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Neighbour wants to fence off end of shared access driveway

bobster2
bobster2 Posts: 435
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edited 22 December 2023 at 12:31PM in House buying, renting & selling
Say you have a row of 4 houses - with deeds that allow each owner access over a driveway (in pale green below) at the front (but each owning their individual slice). Access to the road is via a single accessway over a council owned/maintained verge.
Say the owner of the last house (D) wants to get planning permission to add a new accessway to the road (as shown in bright green) and fence off their part of the drive.
What are the downsides for owners of A, B & C? Upsides are less traffic over their portions of the drive. Although C might have a bit less room to turn/reverse.
But for A & B? Obviously D would be breaching the convenant which requires them to not obstruct, and to permit access over the drive in front of their house. But normally A & B would have no use for this access right.
Could it be sensible to wait for a planning decision (rather than object) as if permission is granted then the right of access over D's portion of the drive suddenly becomes useful. They could insist on the right of access in the deeds - meaning all houses could benefit from a drive through U shaped driveway.
Am I missing something - a long term implication of not objecting to the plan? E.g. say it goes ahead and the fence gets built but A,B & C don't bother to enforce their right of access will subsequent buyers really care? Not having access over a small patch of land they never needed to access in the first place?

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  • Gavin83
    Gavin83 Posts: 8,722
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    Someone please feel free to correct me but my understanding is this. House D wouldn't be allowed to construct a fence on the pale green part between their house and C. Even if technically no one else is using it the covenant doesn't allow them to block off access. If they were to build a fence you could take them to court to get it removed.

    However if they were to build an extra driveway you'd have no right to use it as it would be theirs and not covered by the covenant. Therefore I can't really see any major advantages nor disadvantages to A-C, except a tiny bit less usage of the shared part, although of course there's nothing to stop D still using it.

    They could of course allow you to use it but I think it's a bit cheeky to expect it, especially when they're the house paying for it and I assume you aren't looking to contribute.

    You can object to the planning proposal, although you'd need a valid reason to and unless there's something you're not telling us I'm failing to see one. I'm also failing to see why you would object anyway given it doesn't appear to offer a disadvantage to you.
  • DE_612183
    DE_612183 Posts: 1,589
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    are you saying the owner od D want to create access to the road from directly in front of their house?
  • cymruchris
    cymruchris Posts: 4,880
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    I would have thought the access to the road would be fine - but the fence not. If I was house C I'd want to object to the fence, but be happy with the neighbours new private access to the road.... If I was house A or B - it wouldn't affect me so wouldn't worry about it. Should house C sell-up next year, and the access is listed on the deeds - the next owners could also object even if the current owners don't.
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  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,573
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    edited 22 December 2023 at 1:39PM
    You say the council own and maintain the verge - so is D then intending to construct their drive over council land ?
    Or are they intending to purchase that land from the council ? 
  • Covenants are only any use if there is someone to enforce it, they are not usually part of a planning decision.  However I think the owners of properties A, B & C would be well within their rights to object and seek to have the covenant enforced.  If I were one of those householders I would object to the planning application on the grounds of "streetscape" - it will look strange.  If I were the householder of property D, to improve my chance of having the application granted I would probably use something open in nature to define the boundary of the driveway across the verge and not extend it across the right of way area.
  • tonygold
    tonygold Posts: 1,121
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    I can't see the council giving up their ownership of the land that forms part of the verge in front of D for free. And if I was C I would certainly object to the fence as that could prove quite restrictive to their access and ability to park easily.
  • Tiglet2
    Tiglet2 Posts: 2,451
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    Could houses B and C do the same, if the Council were minded to agree?  It would then provide all four owners with private access to their own property with no shared parts.  The deeds would need to be updated at the Land Registry.
  • bobster2
    bobster2 Posts: 435
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    You say the council own and maintain the verge - so is D then intending to construct their drive over council land ?
    Or are they intending to purchase that land from the council ? 
    Yes the planning application is to construct the drive over council land. No idea whether they plan to try to acquire it or simply pay council for construction (like dropped kerb). You can submit planning applications without owning something.
  • Slinky
    Slinky Posts: 9,774
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    Tiglet2 said:
    Could houses B and C do the same, if the Council were minded to agree?  It would then provide all four owners with private access to their own property with no shared parts.  The deeds would need to be updated at the Land Registry.

    It could be the situation where the council would object if it reduces the amount of on-street parking for others. There are councils who stipulate minimum distances between dropped kerbs in order to allow on-street parking, which is where it gets risky when people see that a neighbour has had a dropped kerb approved in the past and assumes they will be able to do the same.
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  • bobster2
    bobster2 Posts: 435
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    DE_612183 said:
    are you saying the owner od D want to create access to the road from directly in front of their house?

    Yes - exactly.
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