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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 24624
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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Our property is adjacent to a river bank. the land we are

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Our property is adjacent to a river bank. the land we are concerned about is the river bank, which we have checked with the Land Registry is not registered to anyone. Neighbour has the same are but he is saying because of Riparian rights we are trespassing on his land, how can it be his land if it is not registered
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: We have obtained copies of his property boundaries, we have received confirmation from the Land Registry that the land is not registered to anyone. The reason we did this originally is there was a large tree (over 80 feet high) and the branches were overhanging and if the tree had come down it would have smashed into our kitchen. We contacted the local council for permission to have this tree removed as we are in a Conservation Area, however the Council said the property did not belong to them. We then contacted the Land Registry to see who the land belonged to and were advised the land was not registered to anyone.
We then contacted Environment Agency who came out and looked at the tree and confirmed this could be cut down. However the neighbour is saying the tree was on his land (which again we have contacted the Land Registry and confirmed this land is not registered to anyone). We had a registered Tree Surgeon to cut down the tree. Unfortunately they could only manage to get part of the tree down, to about 10 feet high and said they would come back and do the rest (due to bad weather). However in the meantime the tree surgeon was diagnosed with cancer and could not come back to complete the job. Therefore we went online and said that copper nails could be hammered into the tree stump to stop it from growing, which is what we did. However the neighbour now wants to take us to Court for loss of firewood £1800, however the tree is on the river bank between both his and our property and this is where he is claiming it is his tree because of Riparian rights.
JA: Where is the land located?
Customer: The land is the riverbank which runs adjacent to our property and the neighbours property, which is not registered to anyone
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I dont believe so, we thought we had done everything correctly, in finding out who owned the land, contacting the local Council, and also contacking the Land Registry and the Environment Agency as this is a Conservation area.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!

I have been asked to look at this for you.

Are you able to attach a sketch plan please of the area of the land, the neighbour’s land, the wood  and the river?

Explanatory notes to that, and any photographs and if possible the land registry title deed would be really good.  Thank you

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
i will try and copy these and forward them to you if that is okay?
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I can email you copies of the above paperwork you require, if you could let me have an email address to send them to. I think that would be easier than trying to speak to you on the telephone Many thanks

You need to attach the documents on here which you can do using the paperclip or the up arrow or the link at the end of the Reply box.  The pages which I see are different than yours and it also depends to a great extent, which page you are on.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
okay will try that then
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I have tried to link the documents however as you will see below it says "Were sorry an unknown error occurred. Please try again" which i have done several times
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I Have sent all the documents as requested to [email protected] answer so hopefully you should receive these now

I have not received them yet.  It I have not received them by tomorrow, first thing, we shall try something else.  Please remind me.  Thank you.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Okay thankyou.

Please send to my personal email address

Customer at yahoo co uk

Please note that I cannot respond from that address, all correspondence must be on this website.  Anything other than the attachments will disappear into a black hole.  Thanks.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you so much, you are very kind. Will send them in the morning
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I have now sent the attachments to your email as requested.

Nothing has arrived yet.

You do need to format the email address with the relevant full stops and the @

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
I have just sent you a blank email to the address***@******.*** Let me know if this arrives if it does i will try sending the documents to you again

got it

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Okay will try again with the attachments this time fingers crossed
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
i have sent it

You appear to have attached or embedded the documents the documents in some newfangled Microsoft program and they will not open.

Can you please just send as an attachment?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
okay will do
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
hope you got them this time. Unfortunately I need to go out now but will be back this afternoon

I have the documents but they are embedded in the email, not attached.  Therefore, they are sideways and very difficult to read.

The Search of the Index map is out of focus but I can read it which shows that that piece of land is indeed unregistered.

I don’t know which neighbour it is that is being awkward but he has no more right to access the land than you do.

I don’t know whether you have checked for the Tree Preservation Order with the local authority but you might want to do that now.  Don’t just rely on them saying it’s not their land because they don’t have to own the land for there to be a Order on it.

A bit late now with the trees already down.

Been quite frank with you, I cannot see how the neighbour can take you to court for loss of firewood.

The strip of land is almost a ransom strip which prevents you accessing the river and indeed prevents everybody else.

I see your land edged in red on the site plan and I see a large area edged red with Brookside cottages which is much further along.

There is the same strip of land between those cottages and the river and presumably this piece of land has been retained for the same purpose, to prevent access to the river from those cottages.

I’m not certain whether the man is dreaming or whether he’s an idiot but I just can’t see that he has a claim but if he goes to court you are going to have to defend it although I would also ask the court to award substantial costs against him on the basis of his unreasonable behaviour.

Even if there was some kind of right of access over this land, which in my opinion there is not, I can’t see that he has any more right to this wood than you do.

In fact, on a strict interpretation of the law, whoever has the wood has stolen it.

Theft is defined as:

1 the dishonest

2 appropriation of property

3 belonging to another

4 with the intention of permanently depriving.

I am off-line now until mid-afternoon but will be back then.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Have managed to copy these two documents at long last hope they are clearer than those I sent by email


Only got a tiny corner of the document but to be frank, I have enough with what I have already seen.

I can’t see that anything else is going to change my answer.  Fortunately.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
You are correct what you say in your email, the man is an idiot. He calls himself Dr of what God only knows. We have been here 5 years. When we first came we were looking out of the bedroom window which looks onto his property and he just glared at us. My husband has made a few efforts just to say good morning and he ignored him every time.
The time when he came over as my husband was putting copper nails into the tree stump, he then came at him with a scaffolding pole and knocked my husband down the Bank (my husband is 83!). We did call the Police and they came took statements etc, went to see him, and said if we wanted we could take him to Court for assault. However, after thinking about it we felt sorry for him, he lives alone in this huge house, which has no windows at the back of the house, what any normal person would call derelict. So we decided on that occasion not to do anything and hopefully he would settle down, and that he needed help more than anything. However again when my husband was coming into our drive, he was stood at the bus stop which is opposite our drive shaking his fists at him. We again spoke to the Police who said they would get him in to the Police Station, which they did. However as usual he just denied it. Then a couple of months later we got a letter from solicitors regarding him claiming for lost firewood and that the riverbank was his according to Ripparian laws. We just wrote back and said we would not pay him, and he would need to take us to Court. Thus we received a letter another two months later with "DRAFT" court papers. We have written back to the solicitors and said we would go for mediation with his solicitors, (he doesnt want to be there). We told them we wouldnt instruct solicitors and we would attend ourselves. (I myself worked as PA to one of the top solicitors in Newcastle upon Tyne for 18 years - so do have a bit of knowledge) so we will just see how things go. THank you so much for your input though. When you said about Tree Preservation Order. Firstly we contacted the Council, they said it wasnt their property, we then contacted the Land Registry, who as you know said it was unregistered land, then we contacted the Environment Agency for them to come out and see the tree (before we got permission) and they okayed everything, so I think they would have know if there was a Tree Preservation order. It is a sycamore tree, there are dozens of them along the river bank. The tree itself before it was cut down was 80-90 feet high and the branches hung over to our kitchen, and if the tree had come down it would have demolished part of our home. Anyway I hope this clarifies matters (a bit). Living in the country certainly has some odd characters, and i think we moved next to one. THank you so much for your very kind help, much appreciated. Kind regards, ***** *****

No need to feel sorry for a t-rd like that.

It’s his choice to live in the house.  He could sell it and move.  It’s his choice to have no windows.

I would have supported the prosecution with the police.  Clearly he needs to be taught a lesson.  Sorry to be so blunt.

He certainly does need help… Off the mortal coil!

I would be interested to see the solicitor’s letter and the draft papers.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
I have emailed you the email from the solicitors with enclosures, dont know if you can open them or not. As you can tell I am an PA but not very good with computers haha

I have the attachments.  Thank you.  It appears that they are asking for declarations of things which actually don’t concern or own you.  They are still asking for compensation in respect of a tree which doesn’t belong to the claimant and trespass to land which also doesn’t belong to him.  I would be inclined to write back to the solicitor and simply tell them that the land on which the tree was placed is unregistered, here’s a copy of the title plan and and the location of the tree and asked them on what basis they believe that their client has a claim.

Of course the solicitors are probably just going off what this guy says although to be frank they should have checked the land registry title which it’s clear they haven’t.

Quite simply they say that it’s their client’s land when it isn’t.

Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 24624
Experience: Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
Stuart J and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you so much for your help, you have been brilliant, very much appreciated. Kindest regards, ***** *****
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Stuart J was absolutely brilliant. Went out of his way to help. Would certainly like to use him again if I had any further questions

It was my pleasure to assist you. Please come back if anything else crops up and needs clarification.
Thank you for trusting Just Answer, and of course me,  with your legal problem.Thank you for the kind comments.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
You are very welcome. Take care, stay safe


Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Could I ask you one last question please. With regard to Riparian rights, i have read a little about this and as far as i can see as a layman is you are entitled. One of the remarks is "If a watercourse runs alongside your garden wall or hedge you should check your property deeds to see if the wall or hedge marks your boundary. If the watercourse marks the boundary it is assumed you own the land up to the centre of the watercourse. However as far as i can see from both plans, the boundaries do end at the wall/hedge. Many thanks

Based upon the plans that you have given me, there is that very long triangle of land for which you did the Search of the Index Map which came back as a registered, which separates you from the river and therefore riparian rights don’t come into it.

He doesn’t own the land AFA we know..You can ask him to prove that he has title to the land.  He may own it but not be registered.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you once again, that is the end of my questions, promise. Kind regards

If I had a pound for every “this is the last question” it would keep me in gin for the month (well, perhaps a week) :-)

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Ha ha, good sense of humour too. Thankyou, have a good weeken

and you ma'am