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  1.  
    (deliberately named to distinguish from the other thread here:
    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=15161&page=1#Item_22)

    In a way we've hit almost the opposite problem to marsaday. Our site is accessible via an adopted road that becomes a private road halfway down. The owner of this road also owns the site to the south of our land which happens to have the mains sewer below it. We basically need to connect into the sewer on their land by digging a trench in this private road.

    After contacting the owner several months ago, initially everything seemed fine. They were fairly enthusiastic about new development as they're developing their land soon too. We sent them outline drawings of the scheme and agreed to meet. They now haven't showed up to at least 3 arranged meetings and are now no longer answering the only number we have for them or any e-mails.

    As I understand it we're now in a stalemate position where we can't proceed with the works without their written consent. All the forms etc. required need this and unlike party wall agreements there is no option to serve notice and then default to a legal recourse.

    We have no physical address for them to serve any form of legal notice anyway, besides which this wouldn't get us any closer to having the written consent if this is just an empty 'PO box' arrangement.

    Anyone got any ideas/workarounds for how we might persuade the utilities companies that we can get on with the work regardless? There seems to be a bit of disagreement over whether these companies have compulsory powers to proceed when it isn't an emergency (no leak on owner's land).
    • CommentAuthormarsaday
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2017
     
    Monkey finder is excellent at finding people. Think it is £100 to track someone down.

    I remember watching the "build the dream" programme late last year i think and the developers were teachers and embarked on their first self build. They had a lot of issues getting water/electric and sewage piping into the property as they had to get to the property via someones elses access. I think they had to pay a good amount of money to do what they needed. I think it was in the teens of thousands.

    Not sure if this may apply to you.

    I know we can tap into the main sewer generally and this costs £10k ish. So i imagine if you are going to be tapping into a sewer which is actually someones already, then they will be expecting a similar payment.

    Any way thats all i know about these issues. someone may correct me, but thought i would post as i know how important this info can be.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2017
     
    According to https://www.stwater.co.uk/content/dam/stw/stw_buildinganddeveloping/Sewerage-supply_connections_guidance.pdf :

    "Should the public sewer you wish to connect to be located in private land you will need
    to gain permission to excavate the pipe and make the connection. If all reasonable methods of
    gaining permission have been exhausted you can complete an Application for a sewer requisition
    or a lateral drain connection under Section 98 of the Water Industry Act 1991 form available
    from New Connections."

    Since your access to the site depends on the same owner as the land under which the sewer flows, it would seem important to maintain good relations. Presumably you have a deed or covenant that gives you rights over the road and perhaps obliges you to contribute to maintenance of the road. I don't see how that would work without a name, signature and address of the owner?

    It may be that a long-established local solicitor might be able to help, or perhaps a local councillor. The Land Registry may have ownership details of course, but I presume you have explored this possibility.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2017
     
    Their reticence may be to do with drain sizes.
    The current drain from their property may be 110mm or 4" and they also wish to connect into that 4" pipe with their new development.
    If you also connect into their current 4" drain upstream with another 4" ,it may well mean that they have to upgrade some of their connection to the main sewer to 6" or have a new sewer connection.

    Just a thought.
  2.  
    Thanks for all the comments.

    Posted By: djh
    Since your access to the site depends on the same owner as the land under which the sewer flows, it would seem important to maintain good relations. Presumably you have a deed or covenant that gives you rights over the road and perhaps obliges you to contribute to maintenance of the road. I don't see how that would work without a name, signature and address of the owner?

    It may be that a long-established local solicitor might be able to help, or perhaps a local councillor. The Land Registry may have ownership details of course, but I presume you have explored this possibility.


    Yes we certainly want to maintain good relations and our current rate of calling him once every hour is probably stretching this..! After 10 months with no results though, the patience does wear thin. Thanks for the tip on sewer requisition - we may have to resort to this if nothing else works.

    We have a right of access over the road and the land registry did yield an address for the owner, however a quick pass on streetview suggested this might just be a letter drop arrangement rather than an actual occupied property.

    From speaking to neighbours yesterday though, they have previously used this forwarding address for successful legal negotiations, so we'll be trying to contact them the old fashioned way next.

    If they don't respond to a letter then I think that constitutes exhausting all the usual methods.

    Posted By: owlman
    If you also connect into their current 4" drain upstream with another 4" ,it may well mean that they have to upgrade some of their connection to the main sewer to 6" or have a new sewer connection.


    That's an interesting one. Since the whole area is on a hill (with the drain running perpendicular to the slope), I'm not sure that they are likely to want to connect into it since it is effectively uphill from where they will build. To be honest the sewer is probably more of an annoyance than anything else. I suspect they just want to know what we are planning to do and that we will put it right again afterwards. Once they answer the phone I can tell them..!
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2017 edited
     
    It's been awhile but I remember reading that the water companies are sometimes reluctant to use their powers under Section 98 of the Water Industry Act 1991. They seem happy to do it for a large development but less so for an individual property.

    Thomas - Who did you buy the plot from? Normally you would insist the seller sort out any access problems or at least make the purchase subject to it being sorted, otherwise it's a risky purchase. In cases where permission is required you sometimes find the words "and permission will not be unreasonably withheld".

    Try looking up the owners name on web sites with access to the Electoral Roll?

    Do the title deeds for the road have a service address on them? Copies of title deeds available online at the land registry for a few £ in a few mins. Beware the large number of fake land registry web sites. EDIT: Cross posted with yours above.
  3.  
    Posted By: CWatters
    Who did you buy the plot from? Normally you would insist the seller sort out any access problems or at least make the purchase subject to it being sorted, otherwise it's a risky purchase.


    We bought the plot (with planning permission) from our neighbour to the North - essentially a section of the end of their garden. At the time it didn't appear to be a risky purchase as the road owner was fairly approachable initially.

    In hindsight we should have sought their consent from day one, but then we didn't have a fully worked out drainage scheme at the time...
  4.  
    Posted By: Doubting_ThomasIf they don't respond to a letter then I think that constitutes exhausting all the usual methods.

    Once things have gone as far as you detail then IMO it is a waste of time to telephone - which anyway is deniable later - and everything should be done by registered recorded letter. e.g.if you have an address from land registry then send a registered recorded delivery letter, that way you can show that you have exhausted all usual methods.

    If you eventually want to proceed in their absence then you will need everything documented and even then the authority will be reluctant because they don't like (problematic) work.
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