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James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Title Deed / Highways Problem

Customer Question

I purchased our house 8 months ago (in Northamptonshire England) and as normal got a copy of the title deeds & title plan. Our property (as most do) fronts onto the road. Our title plan clearly shows that we own right up to the footpath at the front. (this is the current title plan that can be downloaded from the land registry site). I have planted a hedge across the front of our property (still 2.5m back from the footpath) and have now dug & concreted a footing for a garden wall which is 2.4m back from the front boundary. I have today received a letter from Northamptonshire Highways stating that the hedge & footing is on their land and needs to be removed. They have looked at our title plan & agree it shows we own to the footpath but are saying this is incorrect & doesn't mean we own it. They have attached a map showing that they own the front 4 meters of land along the front of all the properties on my side of the road. My question is: Is this correct & where do we stand ?? Do we own this land & can I continue to build my garden wall ? If we don't own the land then surely we're owed some sort of compensation as we purchased the house based on the official title deed & plan. This part of the land is probably about 60m2.


I've attached both items below.. the first is from the letter from Northamptonshire Highways, The 2nd is the Title Deed.



Please let me know. Many Thanks - Duncan


From Highways



Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Hello, 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 agree with you totally.

1st write back to
the council asking for their explanation and 2nd write to sellers
solicitors asking for their and their sellers comments and 3rd,
write to HM Land Registry asking for their explantion enclosing the councils
letter and plan

Assuming that the council are correct
then you have acclaim against the sller for misprepresentation.

Until then, you cannot really
do much more.

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

Please don't forget to positively rate
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please ask. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi, Thanks for your reply.


It's not really answered my question though.


My main question was what takes precedence?? the fact we own the land on the title plan or the fact the Highways agency are saying they own it ?? Do we own the land or not ??

How can you buy a property that says you own some land & then after paying for it it's taken away ???

I will of course be speaking to all parties involved.



Expert:  James Mather replied 4 years ago.

Sometimes there is no definitive
answer and it must be decided by a Judge in court or Land Tribunal. This is one
of those I am afraid.

Clearly they think they own the
land. You think you do and the HMLR deed supports that.