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Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden? (Read 25426 times)
Alexo
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Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Nov 3rd, 2011 at 5:13pm
 
Hi all, 1st ever post here!
I am seeking opinions on an issue relating to the fence between myself and neighbours garden, both on Scots law and what people think is reasonable behaviour. The fence divides the two properties and I believe that he erected it shortly before we bought the house and I think on the deeds he is down as responsible for maintenance of the fence (although in practice I would expect to do and pay my share of maintenance at it would seem the reasonable thing) Ė hence it is likely that he owns the fence. The posts are on my side of the fence and the slats are on his side.

The issue is that without discussing with me he has went ahead and installed spotlights which shine into his garden. The poles of the spotlights have been attached to the side of the fence facing our side of the garden. In a quick phone conversation he has told me that the reason for this is that the posts are on my side and if they were on his side they would stick out. The electrical cable etc is also run along my side of the fence. When I said that they are in my garden his answer was that Ďnot really, they are on my fenceí.

Iím not too happy about this as itís quite unsightly and itís an area we have been trying to plant in to make it look better, and most of all because the first I knew of the plan was when I found workmen in the garden finishing the job off. However, his response to me has made me question whether I am being unreasonable and I wondered what people think of this and secondly what the law would say about this given that they are on the fence line so may not be technically in my garden

I would like to ask him to move them to his side but wondered what people thought of the above before I go jumping in! I have an ok relationship with him and he is on the most part a reasonable guy but I would never dream of going into a neighbours garden and erecting something without discussing it with them first.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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lucatoni
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #1 - Nov 4th, 2011 at 12:16am
 
I would suggest that you put slats on your side of the fence to both hide the wire and his light posts - or erect your own independent fence - it will save you a whole heap of hassle as this is essesntially a no win situation.

By even mentioning your unease to your neighbour it will open a real can of worms and heaven help you if you formalise it thrrough a lawyer as the deterioration in neighbourly relations will be exponential in addition to the hours/cost mounting up through the law.



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Alexo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #2 - Nov 4th, 2011 at 9:34am
 
Hi Lucatoni, thanks for the response.

I checked the deeds last night and the fence is actually down as shared maintenance. I share your feeling about trying to avoid taking this to a solicitor but I feel that if I do nothing at all I am leaving myself open to be bullied and that could be worse in the long run.

The lights are suspended above the fence to a height of about 10ft, I presume there is nothing to prevent this provided its in his garden?

All of the cabling junction boxes etc are also on my side, which again seems unreasonable, am I not in my rights to expect this to be on his side of the fence?

Finally, does he have a right of access to my garden to do this work?

I really appreciate any further thoughts on this - thanks.
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Lil Mo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #3 - Nov 4th, 2011 at 11:04am
 
Hi,

I dont think you are being unreasonable at all.  One way round this might be that you have or plan to have children or you may have children ie neices or nephews etc visiting that this would become a danger and would maybe politely point this out to your neighbour. 

The other thing I think if you check your deeds or check with your local planning department but would think it highly unlikely that he would be able to attach lights to a fence that amount to 10 ft high - I think they would expect them to be removed with immediate effect.  Especially if they are as high as that the first gale that comes along would send them down.

Hope this helps a little.

Good Luck

Mo
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Alexo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #4 - Nov 4th, 2011 at 11:39am
 
Thanks Lil Mo,
I phoned local planning and they dont think there is anything within planning laws that cover this, as long as the fence itself is less than 2m high there is nothing specifically to cover fixtures on the fence. They suggested that if the brightness of the light becomes a problem then it may be an environmental issue but otherwise could be no more help.

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Raibeart
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #5 - Nov 4th, 2011 at 4:29pm
 
Yes, there is provision under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which deals with light pollution (intrusive light).

I found this page on a website which can provide some more information - http://www.environmental-protection.org.uk/neighbourhood-nuisance/light-pollutio..., best bet would be to make a formal complaint to Environmental Health advising them that the light is interfering with your right to the quiet enjoyment of your home.

Rob
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Lil Mo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #6 - Nov 4th, 2011 at 5:01pm
 
Hi,

The other thing you can use is the cabling running through your garden, I certainly wouldn't think that would be allowed, I would most definately not allow that!

Mo
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Alexo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #7 - Nov 6th, 2011 at 1:47pm
 
Thanks Raibeart and Lil Mo,
The difficulty with the cabling is I am not 100% sure where the boundary is, i.e. whether its at the centre of the posts. I am in discussion with him over the whole project at the moment and we are trying to find an amicable solution.
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Alexo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #8 - Nov 7th, 2011 at 12:07pm
 
Regarding the above, if the cabling is within the boundaries of my property does anyone know who is liable in this event of an accident. E.g. If someone on my property gets an electric shock am I liable because it is on my property or is he liable because he installed it?
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Lil Mo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #9 - Nov 7th, 2011 at 12:14pm
 
Hi

Not 100% sure but think it might be you as it is on your property.

I would insist to your neighbour that he have all the cabling etc on his side, I would also perhaps try contacting the local Electricity Company - probably Scottish Power as they are the main people putting in cabling, junction boxes etc., as to the validity of having these poles with lighting attached to a wooden fence at such a height - I think they may ask they be taken down on safety reasons.

Mo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #10 - Nov 7th, 2011 at 5:46pm
 
Hi

I can understand why he wants the cabling on your side because it's behind the slats but he should be coming up with a solution to hide them so they don't look obtrusive on your side. I'm sure a solution can be found for that, painting them or some other method.

Your main concern should be the junction boxes.† Are they in a position that kids playing games in the garden could injure themselves against them.

You also need to consider if they need maintained the only way they can access them is by your "property".† Ask him how he would feel if the shoe was on the other foot (politely though).
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Alexo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #11 - Nov 8th, 2011 at 1:55pm
 
Thanks Lil Mo, I dont think Scottish Power would get involved in something like this as they usually dont take responsibility for anything past the meter. I think the poles are safe enough, they are secured to the main posts so I dont think that is an issue.

Thanks SBF, I can understand too why he would prefer them on my side, the biggest issue was that he went ahead without consulting me and then seemed to suggest that he didnt need my permission. I think the way forward is to find a way to minimise how they look and I am working on this just now. As you say, the height of junction boxes is an issue as one or two of these are at child height and need to be raised. They should also possibly be inside conduit.
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Alexo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #12 - Jan 4th, 2013 at 4:19pm
 
Hi all,
Sorry to reopen this after so long, but believe it or not the problem outlined in my original post has still not been resolved after over a year. The last conversation we had he agreed to remove the metal posts, fix the lights on his side of the fence and I made the compromise that he could leave the cabling as long as the junction boxes and anything requiring maintenance were accesible from his side but again months have passed with nothing having been done. To be honest I am not happy about even the cables being on my side as I am not sure who is liable if they were to develop a fault and someone got hurt but I agreed to it in an attempt to compromise and get something done.

With reason having failed I have got to the point where I am considering just taking everything down myself and leaving it at the bottom of his garden. Is there any issue with me doing this? I am working on the presumption that by entering my garden and erecting them without my permission that he has broken the law (is this correct?) but does this in itself give me the right to remove them from my side of the shared fence?

I know this might seem like a small issue but it is ruining my enjoyment of the garden that I have put so much work into as its the first thing I notice everytime I step outside and even when I look out the window. They are not small domestic lights but more like the type of thing you might put up to illuminate a 5 aside pitch or industrial yard!

Thanks
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Lil Mo
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Re: Neighbour erecting spotlights in my garden?
Reply #13 - Jan 5th, 2013 at 10:01am
 
Hi again - I would still contact Scottish Power as there are legal obligations regarding cables outside and also there are new rules on people installing cabling etc - similar to the gas regulations.  Also have you contacted the environmental health dept at your local council as from what you are saying this constitutes a nuisance. 

hope this helps

Mo
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