Targetfollow has ‘form’ when it comes to trying to charge for access, the Times can reveal – but the company dropped its previous attempt.
We reported last week that lawyers acting on behalf of the property development firm, which owns the commons, had written to residents of a number of roads in Rusthall, telling them they would have to pay for licences to access their homes across the land, or run services such as electricity underneath it.
But the Times has since seen a similar letter written by Targetfollow to residents of another road, in early 2014.
It reads: “We would like to regularise all access and service rights across Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons in order to protect both the interests of your property and that of my client.”
It asks those who ‘already benefit from a documented wayleave or easement’ to provide the ‘necessary documentation’ by a certain date, after which, the letter adds: “If we have not heard from you…we will presume that you do not have any regularised rights over our land and we will commence the process to arrange necessary documentation to ensure both parties’ rights are protected.”
But one recipient of the letter told the Times: “A strong legal letter pointing out several covenants that negated their request, and the many ways they didn’t have a leg to stand on, quickly shut Targetfollow up but they’re obviously trying it on elsewhere now.”
Residents were also sent copies of a questionnaire, which asked whether people ‘considered’ they had certain rights, and if so, to provide confirming documents.
The man, who did not wish to be named, said the company did not write to everyone in his road and the letter did not mention licences.
He added: “They didn’t want to happen what’s happened in Rusthall, people getting together and questioning it.
“The letter didn’t mention licences but it was made to sound like if you didn’t fill it in, they’d start charging you.
“They pick people off because they don’t want what the Times has done – to expose their attempt to, in a very confusing, aggressive and underhand way, elicit money from people when it just about every case, they have no case.”
A Targetfollow spokesman said: “There are a number of outstanding queries relating to access or right of passage in and around Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall commons.
In some cases these have been initiated by our company, the freehold owner of the land. In others, we have been approached by individuals or businesses who recognise the value of formalising their rights, or circumstances have forced them to address a specific issue.
“In all cases, being clear on rights over another’s land is in the interest of the landowner and the party requiring access.
“Due to the sensitive and private nature of each case, it would not be appropriate for us to comment on any individually.”