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Boundary Laws

Prevention is always better than cure. If you plan to put up a new fence or wall or plant a new hedge, try to talk to your neighbour about it. In that way, you will hopefully put his mind at rest.

When putting up a fence, custom dictates that the posts are entirely on your land and the face of the fence, points to your neighbours. It is worth is giving up an inch or two of your land to avoid it going onto next door and creating a dispute. This is especially so since you will need cooperation to be able to repair the fence from your neighbours land. Ensure it complies with Planning Regulations – ring them first.

If you are using Larch Lap fencing, where the panels sit between the posts, then make sure that the entire post is on your side of the boundary and that the top strip overlaps the lower strip on the fact which point towards your neighbours.

There are lots of disputes over boundaries and their heights and so, if you can, always speak to the neighbour first if you are going to alter a boundary or grow something through it. I know it's not always possible, but everything is so much easier if you get on with your neighbours. Communication is the key.

Always make certain that the boundary fence you wish to improve is your fence. We would advise you not to 'improve' your neighbour's fence in any way, including the application of stain or preservative unless you have their written permission.

The following daunting selection of laws governing boundaries is important to know about, so do read it through before you start altering your boundaries.

Planning permission

  • You will require planning permission for any new fence, gate or wall over 2m in height. This will normally include the addition of trellis panels on top of an existing fence if this takes the overall height to above 2m. This may technically also include the addition of wires and brackets to carry a climbing shrub, although this can sometimes be open to interpretation
  • You do not require planning permission to grow a thorny plant along the top of your 2m fence (providing there are no support structures over 2 metres) unless there are covenants or restrictions. Check with your local planning authority
  • If the new fence or wall borders or adjoins a public highway used for vehicles you may need planning permission if it is higher than 1 metre
  • If you live in an area, which has open planned front gardens there is likely to be a covenant restricting the erection of any fence or hedge to the front of the dwelling and you must therefore refer to the local planning authority before you carry out any work
  • If you live in a listed building or your property borders a listed building then you may need planning permission before you carry out any work on your boundary fence or wall
  • You do not normally need planning permission to plant a hedge, but you should check with the local planning authority first as you will have responsibilities to maintain the hedge so that it does not cause a nuisance to others.
  • Before you carry out any work on your boundaries do check with the local planning authority first to see if there are any restrictions or if you need planning permission

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