VIDEO: Residents in shock at offer to buy land

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Residents say they are still trying to come to terms with letters delivered to their houses offering them the chance to buy land they believed was already theirs.

Each recipient of a letter has been given a price to purchase the land, ranging from £100 to £350, plus the solicitor’s fees of £250, plus £50 VAT.

Residents at one of the land sites offered for sale at Coneyburrow Gardens, SUS-150430-105201001

Residents at one of the land sites offered for sale at Coneyburrow Gardens, SUS-150430-105201001

They have also been asked to pay a fee of £6 for the land registry plan sent to them.

The letter from the solicitor said: “We have been instructed by the owners and registered proprietors of a sizeable area of land adjoining and in the vicinity of the property you either own or occupy.

“We enclose a title plan for the property which you own/occupy. The property is shown edged in red. Our client has instructed us that they would be prepared to sell the land adjoining the property, shown edged in green on the enclosed plan.

“The above is on the basis of you taking up our client’s offer no later than May 31 to allow sufficient time to deal with the required paperwork. We shall therefore be grateful to receive your reply no later than May 31, 2015.”

Further on in the letter, it said: “Once completion has taken place of the sales of the plots purchased by those interested, the remaining land in our client’s title will be offered for sale ‘en bloc’ at a price to be determined once the sales have been agreed.”

Residents say Coneyburrow Gardens and Inglewood Gardens were built between 1984 and 1987.

Nita Elliott has lived in her Coneyburrow Gardens home with husband Peter since it was first built in 1985.

Mrs Elliott said: “We are in a state of shock. We thought it was a wind-up at first.

“We’re not going to pay it at this moment. Why should we be given a bill from their solicitors for £250? We just do not understand how or why this has happened.”

David Sullivan, who has lived in Coneyburrow Gardens for seven years, said: “We are still in a state of shock.

“It feels like something has been taken away from us. We are bewildered to know how this was not conveyed to us.”

Reverend Ron Baker added: “Many of us have maintained the gardens as their own. The residents have spent much of their time looking after them.

“Does it mean that we can now put a bill in to the registered owners of the land for work they have carried out over the years.

“We believe the verges have been maintained and cut by a council.

“This would be at council taxpayer’s expense. Does this mean that the council can make a claim too?”

Sarah Standon has lived in Coneyburrow Gardens since 1996. She said: “I just can’t afford to pay this. I could offer £10 or £20 a month at the very most.

“It has been quite stressful for all of us.”

The Observer contacted the solicitors firm which sent out the letter.

It said it had no instructions from its clients to address the queries raised by the Observer.