Cotswolds neighbours in 3-year legal fight over tiny terrace outside cottage
WHEN Andrew and Skipper Roland bought a 150-year- old Cotswolds cottage, they might have expected some rural tranquillity.
Instead, they say, they have become embroiled in a costly three-year row with a neighbour – over a tiny patio.
The couple paid £300,000 for the property in the market town of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, in 2016. At the time they believed a 7ft by 12ft paved area at the front of the cottage belonged to them.
But three years and £8,000 later, the couple are being taken to court by their neighbour who claims the small patch of land is his.
Tory councillor Mark Annett – an estate agent who had handled the sale of the property – has placed a table and chairs on the area and has refused to move them.
The row began shortly after Mr and Mrs Roland brought the four-bedroom property as a holiday let. Mr Annett, 66, a former leader of Cotswold District Council, owns Mark Annett & Company estate agents next door as well as a holiday flat above his business.
After Mr Annett put garden furniture and pot plants on the patio, the couple claim, they asked him to remove them but he refused, telling them he owned the paved area.
Mr Roland, 53, said: ‘ Shortly after buying the place we noticed a man watering the plants and he told us they belonged to Mr Annett.
‘When we asked Mr Annett to remove them he refused. He further angered us by putting a garden table and chairs in the middle of the patio.’
The Rolands say Land Registry documents prove they own two thirds of the patio and Mr Annett owns a 2.5ft by 4ft section to the left. But Mrs Roland, 43, said Mr Annett made no mention of owning the patio when he sold them the house.
‘One of the ground floor bedroom windows is directly over the patio so anyone looking at it will of course assume that the area outside is on their side of the boundary,’ she said.
‘All anyone has to do is apply common sense and it is obvious that the area outside our window is part of our property.’
The couple say attempts at reaching an amicable agree-him ment with Mr Annett, whose office window overlooks the disputed patio area, have failed.
The councillor uses the patio as outside space for the paying guests in his holiday flat and has installed the metal table and chairs for their use.
Mr Annett, who lives in a £1million home in the town and drives a Jaguar with a personalised plate, insists his boundary extends to a low stone wall on the right of the disputed area, giving rights to the whole patio. . But the Rolands say deeds at the Land Registry show he is entitled only to the 2.5ft by 4ft t section next to his property. Mr Annett, however, says the documents were drawn up incorrectly and also claimed the previous owner of his property y had been granted the right to o the patio. Mr and Mrs Roland d claim the previous owner of f their cottage told them she had d always maintained ownership.
They also say over the past t two years letters from their neighbour’s solicitors became increasingly threatening.
Mrs Roland, a former accountant, said: ‘It is just insane that it has come to this over a small l patio area. But this is a matter r of principle and we will not be e bullied into giving it up.
‘With all the evidence on our r side we thought the matter r would be dropped but Mr Annett t is now taking us to court.’ Mr Annett declined to o comment yesterday.
‘It’s insane it has come to this’
Court battle: Mr and Mrs Roland
Picturesque: Chipping Campden is popular with sightseers
Mark Annett: Says patio is his