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Council built a barrier on my land without permission, removed my stock fencing, damaged the land and flytipped


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Hey guys, pretty short and simple story here but would appreciate some advice on how to proceed as my council is notorious for being a bit dodgy.

 

I bought and moved into my house 11 months ago and it came with a large parcel of landscaped and well-maintained land on the opposite side of an A road. The land has been fully fenced in with stock fencing, two access gates for a sit on mower to cut the grass and a pedestrian gate opposite my main garden gate. It's a very beautfiul parcel and I maintain and use this land for exercising and training my working dogs as it's fully secured and free from any hazards.

 

A speeding car crashed through the fence last year and wiped out a bunch of the stock fencing, which I hastily got a contractor in to repair and reinforce.

 

Last week, a bunch of road contractors hired by the local council turned up, tore down about 70m of my fencing, dug huge holes into the rocky clay soil and then dumped the clay, road rubble, large boulders and my own (broken) fence posts and wire onto my land. They then drilled in some huge steel girders, wiping out my phone line in the process, and erected 70m of steel crash barrier. After they finished late at night they apparenttly tossed their used traffic cones, buckets and other bits and bobs into my field.

 

Speaking to people in the local area apparently the guy who is responsible for the highways in the council had requested permission from the previous owner of my property, as well as the neighbout on the other side of the road, to widen the road to fit this barrier and both had asked for compensation in exchange and been declined and so the works had not been authorised.

 

I don't even know where to start with all this. I'm pretty furious to say the least - I've logged a case with the council and am receiving zero traction via calls or emails. I've asked my community council to lodge a complaint as well.

 

Obviously councils don't have convenient pages on their websites about 'what to do if the council trespasses, damages my property, completes works without permission, flytips,'.

 

I'm now unable to use the land due to the fact half the perimeter is now fully open onto a 60mph road and there's concrete, clay, sharp wire cuttings, splintered fence posts, huge rocks I can't lift and all sorts of other trash strewn all over the place.

 

Oh, and I work from home and now have no phone line and no internet, and Openreach need to get permission to close the road to fix the underground cable with no ETA.

 

Any pointers? Thanks!

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First of all I would make sure that I had a proper official plan of the land in question and evidence showing that you are indeed the owner of it. The plan must describe the area precisely.

You could then begin a complaint to the local authority ombudsman or else you could begin a claim for trespass in the County Court.

 

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Yes you need to check land registry to see if you are correctly noted as the owner and if, so when this was noted.

 

The Council will have had to go through proper processes to record the work they were doing and there should have  been notices issued.

 

Presuming that you are noted as the land owner, find out the Council officer responsible for the works and contact them via your local councilor. 

 

I believe Councils are allowed to carry out such works on public safety grounds and there are processes in place to compensate the landowner.  There is also compensation for any damage that they cause or they will arrange to resolve any issues following works.

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So the land and boundaries are all correctly documented with survey map under one title on the registry, but this has not been updated to be in my name as "We are processing multiple applications which, once registered, may change the information shown on this title."

 

This shouldn't matter as the contact/registered address for the title remains unchanged, it's just the name of the previous owner still on the digital registry (but the property address, where I now live). That previous owner had also rejected the works already since the council officer refused to compensate him for the land they needed to build on, as did the neighbour that owned the land on the other side of the road.

 

I did get a response from the council officer responsible for the works after digging around to find their name and phone number and they played ignorant saying  "I know nothing about any fence or land, we just instructed the contractors to install a safety barrier on that road. They never mentioned anything about any of that." So no survey, plan, map, documentation, minutes, observations or site visit? Somehow doubt that...

 

I will call back on Monday and request a site visit, and if unsatisfactory will file a complaint as recommended.  My council is notoriously corrupt and has a history of victimisation and blacklisting complainants from equal access to council services and correspondence, so let's see how this goes...

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10 hours ago, bluecobalt87 said:

...Speaking to people in the local area apparently the guy who is responsible for the highways in the council had requested permission from the previous owner of my property, as well as the neighbout on the other side of the road, to widen the road to fit this barrier and both had asked for compensation in exchange and been declined and so the works had not been authorised....

 

If you only bought the property within the last 12 months I think I'd be inclined to have a word with your solicitor who did the conveyancing and ask their advice.

 

If the local council had approached the previous owner for permission to use their land for something, I would have thought that that might be something that you would expect to have been disclosed in pre-contract enquiries.

 

All you seem to have at the moment is village gossip and rumour.  You need to find out the true position.

 

And contact your local councillor.

 

And - as BankFodder says - you can always sue them for trespass.

 

(FWIW - I find it very difficult to believe that any council - members and/or employees - in this country is so corrupt or incompetent that they would even try to get away with what you describe...  🤔 )

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10 hours ago, bluecobalt87 said:

...Last week, a bunch of road contractors hired by the local council turned up, tore down about 70m of my fencing, dug huge holes into the rocky clay soil and then dumped the clay, road rubble, large boulders and my own (broken) fence posts and wire onto my land. They then drilled in some huge steel girders, wiping out my phone line in the process, and erected 70m of steel crash barrier. After they finished late at night they apparenttly tossed their used traffic cones, buckets and other bits and bobs into my field...

 

 

(Too late to edit previous post)

 

Presumably you weren't able to challenge the contractor when they started the work?

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Apologies for piecemeal posting but just thought of something else.

 

First you need to ascertain what has actually happened.  Speak to the council officer again and to your own local councillor.  As unclebulgaria noted in #3, the council may have a stautory power/duty to carry out road safety works - although you should be compensated if that is the case and they should leave your property as they found it and reinstate any damage to your property.  (And it still might be worth running past your solicitor as well regarding this).

 

If it's clear the council have exceeded their powers and/or or have damaged your property and refuse to compensate you, then make a formal complaint.  If not resolved to your satisfaction, take it to the Local Government Ombudsman.  If that does not satisfy you, take them to court.

 

But first you need to ascertain exactly what has happened and whether the council has done something they are empowered to do, or have exceeded those powers.

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