Councillor ordered to pay golf club £120k

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire April 30, 2019 20:23

A Devon councillor has been ordered to pay an estimated £120,000 in legal costs to Churston Golf Club, according to local media.

DevonLive reports that an appeal ruling over repairs to a fence went against Richard Haddock.

The golf club says it is relieved the matter has been settled but Haddock, who has been fighting over the fence – originally meant to keep his cattle off the fairways – for more than a quarter of a century, has said he intends to take legal action against his own council.

In the Royal Courts of Justice, Lord Justice Patten ruled in favour of the golf club’s appeal against an earlier ruling that it was responsible for the repairs to a length of boundary between the golf course and Haddock’s fields.

In 2017 a court found in favour of Haddock, and said the golf club was obliged to fence the boundary.

The club appealed, and last year the case was heard at the High Court. The golf club said it had not been party to any agreements that may have been made when the old Torbay County Borough bought the golf course in 1972, but the appeal was dismissed.

The club was permitted a second appeal, where Lord Justice Patten said that covenants should only be binding on those who signed them at the outset, and the golf club had not been one of those original parties.

Churston Golf Club chairman Dave Duddridge said the club was relieved at the judgement, which would allow it to move forward.

He said: “It should never have gone as far as it has. It will be good to move on without this shadow hanging over us. It would have been a heavy burden on the club if we had lost. Now we can move on and make this the club we all want it to be.”

In an email to club members he added: “Whilst it is a great relief to us all that the matter has finally been determined in our favour, there is no great satisfaction to take from a matter which has rumbled on for so many years and cast such a cloud over the club.”

Mr Haddock, who said he would pay the golf club’s costs of around £120,000, told DevonLive: “The failure is Torbay Council’s, in not taking action against their leaseholder.

“My next step is to take action against the council.

“I am definitely not stopping. The judge has made it quite clear this is between the two original landowners.”

Those landowners were Torbay County Borough, the forerunner of Torbay Council, and the Churston Barony, which is represented now by Mr Haddock.

“It is sad that I am going to take action against my own council,” he said. “But the buck stops with them.

“I am amazed the council never stepped in. It would have saved the taxpayers a lot of money.

“Torbay Council failed to pass on the covenant to their own tenant.

“I have no animosity against anybody. Half of the people who did this on Torbay Council in the first place are no longer there.

“But this is not over yet.”

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire April 30, 2019 20:23
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