Brightlingsea Town Council were contacted by HM Land Registry on 8th May 2021, regarding an application by a Brightlingsea resident, Mr Gary Humm, in respect of a claim for adverse possession of an area of the Brightlingsea Creek known as Minters Point. The Land Registry are obliged to contact anyone who may be affected by such a claim. The applicant is laying claim to an area attached to Cindery Island, which is owned by Brightlingsea Town Council.
Mr Humm had not made any previous contact with Brightlingsea Town Council on this issue. The letter from HM Land Registry stated “adverse possession can mean the loss of land and the law in this area is particularly complicated”. In accordance with local government good practice guidelines, Brightlingsea Town Council was compelled to take legal advice on this matter.
From an initial assessment of the claim and an appraisal of the documentation held by the Council, Solicitors advised that an objection to the application should be lodged and informed HM Land Registry of this decision on the 18th June 2021.
Whilst the Council has had no choice other than to engage a solicitor in response to Mr Humm’s application, as local government guidelines state we must do with all such applications. We are conscious that this comes at a cost to local ratepayers. In order to minimise potential expenditure, Town Councillors have met personally with Mr Humm on a number of occasions, and he was exceptionally afforded access to speak to all Councillors at an informal meeting in the Parish Hall on 19th July 2021. The Council is committed to resolving this matter at the lowest level by negotiation and mediation. This requires participation of both parties.
The last letter Brightlingsea Town Council received from the Land Registry dated 28th July 2021 states “We are seeking confirmation as to whether the applicant wishes to negotiate and have explained to Mr Humm that if he does not confirm within 10 working days (11th August 2021) that he wishes to negotiate we will have no alternative but to assume that he does not and will refer the matter to the Land Registration Division of the Property Chamber, First Tier Tribunal to determine”.
The Council position is clear, we will seek to resolve this matter without recourse to further litigation but the matter now rests with Mr Humm to respond.