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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10401
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I own freehold property, part of 5 houses on a gated

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I own freehold property, part of 5 houses on a gated development. The developer has kept the driveway and central parts freehold as a 'ransom strip'. The property next door is for sale. I have discovered the developer has offered an option to sub divide and develop the bottom garden with access (apparently) through our six year old, quiet development. I am reading through right of way and easement rights but what are our rights to I prevent site traffic and inconvenience? The developer has no interest in his freehold nor pays for the maintenance.

Are you saying that he is proposing to use the drive which he retained as access for a further onward development which would in effect be an extension of your development and would lead to all the traffic to the extension development going through your exclusive part?

Who has control of the gate and who owns the gate?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Your first assumption appears to be correct although the deal has not yet gone through. I have been advised he has offered an option on the bottom half of the next property, now on the market - price £1.25 mn and the option currently at £0.25 mn on the basis he has freehold over the central area / access. My assumption / have been advised he intends to use the access over his freehold to build the property. There is no other access if he buys only the bottom half of the property for sale. My question / concern is over site traffic and rights of use / easement should he be successful in buying next door and using the central driveway, it is very narrow.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
At the moment the five houses control the electronic gates and maintain the central area. We all signed a contract giving the developer rights to access on his freehold property. This was a foresight on his behalf, we never expected another house to be developed and access rights for site traffic. The developer had us sign contracts that allows all this but we had no inkling that he would retain freehold of our drive and therefore we are at his behest to drive in and out of our property.

It is not unknown for a developer to buy a property or properties at the head of a cul-de-sac and demolish them to access land on the other side which has been hitherto landlocked.

Your situation is not too dissimilar although he is not demolishing houses.

The reality is that because you signed contracts which allowed this, there is very little you can do about his proposal except with regard to objecting to the planning application on the basis of the adverse effect on your property and the increase in traffic over the narrow road and the dangers involved.

Presumably, 5 people will object and the more objections are put forward, the better.

I would suggest you use the planning consultant to put your objection forward because they will have a better idea of how to word it.

If all 5 houses pay towards the fees for the objection, it is not going to cost that much between each of you. However if one of them does not contribute, they will still have the benefit of any outcome.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Many thanks for their response and I think I am in the same vein. Can I ask what kind of objections, and whether there is any specific legal rights I might employ i.e. Right of access, change of access rights, right of use (land) etc. As I say it is not yet a done deal, hearsay, but I want to be fore armed as possible. Many thanks.

There is no legal argument here, what you have are practical and planning consent arguments, inadequacy of the access, adverse effect on the property, diminishing in value. Those kind of things.

The developer owns the land and he has granted you the right of access over it and he is able to grant others the right of access over it also.

It is the wording of the impact upon your property and laying out exactly what the problem is with traffic which is important which is why I suggested the planning consultant puts together the objection on behalf of everyone.

One other thing, and that is that if there is ever a hearing, make sure that you attend otherwise, the chairman may believe that you are not that serious with your objection. I have seen objections virtually discounted when the object did not attend but simply sent a further letter in with the chairman saying that if the objective couldn’t be bothered to attend, then clearly it wasn’t that important.

F E Smith and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Got you. Many thanks for your advice I will certainly put in good review. Thank you.

I am pleased to help. Thanks for the review