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propertylawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Property Solicitor with expertise in commercial and residential property transactions.
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What rights do I have to retain rear access to my property

from an unregistered Mews? ... Show More
from an unregistered Mews? I recently bought the house, a late Victorian 2 X storey terrace, which backs onto a news and which At present does not have a gate in the fence, although many of my neighbours do and I plan on putting one in very soon. However a property developer has bought the site on the opposite side of the mews and is proposing to put parking bays and concrete planters all along the fence line of the terrace, which would obviously block any access. Can they do this legally?
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Customer reply replied 1 year ago.
what is the best way of establishing and protecting my rear access for the furure


I hope I can help.

Are there any rights reserved on the register of title for the benefit of your property over the unregistered mews?

Have you done a land registry search to determine if the mews is actually unregistered?

Even if it is unregistered any easement should have been registered as a land charge against the unregistered land. It is possible to do a land charges search to establish this.

If no formal rights exist then you will have to establish a prescriptive right. This means 20 years uninterrupted use. Clearly you cannot do this as you have just bought the place. You would need to contact the seller to see if he/she would provide a statutory declaration confirming the rear access via the mews for a 20 year period.

if you can establish a right of access, either formally or informally via a prescriptive right then this cannot be blocked.

If you have any further details on the deeds to your property or the unregistered neighbouring property then I can assist further.

I hope this helps. Please do not hesitate to come back to me if you have any further questions or queries.

Customer reply replied 1 year ago.
Surely the fact that the mews, which is a public through road and is in constant use by cars and pedestrians. Also the existing parking bays are exclusively on the opposite side from our fences, maintaining uninterrupted access to our rear gardens. Is this not enough to establish prescriptive rights? Since the mews is a through road and not private, it could be a public highway, but I have been reliably informed that it is not. Also the fact that these houses would have been constructed with rear access as standard for coal deliveries. There is nothing in my deeds that states either way.
Is there anything I can do now such as make a planning application for a dropped curb or similar to circumvent the issue?

Hi Harriet

Have you enquired with the Highways department of the local authority, they can give you the status of the mews. Regardless of the status of the road you need to establish that you can currently access the property off the mews and that this has been done for some time. It sounds as if the rear of the property is currently fenced with no direct access on to the mews and that your intention is to install a gate in order to access the mews from the rear.

I cannot see how the developer can relocate the parking to the other side of the mews without permission. Do you know if this has been applied for?

You could apply for planning permission to install a drop curb - I am unable to comment as to the chances of success in obtaining this on the facts to hand. An application would take up 8 weeks.