Bulldozers were brought in to demolish part of a brand new housing development in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, earlier this month when a group of residents took on the might of Taylor Wimpey and won.
Taylor Wimpey had started building on the site, which has planning permission for 124 homes, following their acquisition of the land in 2006 for £11.5 million but back in January this year local residents won a three day Land Tribunal hearing.
The Tribunal heard how a corner of the site, around 1.8 acres, was protected from development by a covenant which dates back to the mid 1930s.
Tewkesbury Borough Council first earmarked the land as ‘developable’ in 2000 and local residents have been fighting the decision ever since. Only a small area of the land acquired by Taylor Wimpey has the benefit of the covenant and is protected from development by the covenant which was put in place by Henry Ripley when he sold the land in 1936. The covenant stipulates that nothing could be built on the 1.8 acre area which lies south of Mill Lane.
The construction giant first encroached on the protected land back in 2007 and a group of 30 residents launched legal action immediately. Taylor Wimpey were ordered to knock down the 24 properties back in January but have taken until now to carry out the demolition work.
The Tribunal heard that the developer was fully aware of the covenant before building commenced.
Local residents are now hoping that the plot of disputed land, estimated to be worth only £20,000.00 now, will be used as an allotment area and a children’s play park.
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