who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby cobalt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:55 am

NTL are after stringing a load of cable around my house, clambering over my roof, and hammering support wire structures into my gable end. I'm not an NTL customer, don't want to be, and none of this has my permission. They didn't even try asking - I just came home to find they'd done it. I'm trying to get them to remove it. It's not easy!

I'm wondering now if I could point out to them that since the house is a protected structure, such works would need planning permission, which they don't have, and they could be prosecuted for this. Is this accurate? Or could a case only be brought against me as the owner - even though the works were carried out without my knowledge or permission?
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby henno » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:32 pm

cobalt wrote:NTL are after stringing a load of cable around my house, clambering over my roof, and hammering support wire structures into my gable end. I'm not an NTL customer, don't want to be, and none of this has my permission. They didn't even try asking - I just came home to find they'd done it. I'm trying to get them to remove it. It's not easy!

I'm wondering now if I could point out to them that since the house is a protected structure, such works would need planning permission, which they don't have, and they could be prosecuted for this. Is this accurate? Or could a case only be brought against me as the owner - even though the works were carried out without my knowledge or permission?


they have trespassed... remove the cable....
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby wearnicehats » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:38 pm

cobalt wrote:NTL are after stringing a load of cable around my house, clambering over my roof, and hammering support wire structures into my gable end. I'm not an NTL customer, don't want to be, and none of this has my permission. They didn't even try asking - I just came home to find they'd done it. I'm trying to get them to remove it. It's not easy!

I'm wondering now if I could point out to them that since the house is a protected structure, such works would need planning permission, which they don't have, and they could be prosecuted for this. Is this accurate? Or could a case only be brought against me as the owner - even though the works were carried out without my knowledge or permission?


NTL recently needed to replace the cable across my house and they did ask our permission. We said no and eventually we agreed that they could run it up behind a drainpipe, along the inside of the gutter and back down behind a drainpipe 2 doors up. The difference in the look is great

I'd write to NTL asking them to re-route (offer them an alternative) and point out that you didn't get asked permission, it needs to be done by end August or you'll have to write to the planning deprtment in your local council.
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:13 pm

I'd give them a deadline to remove it or you will have it removed yourself - thus disrupting service to their customers.
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby goneill » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:05 pm

When cable television first came to Dublin, I think in the early seventies, my late grandfather attempted to stop Phoenix as they then were running a cable across the front of his house. He didn't want the service but offered to allow them run it accross the back My recollection is that they told himn they were statutorily empowered to run cables wherever they liked, and that he - a very stubborn man - found out they were correct.

I think eircom have the same rights, and certainly years of asking them to remove the spaghetti on the front of our building (and serving my neighbours) has had no effect. Similarily only an appeal to their better nature prevented eircom from running lines diagonally accross my first floor roof terrace at about neck height, serving my neighbours' house! So don't cut the wire until you check their powers.
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby parka » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:38 pm

NTL did the same to me.
I mentioned all of the above.
I now have free NTL.
Nice NTL
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby GrahamH » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:23 pm

Likewise, NTL's contractors are currently waking me at 7.30am digging up my front garden in order to lay a new cable which will serve about six houses which have been without the full service complement (including my own *cough*). In compensation, free services beckon, including broadband.

Niceness could be the route to go cobalt, by constructively suggesting an alternative route,
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby PVC King » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:26 am

There is nothing you can do to prevent them entering your property and errecting cables however as Graham and others have said you can if you play it get something out of it

I would look for a method statement outlining how it is to be fixed and insert conditions that minimise the impacts to your property; if they threw in free cable and broadband that would be great, if they offer free cable and broadband try to remove the 'personal nature' of any offer they make. If you were to flog your house in a few years with a right of free cable / broadband attached to the property that would be really quirky! :D
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby missarchi » Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:45 am

mabye they are pretending to be NTL.... do you have something to hide? ;)
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby henno » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:23 pm

PVC King wrote:There is nothing you can do to prevent them entering your property and errecting cables


can i ask why you say this??

has it be borne out in a court case??
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby PVC King » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:31 pm

Wayleaves or running services across other people's land are an established principle in law for example the 1976 Gas Act grants Bord Gais significant powers to enter third party land to install gas pipes. A lot of this no doubt is down to the fact that when the legislation was enacted the State held a monopoly on virtually all energy and communications services and the legislation was enacted in such a way as to minimise the costs to the state bodies that provided the services.

When it comes to private utility companies it is no different once the provider has secured wayleave consent from the relevant local authority you could slow up installation and have a right of reinstatement of the land damaged in the installation but there is no carte blanche right of refusal.

I am unaware of any case law that has held up a carte blanche right to refuse but I have no doubt there would be plenty of case law where contractors just turned up made a mess and were sued for their failure to reinstate to the reasonable satisfaction of the landowner. In the process the best position is to supportive in principal but sceptical in the absence of a method statement outling what exactly they intend to do where and when. If this is a protected structure the owner would be very wise to ensure that nothing in the works had the potential to place the owner in breach of their obligations under the planning acts; the utility provider could probably be sued if they failed to reinstate. The risk in establishing a planning breach would be to alert the authorities who may take action against the owner leaving the landowner fighting on two fronts
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby henno » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:46 pm

thanks PVC...

im sure this is common occurrence,,... but how can a local authority grant wayleave over private property to private utility companies....

probably a loophole in a by-law that omitted the word 'private' from utility provider....
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby cobalt » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:53 pm

Thanks for all feedback and advice.

To be honest, I don't want free NTL. I don't have a telly and my workplace is only 10 mins away so I don't need/want internet access at home either. I'm really mad that they just went stamping round on my roof, without even the courtesy of a note through the letterbox, and have hammered/drilled holes in the wall of my house.

Surely, whatever about wayleave, they are not allowed to make holes for cable supports in the wall of a protected structure?
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby cobalt » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:01 pm

PVC King wrote: When it comes to private utility companies it is no different once the provider has secured wayleave consent from the relevant local authority you could slow up installation and have a right of reinstatement of the land damaged in the installation but there is no carte blanche right of refusal.
Even wayleave over my roof?

PVC King wrote: The risk in establishing a planning breach would be to alert the authorities who may take action against the owner leaving the landowner fighting on two fronts
This comes back to my original question: Would I as the owner be responsible for the planning breach even though I didn't authorise or have knowledge of the works, and in fact I object to them (with correspondence to NTL to prove this)?
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby PVC King » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:09 pm

I would argue that there were other methods of supporting the cable at other locations either within or outside the curtilage of your property that have significantly less impact on the character of your protected structure which like all protected structures is assumed to enhance the urban / cultural environment.

If they could display that the method of support chosen was the only reasonable method to route the cable I would suspect that buried in the sub-clauses of an obscure Telecommunications act is a clause that exempts them from planning permission entirely as is the case with mobile phone antennae. You as the owner of the protected structure may not enjoy such protection; but would have the defence that the works were carried out by a party that didn't require your consent and that you would have witheld such consent if you were in a position to.
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby cobalt » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:37 pm

Ok, thanks PVC King. There's no real way they can get the cable from the end of my road to the one that abuts it without going from my gable end. I think instead they'd have to take it from the road that backs on to mine instead (I presume they have NTL).

l
l --------------- road backing onto mine (cul de sac)
l
# X-------------- my road (cul de sac)



X is my house, at the end of cul de sac. NTL are running cable to #, which is at the end of a third cul de sac that runs perpendicular to my road.
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Re: who is responsible for planning breach - owner or contractor

Postby igy » Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:53 pm

You could offer them the drainpipe alternative, once you're aware it'lll cause problems if and when you want to replace the drainpipe?
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