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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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they may be able to park on the drive but they are not allowed to block your driveway gates ,if they do this call the police who will move the motors , don't be afraid to call them everytime they do it ...they will soon stop being arses and stop parking in front of your gates
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thank you for your response, cherrychapstick, but we have called the police on several occasions and every time we have pointed out to them that our gates are blocked, the closest we have had to a response is a shrug of the shoulders and agreement that it's annoying. they refuse to move the cars without written proof from the council that we own the drive way, which we can't give them. the council have refused to respond at all to complaints about our gates being blocked, we have put it in writing several times and received no response and we have raised the issue directly with several council members, but they have all lowered their eyes and litterally blanked the question.
well i think in your case for the moment park outside your driveway gates , although i don't see why the police are doing nothing as they are blocking you in which is illegal , if you blocked someone in while in a car park they would do something ,contact your housing again and let them know you are not happy you are paying your rent for a house with a driveway which you can not use because you have been blocked in so many times and cannot get out which means your disabled mother can't get out and is stuck in the house and see what they say ,but as i suggested keep it out the driveway for the time being and these other people who usually block you in will have to find somewhere else to park ,you may get a visit from the housing and/or police but if you do explain the situation and they cannot charge you with anything as you are not blocking anyone if you are in front of your gates good luck
is this a proper drive? ie, a dropped kerb? ior have you just decided to drive over your gaden? if so you have no rights to keep the gates clear...you can pay for a dropped kerb and a H sign to be painted by the council though.

also get a acopy of your deeds from the land registry...this will show who the driveway belongs to once and fro all
Question Author
The way the gates are positioned is awkward. It's a double drive way but the gates are slightly off centre. If a car is on either side of the drive then the gates are blocked. We tried just parking directly in front of the gates, but the neighbour who started the trouble called the local housing officer who then called us and actually threatened to have my mother's car towed unless we moved it over so that another car could fit on the drive. We also tried parking across the foot of the drive just in an attempt to keep these people away from us, but the same housing officer called us and accused is of trouble making, despite our numerous complaints that the neighbour in question has a brother in law who frequently parks across the foot of the drive way, and despite those complaints being ignored. It generally seems like it's one rule for us and another for everyone else. In regards to it being a proper drive way, yes it is. There is a dropped curb. There is actually a white keep clear line painted on the road along the dropped kerb but people frequently park on it regardless.
to be honest, i can't see there is anything you can do, except find somewhere else to live that is more suitable to your mums disability. The drive clearly dosen't belong to you, and you have no more rights over it than the other people. Sounds like the council gave you the wrong info when you moved in but it was probably just a mistake
Contact your MP
sorry.....contact your MP, not about the gates /drive thing, about the total lack of ciommunication from the council/police, the MP will respond very quickly, he/she is out to please at the moment
You need to cause a stink ..
Local paper complaining about Council would be a good start.
Tell them you are writing to the paper about their incompetence.
Hopefully, that will get something happening.
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Thanks to all who have responded. It would appear that despite what we were initially told, that the drive way is not ours as far as the council are concerned. But it is positioned within our garden, and we are responsible for the upkeep of it (removing rubbish and weeds) - we were actually contacted by the council regarding an out of tax car that was parked there and told that it was our responsibility to see that it was removed. It was not our car, it belonged to yet another neighbour. As far as we are concerned, even if we do not actually "own" it, we have more right to the use of the drive way than anyone else as it is in our garden, and our gates/access are affected by anyone else who parks there. We have attempted contacting local MPs in the past but we recieved no response, however now would be the perfect time to try again, so thank you for the suggestion. We have actually contacted the local paper before, they weren't interested beyond expressing general sympathy for the aggrivation we're suffering. But again, thank you for all suggestions.
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As to the suggestion that we find somewhere else to live, regardless of how well intentioned the comment may have been. This property is perfectly suited to my mother's disabiities and we have no intention of being forced out of our home by abusive neighbours. My mother is extremely proud of the amount of effort she has been able to put into our home and garden, we have done a lot of work to what was a very run down property (holes in the walls and floors, the garden was basically a rubbish dump). If we were to move I would personally see that as acceptance of extremely discourteous and verbally abusive behaviour and we would in effect be condoning the council's lack of action. I am aware that this kind of situation is depressingly common now but the more people who stand up against it the better chance we have of putting a stop to it. - not meaning to get on my high horse or rant on, but that's how we feel about the situation. Anyway, thank you again to all who respond with suggestions.
but you say you are at your wits end - if it is affecting you this badly, and there is no hope of changing the situation by just wishing they would all go away, then maybe moving IS the answer?
Who does the drive actually belong to? Have you managed to establish that?
Question Author
The drive way belongs to the council, as does the house we rent. They therefore say that what they say goes and they are calling the drive way open parking - or at least some of them are, several council members have given contradicting information including 1: The drive way is part of the property we rent. 2: The drive way is half for our use and half for the house on our left. 3: The drive way is half for our use and half for the house on our right. And 4: The drive way is open parking for use by anyone and everyone. But they refuse to put any of the 4 in writing. It is entirely true that I am at my wits end, driven half way round the bend by these idiots. But I am a strong minded person and I refuse to back down when I am right. Further more my mother does not want to give up her home and her now beautiful garden. Regardless of who the drive way belongs to or who has the right to use it we should have the right to access our own gates, and we are currently being denied that right by people who become verbally abusive when faced with the simple query: "Would you mind moving your car for a minute while I use my gates?". We suspect that their motivation is bigoted for one of several possible reasons but we are not quick to throw accusations. By leaving our home the people harrassing us are in a sense winning, and we are leaving behind all of our hard work and effort, not to mention the expence that was entailed.
then i really feel that there is probably nothing you can do -the council have say over what can go on there and thats that.

Is there another way into your house, or are you being denied walking access? Ie can you walk through the gates ok? can you get to say the front door in another way? If the answer is yes then i dont see that you have a right enshrined in law to drive through the gates onto your garden, and to be honest as you don't own the house or graden you kind of have to do what the landlord (council) has decided or find somewhere with a more sympathetic landlord. Perhaps the council don't WANT you to park on your garden (which is afterr all not what gardens are for?). If the council have told the others that its open parking, im not surprised they got stroppy when you tried to block it.
i think you are in a pretty powerless situation here, sorry but it seems like you have done everything the right way, and still had no joy so i think in this case there is no joy (for you) to be had. Look at it this way - if the council had been clear at the beginning tghat the drive was open and you wouldn't be able to park your car in the garden but you could park it on the drive, would you have refused their offer of housing?
One thing that sprung to mind was getting a disability charity involved which might have more clout with the council and local media and be up on all the law.

I agree with bednobs though, trouble is though some battles are just not worth fighting and if an amicable solution cannot be reached or something put into place which is abided by I would wondr how much misery you all want to go through fighting a battle that you may well not win and how much of that effort could be put into moving somewhere different and starting afresh with a new project.

At the end of the day, the law (even if it exists) is only as effective as people abide by it as enforcing matters is often not easy or cheap.

Property disputes can be highly emotive and it amazes me the lengths some people will go to on a matter of principle, I'm sure I remember someone being jailed over a boundary dispute some time ago as it just escalated to ridiculous levels.
hi Jenna, long time no see :)
i don't really understand how getting a disbility charity involved would help - by the sound of it the mum is managing to get to the car despite not being able to park it in the garden for 18 months and the poster states that the property is perfectly suited to the mums needs. I don't think you can expect people to stop parking where they are entitled to just because of someone elses disabilities. I appreciate thiat might sound harsh though, if you are the one with the disability
Bedknobs , the point is she even tried parking infront of her drive and was told she couldn't park there and had to move it or it was going to get took away , but other residents on thestreet can park there a little unfair wouldn't you say i certainly would.
yes it is unfair. My name is bednobs, by the way
That does sound annoying, I would try the CAB (Ignore the irony of it meaning taxi, I mean Citizen's Advice Bereu) they will help you take any legal action neccasary.
This may seem like a stupid question, but are the physical gates part of the problem? If they are, why not removed/replace them (By replace, I'm suggesting something other than a gate).
I agree you shouldn't have to be driven out of your home, because of neighbours, they're the ones who should move!
However, whilst I can't empathise, I do sympathise.
All the best,
BBBE99

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