Today started in quite a dramatic way but first I need a few words of context. My immediate next-door neighbour in the new estate which now occupies the area in which there was an ancient apple orchard is forever thinking of ways in which his house can be improved. For example the whole of the garden has been replaced with an artificial grassed area with a bar (adorned by a union flag in one corner of the ‘garden – I kid you not) and every type of children’s playground equipment one can imagine -trampolines etc.) The ironic thing about all of this is that one of the plans for the development of the land next door involved the creation of a public playground for children. Whilst this proposal was defeated, the same effect has been created in a private house because all of the local children have flocked to it as though it were a public park – way in excess of the 2-3 children who actually live next door. But this is a digression. During the summer, our next door neighbour has completely transformed the garage into another living room. In order to store ‘garagy’ type things, he has decided to create a ‘structure’ (hard to describe it) which is like a long, thin extension to the house all down one side. This has been built absolutely up to the boundary line – the existing fence has been removed and the new structure is now built within a millimetre of our fence posts. In the last few days, some rafters have started to appear – before this, I had no idea whether it was going to be a flat topped structure or not. On inspecting the new structure from my side, I have worked out that it is going to require some water shedding arrangements in the forms of guttering and once affixed, these would certainly constitute a permanent trespass onto our land i.e. they would be built on land that does not belong to them, as any guttering must extend beyond the extension wall and that is built, let me remind you, 1mm from our boundary line. Now when I woke up I discovered that three workmen were in our garden erecting soffits or similar to the side of the new erection. I quickly donned some gardening trousers and a gardening jacket and went outside to challenge them and ask them what they thought they were doing! About a month ago, I had given permission to one of the builders to come onto our land to point their brickwork – to have refused might have seemed churlish. The next door people have taken this to mean that they have an automatic permission to jump into our garden and do whatever work they want. I informed them in no uncertain terms that I had not granted them any permission to enter my garden – they said that one of the number had called round and asked for permission in the last few days (surely a try on) and I informed them this was certainly not the case. I also indicated that I could not tolerate the intrusion of any structure e.g. guttering that strayed beyond their building line land onto our land. They were reasonably apologetic and said that they would construct a valley gutter presumably within their own building line. I am not sure exactly how they are going to do this despite consulting the internet but that is their problem – unless of course whatever they do finishes off shedding water onto our land which then becomes our problem. I had been contemplating asking the planning authority to come and check on what was being done but this might take some time and building work might carry on apace. However, a warning shot has been well and tried shot across their bows and they seemed to disappear from our garden as quickly as they came. I have considered sending them them a formal letter complaining about their trespass and indicating that any further transgressions would result in calling police/surveyors/lawyers in some combination, but I am staying my hand for the moment because a formal letter could be construed as a ‘dispute’ with a neighbour and this would might be problematic were we to sell our property in the future. Neighbour disputes should be disclosed as part of the sellers’ property information form (also known as a TA6 form) and this is a legal requirement. More on this as it develops, no doubt.
This afternoon, before going to church, I had to undertake a routine MRI scan in one of the local hospitals. This is quite a lengthy procedure wth masses of loud clanking as huge magnets send pulses through your body which can build up a detailed picture of the soft tissues within your body. This procedure took about an hour and half in total and I had to race home, avoiding the streets blocked off to faciliate the Bromsgove ‘Opening Christmas Lights’ celebrations but I made it back and got us to the church on time.