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Well, well, well

(104 Posts)
redbunnyfruitcake Fri 28-Jun-13 14:25:01

I've just bought a house with shared access. This is not a problem as such as the neighbour and I have equal access through each others gardens and providing the gate is closed it shouldn't affect my children's safety.

However, our utility room opens out into their garden and we will obviously use this door most of the time for convenience when bringing a pram through. The big problem is that to the side of their house they have a well. It is surrounded by a low wall but I don't yet know if it is covered. For my own sanity I will need to ask them to cover it but I do not know if I have any rights to. And knowing children as I do there will be an inbuilt fascination regarding the well so just telling them not to go near it will not be enough.

This has already given me a few sleepless nights and I have already unwittingly upset the neighbour by accidently blocking her right of way (long story) so I do not want to get into any further strife but for the sake of my children I need to address this well situation. I am a little concerned that the neighbour is a bit difficult and may refuse to cover the well hence my worry.

How do I find out about my rights regarding the well? And AIBU to ask them to cover the well? Any pointers would be helpful.

TSSDNCOP Fri 28-Jun-13 15:07:40

How big is the hole OP diameter-wiser.

We had a cover made for our fish pond by some people that make wrought iron gates. It's well sturdy enough to bear human weight, but lattice so it's ornamental.

To cover a 6' x 4' pond was £300 IIRC.

Just thinking if you've got to have the conversation, it might be worth going with a few proposed solutions.

redbunnyfruitcake Fri 28-Jun-13 15:08:02

It's very hard to explain the set up of the house so I can see why it might be confusing. The utility room is a later addition built on the the side of a cottage so no option to move it. It opens out into the neighbours garden which we can use to access the door and also access our gated garden. The well is to the side of their house and not obvious but as it is their garden it is completely open.

Of course my children will be told not to be in my neighbours garden for anything other than access but little one is only 4 and I can't expect her not to be curious. Keeping the door closed and locked is not practical as it is effectively our back door.

I'm really not looking to be difficult with this question and I can see that without seeing the property layout it seems odd. I just wanted to know if there were any rules regarding these things and what the most reasonable course of action would be.

redbunnyfruitcake Fri 28-Jun-13 15:10:18

Thank you for some great answers. Was getting a bit stressed there as am 32 weeks pregnant, just about to move house and am terrified by the well. Will get a grip soon, promise.

Pendeen Fri 28-Jun-13 15:20:10

Occupiers Liability Act?

HeySoulSister Fri 28-Jun-13 17:15:51

Even if there is a cover, it could break/be removed etc, so makes it unreliable

ExcuseTypos Fri 28-Jun-13 17:24:03

Red bunny, I would be worried in your situation too.

Could you ask the people who are in your house at the moment if they know anything about the well? You never know it may well have a cover on it already.

Another idea I've just thought of, is there anyway you could put another 'back door' in another room which backs on to your garden only?

WileyRoadRunner Fri 28-Jun-13 17:25:01

I'm sorry but i cannot see why this is a problem.

You only need to cross their garden for access, your children should not be running around in their garden. 4 is old enough to be told to walk directly to your door and nowhere else. You will be there supervising them.
Surely it's no more dangerous than taking them for a walk around a lake to the feed the ducks?

The compromise is if you are are uneasy about it, offer to pay for a cover.

cantspel Fri 28-Jun-13 17:26:26

Have you not got a front door you can use?

WeleaseWodger Fri 28-Jun-13 17:36:51

If you're youngest is 4 then you must mean the pram is for your soon to be born? Have kids use front door, you go round with pram to utility room.
Simple, no?

UtterflyButterfly Fri 28-Jun-13 17:37:19

Is there any way you can fence your own bit of the garden off so the children can't access the well?

quoteunquote Fri 28-Jun-13 17:49:20

I recommend you go and see a local blacksmith, have a look through their portfolio,

we get pond and water ornate domed hinged cages made to measure, very beautiful, and child proof, as once bolted on and padlocked you can still see and access the water, children can climb all over them but not fall in,

get an estimate, and or quote, then ask the neighbour if you can fund a cover, suggest they work out a suitable design with blacksmith,

Which area are you in if you are in devon I can point you in the right direction.

quoteunquote Fri 28-Jun-13 17:53:57

quoteunquote Fri 28-Jun-13 17:55:19

Spencer will make you anything, reasonably priced.

redbunnyfruitcake Fri 28-Jun-13 21:09:40

Quote I love those covers. Makes me wish the well was mine which would actually make it a lot easier all round. I will be in N. Somerset so not sure how easy it would be to get the work done. However we do have blacksmiths in the local area so it is definitely something to consider so thank you. And I am willing to pay for my child's safety so that's not a problem.

As for not understanding the problem my argument is that despite the best direction in the world small children love to investigate and although I would like eyes in the back of my head there will be times when I will be preoccupied by lack of sleep, a newborn and whatever other household demands are placed on me. On that basis I want to do everything I possibly can to stop my 4 year old falling down a well and drowning. Not an unreasonable hope I think that anyone could agree with.

Pendeen thanks for pointing me to The Occupiers Liability act as it is useful to know in case my neighbour is unwilling to let me cover the well even if I am happy to pay for it.

SaucyJack Fri 28-Jun-13 22:15:04

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

HeySoulSister Fri 28-Jun-13 22:17:07

Guess they can't be made to cover it

Methe Fri 28-Jun-13 22:19:31

You cannot reasonably expect them to change anything about their property to make your lives more 'convenient'.

You can offer to pay for a cover and to then pay for it to be installed.

If you were my neighbour though I wouldn't accept.

BriansBrain Fri 28-Jun-13 22:22:05

It may not be a problem.

Tell your neighbour you would like t pay to have their well covered.

They may well just say yes.

weisswusrt Fri 28-Jun-13 22:32:33

Would a 'well monster' help? Or would that make it even more fascinating?

Dorange Fri 28-Jun-13 22:33:53

Wow saucyjack are you ok?

Lovelygoldboots Fri 28-Jun-13 22:38:37

I thought saucyjacks post was a bit ridiculous. OP, could you move the entrance to the utility room so access is on your property? Or some kind of fence or gate between two properties?

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Fri 28-Jun-13 22:40:03

Oh Lord, this sounds like a headache property. Was there really nothing else you could have bought? Shared gardens and door opening into neighbours' property sounds like so something to be avoided at all costs. I would not have bought this joint in a month of Sundays.
All you can do is be polite, ask and offer to pay for a cover. Good luck

ClartyCarol Fri 28-Jun-13 22:44:41

Jesus wept. Was there any need for that SaucyJack?

And Methe - why would you refuse to allow a cover to be put on a well if you weren't even having to pay for it? I would feel devastated if anything happened to my neighbour's child, especially I'd put the kibosh on said neighbour taking steps against this awful thing happening in the first place.

Floggingmolly Fri 28-Jun-13 22:51:35

Why does your utility room open into their garden?

quoteunquote Fri 28-Jun-13 23:09:17

I can't find an image of domed ones, but if you look at what blacksmith now do, almost anything is possible,

I suggest having a chat with your neighbours about your fears armed with some images of solutions that you make clear you are prepared to fund, and ask them to think about it.

there will be plenty of blacksmiths who do this sort of work near you,

SaucyJack biscuit

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