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I have been renting a new property for the last 2 months with the hope to buy it when the old one sells.

Landlord seems more than sound with this and he knows what i do for a living (internet stuff) and my hobby being messing with land rovers.

I have an "Person Resembling a Pink Starfish" neighbour it seems as the planning man popped his head around my workshop door the other day wanting to have a word.

Basically he says because i have 4-5 cars in various states of repair (ALL ON MY BLOODY LAND) that this isn't personal it is 'excessive'

Advice from him was to get shut of the motors before it gets any further down then line.


I went ahead with this property/land due to it being ideal for me having a mess about with bits and not needing to worry about space.

ANY advice / help ???? Im 23 years old so alot of people take one look at me and think im doing something dodgy to have aload of spare time, not the FACT that

Im lucky enough to do my work whenever i want as its all online so can be done in the middle of the night if needed!

Thanks in advance!


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ideas for you

I think that it will be difficult unless you make noise (that and other things classed as a nuiscane)

private property diff to council, and its a hobby not a business.

Best to charm council erks with coffee and biccies, mr stroppy will then be the "git"

to council man.


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Step 1 is to get the facts.

Write to the planning bloke and ask him to quote chapter and verse, in writing, the leglislation he's working to.

Study the deeds of the property for covenants which may or may not allow you to use the land as you do.

Ask the planning bloke what the specific nature of the complaint was.

I had a similar issue, the basic complaint was a one-off noise issue, but they complained that I was running a business from home. When I pointed out to the planning bloke that my premises were in fact commercial premises he went away happy.

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My advice is don't rely on advice from internet forums to help you to solve a legal problem.

Law relating to property and planning is extremely complex and there is an enormous amount of case law which can be used to support one or other side in any argument. You need legal advice, and you need it from someone who is an expert in planning and property law, not just a run of the mill solicitor. You also need to get a grip on this problem fast. Kill it stone dead quickly, before you get drawn into a long running legal battle.

Ultimately, you may well find that the council do have the powers to force you not to make a nuisance of yourself with the neighbours (as they see it, at least), so the first thing I'd do is find out if you are likely to be fighting a loosing battle. If you are then you'd be better off giving in gracefully at an early stage rather than wasting time, money and stress on trying to fight it.

Whatever you do, make sure the person whom you are relying on for legal advice is an expert in the area of law that you are trying to apply. IME, solicitors all seem to think they can help with any kind of legal action, but most of them are f**ng useless at anything more than the most basic legal tasks such as conveyancing and wills (in fact most of them are f**ng useless at those, too) so try to get independent corroboration that your legal adviser actually knows what they are talking about. If they don't, the best outcome is that they will charge you while they learn something which they ought to know already. The worst outcome is that they will make a basic error in the proceedings and you will lose your case due to their incompetence.

The alternative route, of course, is to take the pikey approach and simply ignore any action taken against you, and string the process out as long as you can. It will probably be years before the council actually turn up and try to cart your stuff away. Personally, I'm too upright and law abiding to be able to follow that approach through, but there are plenty of people for whom it has worked in the past.

If you get the feeling that I'm speaking from personal experience then you are right.


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A good friend of mine who i used to help had a similar problem, but he was working on the road where he lived which was council owned, really all they were bothered about was wether he was being paid for his services, he ended up getting a few letters from neighbours who's cars he'd fixed stating that there was no money exchanging hands and he fixed them because he was a jovial sort of chap and if he got bought a few pints then that was fine.

becuase he'd talked to the decent neighbours and got them on his side, i think the complaining ones felt a bit silly so it got left.

It's a bit different with rented property as it's not yours, but if you can get a letter from the landlord stating that he is fully aware it's your hobby and doesn't mind, and that the number of vehicles is not in his opinion excessive as the number varies as they're repaired/sold, you've at least got permission and agreement with the landowner.

If it's your property it's very difficult for the neighbours to do anything as it becomes a civil matter which is handled through the courts, unless the vehicles are nicked or you're ringing them, even if you were racing around a field in old scrappers it's hard to get something done, take the example of 'lotto lout' mike carroll!

If i were you i'd try some diplomacy first, go around and explain that you've been reported and ask if they have an issue with your 'collection' if they've got any decency they'll at least tell you they have in which case you can talk about it and hopefully resolve it, it could be something as simple as keeping the noise down or sheeting them up so they're less visible for example.

Don't for heavens sake be hostile, raise your voice or swear, remember it's a lot harder for them to be arsey with you if you're being nice to them.

Explain your hobby and play the 'i'm a restorer of vintage classic british cars' card, ask if they'd come around and explain their problem, try and get them interested in what you're doing, make sure they understand all the vehicles are legal and you're not doing anything illegal with them.

At least that way you're making the effort and being polite, obviousley if it does go further then do some reading on the net, most of the questions you'll have from a legal point of view will be on there.

If they're gutless idiots and can't even admit it to your face, look upset and explain the above, say that it's your hobby and you'd be really gutted if you had to get rid of them because someone doesn't have the decency to come and tell you, say you'd be happy to work with them and do your best to resolve any complaints and issues, they might give you some pointers "that a friend of theirs said"

above all be calm and even if they're complete t**ts don't be drawn, it'll give you the high ground and make you look like an intelligent, decent adult rather than shouting and screaming and looking like a teenager!

Good luck! :)

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There can be various reasons for falling foul of the law (and usually far sooner, stroppy neighbours);

Noise is a big one, easily solved usually by just being careful what you do when and where (eg close the shed door if you're grinding, don't hammer lumps of metal at midnight), you can also add a bit of insulation to the shed to dampen it down.

Next up is eyesore - I freely admit I don't know the letter of the law on this but fundamentally although it's your land, if you stack rusty cars in it in view of others then eventually it can be deemed taking the p*** and you can be given an order to tidy it up. Again this can be minimised by keeping your yard a bit tidy, don't leave stuff scattered round in the undergrowth, park vehicles "nicely" (preferably where they're as tucked out of sight as possible) and if they're incomplete then bung a tarp over them, likewise other junk / scrap / piles of stuff in the yard.

It can also be the case that the neighbour doesn't like your shed/workshop - one of mine isn't very keen on my shed, I placated him by screwing some trellis to the bits he can see & growing stuff up it - £50 worth of trellis & plants from B&Q is no biggie for a quiet life. If yours is a bit tatty, a coat of paint or whatnot could also help. I found it helped relations a bit to ask the neighbour what they would like to see, if they think they're getting their way, having money spent on them or improvements to their bit of fence etc. it can cheer them up no end.

Trellis/fencing can also help stop the neighbour seeing into the yard - if you put up a bit of trellis or something along the top of the fence and grow something up it, you get privacy and your neighbour gets a view of some plants rather than a load of old cars. It also means you are making an effort - again, a few quid spent on some smart new fence panels is no biggie, but it makes a good impression if the council bloke turns up again and makes the neighbour sound more unreasonable every time.

There's also H&S stuff like not leeching oil into the ground, not burning tyres in the yard, not dropping mud on the pavement/road, etc.

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Thanks for all the advice!

Spoken to my landlord who is more than sound with what im doing and did quite abit of effing and jeffing about the *ahem* pleasant neighbour in question.

There is already a 6 foot fence between me and him so going any higher isnt an option. Anyone have some 15' Leylandii they dont want??? :D

Im going to have abit of a tidy up and see where we get! It's not that messy! The guy bought a £400,000 house RIGHT next to an industrial estate so what does he expect?! There is a place about 30' from me that make MASSIVE boilers etc... 'byworth boilers' they sound like a friggin steam engine factory most of the time but i have no problem with this.

NOISE isn't the issue, which was abit of a suprise as angle griding doesnt sound too grand.

Will carry on as I am, taking into account that it is upsetting someone so shall try to be abit more respectful.

Going round and having a chat with him isnt an option as im pretty rubbish at keeping my temper and this guy has a very punchable face..... bugger.

Hopefully i can carry on messing about with these delightful ali shed's on wheels without any further problems. WE SHALL SEE!

Thanks again people!


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Freedom of Information is your friend.... You can make a FOI request asking for information about the complaint, the council must supply you with this, I used it when a "Neighbour" complained about my workshop even thought it met all planning regulations, it turned out the "Neighbour" didn't even live in my street and was in fact one of the people I had asked for a quote from.... I pointed this out to the planning chap and it all went away.

The planners are under an obligation to investigate any complaint, and he may have thought by "having a word" with a young (ish) lad would make the issue go away and he wouldn't have to keep coming back. Before you engage lawyers etc find out the exact nature of the complaint it could just be a case of tidying the yard and covering up a few bits, also work with the planners they are not all bad and in my experience can actually be fairly helpful.

Also as above find a planning lawyer if you need to go down that route, I consulted with one before I did, the FOI request it cost me nothing for a chat and it was him who advised me to follow the FOI route first.


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My advice is don't rely on advice from internet forums to help you to solve a legal problem.

Quite right.

IME, solicitors all seem to think they can help with any kind of legal action, but most of them are f**ng useless at anything more than the most basic legal tasks such as conveyancing and wills (in fact most of them are f**ng useless at those, too)

Ouch! That hurt my feelings :(

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Nothing personal.

I know some extremely bright people who are lawyers, and I would definitely not want to be on the opposite side in a fight with them. I was with one today, in London, as it happens. I also know a few provincial solicitors who are, frankly, less able and one in particular cost me a significant amount of money and stress. I should have been more ruthless about walking away as soon as my first impression was less than positive - by the time it was proven to be correct it was too late.


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