Stunned homeowners are up in arms after being told developers want to sell their cul-de-sac’s green for £15,000 – but the land will be auctioned if no buyer is found.
Taylor Wimpey – which built the original homes in Lombardy Drive, Berkhamsted in the early ’60s – has offered the land to residents of the road at £15,000, but only sent letters to handful of the homeowners out of the blue, which says if a buyer is not found within seven days that it will be submitted to auction.
The letter from Tilco, signed by Robert Orford on behalf of Taylor Wimpey PLC, said: “The company owns the land to the front of your property , which is surplus to their requirements, and they are therefore willing to sell it to you and your immediate neighbours.
“The land in question is offered for £15,000. If we do not find a buyer we have been instructed to enter this land into auction.
“As a courtesy to you, we are making you aware that seven days from the date of this letter, we will be submitting this land into auction.”
James and Janet Honour, who live in one of the properties directly opposite the green, say the residents consider the deadline to be ‘completely unreasonable’ and say that legal advice is being sought.
There is also concern over the large London planetree in the centre of the green, which is thought to be approximately 150 years old and protected by a preservation order.
Mrs Honour said: “Our London planetree is a magnificent historic specimen and is one of Berkhamsted’s best trees. It would be criminal to lose it.”
Mr Honour said: “Understandably the residents are extremely concerned about the potential threat of development to the green, which has always been used as an amenity space for 52 years since the houses were built.
“The green has been used as a play area by generations of children as well as for jubilee and royal wedding street parties.
“Berkhamsted is already desperately short of green open spaces and now one of the last remaining greens appears to be under threat.”
Another resident, Carol Williamson, said: “It would be tragic to lose our green amenity area where our children can play safely and our street parties are traditionally held.”
Peter Williamson, who also lives in the drive, said: “This is very disturbing, especially in view of the large housing development to be built in Berkhamsted on land off Shootersway by Taylor Wimpey.”
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “We can confirm that TILco have been appointed by Taylor Wimpey North Thames to sell this parcel of land.
“The land is fronted by a number of properties, and TILco have written to the owners to see if they would be interested in acquiring the land.”