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Trust me...I'm the lord of the manor
6:00am Tuesday 17th December 2013 in Echo News
A SELF-PROCLAIMED Lord of the Manor has promised not to hold pageants in people’s gardens or dig up their land to find shale gas – even though he sent out claims to the land of 1,300 properties.
Residents in Battlesbridge and Rettendon were baffled when they received letters telling them Roy Hart, his wife and son, of Toad Hall, in Battlesbridge, can now fish, shoot and have access to minerals on their properties.
Mr Hart, who holds the title Lord of the Manor of Rettendon, paid the Land Registry to send the letters to all residents in the area warning them he can also hold fairs and pageants in their gardens and charge them for any repairs needed to the local church.
Although Mr Hart insists he won’t act on his rights, worried homeowners say it is causing concern and could see their homes devalued.
Scott Wilson, 38, from Rettendon and Battlesbridge Focus Group, said: “Shale gas is something everyone has had a laugh about. On the one hand, it’s a laugh and a joke. But on the other hand, some people have tried to sell their property, but because solicitors aren’t sure about what this means, they are having to sign an indemnity policy just to sell their home.”
Despite Mr Hart’s assurances, people are now trying to get the title removed from their deeds.
Mr Wilson added: “Thankfully, Mr Hart has stuck to his word and no one has been refused to have their forms signed so far.
Our hope is it releases our homes from his rights, but until we get confirmation from the Land Registry, the insecurity continues.
We will keep the locks on the door and hope he doesn’t want to hold a pageant.”
Mr Hart, 67, said: “We have had this title for 37 years and have never bandied it around. But we had to register our rights by October 13 or lose them. The documents go back to 1310 and we didn’t want all that to be lost.
“We get rent because of the telegraph poles and I had to register the land to maintain that. I apologise for the distress this has caused, but we will not be making any charge to Rettendon. I have no plans to start digging under homes. Everyone can sleep peacefully. We are not targeting any houses or small businesses.”
The focus group is helping residents fill out the complicated forms to remove the title rights from their deeds. A meeting will be held on December 28 at Runwell Village Hall, Church End Lane, between 9.30am and 10.30am.
Residents needing a form delivered, or help completing one, can also call the group’s Glenys Jones on 07739 530611 or e-mail rettendonfocus@yahoo.
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