Don'tworry from now about the plan. I can probably tell you enough without knowingthe exact layout
If itis simply overgrown, there is very little you can do about it, unless thegrowth encroaches on your garden in which case you have a claim in common-lawnuisance against the owner, if this person is the owner.
If itis simply overgrown and looks unsightly and because you do not like thebrambles and the overgrowth, the local authority will not normally do somethingif it is simply growth and not full of junk. If it is full of junk, then theywill order it cleaned up.
If youmaintain it and treat it as your own for more than 10 years, and you have proofof doing that (take photographs and date them when you start maintaining it,and fence it etc), if the land is registered at the land registry, you canapply to have it registered as yours under possessory title which is what theneighbour claims to have done. I will come back to them, neighbour in a moment.
If theland is not registered at the land registry, the period is 12 years.
Ithink it highly unlikely that the owner on the other side owns such a narrowstrip of land on the far side of the brook. The presumption would be at herland runs to the centre of the brook unless there is anything in the deeds tothe contrary.
Ifyour property land once belonged to her land, it seems inconceivable that the boundarywas put slightly to one side of the brook. I think it more likely that the wallwas put half a metre away from the brook to stop people falling into it, and toseparate your house from it.
Icannot know, but if your property is particularly old, I think that is whatprobably happened back in the mists of time.
Theowner opposite obviously is not certain of her facts and you can relativelyeasily ascertain if she owns it under any kind of title or not, without askingher.
If youtake a copy of your land Registry title plan and mark the area on the titleplan in red edging and send it to the land registry with a form SIM from theland registry
so that they can identify the land exactly, they will write back to youand tell you whether it is registered or not and if it is registered, the titlenumber.
The search used to be free, and then there was a small fee of I think£10 and as far as I am aware, in October 2012, the fee was removed again. Butthe land registry will advise you. I cannot see it on the current fee order http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/18627/registration-services-fees-october-2012.pdf
but it is not listed as being exempt either. Typical!
Once you have the title number, you can go here https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/www/wps/portal/!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/
and get the deeds of that land for just 3 pounds. It will say who ownsit and under what title, possessory or absolute. If it is not registered, thenthis lady clearly is a bit of a storyteller.
If you start to maintain the land with a view to claiming adversepossession, she will no doubt object on the basis that she wants the land also andyou are then back to square one.
You are then faced with trying to find out who owns it, or simplymaintaining it yourself, but never gaining possession.
I am sorry that it is such a long winded answer, but at least you haveall the facts.
Can Ianswer any specific points arising?
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).