Boundary line - where would you place it?

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Long story short, our house is at the end of a cul-de-sac with a permissive footpath running across the front. We've been here since the house was built 19 years ago but have now decided to fence in our front garden as more development has led to more people using the footpath and an increase in problems like dog fouling and bikes riding over our lawn.

On the picture below I've shown an aerial view of the property and the red line is the Land Registry boundary as recorded by them. For the past 19 years we have maintained the area shown by the (slightly wavy) black line and our neighbours do the same on their side of the path.

We have now fenced in the area using simple 600mm tall posts and decorative rope, but a person living elsewhere on the estate thinks we have "stolen" some of the open space. It's fairly evident that the footpath was not built as indicated on the Land Registry plan and neither was neighbour's fence, as if so, our garden would end with a defined point. We therefore feel it's reasonable to enclose the whole area as our front garden. This is a total area of about 5M x 3M at the widest point.

To be clear, there's no argument with the landowner of the footpath (The developer) and we have maintained the whole area for 19 years. The Land Registry tell us that boundaries are quite often imprecisely drawn and may not follow either the legal or physical boundary. In our case we have followed the physical boundary - the edge of the footway and a significant change in ground level, but this 3rd party for some reason disagrees. I've included a street view so you can see the lack of other physical features.

Thoughts??
LR overlaid on aerial photo.jpg

Street view.jpg
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
Do your deeds have any covenants prohibiting the building of a fence or other hard structure. Ours do but most people don't mind, however if you have one person already objecting...
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
No, the restrictive covenants regarding fencing, sheds, TV aerials, conservatories and garage conversions expired 10 years after the estate was finished - which was in 2003.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
So the grassy area is currently jointly owned by the developer and you and there's a permissive footpath over it. The developer has agreed to transfer a bit of their land to you so you can have a squarer garden and you're withdrawing the permission to use it as a footpath.

That all seems straightforward. What's the basis of the objection?

If it's just aesthetic rather than legal then it might be worth discussing the options with the person who objects and see if they can bring up an alternative you're happy with. Even if it's your decision there's no harm in hearing them out.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Not quite, we are not touching the tarmac footpath and have not had any contact with the developers for over 15 years. We have no issue with its continued use and were fully aware of the path when we bought the house.

This is some local busybody who thinks that we have "stolen" some of the open space to add to our garden. Funnily enough they have not complained for the 18 years that we have maintained the same area, mowing and kept it free of dog crap, but as soon as we fence it off it becomes a problem... No doubt they are trying to find out who owns the footpath so they can complain, It's not registered with the Land Registry but we know its still owned by the developers.

The Land registry map is not accurate as it shows the estate as planned, not built. I've plotted it over both Google Maps and high resolution OS maps and I cannot line up any of the features - not just our plot outline, but many other plots and roadways. I gather this is not uncommon if the plan is drawn up before the development is finished.

Neither the developers nor us have ever marked the boundary, so we have used the physical boundaries evident on the ground as our guide. This is the edge of the footpath and a change in level on the far edge of the lawn. This is not that obvious from the photos, but at the point where the fence straightens out, the ground drops away significantly. It could be argued that the boundary should follow the edge of our drive and there should be a border between the path and our front garden, but there's no indication of this on the ground and we're talking about a strip of land at most 1M wide and 5M long.

I think according to the plan, the footpath should have been more centrally located in the green space and built with more of a curve. Our garden would then have occupied the area between the path and the fence. As it was built further over to allow for sewerage pipes to be laid, our garden is effectively larger than shown on the Land Registry plan.

We've no plans to move the fence and will wait to see if the developers get in touch, but personally I think it unlikely.
 

IronGiant

Moderator
I would imagine the complainants issue is with the area in pink:
1594398213548.png

or worse:
1594398337429.png



He may even think almost all the grass is communal, in which case I'd get in touch with the developers
 

dfdd

Well-known Member
it clearly appears to be a land registry error looking at your red outline, which is not unusual btw.

if it went to dispute the physical markings present at the moment would be the determining factor imo-ie the footpath outline adjacent to your property ,and also the neighbours fence.(what you have marked in pink.

I think you are correct in your assumptions but would advise that you speak to the objector in a civil manner along the lines of 'you have marked the area off as per the land registry plans', if they wish to pursue it further let them, you can always reinstate in a worse case scenario. However I doubt the objector will pursue considering the legal costs involved and it not having a direct bearing on their property. I wouldn't get into a big dialogue with them over it -keep it simple and polite.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Thanks.
At the moment the conversation has been along the lines of them rudely leaning into the garden and taking photos muttering about stealing land and not engaging with us.

We've tried to contact the developers a few times over the years and never yet had a reply, so good luck to them there!!
 

dfdd

Well-known Member
-personally would ignore them if not too inconvenient, if inconvenient would advise them to check land registry as it 'clearly shows it is your property'.

-would not pursue developers-they won't be interested

-would not spend too much time on this-just enjoy your readjusted garden and answer queries politely-let the other parties do the running around if they desire -they will soon get fed up
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Thanks.
I don't like upsetting people, but equally I won't be pushed around or bullied. My neighbours all like design and agree it has defined the end of the road nicely.

I certainly won't be contacting the developers at the moment, but if we decide to move I may need to get the plot outline updated. Apparently if there's no objections or response from the other party and the land is unregistered and not crown property this is quite simple to do.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
And I thought i had problems :(

My advice for what it is worth is to put the fence up where you think it is the most accurate and allow the busy body to spend the time and money to prove its in the wrong place.

As long as it is reasonable and the footpath is still accessible then all you will get is a lot of moaning which will die down in time.

Boundary disputes are always nasty and always will be. No way to avoid that.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
A brief update...
The lady who was muttering and moaning about the fence line is married to a conveyancing solicitor who I gather has distanced himself from the whole thing. We've heard nothing more from her and I doubt we will hear anything from the developers either.

We checked the Land Registry and the footpath is not registered, but the whole parcel of land that the estate sits on is. This would therefore follow that any unsold areas would still be owned by the developers. The only problem there is that they went bust a few years ago and then started up under a different company. There's no record with the LR that the land was transferred, so it's still showing under the old company!

I doubt we will hear anything more, but will keep you all updated if we do. In the meantime, we will simply enjoy our garden improvements :)
 

brunation

Well-known Member
We therefore feel it's reasonable to enclose the whole area as our front garden.
For the past 19 years we have maintained the area shown by the (slightly wavy) black line and our neighbours do the same on their side of the path.
It's fairly evident that the footpath was not built as indicated on the Land Registry plan and neither was neighbour's fence, as if so, our garden would end with a defined point.
Your neighbour opposite: what does it show for the location of their garage? Owned or stolen? :devil:
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Lol.
The line of best fit - IE lining up the roadway suggests their house was built about 2M further forward than it should be. Maybe the complainer would like the house and garage pulled down as well...
 

brunation

Well-known Member
the roadway suggests their house was built about 2M further forward than it should be.
Tolerances ... tolerances ....

Drawings: all values +/- 2mm unless stated.
Builders: +/- 2m .......
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I remember in St Neots they had to pull down a cinema that had been built 75cm further back than planned, as the neighbour complained. They then re-built it 30cm FORWARD of the line and needed to apply for retrospective permission to cover the cock up!

 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Footpaths are a dangerous thing so you need to be very sure that it isn’t officially registered, as whilst few people will care if the boundary fence is in the wrong place, there are organization that will put in the time and money over a foot path.

However there are ways around it, as long as the foot path is still accessible then it is perfectly fine to fence it off providing that the rope between the post can be easily lifted off to create an entrance, gate is fitted etc. In short most people will think it isn’t there, but the people who do know about it can still use it.

Its on your land so you are allowed to make the area secure as long as it is still accessible :)
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Thanks.
The path is definitely only permissive and was built as part of the estate, but no doubt will be formalised into the network once the last stages of construction are completed. There was a 12 year hiatus in building the estate, hence the extended period of time.

We have left 300mm between the edge of the footpath and our fence line, so it would be difficult to argue that we have restricted the footpath in an way.

I've had run ins with the Ramblers before. I used to work for an off road training company and one of our sites had a footpath running along the side of a river through the site. We applied and received permission to re-route this further up the hillside so that it avoided the site - which was busy 7 days a week as we carried out military and commercial training as well as fun days. We moved all the signage, stopped up the access route with large fences - and additional signage and the stopping up notice, but we still had trespass issues, as ramblers seem only to believe what's written on their OS map, not the legal definitive map of the area!

Things came to a head when we rounded the corner on the track that shared the route of the old footpath to find about 20 people enjoying a nice picnic in the middle of the track - blocking it entirely. When the lead instructor politely explained about the footpath being moved and pulled out his copy of the definitive map as proof, they became very aggressive, trying to grab his map and waving their hiking sticks around. I think it came as a bit of a shock when 15 squaddies exited the rest of the vehicles in the convoy to see what all the fuss was about...

The upshot was that they packed up in record time and we pointed them towards the correct route.
 

DIYlady

Distinguished Member
It would be interesting to look at land registry plans for the neighbour whose rear garden meets the side of your property.

Looking at the slightly odd curve, my guess is that the curve of their fence was originally intended to run on that line, and their plans may show ownership of that triangle (with ownership of some of the green area continuing alongside the fence). So, if anything you may have taken some of their land!

That said, take some time stamped photos of the fencing so that in the future you can show how long it has been fenced as your property. Might not matter, but can’t do any harm!
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
The boundaries and fences have not changed since the path was completed in 2001.

The Land Registry are keen to point out that their plans do not necessarily show accurate boundaries and physical markers on the ground are normally the accepted boundary, unless there's suspicion that they have been moved to the advantage of a landowner.

In our case, all we have done is to enclose an area of land we have maintained and assumed without challenge to be our garden.

Other than an obviously forged letter purporting to be from the developers, but showing the registration details of the company that went bust more than 10 years ago and with the headed paper printed on an inkjet printer, we've heard nothing more. I don't think the developers care and there's nothing anyone else can do quite honestly.

I'm quite proud of my 3d printed fence post caps though!!
15969662487264239478334587457929.jpg
 

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