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Do I have the right to freely access my garden gates?

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Hollie | 21:12 Fri 23rd Apr 2010 | Civil
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I live with my disabled mother in an end terraced house which we rent from the council. There is a double drive way which sits in an indent in our garden. There are double gates at the top of this drive way which allow me to bring my mother's car into the garden. Neighbours from accross the street, the other end of the street, and a street around the corner have all decided that this drive way is now theirs. We complained to the council about this but despite telling us that the drive way was private and part of the property when we moved in, they are now saying that the drive way is open parking and are refusing to do anything about the neighbours now parking there. These neighbours are blocking our gates and we are unable to use them, any requests we make to them to allow us access to our gates are met with abuse and threats of violence. We have attempted mediation but this was ignored, we have spoken with the police and sent numerous complaints to the council but nothing has been done to resolve the situation. We can not risk bringing the car into the garden on one of the rare occasions that the drive way is empty as when I did this previously (in order to wash the car) the neighbour from across the road came home and blocked me in. After a year and a half of this we are at our wits end. Any help/information would be greatly appreciated.

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i cant really visualise this layout...it sounds bizarre... cou;d you add a link to a photo or map? also i would send a lettwr saying that you will no lonfer be responsible for upkeep as its not yoyrs...why should you?
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We did initially refuse to upkeep the drive way but the council refused to send anyone out to it so we really had no choice in the end. Because of where it's positioned it effects our garden, ie: weeds grow across, as do the seeds, and the rubbish all works it's way into our fence.
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If we'd been told by the council when we were offered the house that the drive way was open parking I honestly can't say that we'd have turned it down. But given that the drive does continue through the gates and into the garden we may have given it extra consideration before accepting. But even so it was a moot point at the time as the house had been empty for more than 2 years and when this trouble started we learned from neighbours that the drive sat empty and neglected that whole time. When we moved in we had a lot of work to do weeding it out, you could barely call it a drive at the time it was so green with weeds.
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We did in fact live here for 2 or 3 years unhindered, our next door neighbour knocked and asked could she park on the drive and we said yes as there was a space and she was always happy to move her car to allow us access. If the person now parking there was willing to do the same we would have had no problem with them being there, but they have caused so much hassle now that we just want them kept away from us completely.
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The person that began the trouble actually lives 30 or 40 miles away and was visiting someone on the street, it was their friend who lives here that continued the trouble when they stopped visiting. There is a footgate into the property, yes, so we have only lost access for our car. But there are many other factors. There are in fact 3 different cars involved (origionally there were 4), they spent several weeks taking turns leaving 2 cars on the drive and sharing use of the other to make sure we were completely blocked out, and they would all stand in the garden across the street and shout jeers and threats at us every time we came home, and I can honestly say that the only contact we had previously had with them was when my mother collared them one morning and said: "Would you mind not parking on the drive way please? you're blocking my gates." And the guy (who started the trouble) litterally screamed at her until she came back in the house, we were utterly shocked by his reaction. Since then they have frequently thrown rubbish in our garden, if my mother's car is on the drive way they angle their car to block the driver's door and I have to climb in from the passenger's side to get the car out. They occasionally just sit in the car and beep the horn for several minutes at a time, other neighbours have been forced to step in and ask them to stop it. And on one occasion our neighbour pulled the back of her car right up to the fence and sat with her engine running pouring smoke over the trees we have lining the fence. And this all started simply because of a polite request not to block our gates. This is the reason we believe their actions may be bigoted at heart.
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Just to repeat myslef here: the drive does continue in through our gates. This is just to address the sugestion that gardens are not for parking, obviously that's true, but there is a gravel runway in the garden that leads directly up from the drive. Also just to add that there has never been much of an issue with parking on our street, almost every house has a drive in someway indented into their gardens. And for the houses that do not have that, the whole street is practically empty for parking most of the time. Both of the people causing the trouble that actually live on the street have drive ways connected to their own homes but they choose not to use them. And just in case anyone suggests we park on their drives (as other people have told us to do that), it would not be practical for my mother, it would be that much further that she would need to walk to the house. And one of the people in question lives approx 10 doors down from us.
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I previously took pictures of the drive way for the purposes of showing the CAB exactly how it is positioned, but I have since been told by the police that I can not photograph it when other people's cars are parked there. So this is a rough image of how it looks: http://i905.photobuck...RIVEWAYPOSITION-1.jpg
(I'm not sure if I need HTML, or what the code is.)
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This is a rough image of how the street looks. With black squares as relevant drives. N1 and N2 as the neighbours in question, the 3rd does not live on the same street.

http://i905.photobuck...onUK/Links/STREET.jpg
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And again, thank you to all responses. You deserve a medal just for reading through all my ramblings! XD
Some years ago we went through absolute hell with an extreme noise problem which was the responisbility of the Environment Office of the Council (not the police as it was private land). The council asked us to record and log the nuisance which we did, again and again and again and again.......This went on for almost 4 years. I was made so ill that I couldn't think straight and lost stones in weight. If I had been thinking straight I would have been able to work out that something was amiss. Long story cut short, we contacted our MP in the end and the council buzzed around like you wouldn't believe! The person we were dealing with conveniently went off with stress! It transpired that she was being threatened by the perpetrators. If you are certain that the drive IS yours GO TO YOUR MP - don't be fobbed off by another cowadly council. Good luck.
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Thank you for your response. I'm sorry to hear about your own problem and glad you managed to get it sorted out. After seeing a solicitor we are now fully aware that anyone can park on the drive and that anyone is free to block our gates if they please. However the main issue for us has been the unrelenting harrassment and refusuals to move out of our way, even if only for 5 minutes. Though the people in question have broken the law by entering our garden and messing with a trailer the police refused to do anything at the time, informing us that it was a civil matter. It is now too late for us to go back to the police about that particular incident and so we are left with nothing more to do. We have actually been told by the police that we have to "wait for him to hurt us or damage our car" before they will take the situation seriously. But the harrassment has been acknowledged and we now have witnesses to back us up.

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