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Sloping garden and planning permission

(5 Posts)
TiaMariaandDietCoke Fri 16-Sep-11 12:12:49

We moved into a new build in Northern ireland at the start of July - love the house, but several niggles are still to be worked out - most I'm able to sort myself, but not sure about one of them - hoping someone here can help out.

The garden falls away very steeply after the driveway at the side of the house - the slope drops about 2.5 -3 feet within a distance of 3 feet. - So a slope of up to 45 degrees.

It's far too steep to mow etc safely (we've tried and are doing our best to keep it tidy) - part of this area is our garden, part is a 'service' strip which we are responsible for maintaining but can't plant on etc - as there's no footpath between the side of our garden and the road, the service stip is where will people walk to get to the next few houses once they are built IYSWIM.

I'm worried that we coukld be held responsible if someone falls and gets hurt. We'd like the builder to put in a small retaining wall so that our land could be levelled out on one side of it, and the service strip could then be made level too. That way we can maintain both areas easily and the strip is safer for pedestrians. We're prepared to cover part of the cost of this if needs be, as obviously we'll benefit from our garden being more useable, but I think the builder may expect us to pay all costs. I don't know how much this would be, but he's indicated it may be around £1000 plus.

Are there any regulations that govern how steep this strip can be? surely we can't be given responsibility to maintain an area that will effectively be used as a footpath when its not possible to keep it safe without going to the expense of levelling it ourselves?
Would we be liable (perhaps through house insurance) if someone fell and hurt themselves? Any help greatly appreciated!

First time I've started a thread - apologies if it's a bit confusing - happy to provide any extra info needed!

TiaMariaandDietCoke Fri 16-Sep-11 12:17:22

just realised I mentioned planning permission in the title - I also wondered if there might be anything in the pp that would state how much of a gradient there can be?

SquirtedPerfumeUpNoseInBoots Fri 16-Sep-11 12:34:48

You could try talking to someone in Roads Service. I would have thought that before the road is adopted, the builder would have to provide a footway.

You might be able to get a copy of the plans for your development if you write to the Planning Service and ask under FOI. If you can see what permission was granted for, you will be able to tell whether the builder will have to level the area around the service strip. Roads Service will have been consulted as part of the planning process, and I cant see them approving the plans if there is no provision made for pedestrians.

Usually the footway is located between your garden and the service strip.

SquirtedPerfumeUpNoseInBoots Fri 16-Sep-11 12:39:24

Sorry - not very clear. What I mean is, if the builder is required to provide a level footway, he will have to build a retaining wall to ensure the slope of your garden doesnt wash the earth onto that footway.

So you will only have the cost of levelling your own land.

TiaMariaandDietCoke Fri 16-Sep-11 12:48:20

Thanks for the reply Squirted (love the name!) I'll try that.

There's a footpath between our property and service strip at the front, but there's not enough space to do that at the side - its big enough for either a path or a service strip, not both (unless they make our garden smaller, and I'm not having that wink

I think the builder plans to get around it by putting a footpath on the other side of the road as it's already level over there - but the pedestrians come from this side of the road, and when the other new houses are built, they'll be behind my house, on my side of the road IYSWIM (hard to describe without a diagram - they'll be building in the field behind my house, so the road will swing around past my house to provide access),so people are not going to cross the road to use the footpath and then cross back over to get to where they're going - so they'll be walking over this daft slope of grass instead. (They are doing this already and there's only a field there at the minute hmm)

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