Peterborough garages pulled down in land ownership blunder

Garages being demolished

A social housing company was forced to demolish four garages after it discovered it did not own the land it had built them on.

Cross Keys Homes put the garages up in Fellowes Gardens, Peterborough, for its residents about five years ago.

However, after the receiver stepped in for the landowner, they were forced to pull them down, giving residents just days to remove belongings.

Cross Keys apologised and said it was working to find alternative garages.

The housing association said it built them to "help improve the amenities" but "unfortunately, it has recently come to light that some of the land in question was not in our ownership nor was it owned by the city council either".

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A spokeswoman said Cross Keys had made a "competitive offer" to buy the land from the receiver.

Image caption Residents were still removing belongings on Monday as demolition crews moved in

"[This] was sadly refused, leaving us with no alternative but to demolish the four garages and return the land to its previous state."

Although the company has not said who does own the land, or why it took the owner several years to complain, the situation was an "unfortunate oversight on our part", she added.

Image copyright Alan Clark
Image caption By Tuesday morning all that was left was the hardstanding

The garages were dismantled on Monday, leaving just the concrete bases and wire mesh fencing in their places.

One resident, whose garage was filled with her elderly mother's possessions, described it as "stupid" and said she did not know what she would do with the belongings.

Cross Keys said it would offer "interim suitable storage" while it looked for alternatives.

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