Trust which provides that a landowner is responsible for water egressing from his land onto that of a neighbour. However, this would only apply to water gushing off your land and causing a nuisance in the neighbour's land. Here, even if there is an increase in the flow in the additional surface water, your planning permission has legalised this egress. So long as any additional water does not constitute a nuisance, you have nothing to worry about.
2. Dear *****, I would advise you to tell your neighbour he has to study harder at his legal exams in order to obtain the top "alpha" mark given out to first class students in Oxbridge!
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