Residents have been advised to refuse to pay the Lord of the Manor of Kirkham the £50-a-year he is demanding from each household on two estates.
People living at Brookwood Park and the Spinnings were sent a letter on behalf of Lord John Sergeant earlier this month informing them that a ground rent was being imposed on their houses.
The £50 rent, which is to be put in place as of April 1, aims to preserve Lord Sergeant’s ‘manorial rights’.
In a statement issued byBrian Ingham, Lord Sergeant’s clerk, he said these ancient rights ‘relate not only to his land but the market square, rights to mines and minerals, and the rights in connection with the holding of markets and fairs’.
But the firms responsible for developing the estates have advised residents not to pay up. In a previous statement, Mr Ingham informed The Gazette that the yearly rent was being imposed as housing companies Story Homes and Barratt Homes had not purchased the rights to the land when developing the two housing estates.
Kirkham councillor Liz Oades said the move had ‘upset’ residents on the two estates and encouraged them to contact the Land Registry ‘to have Lord Sergeant’s claim to their properties removed’.
But Mr Ingham said: “Their advice concerning the Land Registry in no way affects the preservation of (Mr Sergeant’s) rights.”
He added: “The solicitors for Story Homes Ltd made an offer of money in June 2016 in order to acquire these rights.
“The offer was rejected and counter proposals were made granting a full concession in relation to any affordable houses.
“In short, they did not want to pay out of their anticipated profits.I do not believe individual owners should pay. They should contact their solicitors and demand payment from the developers.
“Their solicitors should have been made aware of the rights and claims of the Lord of the Manor in the standard conveyancing pack.”
He added that Kirkham Parish Council should ‘embrace the history of Kirkham’ and ‘join with the Lord of the Manor in celebrating Kirkham’s traditions’.
Barratt Homes and Story Homes have told residents not to pay the £50 annual charge.
A spokesman for the two companies said: “We have not seen evidence of any entitlement of a third party to charge a rent and our customers should therefore take no action and should not pay the charge, and we will be advising them accordingly.”