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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 20907
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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i share a 60 metre x 2 metre high grade 2 listed boundary wall

Resolved Question:

i share a 60 metre x 2 metre high grade 2 listed boundary wall with a neighbour. this was in a poor state of repair and had become dangerous. the neighbour got listing buildings consent approval to demolish and replace the wall. the only constraint i can find on the approval is that the work had to commence within 3 years of approval being granted which was at beginning of last month - i.e no 'to be completed by' date.
3/4 of the wall has now been demolished and foundations removed. my garden is now entirely open along this length with a 3 foot ditch where the foundations had been and protected only on my side by some metal fencing panels along the length of the garden. i am entirely overlooked by the neighbour - a hotel.
i originally understood that there was a slight hold up pending approval from english heritage of the bricks to be used in the re-build.
however i now understand that the hotel is closing at the endof this month and notice has been given to all staff.
my question is what can i do to ensure the wall is rebuilt within a reasonable period of time.?
i understand that if the property is sold the onus of /liability for the rebuild will rest with the new owners but what can i do to influence the timescale?
i believe the rebuild cost was circa £60k.
it seems amateurish of the council not to have mandated a date for completion of the work?
what can i do or press the council to do to enforce completion?
it is wholly unacceptable that i now have a complete breach along one side of my boundary.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.
you said that you share the wall.
is it jointly owned or does the hotel own it?
why are you not contributing towards the cost of it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

i share in the context that is a party wall.


the hotel own it.


responsibility for its upkeep rests wholly with the hotel

Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.


The situation with the wall is not favourable for you. I will
explain.

I have to ignore the listed element of the wall which is not a
matter for you put a matter for the local authority and any heritage
organisations involved. They are the ones that will enforce the rebuilding of
the wall by the hotel.



The wall is the hotel responsibility under the hotel's gone into
liquidation, it then becomes the responsibility of whoever buys the hotel.



So, leaving the fact that the wall is listed to one side (no pun
intended) I am just going to deal with the issue of the wall and its
nonexistence and present.



The wall is owned by the hotel on your own admission. They have no
liability or onus to keep the wall in place, because they may actually prefer
it with no warning place! It is different if the structure is dangerous, they
are under a duty to make it safe and if that involves removing it completely
and they are happy with the results, then they can do that.



The fact that you may like their wall being there is immaterial. The
fact that it may have removed your security is of no concern to them which is
obviously of concern to you.



You cannot compel them to put up another wall except with regard to
the fact that the wall is listed, when it will be dealt with by the local
authority.



I'm sorry, I appreciate this is not the answer you wanted but there
is no point in me misleading you. I have a duty to advise you truthfully and
honestly, even if the answer is unfavourable



Does that answer the question? Can I assist
further or answer any specific queries?



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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok


i understand there are two issues.


i had just about got there myself on my personal view on hotel wall.


but the question remains that as it is a listed wall, what powers of enforcement do the local council/english heritage have?


given that there is no 'to be completed by date' on the approval decision.


technically the hotel have complied with the decision in that they have demolished what was a dangerous structure and have commenced the work within the prescribed timescale. i.e inside 3 years of planning approval.


if the authorities have no power of enforcement, conceivably the wall may never be rebuilt! is that a possible scenario?


if not what representations can i justifiably make to the auhorities to facilitate action/enforcement or are there no legal avenues open to me whatsoever?


these are the key questions..


additionally is it not naive/unacceptable that the council did not include any stipulation regarding work completion?


thanks

Expert:  Stuart J replied 1 year ago.






The same thing applies here as does with planning
consent. It has to be started within five years in that case but there is no
timescale for completing it. Whoever drafted the legislation was clearly in no
rush!



If there is no timescale noted, then the time
period must be "reasonable".



Now whilst reasonable might not seem very
accurate (I agree) courts do like "reasonable" because it means that it is
completely open to interpretation by the court.



If this is in the backwoods way out beyond, then
a reasonable period might be two years. If it is in the middle of town or
adjacent to a highway, it could be a matter of months.



It is a supporting wall and there are other
issues to take into account such as retaining other land, it could be longer
and even years even if it is in a busy area.



So, you can see that there is no definitive
answer but I would think that in the circumstances months not years would be
appropriate and I would think that probably three months/6 months would not be
unreasonable.



The local authority does have power of
enforcement because the wall is listed. If it was demolished with a view to
being rebuilt, or local authority can order it rebuilt. They had consent to
rebuild, not consent to remove. Ultimately, or local authority can enforce this
against the landowner and of the landowner has gone into liquidation, it is
enforceable against future landowners who will buy the property subject to
liability to rebuild the wall



Does that answer the question? Can I assist
further or answer any specific queries?

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 20907
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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