Residents fight for freehold

Kaleidoscope site in Kingsway, Dunstable
Kaleidoscope site in Kingsway, Dunstable

Residents living in Linden Homes’ Kaleidoscope site in Dunstable are unhappy that the developer still owns the freehold to the site.

Louise O’Riordan, who has purchased one of the new properties in Kingsway, claims residents are furious that the firm own the freehold to the site [not Central Beds College as she was led to believe), and are selling the properties as leasehold.

This means the house is owned for a fixed term and the land on which the property stands is not owned outright by the purchaser who can then be charged a ground rent.

Louise said: “There are about 50 of us and we are very unhappy. We have been lied to by the developer about who owned the land, it was only after completion we found out the developer owned it and we had been deceived into thinking the freehold was not available.

“We want to make other people aware of what is happening and we want the developers to stop doing this.

“We were told the land was owned by the college but when I looked into all the document, it is actually the developers, Galliford Try trading as Linden Homes, that own the land. All the residents were in uproar when I told them.

“We have been in touch with our local MP Andrew Selous, who has raised the issue.”

Mr Selous, South West Beds MP, raised the practice of large developers buying freehold land on which they then sell houses on a leasehold basis in Parliament recently.

Mr Selous said: “We need urgent action to stop this unacceptable practice now and also to quickly and cheaply correct these past unacceptable practices to enable local home owners in Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable to gain quick and cheap access to the freehold of their properties if that is what they want to do.

“I intend to carry on campaigning on this issue until developers stop this practice and help those already caught by it.”

Linden Homes was contacted by Dunstable Gazette but did not want to comment on the story.