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Rights of way dispute

Dutta & Anor v Hayes [2012] EWHC 1727 (Ch)

We acted for the Claimants in a High Court matter regarding a track which was owned by our client. The track led to the neighbouring land which was owned by the Defendant in the case.

The Defendant had a right of way to use the track with or without vehicles and for the purpose of agricultural use only.

The Defendant initially used his land to graze horses however, he was later granted planning permission to use the barn which he had built on the land as stables and after that for an all-weather manege. He had also brought a mobile home on to his land for use by an employee during the foaling season although this was subsequently removed when planning permission was refused. The Judge in the case determined that these events marked the establishment of a stud business.

The Claimants objected to the use of their track for purposes connected with the business which included the passing and re-passing of horse lorries, JCB’s, dumper trucks, cars and 4×4 vehicles which the Claimants contended were an unlawful use of the track.

The Judge held that the use of the track for the purposes of animal husbandry was a permitted use of the track. The Judge went on to find that the line was crossed by the operation of a stud farm. He considered that this fell outside the ordinary meaning of agriculture, outside the statutory definition of agriculture and outside the case law definitions. These findings have expanded the extent to which use of land for purposes connected with horses can constitute agricultural use. This is good news for horse owners that own/occupy land that is subject to agricultural restrictions.

This case illustrates the issues that can arise in relation to rights of way.

Posted on October 16, 2019

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