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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10981
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I live in a semi-rural residential neighbourhood with no commercial

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I live in a semi-rural residential neighbourhood with no commercial development. My next door neighbour has a series of old agricultural buildings about 50m behind their property and immediately adjacent to mine. The land is permitted for residential use only according to both my local council, and the conveyancing docs from when we purchased the house in 2011.
We have has had cause to complain verbally and in writing about noise in the past, as the 20 year old son has been noisily renovating old cars at all times of day/evening in the barn right next to our garden, and we are still in something of a stand-off over that issue.
Throughout the time we have resided here, two of the barns have been used for caravan storage, and another area for a builders scaffolding storage, we believe this to be a commercial arrangement. We have put up with that, but over the past year it has become clear that the site is now being used by a residential oil tanks business, by the live-in partner of the woman who owns the property. There are regularly multiple oil tanks visible on site, a sometimes overpowering stench of heating oil, both outside and seeping in to our house (meaning we can't use our garden), lorries in and out on a daily basis, and power washing of oil tanks right next to our garden. This is not limited to 'business hours' by the way, it is also during evening and weekends.
My question is - is this legal use of this land? If not, what laws does such use of the land breach (planning/environmental etc)? - and what are the best options we have to get it stopped? I have a fair bit of photographic evidence of all this.
We have even got to point to selling our house in the past in order to get away from it, and are still considering this, but I would like to keep all options open.
1. Dear *****, At the outset, you need to be clear that this is not a lawful use of the neighbouring land. Firstly, it constitutes a statutory nuisance under Part III (section 79 et seq.) of the Environmental Protection Act, 1990. Secondly, it constitutes an actionable nuisance at common law by you as the noise, smell and traffic are injurious to the enjoyment of your property. Thirdly, a business such as this, would need planning permission to operate, as this current user infringes the zoning in the area in which you live. So, you can proceed under any of these headings. The first and the third can involve a complaint to your local authority who can take action to shut down the site. You can take private civil action under the first two headings.
2. What i would advise you to do is to get yourself a solicitor and get the solicitor to formally write on your behalf to your local authority or Council making a formal complaint about the use of the land and pointing out the legal provisions which are being infringed. See if this will lead to a shutting down of the site. However, if this does not work, you should move to get an injunction to seek to shut the site down as it infringes the law of nuisance and statutory nuisance. Either way, this is how you go about bringing an end to the current situation.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for that - it does confirm what I had hoped. In any case we are likely to sell within the next few years, and so if we take this route now and get the place shut down, do you believe it will adversely affect the sale of our house in the future? We will presumably have to declare a dispute (which may also get out of hand), and even if resolved (by shutting them down) it may put off future buyers. Would you still recommend that we take action in these circumstances?Many thanks,Andy
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** see my secondary question?
4. Dear *****, I can only advise you in relation to the law. The decision whether you want to take action or not is yours. I would suggest that the value of your property will be less with this development beside it so one way or another, taking action is the only way to safeguard the value of your property. No one wants to live beside a nuisance like this. So, if you don't take action, then a sale might be illusory anyway.