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wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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Our deeds (from 1924) specify a right of access to part of

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Our deeds (from 1924) specify a right of access to part of our property (the drive) for the 3 neighbouring properties for the specific purpose of obtaining water from the spring if they are unable to obtain water from the cistern supply located in the field above. However:
1. All the houses are on mains supply, and have been for many years (at least 20) and have not obtained water from this source since this time.
2. The spring is actually within our house (an out building) and is only accessible from an overflow tap on an outside wall. It has been so for the last 110 years. I doubt water has ever been taken from this source.

Do these rights of acces lapse if unused for a period of time?
Can the rights be legally revoked (perhaps with agreement of the neighbours) - is this expensive?
The reason for asking is we intend to extend the property and this will block the access. We could provide an alternitve water source if required (by piping the spring to another tap) but don't see the point if no one uses it..

wingrovebuyer : Hello. I'm afraid that extinguishing easements (which is what this comprises) other than by agreement is very difficult and possibly very expensive. A recent case confirmed that a right of way which was unused for over 175 years was still subsisting and had not been abandoned. The best thing to do is to get the neighbours to release the rights formally, by deed. A solicitor should be able to do this rather easily, and fairly cheaply. You might have to pay the costs incurred by the neighbours though, if they choose to get a solicitor to check the deed. I think you might spend around £1500 plus vat in total, all being well.
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