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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Hello, Please can you answer this question I live in a small

Customer Question

Please can you answer this question
I live in a small hamlet of 8 houses in the grounds of what used to be a 400 acre estate. Most of the land is now owned by individual resident that live on the estate. There is only one way in and out which is down a mile long lane. Most of the lane is owned by the farmer except for the first 500 yards. This stretch does not have any ownership by the residents or by the public, it is not maintained by the council or policed in any way. maintainaceand upkeep of this stretch of lane has been done by the residents of the hamlet for the past 30 to 40 years. In view of this can the residents take legal ownership of that sretch of lane
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.


I am Law Denning and I am a practising solicitor in a High Street practice. I
have been an expert on this website in UK law since 2008. During that time, as
you appreciate, I have answered thousands of questions from satisfied users on
a variety of subjects. Because we are all in practice with clients and court
and other users, I might not always respond in minutes, particularly evenings
and weekends. Please bear with me in that case

It is my pleasure to try and assist you with this today. Please bear with me
while I gather some further information from you in order for me to be able to
advise you fully.

I have all the facts that I need, my answer would not be accurate.

Do you have no idea at all who might own it?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you for responding. I have been trying to get this information for some time, it appears that during the process of the land being individually purchased over the years that this particular stretch was not taken by anyone. So therefore it would have been the property of the original owners of the manor house

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Do you know who owns the manor house? Have you contacted them?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The current owners do not own the lane

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Of the Manor house? How do you know? Have they said that they don't?

Is the use of this lane not documented anywhere? Why do you want to own it in particular as opposed to just continuing to use it?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That is correct, they do not own it. The use of the lane once upon a time was the service entrance to the manor house back in the 1550s. it is now used for access to the residents of the hamlet and the local farmers. The reason that we would like to take ownership of it is because there in an increasing amount of dog walkers, ramblers, bikers who using not only the stretch in question but the whole lenght of the lane, litter is being left behind and dogs are fowling the lane. We have recently paid £29,000 to have the track repaired so the only way that we will be able to stop people from using it is if we own it

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
How will you stop people using it? Gate it? Will the farmer agree to that? Will the farmer join in ownership with the other residents?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

We already have a no access sign 500 yards down the track which people are ignoring so gates would be an option. As the farmer is a resident on the park and contributes to the upkeep i am dure he will have no objection

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
So why don't you simply put gates on it now?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Because we dont own it so surely we do not have that right

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

I accept that you
do not own it however your extensive search has failed to find anyone who
appears to own it and it is highly likely that if someone does lay claim to it,
if you put gates on it, they will come out of the woodwork.

At this stage in
time, as it has been used by other people there is an argument that you have
not had exclusive possession of it as the world and its mother appears to have
been walking up and down it and using it as their's also. It really comes down
to whether anyone who now uses it would object to your application for adverse

There would be no
harm in making the application which would have to be made by all of you and
the farmer, and to see whether anyone comes forward objecting. The land
registry guide for adverse possession of unregistered land is here

all of you would
obviously have to be responsible for the application costs and dealing with any
land tribunal hearing.

I am off-line now
until tomorrow but will pick this up then if needed

Does that answer
the question? Can I assist any further?

I am happy to
follow up any individual point you make

I am online and
off-line each day and most weekends so please bear with me if I do not come
back to you within nanoseconds.

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my livelihood!

If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little,
please ask. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

There are a couple of things i would like to speak to the farmer about may i continue tomorrow

Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.
Of course. I am on and off all day