MK’s multi-millionaire Parks Trust is threatening to send a small developer to PRISON over a 30-metre stretch of gravel, it is claimed.
The remarkable battle between the Trust, which owns 25 per cent of Milton Keynes, and family-owned Howe Park Developments, centres around the famous Passive House at Tattenhoe.
Built by the Park Trust and rented to a tenant, the house is reportedly the most airtight, energy efficient building in the UK.
But when three new neighbouring homes tried to share the property’s access road, it sparked a far-from passive response from the Parks Trust.
The resulting year-long row has involved the Trust issuing threats, an injunction, a winding-up order, a contempt of court summons, a demand for cash - and finally a threat of prison, claims the developer.
Howe Park boss Richard Molton, who is building the three homes, claimed: “Sometimes I feel like I’m in New York in the early Mafia days. It’s almost unbelievable.”
“And it’s all over a weed-strewn stretch of gravel to which we are certain we have a right of access anyway.”
Mr Molton says the road was ever be used for vehicles making deliveries to the new houses. The original planning permission documents do not state the access strip is exclusive to the Passive House, he claims.
But the Parks Trust say any use of the strip constitutes trespassing.
In another strand to the dispute, Mr Moulton rented an office from the Parks Trust at Shenley Pavilions for 12 years. When his firm was six days late paying over Christmas 2017 the Trust evicted them, they claim.
The Parks Trust is a charity with assets worth £109.7m. Its annual income last year was £12.1m. It uses the cash to care for the city’s parks, lakes, woods and green spaces.
A spokesman said: “The information provided to you by Richard Molton is both inaccurate and incomplete. The Trust takes extremely seriously its obligation to safeguard the public open space it looks after for the benefit of the community. This occasionally involves taking legal action where, as in this case, a neighbouring landowner damages the Trust’s land and obstructs the Trust’s access across its own land. The Trust repeatedly asked Mr Molton to desist from using the Trust’s land for his own purposes and obstructing access to the Trust’s tenanted property from November 2017 onwards. The Trust was left with no option but to instruct solicitors to take proceedings if the trespass continued. The trespass continued right up to and beyond the hearing date for the interim injunction in February 2018. This trespass was admitted by Richard Molton and the Judge had to grant the injunction sought. The injunction was a Court Order restraining any further trespass on the Trust’s land. Both the Court and the Trust’s solicitors made it very clear to Richard Molton and his Company that a breach of a Court Order would be regarded as a serious matter and could result in imprisonment. Despite this warning, Mr Molton and his Company has continued to trespass on Trust land and obstruct access to the Trust’s tenant. Therefore, in view of the reoccurring breach of the Court Order, we have asked our solicitors to commence committal proceedings and those have been served on the Company and its directors.”