The Circuit Court considered an application for an injunction from a Wexford vet to prevent the buyer of land from using an entrance made in a ditch near his clinic. The purchaser of the land said the freshly made entrance to her 30 acres of agricultural land was legitimate as it was reviving an old gateway. Counsel for the vet applicant disputed this stating that planning permission would be required for any such development as the R720 road is more than four metres wide.

While the purchased land had been previously owned by the applicant vet, it had been purchased from a receiver. It was claimed by the purchaser that a right of way leading up to the property had been blocked to prevent her gaining access. Affidavits were produced from two local residents stating there had never been an entrance where the new gate had been erected. It was submitted that the entrance posed a danger to traffic. Counsel for the purchaser stated that if there was no entrance to the property that the property would be ‘sterile’.

The judge was wary of consenting to the application for an injunction as it would in effect thwart the purchaser in accessing her own land. In declining the application he said he was leaving the matter to be resolved by the planning authority, Wexford County Council.

Rights of Way are usually contentious and it not uncommon for judges to refer  a decision to another body. It is of utmost important when purchasing or selling land with a right of way, that legal opinion is taken first on the validity and the implications of  such Rights of Way. Your Solicitor should also insist on any rights of way being registered in the Land Registry before you buy the property.

Browne v Cowman, Circuit Court (Judge Martin Nolan).