Garrison Man Goes To Court In Campaign To Buy Duchy Lease

Hugh House, the offices of the Duchy of Cornwall in Scilly

Hugh House, the offices of the Duchy of Cornwall in Scilly

A St Mary’s man who believes that the Duchy of Cornwall should allow leaseholders the right to buy their properties took his argument before a judge yesterday.

Alan Davis, who lives on The Garrison, wants to know whether there was any correspondence between the government and the Duchy over the decision to deny leaseholders land purchase rights.

At this stage he just wants to be able to see any papers lodged between 1967 and 1993, if they exist. He believes that’s the period during which a decision was made to stop residents buying the land on which their homes stand.

Alan argues that the situation leaves Duchy leaseholders facing financial uncertainty as the time left on their lease shortens, because it affects the resale value of their homes.

He believes that Prince Charles may be in breach of the Human Rights Act by using a position of privilege for his personal financial benefit, to the detriment of other citizens.

The outcome of the hearing at Truro Magistrates Court could have far reaching consequences.

The Duchy has claimed Crown Immunity in the past and a decision in Alan’s favour could strengthen reformers’ view that Prince Charles’ estate is a private body.

If the Duchy lost it’s special status it could be subject to the same tax regime, tenancy rights and leasehold agreements as the private sector.

Regular visitor to Bryher, Lord Berkeley, has also introduced a Private Members’ Bill, aiming to remove the Duchy’s privilege.

Judge Christopher Hughes heard arguments for 75 minutes yesterday.

Alan felt it was wrong that the Duchy was represented in court by the Treasury, which he says means that the taxpayer had to foot the bill.

There won’t be a decision made until January and Alan says he’s not hopeful of an outcome in his favour.



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