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I thought I share this "interesting" problem with you, as I said above a problem....!

We had an E-mail yesterday from our French Neighbour, that two weeks ago our fosse has been installed and to access it the "tracto-pelle" trespassed across a strip of land (which had been used by a tractor some time ago, when we bought our place in 2003). This strip of land now belongs to our new English neighbours down the lane who had just bought the old deserted farmhouse with most of the land around us. When they came last weekend they were very angry and demanded an explanation (compensation was mentioned) from our immediate French neighbour, who could not give any but explained, that we were surely also unaware of this. He then informed SPANC (I think this is a agricutural organisation) who got in touch with the Fosse Contracter. We also sent an e-mail to our Project Manager who I think did not know about it as I had organised most of the Fosse installation myself.

Now shall we just lean back and not do anything, shall we write a letter of apology to the English People whom we don't really know (if they  belong to this Forum please accept our sincere apologies), should we "hang, draw and quarter" the Terassier? Advice gratefully received.

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Monika

Can you just confirm some stuff in cronilogical (sp) order.  The moving in of neighbours, the fosse fitting etc.  To me your post is not very clear, however I think I get the idea and well, seems your neighbours are being a little unreasonable.

Dotty

 

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SPANC is Service Public d'Assainissement Non Collectif - a body that deals with the disposal of waste water. There are numerous different SPANCs covering France, they are responsible for overseeing the law regarding the treatment and disposal of water waste.

I think the neighbours have not yet realised that things are different in France. The rigid boundary lines, and 'Englishman's home is his castle' concept do not exist in the same way here.

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How did they get your e-mail address? Was the email from them forwarded to you by someone else?

"Now shall we just lean back and not do anything, shall we write a letter of apology to the English People whom we don't really know (if they  belong to this Forum please accept our sincere apologies)..."

Bearing in mind the information so far (no mention of any damage etc), part of me wonders why should you apologise when you didn't do anything wrong, or ask anyone else to do anything wrong on your behalf.

The other part of me thinks yes, write a letter of apology.

However,  if it were me I would leave out the word 'sincerely', fire the letter off, then 'lean back and do nothing' when the inevitable requests for a spot of neighbourly aid started up. [6]

 

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Ok so what is the access like there?

Have you got right of access across this strip of land?

Would they have been able to get to your land without crossing this strip?

I have a feeling that even if you haven't got a normal right of access, for something as fundamental as a fosse septique then the neighbour could have an obligation to give access if it isn't actually going to damage anything of theirs. And politesse would likely be that one should ask.

 Which brings me to the thought, didn't the people who were going to do this work mention access anyway they should have discussed it with you, did they?  It is always something that should be discussed where heavy duty things need access.

 

If I had bought land and someone had just 'used' it without a by your leave, would I be annoyed? Well, probably.

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it dosnt really matter now does it,the job is done and cant be un done.so why are people going on about wether they would be annoyed or not it cant alter what as been.if your new neighbours dont want to be friendly about some thing that cant be altered now they are not likely to be friendly at all,give em the finger
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No doubt they will get their own back when start knock on your door asking, for translations, introductions, can you phone these people for me, what do I have to do with this, do you know anyone who can fix that.

You know, the Opalienne type problem!at least I think it was her having the problems with other Brits;

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Thanks to you all. Just to clarify a few things (I had been waffling on a bit). I had the e-mail from my immediate French neighbour who was approached by the English people and who asked him to offer an explanation, I suppose because the French neighbours live there permanently.  The English people live about 200 yards down the lane and they own the strip of land ( & 12 hectares), on which the Fosse man has trespassed! When I was talking to the Fosse man he said that access via our drive would be fine, he would just have to enlarge it a bit (which in the mean time had been done by the masons driving their vehicles in and out). Well, yes, the Fosse is in and hopefully we can sort it out amicably.
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I think you might find that you have the right to cross the land in such circumstances as this, if there is no other means of access. The same applies if you own a property with a wall actually constructed on the boundary of your neighbour,you have the right to access for maintainance but should actually just ask first being neighbourly. In this case,you say the english property is practically derelict and fairly recently purchased after your plans were already made, so what does it matter if you have muddied their track a little, it will go back once the weather dries up. If you have people there with this attitude towards you and the neighbours, they won't last long I can tell you. Do not appologise or write any letters, I certainly wouldn't bother.
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Monika

An apology, saying that your contractor had said that your drive was fine, but overstepped unbeknownst (first time I have used that word) to you. Say it will not happen again and that you understand their reasonable wish not to be imposed upon. Say that you hope that they will accept a bottle of Cognac when next you meet.

As you  see above  I believe in big apologies as they cost no more than grudging ones (apart from the offer of the booze). Often they bring about a corresponding gesture. Good luck.

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There are terrible problems in France with disputes about access.

 

And if these people knew this, then I don't blame them for paying careful attention to 'their' land. It shouldn't have been 'their' problem, and a little respect and politesse on the part of the installer would probably have gone a long way.

 

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Monika - wonder whether you have a fosse septique or one which will need emptying - if the latter - will the tractor need to use the strip of land regularly to empty? We have servitude over our neighbours land - approx 0.5 metre - to get to our fosse etanche in his garden. Which if it overflows - aagh....really does require a bottle of cognac and a bunch of flowers....Good luck
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As yet there is always the possibility that there is two sides to the story,
who knows until you are able to speak to them,
it doesn't take much to say 'sorry we didn't know our contractor was going to do this'
Perhaps they have had a problems buying this property or with theft & vandalism (like us), or boundaries elsewhere, It may be something else which has left them feeling a bit raw, (we did),
either way the fact is that their boundaries were breached,
and a few words might resolve the situation, who knows you might even discover good future neighbours.

[:)] Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. [;)]

 

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Surely the logical thing is get the phone number of the English people and telephone them.  They may not speak French well or, even if they do, may still be totally flummoxed by finding a huge gouge or whatever across their land.  A friendly chat, an explanation and an offer to tidy up any mess on your next visit should heal any breach before it gets out of control.

Chrissie (81)

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Thanks for all the good advice: We decided to go on a 24 hour trip to see if we can sort things out, it is difficult to tell from the e-mail of my neighbour, as I am not a fluent French speaker, if he was supposed to tell us or how much! We will certainly take a bottle of Whisky with us!

The Fosse does not need to be emptied that often (according to this Forum only every 4 years), as it has got a filter bed, and we still do not understand why they had to access our garden via their strip of land (but I suppose the mistake was made, because it does look a bit like our access, as it is accessible via a gate and then a long overgrown track, leading up to some boulders who show our boundary).

Well, I keep you posted, but then again, it's not really that interesting!!!!! 

 

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We have just returned from France, but did not meet the English neighbours. Our French neighbours told us that they are not there until May. We could not really see much, a few bushes removed, on the land you can see no tyre marks (perhaps the terrassier had already reinstated it, he apparently went to talk to them, so did the people from SPANC). We even heard rumours that they might be willing to sell that piece of land to us.

While we were there, we were offered several pieces of land for 3 francs the m2 (it is agricultural land)by a french family. We were very tempted, but it is across the lane and it does not make sense and I remembered the good advice which was given on this Forum, that the Notaire's fees are around 900 Euros, which was confirmed. 

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Go and see them when you're next (both) in France. As we know from this forum, the written word is often misinterpreted... a smiling face at their door and a verbal apology less likely to be. I don't think you need over-egg things with a gift at this stage. See how they receive your visit and take it from there.

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Thank you to you both. Have forgotten to mention the state of our garden and the look of the Fosse:

Whilst the Contracter has done a very good job we now have not one blade of grass left on our 700 m2 of garden but many more huge rocks.  It looks like a herd of pigs have been let loose. (How long will it take until we have our "lawns" back? We have sown some grass seed) Whilst we do not have exactly a burial mount, the fosse is slightly raised but they have landscaped it with stones.

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