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General Chat Thread, House boundaries in General; does anybody know (long shot here) any land regulations with regards canals? the new house we've bought, our back garden ...
  1. #1

    MK-2's Avatar
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    House boundaries

    does anybody know (long shot here) any land regulations with regards canals?

    the new house we've bought, our back garden backs directly on to a canal. At the bottom of the garden we have a concreted area which is showing signs of cracking and is slowly falling into the canal. This has been caused by the flow of the water and the boats passing pushing the water against the soil underneath and eroding it.
    We were told the British Waterways were responsible for the repair as it is the canal causing the issue.
    After ringing them, they came to have a look and said "we only cover where the water is entering your property and as the water isn't entering your property we have no need to repair.

    Is this right? If the canal weren't there, the bottom of the garden wouldn't be eroded like this, so surely the cause is the canal, and it should be their responsibility to construct something to stop this erosion?
    We were told that other people on our street had the same issue and the Waterways came out and put in some barriers under the water and then backfilled to the garden to stop it happening.
    Are they just being awkward with us in the hope of saving themselves time and money or is this going to be our job to fix? Though god knows how we'd fix it if we can't actually stand on the concrete without fear of it slowly slipping!

  2. #2


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    Aren't BW due to be axed in the cuts? They probably cannot be @rsed. Get in touch with your local paper and see if they want to get involved. Failing that your MP, especially if he is Labour.

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    ricki's Avatar
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    Hi

    You need to have legal advice but as far as I know they are obliged to maintain the structure of the canal. Is the concrete on your land or is it belonging to them. Have a look at the deeds. If the damage is to your land then you might have a stronger case to push them to fix this and a solicitor would tell you the correct procedure but it would probably start with a letter saying please fix it or else we will apply for compensation.

    If the damage is only to the land belonging to them then you then you have a problem.

    As a curiosity did this not come up on your survey for the house.

    Richard

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    the concrete is well into our garden, we have a wire fence at the bottom which i would assume is the boundary, and the concrete is all before that.
    so again i would assume (we have only just started looking into it so no definites just yet) that anything before the fence is ours, and the concrete is ours and the soil under it is being washed away.

    it didnt come up in the survey no as we had a basic homebuyer survey carried out. we have been told that other houses have had the same issue and the waterways had to fix it, but my guess is they will fight it for a while to save money

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    If the concrete concerned is a retaining wall for the canal then it is part of the canal and BW should be the ones to repair it.

    A canal is a public navigation, the equivalent of a public highway (aka road) and you would be no more expected to mend the canal than you would be to fill a pothole outside your house.

    Convinicing BW that this is the case is another matter. You will need legal advice to lean on them to repair it... however, it is possible that if the damage to the canal boundaries does not impede the safety of those using the canal then they do not have to repair it immediately.

    Personally, I would be trying to prove some kind of safety risk to your family and, preferably, users of the canal.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    i'll take some pics, as the bottom of our garden is a safety risk. a 3 ft chunk of concrete is now at a 45 degree angle to the canal, and cracks are showing elsewhere so you can't actually walk on that part without a risk of it sliding in.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    It depends on who put the concrete there orgionally I suspect. In Preston I often walk past a canal where there are houses (terraced) whose gardens reach down to the canal and almost all of them have very nice terraced patios and gardes where they can enjoy the canal. These reach right down to the canal edge. On the other side is the of towpath (now a footpath). I would presume that BW would be responsible for the path whereas anything people have introduced themselves to the canal edge from tehior property would be their responsablity.
    Google Earth view here:

    preston - Google Maps

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    Dos_Box:
    its not the fact that the concrete is our property, it's that the canal (not owned or maintained by us) is damaging our property. The peoples houses you mention, yes the patio is their property to maintain, but if the canal starts eroding their property, how can they repair the canal if its not theirs?
    on the towpath side they have concrete defences to prevent it eroding the ground under it, but obviously these defences aren't on our side and the water is now entering into our boundary

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    on a side note, bloody google!
    i typed in boundaries canal to see if i could find any other sites offering advice and saw one titled House Boundaries....then realised it was this thread being listed!

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    if the tree roots in a neighbors garden were affecting your foundations then the OP would be legally responsible to remove the tree. I would think it is the same circumstances here. But I am sure they will come accross this a lot so there will be case law and precedent that covers it. You would probably need to turn up the heat with a solicitors letter to get them to start looking at it seriuosly. Take lots of photos, especially dated over time if it is deteriorating. However the point your rational falls down is "If the canal weren't there" this is not a starting point for a legal argument. You should also obtain a copy of the deeds so you can see exactly where the boundary is and ask the neighbours how they have had theres repaired in the past. There is this too if you fancy having a trawl for precedents in case law yourself http://www.britishlaw.org.uk/online.html
    Last edited by Hacksawbob; 25th November 2010 at 11:10 AM.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksawbob View Post
    if the tree roots in a neighbors garden were affecting your foundations then the OP would be legally responsible to remove the tree. I would think it is the same circumstances here. You would probably need to turn up the heat with a solicitors letter to get them to start looking at it seriuosly. Take lots of photos, especially dated over time if it is deteriorating.
    we have taken pics now, unfortunately can only do weekends as by the time i get home its pitch black in the evenings.
    its definitely getting worse.
    think we're going to leave it until after xmas rather than getting it started then having it go quiet over the holidays.

    this is the bottom of the garden as of this weekend:
    House boundaries-img_1252-small.jpg

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    Hacksawbob's Avatar
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    Lost my thread there, Take pictures close up showing movement against a ruler from a static point. Dont allow the 'crete or that BBQ to fall into the channel though as you may end up getting counter sued from BW and Mariners if a boat is damaged. Cant see how wide the chanel is there. May be an Idea to brake up that section with a sledge hammer and remove it to prevent it falling in so long as you have documented the current extent of the damage. The only long term solution would probably involve sinking pilings into the edge and back filling with concrete, Or Oak lasts well in water do to its hi tanin content. Possibly better than steel, and you could pick up some cheap railway sleepers all creosoted. (may leach into the waterway though)
    Last edited by Hacksawbob; 25th November 2010 at 11:24 AM.

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    MK-2's Avatar
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    we need it piling properly and backfilling, but its the cost that will be the sticking point.

    thanks for the tips though, will definitely keep them in mind

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