NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Access to a field  (Read 2542 times)

Tim M

  • Joined Oct 2014
Access to a field
« on: July 18, 2016, 07:28:58 pm »
We have found a nice field which we were hoping to purchase as our first smallholding. The gate is down a public footpath which is also the farm driveway. The access is a short walk of about 15 metres. My only concern is that the farmer, who has a good relationship with the field's current owner,  has granted vehicular access in the form of a sort of 'gentlemen's agreement' so that animals can be loaded etc. but there is nothing in writing.

I could cope with no vehicular access at all but it might be useful at times and I was planning on storing a trailer on it.

Has anyone got any words of wisdom on this one? It'd be a shame to lose it on a legal issue that may not be that vital to our use. There's no plan of hope of being able to build on the land in the future.

Many thanks,

Tim
Voss Electric Fence

Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2016, 07:49:46 pm »
Maybe ask the current owner to discuss access with the farmer and formalise the agreement prior to the sale occurring. Perhaps offer to cover any legal costs in drafting an agreement, but this way you take advantage of the existing relationship and remove the risk.

Tim M

  • Joined Oct 2014
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2016, 08:12:02 pm »
The vendor hasn't accepted my offer so, I could, like you say put in an improved offer with that as a caveat and offer to pay any legal costs.

I'd only want guaranteed access for the purpose of loading and unloading animals and feed delivery etc, to me, it sounds reasonable, but there's nowt so queer as folk!


Black Sheep

  • Joined Sep 2015
  • Briercliffe
    • Monk Hall Farm
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2016, 10:46:58 pm »
Sounds like a good plan.

I wouldn't be too specific in describing what the vehicular access is for as it can be hard to envisage everything you may need in the future at this point. For example, what if you needed someone to subsoil to improve drainage - that wouldn't be covered by animal or feed movements. I'd get the right professional input to any agreement to avoid awkward problems later on when you won't have a position to bargain from.

Good luck :-)

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2016, 08:12:01 am »
No expert, and you may not want to sour things with a new 'neighbour' by trying it. but i bet there is precedent for implied access if the current owner has been using it for long enough.
Like how new footpaths can be created and i'm sure other people have gained the right to access after a period of informal access

stufe35

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2016, 09:56:36 am »
Greenbeast you are quite right you are no expert.

Current owner has given permission...no chance of prescriptive right.

A field without access is worthless/useless.

Ensure this issue is sorted...you are right to take advantage of the existing relationship.

Don't be surprised if farmer wont give access..to make the field worth less  so he can step in and buy it.

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2016, 10:34:37 am »
Greenbeast you are quite right you are no expert.



No need to be rude

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2016, 10:39:34 am »
Greenbeast you are quite right you are no expert.

Current owner has given permission...no chance of prescriptive right.

A field without access is worthless/useless.

Ensure this issue is sorted...you are right to take advantage of the existing relationship.

Don't be surprised if farmer wont give access..to make the field worth less  so he can step in and buy it.

It's not like the idea is without precedence or merit, albeit this might only apply to the existing owner and need 20 years access
https://www.wrighthassall.co.uk/knowledge/legal-articles/2014/03/14/claiming-right-way-prescription/




stufe35

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2016, 10:42:06 am »
Greenbeast..sorry didn't really mean to be...if you've read my ongoing thread you will understand im not in the best frame of mind at present.

Tim M,

You need to find out what legal access this land has at present ie private right of way.

Im not sure you can rely on the public footpath as a right of access for say animals.

Can I suggest the  Gardenlaw forum which can be a good source of experts on this kind of topic. 

« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 10:51:19 am by stufe35 »

greenbeast

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2016, 10:50:25 am »
Greenbeast..sorry didn't really mean to be...if you've read my ongoing thread you will understand im not in the best frame of mind at present.



Oh god, i just checked. That's horrible. See it with sheep on the farming forum all the time. Disgraceful by the owners.

stufe35

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2016, 12:45:05 pm »
Tim,

As Greenbeast has eluded...there are numerous ways easements can be formed...one is prescriptive based on 20 years usage ...but one of the criteria is that the user did not give permission...so I think this would fail at the first hurdle.

Another is easement by necessity or implication.  Its possible if the farmer sold this field at some point in the past...an easement is implied along the first part of his drive, as it is clearly necessary in order to use the land.

The devil is in the detail, and in the layout, sequence of land sales wording in deeds etc. etc.


Who knows you may find there is an right of way detailed in the deeds.  The farmer may give one if his palm is crossed with silver...he may not  preferring to keep a strangle hold on the use of the field and hence its value.

First task...what do the deeds say now...what is the legal status on any existing right of way to the land.
Next step...does it suit your needs.....can a better right be granted...?

Gardenlaw may will help further.

Tim M

  • Joined Oct 2014
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2016, 02:24:39 pm »
Thank you for all the comments and advice. I'll certainly tread carefully. I spoke to my solicitor today and they are certainly talking in similar terms to what is being said above.

Hopefully, it will work out but if it doesn't, there will be others I guess.

Many thanks again.,

Tim

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2016, 12:31:16 am »
Concur with most of what's been said above, in particular on not being too prescriptive about what the access can be used for... at some stage you may need to get into the field with machinery for re-fencing or ditch clearing or hedge trimming or whatever.

Your only other option is to assess if a new access to the field is viable from an existing public access (e.g. a new gateway off a road).  However, be warned this will need planning permission (which is never guaranteed) and the Councils tend to be really stringent on how much tarmac is required between the road and the field, and how you prevent any run off from the field to the road etc if you can get a new access route.

You really do need to get the access before purchase as you're 'ransomed' once committed and there's no guarantee the farmer will extend the courtesy to you that he did the current owner.

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2016, 12:58:39 am »
I'd have a chat with the vendor, then depending on what he says, go and see farmer, I'm sure he'd prefer you to be upfront about it, maybe he's concerned someone may build a house there, or start bring in rough motors and leave them about as an eysore, I could understand him wanting to prevent that.
Be happy to sign some restrictions like 'access only for essential animal welfare and land maintenance' (or something like that).
Put yourself in his place, he may have simple reasons.

Tim M

  • Joined Oct 2014
Re: Access to a field
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2016, 05:52:49 am »
I'd have a chat with the vendor, then depending on what he says, go and see farmer, I'm sure he'd prefer you to be upfront about it, maybe he's concerned someone may build a house there, or start bring in rough motors and leave them about as an eysore, I could understand him wanting to prevent that.
Be happy to sign some restrictions like 'access only for essential animal welfare and land maintenance' (or something like that).
Put yourself in his place, he may have simple reasons.

Yes, that's kind of what I am thinking and having spoken to the agent that's definitely where the farmer is coming from. The land is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and he wants to keep it like that, without a bungalow or Ford Anglia parked up rusting in the drive. Not that there's anything wrong with an Anglia, I remember.... :farmer:

 

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