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Pensioners at war after scaffolding erected across neighbour’s back garden

In Europe
June 11, 2024

Two pensioner neighbours are locked in a bitter battle after one put up scaffolding in the other’s garden.

Gill Hayes-Newington, 90, said she was shocked to come home to find the scaffolding in the back garden of her home on Rectory Street in Halesworth, Suffolk.

The scaffolding scales almost the height of her Grade II listed cottage, blocking out views from the property, crowding out her floors and covering her bedroom window.

It was erected next door by workers employed by her neighbour, Dr Andrew Jones, to allow for repairs to the roof of his own Grade II listed home.

The scaffolding is mostly in his garden but also has some struts on Hayes-Newington’s side of the wall separating the two houses.

Gill Hayes-Newington in her garden which contains her neighbour's scaffolding. (SWNS)

Gill Hayes-Newington in her garden which contains her neighbour’s scaffolding. (SWNS)

The scaffolding blocking the view from Gill Hayes-Newington's bedroom window. (SWNS)

The scaffolding blocking the view from Gill Hayes-Newington’s bedroom window. (SWNS)

Jones, who says he owns a thin strip of land on her side where the scaffolding stands, insists he warned her in advance of the works, but Hayes-Newington claims she knew nothing about it until she returned home one day to find it in place.

She has contacted a solicitor and is considering legal action unless the scaffolding is removed.

Hayes-Newington, a retired social worker, said: “How would you react if you came home to find your neighbour’s scaffolding in your back garden?

“The fact of the matter is it is discourteous. He has violated and invaded my privacy – the scaffold blocks my bedroom window and they can peer right in. My neighbour can’t just play around with me like this.

“It is egotistical for them to assume this is okay and to assume that I didn’t have plans, such as a garden party with my friends.”

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The pair have been neighbours for more than a decade, and Jones said he did tell her beforehand about the work.

He said: “My partner and I of course conferred with Gill about the essential maintenance to my roof. Gill knew the work to my roof was essential.

Dr Andrew Jones pictured in his garden where scaffolding has been erected to repair his roof. (SWNS)

Dr Andrew Jones pictured in his garden where scaffolding has been erected to repair his roof. (SWNS)

The pair have been neighbours on Rectory Lane in Halesworth, Suffolk, for more than a decade. (SWNS)

The pair have been neighbours on Rectory Lane in Halesworth, Suffolk, for more than a decade. (SWNS)

“It is a little complicated because my home extends to her side of the wall so technically the scaffold, though her side of the wall, is in line with my house.

“I am very sorry that Gill is distressed by the work to my roof and the scaffold in her garden, but as she knows, the work is essential in order to maintain the Grade II listed property.

“She even knows the builders who are doing the work as they have done jobs to her home too. If she is taking legal action, I don’t think it will go far.”

In general, scaffolding that is put up on someone else’s land without permission is classed as trespass.

In such an instance, a homeowner can apply for an injunction and damages for trespass.

In 2015, in the case of Dawoodi v Zafrani, the High Court awarded a homeowner compensation of £750 after a neighbour erected scaffolding on the claimant’s land without their consent.

However, a homeowner can erect scaffolding on a neighbour’s property as long as adequate notice is given, permission is granted and the repairs are deemed essential.

A homeowner can apply to court for an access order under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 to access a neighbour’s property for building works the court may deem reasonable.

In addition, under the Party Wall Act 1996, if someone wishes to conduct major building work on or near a shared wall with a neighbour, they must give written notice of the planned works and obtain their neighbour’s permission.

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