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Parish Hall fire exit on neighbouring land

Guest RL

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A complex problem which has me pulling my hair out! Please excuse the pre-amble but essential.
I bought an ex public county council property it's only land is an enclosed area 10-12ft wide to the side, our access passes down our path and through our heavy gate onto the street.
The other side of this land is the side wall of the Parish Hall, a few years ago they put in a side exit door (solid)without planning permission, opening directly onto our land, they also have a gate at the back of their building that opens onto our land. We have challenged the side door and gate, and in order to defend them and to gain popular approval, they have claimed these doors are fire exits (disabled fire exit in the case of the door).
Neither of them has ever been signed (inside or out) as a fire exit, the door has a lock inside near the top and a chain fastening right at the top, no way of opening it from the outside. The gate is usually bolted and padlocked from their side and the only access to the rear and the gate is through their kitchen. I was very concerned about peoples safety if I blocked either of these doors, or visitors to my property did as they bear no resemblance to a fire exit. Our land is pitch black at night, and has a heavy iron gate halfway along it, and a heavy garden gate to the road. I reported this situation to the County Fire Authority, who said they arranged an inspection. Their inspector passed these exits! and furthermore took assurances from the Parish Hall Official that they guaranteed the doors and access across our land would always be unobstructed. What goes on? Is there something underhand going on here?, now a tame ex fire officer has made a sworn statement that these accesses have been fire exits for over 30 years, yet we have documentary proof the side door did not exist before 2004 and it received a large grant to put it in (but cheap job). I feel that whatever is going on here could seriously put people at risk. Who do we report this situation to?

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The problem appears to be a legal one, if the means of escape passes through your property they need a legal agreement with you for right of way or something similar. I would suggest you involve a solicitor and tell the local council you intend blocking off these exits sometime in the future and wait for response. I would imagine if they have legal rights they may produce some legal document, if not, forbid the use of your land. Their means of escape is their problem not yours and it is up to the local fire and rescue service to enforce the fire safety in the Parish Hall. As I have said it is a legal problem not a fire safety one and you should contact a solicitor.

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