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  • FIRST POST
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 10th Feb 18, 8:26 PM
    • 29Posts
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    J_S_H
    Neighbours want to dig up our drive
    • #1
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:26 PM
    Neighbours want to dig up our drive 10th Feb 18 at 8:26 PM
    Our adjoining neighbours are (have already started) building an extension on the other side of their house. The overhead electricity cable currently attaches to their house where they want to build the extension. Northern Powergrid have said they will need to disconnect the cables and sink them underground. The problem is this means that they need to sink our power cable too which means digging up our block paved drive. NP have said the work will be guaranteed for two years but we have been given no assurances that it will be put back to the original condition.

    My concern is that they won!!!8217;t put the drive back to original condition and that it may sink after the work has had time to settle and we!!!8217;ll be left footing the bill to correct it. Does anyone have any similar experiences or thoughts on what they would do in our position?
    Last edited by J_S_H; 10-02-2018 at 10:42 PM.
Page 3
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 11th Feb 18, 7:43 AM
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    Davesnave
    The neighbour is the one behind National Power and the reason NP wish to do this.

    Put like that = neighbour has the power to "call them off" or tell them to do things in an alternative way that doesnt involve OP.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    The neighbour probably has no influence over this.

    It's not for the neighbour to tell National Power how it should conduct its alteration of the supply, now it's been agreed that changes are necessary.

    The company obviously want to put both lines underground, so I'd suggest that's the most likely outcome, unless the OP can persuade them otherwise.

    As others have said, there could be some visual advantages for the OP in having their overhead line removed, so they should consider all this carefully.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 11th Feb 18, 7:57 AM
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    J_S_H
    is there no option that would allow the cable to your house to stay over head or routed underground and up a(their) wall and across to your existing house entry point?

    Would you be interested in taking this opportunity to have the meter moved?
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    They are saying there arenít any options but I will go back to them and get a response in writing about that.

    I would be happy to have the meter moved if it meant not digging the driveway up but I think that would be more expensive for them.
    • thereRnoWords
    • By thereRnoWords 11th Feb 18, 7:59 AM
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    thereRnoWords
    It's a great shame that some neighbours think they can do as they please and try to lay blame at your door for their unreasonable 'unneighbourly' behaviour.
    Definitely get details in writing - and, once you have details, consider carefully, don't be afraid to tell them if they haven't specified everything you want to see in the details, don't accept their vagueness, do ask them to amend/ rewrite the details until you're happy. It's difficult, stressful, time consuming ...
    Don't be pressured or rushed into agreeing until you're happy, regardless of how bad they try to make you feel about 'delaying their plans' - it's not all about them, they should have some duty of care to you - this is upheaval and potentially disastrous for you, your family, your home.
    Does your home insurance provider give advice on this situation?
    If they didn't agree the date with you, that's not your fault.
    And remember, even when they've put it in writing, you can say no, you've changed your mind, you're not happy, you don't agree...
    Good luck - I hope all goes well for you.
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 11th Feb 18, 8:02 AM
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    J_S_H
    The whole thing was a gigantic pain as they were hard to get hold of, were vague in their descriptions of exactly what would be done and wouldn't put anything in writing.

    I would strongly recommend you get everything in writing - dates, times and extent of inconvenience. In our case the people who come to dig up and lay the cables are not the same people who then fill the hole so these are on different days. Then we had to get another british gas engineer out as they messed up the meters. I'm still fuming about the whole thing - it was weeks of stress and disruption.
    Originally posted by jungle jane
    This sounds exactly like what Iím dealing with, the guy is hard to get hold of and wonít give straight answers and is only offering to put the 2 year guarantee in writing.

    I have a feeling weíll end up having the same issues and it will be us having to sort it all out as the neighbour will just be happy her extension is being done, she wonít be worried about the state of our drive....
    • thereRnoWords
    • By thereRnoWords 11th Feb 18, 8:05 AM
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    thereRnoWords
    The expense to them is not for you to worry about - is that why they're trying to get you to agree to having your drive dug up, to reduce their costs?
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 11th Feb 18, 8:06 AM
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    J_S_H
    Absolutely.

    The Access to Neighbouring Properties Act (which I expect is what is at the back of their minds) is for "necessary maintenance" and not for "improvement".

    What they are doing is "improvement". Bat the ball back to them and refuse.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Thank you for that, I did think this would be the case but by all accounts NP tend to do whatever they want!
    • theonlywayisup
    • By theonlywayisup 11th Feb 18, 8:08 AM
    • 11,876 Posts
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    theonlywayisup
    This sounds exactly like what Iím dealing with, the guy is hard to get hold of and wonít give straight answers and is only offering to put the 2 year guarantee in writing.

    I have a feeling weíll end up having the same issues and it will be us having to sort it all out as the neighbour will just be happy her extension is being done, she wonít be worried about the state of our drive....
    Originally posted by J_S_H
    Just take a moment and read what you have been writing. NP are not providing straightforward answers to your questions, are hard to get hold of and you feel you will end up with issues. This is BEFORE anything has started. Ask yourself what the situation will be AFTER the works or when you have a problem with the works?
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 11th Feb 18, 8:12 AM
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    J_S_H
    However it's not the neighbour who wants to do this work, but National Power, who aren't governed by the same rules as you and me.

    Basically, if NP determine that they need to enter someone's land in order to sustain a supply, they can.

    Now, whether this is a matter of economics rather than logistics is something I can't say from where I'm sitting, but in a sense it's immaterial, because NP will want to do what's best for them.

    So the OP can push against any change on their own property, but if that will cost NP too much, or can be shown as against the interests of NP, then they may well push back, somewhat harder.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    That is what Iím afraid of that they can force us to have this done and all of this fallout and stress will have been for nothing.

    I do have it in writing (email) from them that this work isnít necessary for us...for what that would be worth?
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 11th Feb 18, 8:15 AM
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    J_S_H
    The neighbour probably has no influence over this.

    It's not for the neighbour to tell National Power how it should conduct its alteration of the supply, now it's been agreed that changes are necessary.

    The company obviously want to put both lines underground, so I'd suggest that's the most likely outcome, unless the OP can persuade them otherwise.

    As others have said, there could be some visual advantages for the OP in having their overhead line removed, so they should consider all this carefully.
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    I would be reasonably happy to let them complete the work if I had some guarantees that the work will be put back to original condition but they wonít give me that.
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 11th Feb 18, 8:18 AM
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    J_S_H
    The expense to them is not for you to worry about - is that why they're trying to get you to agree to having your drive dug up, to reduce their costs?
    Originally posted by thereRnoWords
    I imagine so, our neighbour initially told us there was another option that was going to cost more but NP have since told us that the only option is to put the cables underground so I donít know for sure.
    • J_S_H
    • By J_S_H 11th Feb 18, 8:21 AM
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    J_S_H
    Just take a moment and read what you have been writing. NP are not providing straightforward answers to your questions, are hard to get hold of and you feel you will end up with issues. This is BEFORE anything has started. Ask yourself what the situation will be AFTER the works or when you have a problem with the works?
    Originally posted by theonlywayisup
    I know, Iím already worried about the aftermath of what they plan to do but I donít want to be seen as obstructing my neighbourís extension. At the same time we need to make sure the work done on our property is going to be done to a decent standard but they havenít done anything to instil confidence in me.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 11th Feb 18, 8:26 AM
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    Davesnave
    I do have it in writing (email) from them that this work isnít necessary for us...for what that would be worth?
    Originally posted by J_S_H
    In that case quote it back to them saying, "Thank you, but no thanks."

    See where that gets you, but don't hold your breath.

    Unlike others here, who are mostly reacting emotionally, I've had first hand dealings with Western Power and Openreach, so I know how limited one's influence can be in circumstances where push comes to shove.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • thereRnoWords
    • By thereRnoWords 11th Feb 18, 8:55 AM
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    thereRnoWords
    Remember though, you're not obstructing your neighbour's extension, you're trying to work with them so that the outcome for your family is acceptable. You've clearly already had to invest time in it (thinking, planning, emailing ...) that otherwise you would not have had to do. And the obstructive behaviour, delaying and pressure tactics are coming from those that won't give you the guarantees you need.
    You have the email, 'the work isn't necessary for you';
    Access to Neighbouring Properties Act/ NOT for improvements (moneytooshorttomention)
    Take a deep breath, be brave ...
    Let them/NP know, in writing, that their plan isn't going to work for you as things stand, without lifetime guarantees, etc, and that they need to come up with an alternative that won't disrupt your family, your driveway, that won't cause you unnecessary stress and distress (which could impact negatively on your mental health)
    • thereRnoWords
    • By thereRnoWords 11th Feb 18, 9:10 AM
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    thereRnoWords
    Just a thought - when you say adjoining neighbour, do you mean that you have rights under the Party Wall Act?
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Feb 18, 9:19 AM
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    Doozergirl
    If we try and think practically about this rather from a purely emotional viewpoint and especially moving away from distress and mental health problems caused by a trench. It is caused in our brains, not by outside parties.

    How deep are these cables going exactly? How wide will the trench be? Over how long a distance?

    The shallower and narrower the trench, the less the chance of future movement. If we are talking about something 45cm wide and 50cm deep, the chance of it sinking *after* your two year period is negligible. If they are ploughing up half the entire width of it to significant depth then there might be some concern beyond the 2 year period.

    If NP deem that your supply is safer underground then it is something to be considered in terms of the ultimate benefit to you, as oppose to the blasted neighbours trying to do what we are all entitled to do and extend their house. I am sure they did not beg NP to come and dig up anybodys drive, least of all the OPs; they have been placed in that situation themselves. Vilifying them isn!!!8217;t any help.

    Block paving is not a supremely skilled job. I physically laid 200 square metres of bricks on our drive. The sublayer is important, yes it is possible that movement could occur, but if it is not a huge trench it should be easy to compact the ground back and lay the blocks back in good fashion. 2 years for a moderate trench should be plenty of time for any settlement to occur and for NP to fix it. If it is going to, it should occur well within that time considering the amount of rain we get.

    I have to do exactly the same to run new services up our exisitng drive to our new house and I am pretty sure that Cadent have asked for a 60cm deep trench with no significant width to it, it just needs to accommodate a cable. It does not particularly concern me and I am taking my own risk as I am not paying them thousands to do it for us.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 11-02-2018 at 9:24 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • billn
    • By billn 11th Feb 18, 9:31 AM
    • 104 Posts
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    billn
    If this has been answered already please forgive me, have you asked why your connection cannot be left as it is and the neighbours put underground or is it some sort of share connection splitting before your meters?

    The way I have read this is that NP want to dig up your drive for your connection or is it that they need to go over your drive for the neighbour's connection, if it is the latter NP may have the power to force the issue.

    Sorry if these questions have been answered, do not do anything that you are not happy with just because it is what your neighbour wants. I hope you sort this out in a way you are happy with.
    If at first you don't succeed, sky diving is not for you!
    • warby68
    • By warby68 11th Feb 18, 9:33 AM
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    warby68
    To turn it back into a negotiation where someone wants something from you as opposed to the other way round, I'd go with a polite but firm initial 'NO' in writing to both your neighbour and the NP contact.

    State clearly your concerns and therefore what is required to turn your 'NO' into a 'YES'

    If NP plough on regardless (and I do see this as likely with large utilities subbing work down through several layers so nuances such as does the neighbour agree might not feature on the day), then at least you have your view in writing if any future action is needed.

    With neighbours and 'inevitable' things it is better to be practical and get a decent outcome from the situation rather than the intransigent 'how dare they even think of this' approach some favour. That can backfire too easily.

    Here, the problem seems to be the rush and a neighbour possibly panicking having not previously realized the implications. To slow it down and simplify it might help. Stuff in writing is far better for this than 'he said. she said'. This equally applies if the neighbour is not just flapping but actually doesn't care. Its about moving the dynamic back to it being their problem not yours and the solution for them to find not you and also making it clear what your position was if any of the parties then choose to ignore it.
    • Le_Kirk
    • By Le_Kirk 11th Feb 18, 10:16 AM
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    Le_Kirk
    When I had my new fuel line installed (admittedly it was gas not electric) they didn't need to dig up the garden, decking nor patio as they used a boring tool from a hole in the road to a position just close to where the new meter had been fitted. Have you or your neighbour suggested this to the power provider?
    • rach_k
    • By rach_k 11th Feb 18, 10:17 AM
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    rach_k
    If NP won't confirm that they will fix any damage, inside and out, will the neighbour? The possibility of fixing a drive and some interior decoration might not cost much compared to their extension and they are the one who want it to go ahead.
    Last edited by rach_k; 11-02-2018 at 4:52 PM.
    • jungle jane
    • By jungle jane 11th Feb 18, 10:33 AM
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    jungle jane
    I also recommend you find out who the workers are and in what order/timeline they work. In my case I needed National Grid to come out and dig the holes. Then on a separate day 3 outsourced contract engineers from another organisation rocked up to do the cabling. They left the hole open for about 2 weeks as its a whole separate contractor filling the hole in. He failed to show once and then came the second time - all of which meant me staying in for 4 days.

    From the time I first got the letter to say they needed to do the work it was 8 months before the first hole was dug and then another month while various people did various bits. They did not guarantee an exact match on the driveway but the way they did it looked fine and I had no issue with it. My OH is a builder and had discussed various options with them before they did the work and then again on the morning.

    As an aside, the 3 engineers did something daft when they installed the cables - they turned the gas and electricity off during the works...then when they tried to get everything going again the gas just wouldn't work. I was without hot water for a few days waiting for a British Gas engineer to fix it. The guy just hadn't rebooted the boiler properly however it was £60 for the callout and 3 days with no hot water. I formally complained to National Grid and they repaid the £60
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