A neighbour wants to widen our road. Why haven’t we been consulted?
Property Clinic: Ask surveyors for help in the statutory public-consultation process
Out of the loop: when part of our road was widened without our knowledge, the works filled in drainage pipes from our garden. Photograph: Moment/Getty
My neighbour has a business down the road. He is looking to have part of the road widened, and we understand he is talking to the local authority. As residents, we have not been involved in any discussions with the council, and part of the road was widened in the past without our knowledge. This affected our property, as it filled in drainage pipes from our garden. Can you explain what should be expected before a local authority widens a road, especially where it affects private property?
This type of local-authority work is frequently referred to as a part-8 development, as it is governed by part 8 of the Planning and Development Regulations, which apply, among other things, to the “construction of a new road or the widening or realignment of an existing road” where the section of road involved is at least 100m long. They are generally subject to rigorous public consultation, as also set out in the regulations.
The rules set out defined stages that take about 20 weeks from beginning to end once the formal part-8 process has begun. There are requirements, for example, that a notice, broadly describing the aim of the proposed development, be published in an appropriate newspaper and that a site notice be erected. The public have a specified period in which to respond with their views and concerns, after which the local authority will decide whether to proceed.
If your property forms part of the proposal you may want to have it independently checked, to see how much it would encroach on your property. A geomatics surveyor will help by surveying your plot of ground and comparing it both to your paper title and to the area earmarked in the proposed development, to ensure they all match.
The measuring-practice guidance notes of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland define site area as “the total area of the site within the site title boundaries, measured on a horizontal plane. If appropriate, where the area is occupied by adjoining roads, the area occupied by the road can be stated separately.”
If the proposed design is found to encroach on your property, you should also consider taking advice from a valuation surveyor on the financial impact it might have on you.
Both surveys, when combined, will enable you to talk to the local authority in a more informed way.
You should also consult your solicitor for legal advice throughout the process.