How to Get Around an Obstructive Neighbour Preventing Right of Access Across Their Land

29 June 2022
by Judy Foote

We recently bought land housing derelict barns which has planning permission to convert the barns to a residential home. However, the farmers who sold us the property are being obstructive to our progress.

The plans include access across their land to allow an entrance to our drive to be created. There is no other way we can access our property by road. However, they are refusing to allow us a wide enough entrance to allow access for construction vehicles and fire appliances. We have had a 'swept path analysis' produced (at their request) by a highways consultant which proves we need a wider entrance due to the turning circle required. However they are refusing to recognise this, refusing to engage with us and have put it in the hands of their solicitor, who is stalling continuously.

The plans we have are to an extremely small scale and the entrance marked in felt pen, so it is impossible to identify the size of the entrance 'gap' in the plans, but the swept path analysis proves we need it to be wider than it currently is. We have tried access with a construction vehicle and it cannot make the turn into the entrance - the neighbours were present and saw this. We have now ground to a halt as we can't get construction vehicles into our site for deliveries.

Widening the entrance will entail taking down a small length of hedge, it does not impinge on any arable/pastureland. We need a total of 15m2, according to the swept path analysis. Short of taking down the extra hedge ourselves (which we do not want to do) we are at a loss as to what we can do and don't want to engage in lengthy, costly legal proceedings.

We believe that if we can't prove access for a fire appliance we will be required to install a sprinkler system in the house - a cost we really do not want to have to cover. Please can you help with any guidance - we just want to get our home built!! Thank you.

2 Answers

  1. Anamika Talwaria says:

    Hello Judy,

    Thank you for your question. I have asked our experts to come back with an answer ASAP.

    Best wishes,
    Anamika Talwaria (Build It Features Editor)

  2. Martin Gaine says:

    This is more of a legal issue, I’m afraid. When planning permission is granted for a development, it doesn’t mean you can necessarily carry it out – if the development is partly on a neighbour’s land or requires access over their land etc, you might not have the legal right to carry out the works. I am afraid the legal route may be the only option here (or some kind of negotiation with the neighbour/landowner).

    Martin Gaine (Build It Planning Expert)

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