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Access for works

QUESTION: I want to put scaffolding on my neighbour's land to carry out works to my property, but the neighbour has refused permission. Can I do anything?

This will depend on the nature of your proposed works and whether you are prepared to take formal steps against your neighbour.

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 states that, in certain circumstances, the court may grant an order allowing an applicant access to its neighbour's land to enable works to be undertaken on the applicant's property.

The court will only grant an access order if: the work is necessary for the preservation of your property, and; the works to your property would be impossible or substantially more difficult to carry out, if access denied.

An order will not be granted if it will cause hardship to your neighbour or would interfere with or disturb the use of their land.

Under the act, 'basic preservation works' are : maintenance, repair or renewal of any part of a building; clearing, repair and renewal of drains; trimming or treatment of dangerous trees; and filling or clearing ditches. If the court considers it to be reasonable in the circumstances, it can also make an order for works of alterations, improvements or demolition if these are incidental to the preservation works.

An access order will allow you to bring such materials, plant and equipment on to your neighbour's land as are reasonably necessary for the works - for example, scaffolding and building material. You may leave the materials, plant and equipment on the land during the works period but must then remove them.

Of course, it is preferable to seek amicable agreement with your neighbour, as pursuing the matter through formal court process is unlikely to enhance relations between you and the order is likely to provide the compensation for your neighbour.

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