Victory for Fenland couple and their neighbours in land battle with two county councils

PUBLISHED: 12:17 13 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 June 2010

Denise and malcolm Thomas who have just bought a piece of the old canal

Denise and malcolm Thomas who have just bought a piece of the old canal

By Maggie Gibson A YEAR long battle has ended in victory for residents who faced losing half their gardens because of a council sell-off of land. The land, which once formed part of Wisbech Canal, and was filled in around 50 years ago, became part of the

By Maggie Gibson

A YEAR long battle has ended in victory for residents who faced losing half their gardens because of a council sell-off of land.

The land, which once formed part of Wisbech Canal, and was filled in around 50 years ago, became part of the gardens of residents living in Elm Low Road.

But in Easter 2009 the residents were told that Cambridgeshire and Norfolk county councils were selling the land.

Resident Malcolm Thomas became a spokesman for his neighbours, pledging they would fight to the end.

Mr Thomas and his wife, Denise, now have notification of ownership from the Land Registry and they want to find out how much council money has been spent on the battle.

Mr Thomas said: "It has taken a year to resolve this dispute and dissuade the councils from their ill conceived notion that somehow the gardens that we have all enclosed, maintained and cultivated for at least 20 years belong to them and not to us, the residents."

The councils have sold two plots of land at the A47 end, closest to the Elme Hall roundabout, which will be developed.

Mr Thomas said: "We now have notification from the Land Registry that all of our garden is registered as being part of our property on Elm Low Road. Another resident on the High Road has proven similar entitlement to his land and so the purchaser of the land put up for sale by the councils has got no access to the other gardens should they have wanted to develop them in some way.

"The purchasers of the land have said they have no objection to the residents claiming their gardens, and obviously, the councils having sold the land, have had to withdraw their claim to the land. The residents will claim ownership of their gardens using the two successful claims as precedents. This exactly mirrors a suggested solution pit to the councils in July last year to which we received no response.

"I have asked under the FOI Act what amount of Council Tax payers' money has been wasted on this ill thought out strategy, but as yet we await a satisfactory response.

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