It seems to be the season for everyone extending their garden at the back of property, over the right-of-way and into some of the piece of land.
Before the right-of-way is said to be obstructed, the obstruction must be “substantial”
What is substantial depends on the facts.
Just because someone may have a right-of-way over a large area for example doesn’t mean that they have the right to wander into every single corner of it aimlessly “just because they can”. For example in the was a car parked in the corner but it didn’t really obstruct the right-of-way, even though they may have the right of way over the area, it would not be substantially obstructed.
If on the other hand there was a car parked in a right-of-way which was 12 feet wide, and it was pedestrian access it wouldn’t be a substantial obstruction but it would be if it was for vehicle access.
The question in respect of gates is common.
A gate which is unlocked for pedestrian access is unlikely to be a substantial obstruction. For vehicle access it is because you have to get in and out of the vehicle to go through it. Further, pedestrian or vehicle, it’s very difficult to compel someone to lock the gate if they simply leave it open.
If the gate is locked, even if key is provided or even if it is a combination lock, you can’t stop the combination being given out to the world and its mother and it is a substantial obstruction.
I don’t how this affects your use of the right-of-way but if it does, then you would be entitled to apply to court for an injunction to make them stop doing whatever it is that they are doing.
You may find that a strongly worded letter from a solicitor threatening a court application and an application for costs, may focus the mind without actually the need to get to court.
Check your house insurance to see if you have legal expenses cover that would pay for the legal cost of taking this to court. Unlikely, but do check.
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