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Broads village green wrangle collapses after four days in court

09:41 01 February 2013

A local family claim their title deeds show they have ownership of part of the village green in Martham, and want to close a popular through way. A barrier is in place while the case is heard by the Land Registry adjudicator.

Picture: James Bass

A local family claim their title deeds show they have ownership of part of the village green in Martham, and want to close a popular through way. A barrier is in place while the case is heard by the Land Registry adjudicator. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A legal wrangle over a picturesque Broads village green has collapsed after four costly days in court.

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The idyllic scene by Martham’s popular duck pond was threatened when a resident claimed ownership of part of the green.

Georgina Jago, who lives beside the pond, alleged the title deed of her home – 17 The Green – included a county council adopted road across the green, a lay-by, a stretch of footpath and a section of the village green above a cess pit.

But Mrs Jago never made it as far as the witness stand, the applicants were criticised over disclosure of documents and all claims have now been dropped.

Norfolk County Council’s barrister John Pugh-Smith agreed to settle on Wednesday.

And Martham Parish Council’s former clerk, Peter Dawson, reached agreement with the applicant’s barrister, Dr Christopher McNall yesterday, as the HM Land Registry Tribunal came to a close at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court.

Applicant Mrs Jago said she had brought the case due to flooding to her house, and is “just grateful” that the ordeal is now over.

Speaking after the case she said she was pleased her concerns should be addressed by the county council as part of the settlement.

And she added: “Hopefully we can put it to bed and carry on living in the lovely village we live in.”

Mr Dawson, for the parish council, disputed the precise use of the cess pit – referring to it neutrally as the “water chamber” – but reached a settlement with Dr McNall yesterday.

The applicants withdrew their claim to the cess pit, agreed to pay the parish council a lump sum of £3,500 and award them a costs order that can be upheld in a county court.

Sara Hargreaves, sitting as deputy adjudicator for HM Land Registry, stressed she was keen to “dot all the is and cross all the ts”.

She pushed for an order restricting the applicant from future claims to the cess pit and land above it, but heard representations against this from Dr McNall and has yet to rule on the matter.

With the case dropped, Martham village green remains public.

Final orders are being drafted.

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