Land Market Guide To Development: Access

By Social Response on the

Applying for planning permission is a lengthy process, which can mean that it could potentially be years that your land is going unused for before development. During a period of dormancy, it is important that access to your land is restricted. Issues surrounding land usage rights can potentially have a detrimental impact on your application, therefore it is vital to take steps to protect your land.

Depending on the type of land, different issues will be more of a risk, for example it’s unlikely a Brownfield site would be subject to a village green claim, however on an urban site there may be a greater chance of fly-tipping than there would be on Greenfield land. No matter what the risk-factors there are  some simple precautionary measures you can take to protect your land, which may save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.

Deter Unauthorised Access

No matter where your site is located failing to prevent people accessing your land can cause issues in your planning application.  Protect your land from unwanted trespassers by ensuring the perimeter isNo trespassing sign, protecting your land, clearly marked out by painted boundary lines or, even better, sturdy fencing and installing numerous signs to alert people to the fact they are encountering private land. If you find a trespasser onsite, politely ask them to leave, as they are legally required to leave if you do so but contact the non-emergency police number if the problem is persistent.

Issues caused by continued unauthorised access can go far beyond dealing with nuisance trespassers. If people constantly use your land as a thoroughfare lines of ownership can become blurred as it could be deemed your private land contains a public footpath. This can become an issue especially if no attempt has been made to block access – a right-of-way claim can be registered if any person declares they have been passing through the land unimpeded for twenty years. Similarly, a Village Green claim can be brought forward on the land if a significant number of local residents have used the area for recreational purposes over the last twenty years. Claims of this manner can significantly delay development planning and in some cases block a development altogether. Prevention is the key to avoiding these scenarios.

Stop Encroachment

Encroachments happen when a neighbouring resident puts up a structure that intrudes on (or over) your land. If an encroachment goes un-acted on or unnoticed the person making the encroachment could potentially stake a claim on the land according to the law of ‘adverse possession’. If there has been uninterrupted adverse possession taking place for a period of twelve years or more it is likely an existing landowner would lose possession. Clearly marking and protecting the boundaries of your land is essential for avoiding these kinds of disputes and if any encroachment should occur it is crucial to put a stop to it immediately.

In future blog posts, we will look at further things to consider to ensuring you protect your land. If you need more advice don’t hesitate to get in touch with Land Market, we’d be happy to help.