Good afternoon! Lifestyle Support Guru here with some REALLY important advice on how to GET ON WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS, especially if you’ve just moved into the area. A fairly long story but one which, I assure you, will help you GET ON WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS. Let me set the scene:
You’ve just moved into a small street of Victorian/Edwardian 2-up, 2-down terraced houses where, between every 3 or 4 houses there is a short, narrow, covered passageway which gives access to the back gardens of two of the houses, with a separate gate for each garden.
1. Call round at the house four doors up from you where a SWEET LITTLE OLD LADY (SLOL for short) lives. She answers the door looking like something the cat’s just dragged in because she hasn’t long got up. Tell the SLOL that you’ve just moved in down the road and you’re having some work done in your house which requires ladders round the back of the house and you want public access via the passageway next to her house because your house doesn’t have any such access. (SLOL wonders why you don’t just take the ladders through your own house…)
2. SLOL replies that there’s no public access through her garden so you tell her that you’ve lived in terraced houses all your life and it’s illegal not to have public access and the SLOL’s is the only one in the street which doesn’t have a locked gate at the start of the passageway so it must be public access. SLOL tells you that she’s also going to have a gate put at the start of hers, so you tell her that if she does that, you will report her to the Council because it’s ILLEGAL.
RESULT! Within three minutes of meeting this SWEET LITTLE OLD LADY you have threatened her with LEGAL ACTION! (And you haven’t even introduced yourself!)
3. SLOL lets you into her back garden (NOT via the house because she’s not THAT stupid!) to prove that there’s no access to anyone else’s garden other than by climbing over walls or fences, which might be rather difficult with ladders. You mutter again that it’s illegal and that there should be an access path running the length of the houses at the bottom of the gardens. You then tell the SLOL that you will get in touch with the Council to report this and SLOL replies – with a sweet smile – that she looks forward to the Council coming along to knock down the walls at the bottom of everyone’s garden so that they can build an access path. You return to your new dwelling muttering terrible threats of legal action against all and sundry.
Meanwhile, the SWEET LITTLE OLD LADY is in a terrible, trembling, terrified state wondering if she now has to unlock her back gate permanently to allow hordes of people to trample through her (carefully-tended, ha ha!) garden because it’s suddenly become a public right of way (to nowhere). Instead of waiting for the dreaded knock on the door from the Council to tell her that she must allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to come and have a party in her garden, she quickly showers and goes out SHOPPING! Hurrah, A HAPPY ENDING (well, for the SLOL, at least!).