A HOMEOWNER has told of his fury after the local council sold his garden to neighbours – and said he’d have to pay £30,000 to buy it back.
Paul Kironji Gatu and couple Ann and Ben Parratt, who live next door to one another, are locked in a bitter row over the yard in Leicestershire.
A bitter neighbours’ dispute has broken out over the side garden of a home in LeicestershireCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Paul Kironji Gatu says the land ought to belong to his rented property – but it’s actually owned by Ann and Ben Parratt, who want £30,000 for itCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The land lies to the right-hand side of Paul’s rented semi – and appears to be within the legal boundaries of his home.
But Ann said the garden “most definitely” belongs to the property she shares with her husband, and was part of the council package when she bought her home.
Neither of the Parratts have ever used or even set foot on the land, which they could only access through their neighbour Paul’s front gate.
But they now say they want to build a fence just feet from Paul’s front door and use the garden themselves after learning he plans to buy the property.
Paul says Leicester City Council must buy back the land, which he claims was “mistakenly” sold, and return it to him.
The traffic marshal, 44, says the authority offered to buy back the land from the Parratts for £5,000.
However, the couple had it independently valued – and say it’s actually worth £30,000.
Paul, the father of a three-year-old son, told Sun Online: “It’s all so unfair.
“The council has made a blunder, they have really messed up and it’s causing me a huge headache.”
He says he’s instructed a solicitor to help legally resolve the long-running dispute.
“This is my garden and I’ll do everything to claim it back,” he said.
Mum-of-two Ann, a school receptionist, said: “He can have it. He’s welcome to it.
“We’ve never even used it but we want paying for it. Legally we own it, as plans and Land Registry prove.
“We are happy to sell it but we’re not giving it away. That would be foolish.”
Paul moved into the two-bed property with his family as a council tenant in 2019. The side garden, along with his front and back garden, lie within his boundary space.
He learned the side garden didn’t belong to him when he started proceedings to buy the property from the council.
“I had been so excited about the prospect of buying my first home for my family and now we’ve got all this unnecessary stress,” he said.
“The sad thing is, I used to get on with my neighbours, but now there’s a rift, a strain, between us. The council is ducking and diving.
“They are being ridiculous, just crazy. It was all their fault in the first place. It is unbelievable.”
He says there’s “no way” he’ll shell out £30,000 for the lawn.
“The neighbours have never had access to the side garden and the only way to enter the garden is through my front gate,” he said.
“Without my permission, that is trespass.”
Ann, 38, said she and scaffolder Ben, 36, have been left upset by the dispute.
“It’s a shame because we were friends with Paul before all this, but it’s caused a lot of arguments,” she said.
“We agreed to sell the land back to the council but not for the price they were offering. It was much too low.
“We don’t use the spot and have never trod on it. We were happy for Paul to use it for his young son as long as he remained a council tenant.
The council is ducking and diving… It was all their fault in the first place
“But the minute he applied to buy the house, which is his right, we decided to get the land we rightfully own back.
“We don’t want him to have the use of it as an owner – just as a tenant. He is still pursuing to buy back or reclaim that garden.
“We understand Paul’s frustration and we have some sympathy for him, but now we have told him we are putting up a fence on the piece of grass which steps up from his.”
Ben said: “Me and Paul used to be sound, we were all friends until this, but he has made it clear he will not give up the land without a fight. Now we’re in a dispute.
“We are going to put up a fence, we have given our neighbour notice, and if it is proven down the line that the council has messed up we will happy take the fence down.
“But as far as we concerned we bought that land with our home.”
The couple declined to divulge the purchase price.
A letter from Leicester City Council to the Parratts confirms that the disputed land was sold to them as part of their Right to Buy.
Paul, 44, says his three-year-old son plays on the land, which cannot be accessed without walking onto his propertyCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
However, documents show the land itself does belong to the ParrattsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
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