I live in the circular end of a tiny cul-de-sac, where all front gardens are wedge-shaped. Some owners have paved their front gardens to use as driveways, others are too narrow at their front for vehicular access. A new neighbour with this narrow access problem wants to use their front garden for car parking. To drive on, they’d need to partially cross the front drive of either myself or a neighbour on the other side.This other neighbour appears to have refused such an arrangement, despite having no physical boundary in the way. We were asked next. We’d have to remove a 2 to 3 metre length of a boundary hedge to give them the width for car access, plus accept a more restrictive parking arrangement. We’d never be able to park in front of our drive (else block their access), in effect creating a partially shared driveway. We’ve told them that we don’t want a shared driveway access arrangement (problematic, and affecting future sale) and do not want to lose the boundary hedge which we believe is ours (though online Land Registry plans for all houses fail to mention ownership). The new neighbours were very unhappy that neither neighbour wants a shared access arrangement. They are a building trade family, not slow to undertake substantial work, and we fear that they might try to do something without consent/in our absence.I’d like confirmation that we can refuse access over our driveway; that we are entitled to replace any removed hedge with some similar fence or boundary to prevent access; and how best to deal with any such unauthorised damage to our hedge if it happened. Would this be best dealt with as a Police criminal damage and/or trespass complaint?
Province/Country relating to question : England
Nothing beyond speaking with neighbours, refusing their request.
HiThank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. I will try to help with this.What damage is being caused?
Nothing yet. We think they're considering removing a few metres of our hedge, a group of them obviously eyeing up the area. Not the nicest of families, if you understand me.
They can't do that.The police may or may not be interested if they were to take action. I'm afraid the police can be very inconsistent about things like that. Clearly, if they remove this without your consent then that would in academic law amount to a criminal damage. However, the police may well say it's a civil matter. You can still sue for the tort of criminal damage at the County Courts.Also, if you own this land then you are personally entitled to refuse them access. If they use it without your consent then that is trespass although you would have to show that they cause damage while they were there in order to claim for trespass. In short though, you do have a claim. They cannot just use the area that belongs to you without your consent.Hope this helps. Please press ACCEPT and then I will answer your follow up questions for free. Your question will not close but I will thereafter give you related information at no extra cost.
Bar Exams, over 5 years in practice.
OK, so it's essentially a criminal matter, but with an uncertain response from Local Police? As driving over our drive (yes, I own the land/house) is unlikely to do much visible damage, I'm guessing that Trespass would not be the way to go. It would be more a matter of Criminal Damage via Police or else Courts, you are saying.Although told by my conveyancing solicitor that the hedge is mine, Deeds fail to mention this, although the paper bundled Deeds may do I've been told. Is proof of ownership of hedge a stumbling block to any criminal damage claim? Can I simply erect something in the place of any removed hedge section, essentially stopping access, if this happened? I'm hoping that if that too was removed, the Police might be more interested in an escalating dispute?
that is a fairly accurate summary. It's not the fact of the trespass that causes the damage it's the fact of the criminal damage.Overall, you could try reporting it but you consider the Small Claims Court.If the land is yours then you could put what you liked in place of the removed hedge.
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