Boundary wall end of the garden

Hi. We bought our house 6 months ago and were told by our solicitor that the wall at the bottom of the garden was probably council owned as it borders a public footpath. It is in need of repair with bricks coming out on the public right of way side and no mortar in the bottom three or four rows of bricks. I have contacted the council because I don't want it to fall into disrepair or even fall down (because then my garden will be open to the public!) and they've stated that they've been out to inspect it but it isn't theirs.

This wall goes behind my house and the house each side of ours. 

I have our deeds and our fence is clearly marked with an inverted T, next door maintain the other side. We, and our neighbours, are baffled over who owns this wall. If it's not the council's whose else could it be other than ours? We would love a higher boundary as tall people can look over this wall so if it's not the council's can we do whatever we like to it? (I understand that there are rules on height but it's nowhere near 6 feet).

Thanks for any advice.
«1

Comments

  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Would you be 'happy' to rebuild or replace it, taking the opportunity to make it taller (within guidelines)?
  • I don't really want to as I assume that it'll be expensive BUT I will rather than have no boundary and be open to the public right of way.

    I really don't know how simple it would be anyway as we're the middle house so the wall continues each side...

    The other side of the footpath has a continuous wall bordering the church. It does look as though neighbours further along have replaced "their" section of wall over the years but no-one seems to know whose wall it is. Someone must know.
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    I was just asking in case that was a good option - after all, the council have disclaimed ownership, so you could proceed on that basis (provided you have this in writing). 
    You've gone through your deeds with a fine comb? And your seller's SIP presumably said 'not ours' as well?
    I can only add that having a wall or fence bordering a public footpath does not, in itself, means it's council owned (a friend had to replace a couple of their fences recently, a side and the end. The latter bordered a public path, but their deeds were clear on ownership - theirs.
  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,535
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    I don't really want to as I assume that it'll be expensive BUT I will rather than have no boundary and be open to the public right of way.

    I really don't know how simple it would be anyway as we're the middle house so the wall continues each side...

    The other side of the footpath has a continuous wall bordering the church. It does look as though neighbours further along have replaced "their" section of wall over the years but no-one seems to know whose wall it is. Someone must know.
    If the wall has been there a long time then one of the more likely scenarios is you own the wall.... plus possibly the freehold of the land the footpath runs over.

    Records of ownership of highway land aren't great, the highway authority is mainly concerned with the extents of the highway, not who owns it.  You may never get a definitive answer about the wall, but if the highway authority say it isn't theirs and there's nobody else to claim it then deciding it is yours to maintain probably won't upset anyone else.

    The 'T' marks on deed plans are a guide, but not definitive.  The lack of a mark isn't proof you don't own (/have responsibility) for the wall.

    However I'd be cautious about making radical changes to the wall without checking with the local planning authority.  The height you mention is relevant for permitted development, but permitted development rules can be complicated and they don't apply to every property. (e.g. not where an Article 4 direction is in place).  Furthermore, if your 'neighbour' is a church then the odds are it will be a listed building, and therefore changes to 'your' wall may be deemed to affect the setting of a listed building.  Better to know the planners are Ok with what you want to do, rather than find out after you've had work done that they don't like your new wall/fence and want you to change it.
  • If the wall is in reasonable condition then having the brick courses repointed shouldn't be to expensive. You could also consider adding timber to the top of the wall up to a total of 2 metres.
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Posts: 4,458
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    Where does the boundary on the deeds map run? Clearly if it's beyond the wall - even including the path as '62 wonders - then it's 'yours'.
    What type of brick is used? The same as your houses? If so, how old is your home? 
    IF you had to look after it, what would you prefer to do - fully rebuild, repair, or remove and put up a fence? 
  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 21,225
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    I really don't know how simple it would be anyway as we're the middle house so the wall continues each side...
    Is the wall on each side in good condition and it is just your middle part that needs some work ?
    Also would they agree if you wanted to make it taller, or make other changes? Would look pretty odd if your part looked a lot different to theirs.
  • The wall is a lot older than our property. I believe there used to be a school here. Our house was built in 1989. As I said further up there is only a little section of original wall on this side of the public right of way. Further up is all fencing (although I'm told that the wall never went this far anyway) but the other way, towards the church, there is newer brick wall in several sections and several different heights (one way over 6 feet) and there's a bit of concrete uprights with kickboarding to around 6 feet too so maybe no-one cares full stop. Shame because the brick wall is rather attractive. When we moved in both sides were smothered by ivy.

    I will get it pointed in the hope it preserves it longer. I just want a solid separation from the pathway. I know if it falls down house insurance won't cover it (my mum has experience of this) and if either neighbour's side falls it's going to take mine with it. I really dislike the pathway there anyway, thanks to a controlling 30 year marriage to a man who wants "revenge" but I honestly couldn't cope without a barrier between me and the public at large.
  • Albermarle
    Albermarle Posts: 21,225
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Forumite
    I will get it pointed in the hope it preserves it longer. 

    Whoever you get around to look at it should have better idea of what is possible. 

  • twopenny
    twopenny Posts: 5,332
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Photogenic
    Forumite
    Look at old maps online. See f you can find it. Easy and fun to do. You can also find when it wasn't.
    That can determine what it is.

    Sounds that you can go ahead and make it secure.
    To support it for you, you could build a couple of brick pillars on your side or have some posts inserted each end.
    Have a fence, trellis fixed to it and a quick growing roses will give a secure barrier.
    That way you get scent and colour in the garden, cut flowers for the home and keep yourself safe  :D

    viral kindness .....kindness is contageous pass it on

    The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well


Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 341.9K Banking & Borrowing
  • 249.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.2K Spending & Discounts
  • 234K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 606.2K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.5K Life & Family
  • 246.9K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.8K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards