Daggers drawn in rent rumpus

John Sergeant Lord of the Manor Kirkham
John Sergeant Lord of the Manor Kirkham
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Residents on two Kirkham estates have been slapped with a £50 bill for living on the land.

People living at Brookwood Park and the Spinnings were last week sent a letter on behalf of John Sergeant, the Lord of the Manor of Kirkham, informing them that a ground rent was being imposed on their houses.

The rent, which is to be put in place as of April 1, aims to preserve Mr Sergeant’s ‘manorial rights’.

Ancient manorial rights include things such as the right to mines and minerals under land, which he claims as his.

One Brookwood Park resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “I thought it was a joke at first, but it seems to be legitimate.

“He’s not going to get a single penny from me.”

Mr Sergeant’s clerk, Brian Ingham, said 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.

The move comes four years after hundreds of Kirkham residents received letters informing them Mr Sergeant, 88, was making a claim to the land.

Mr Sergeant said he had no knowledge of the letters being sent out at that time.

Kirkham councillor Liz Oades said: “This has upset people. I’ve had several people come to me this week.

“I have advised them to get in touch with the Land Registry and fill in the unilateral notice form to have Mr Sergeant’s claim to their properties removed.

“We will be posting something on the town council website so everyone is informed.”

Barratt Homes and Story Homes have told residents not to pay the £50 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.”