An increase in neighbours falling out with each other over DIY projects and boundary fences is an unforeseen consequence of lockdown, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, that Adair Paxton is helping to solve.

Adair Paxton’s director, Bruce Collinson, is one of only a few local surveyors qualified to advise on boundary disputes, and his phone has been ringing off the hook lately!

Already this week he has attended a blocked right of way, a barn conversion with an error in the transfer plan and an address where the ground levels have been raised above the damp proof course.

Bruce said: “There is no doubt in my mind that having so much unexpected time at home has resulted in people meddling with fences and walls without proper consideration of the legal boundary. Surprisingly, the boundary often is not determined by the position of a wall, hedge or fence, so tampering with them without checking first, can have consequences.

“There can also often be underlying and enduring problems created when barns, building plots and development land are sold off without proper attention being given to creating accurate records of where the boundaries are. We regularly see hand drawn sketch plans, inaccurate enlarged Ordnance Survey plans, triangulation from buildings - which are promptly demolished and it all points to penny-pinching.

“Whist we are very good at solving boundary disputes, the reality is that many cases could be dealt with by applying reasonable common sense. All too often, communication breakdowns between neighbours are a catalyst for seeking independent help and advice.

“Before getting involved, I always ask if they have applied ‘Collinson’s First Law’ of domestic boundaries which is to find out what their neighbour drinks, go round with a good bottle of it, listen to what they say and talk it through to come up with a sensible plan that they are both happy with. Unfortunately, with a lot of these disagreements it’s gone beyond that, which is why I’ve been very busy lately!

Jun 05, 2020

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