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Oakham family battling with council over land in Manton



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A family has been left devastated after a council claimed ownership of land they thought they had bought.

Alistair Rhys-Williams, 59, purchased a piece of land near the railway bridge at Manton from Leicestershire County Council in 1984.

Back then he used it for his horse and has continued to use it since. But on May 21 he went to the field to find the land was being used as a storage site for work on Manton Railway Bridge, with tonnes of hardcore piled up.

Alistair and Tim Rhys-Williams are battling with the council to get a piece of land purchased in 1984 back
Alistair and Tim Rhys-Williams are battling with the council to get a piece of land purchased in 1984 back

Mr Rhys-Williams says he was told by the project manager at the site that the land belonged to Rutland council and AmcoGiffen had been granted a licence by the council to use the land for an undisclosed fee.

Mr Rhys-Williams said: “I met Coun Oliver Hemsley from Rutland County Council on May 24 at the field and showed him my title deed to the land. He said an error must have occurred between Leicestershire County Council and Rutland County Council and would need to be investigated internally.

“I have given the council a copy of the signed title deed showing that I am the legal owner of the land, but the council is asking if I will be relying on anything further to support that I am the legal owner. I would have thought that the signed deed would be enough proof.

Alistair and Tim Rhys-Williams are battling with the council to get a piece of land purchased in 1984 back
Alistair and Tim Rhys-Williams are battling with the council to get a piece of land purchased in 1984 back

“The whole matter is just totally unbelievable.”

Despite Rutland County Council saying it registered the land in 2008, the Rhys-Williams family has visited the field regularly and made alterations without the ownership being questioned.

The field is down a private drive and accessed through a locked gate, for which the family has a key.

They have hired a solicitor, but in the past six weeks are ‘no further forward’ because they have not had a response from the council.

Mr Rhys-Williams said: “If anybody else bought land from Leicestershire County Council, I would encourage them to check.”

He believes taking Rutland County Council to court would cost more money than the field is worth.

He said: “Rutland County Council should have a moral obligation to rectify their error and return my land to the rightful owner.”

A spokesman for Rutland County Council said it is the registered owner of the land and that no fee was charged for its use.

The spokesman added: “Following the commencement of work on Manton Railway Bridge, Rutland County Council’s ownership of this land
has been called into
question.

“As a result and in order to provide assurance, the
council is conducting a thorough investigation, including making relevant enquiries with the Land Registry to make certain of its position.”



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