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I wonder if anyone has any advice they could give me about the following situation:

I live in a detached house which is with 2 other very similar houses built about 15 years ago. The stretch of road that these 3 houses are on is split into 3 and owned by the 3 house owners. The road is not adopted.

My neighbour wants to build an extension on his house. Originally he asked me verbally if he could build astride the boundary and I refused. He now plans to build up to the boundary and is due to start in 10 days. The boundary fence belongs to me and is about 6 feet away from the side wall of our house. The extension, although large (approx 200 sq. feet), is single story and does not require planning permission. I've checked with the planning department. Apparently it comes under permitted development rights.

My wife and I are in the process of moving house. We've informed the purchaser of the planning extension, the proposed start date and anticipated time to complete the building work (as provide by my neighbour). The purchasers main concern was that the extension wouldn't have an effect on light entering the house, which it won't. They seem relaxed about the extension and we hope to complete the move in about 5-6 weeks from now.

Because of my refusal to agree to my neighbour building astride the boundary, and because of his unpleasant nature I now find that he is aggressive when discussing things. My neighbour has requested that we remove the boundary fence between the 2 properties for the duration of the building of the extension. I'm not happy with this, although I've agreed verbally that I will remove 3 fence panels to allow his builder to "finish" off the wall and that I will remove the fence panels once the foundations and slab are complete and before the brickwork starts. My neighbour has now said that he will need to put scaffolding on our land, even though the wall nearest to our fence will be no higher that about 8 feet (the roof will slope down towards the fence). I'm not happy with this as we have drains which I believe run under the ground within about a foot from the boundary and am worried that the weight of the scaffolding will cause damage. In fact I quite worried about the drains being damaged by the excavation of the footings. I'm also worried about the neighbour simply taking down the fence and building the wall against the boundary line. This would cause a problem as the roof overhang and the gutter would be in our "airspace". I've also asked my neighbour for the name and telephone number of the builder he is using as I'd like to check his public liability insurance certificate. He claims he doesn't know which builder he is using (even though the start of the build is less that 2 weeks away) ! My concern is that he will oversee a number of sub-contractors, none of whom have any insurance. If this is the case I'm tempted to say I won't take down the fence panels and will not grant access to his builders.

My questions are:

Do I have the right to refuse access to my garden if the builders cannot produce details of their insurance ?

If my neighbour does take down my fence without my agreement, or damages the fence accidentally, what options are open to me ? Will the police do anything ? Can I take out an injunction stopping the building work whilst the fence is replaced ?

What can I do if I believe, from the position of the brick wall, that the roof and/or gutter will overhang the fence ? I had thought about extending the fence posts to a height above where the gutter will be and putting trellis panels on top of the existing fence panels in order to "block" the overhang before it is constructed. Unfortunately, my neighbour is likely to simply rip down the fence in this case.

What can I do to minimise the risk of damage to the drains ?, or, if such damage occurs is there anything I can do ?

Is there anything else I can do to protect my interests ? I really don't want a dispute that would affect the sale of the house.

I'm sorry this post is so long. Any advice given will be much appreciated.


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