A long-standing land row saga has come to an end after a parish council publicly apologised on its website.
Aston Clinton Parish Council released the statement on its homepage as an olive branch to Ed and Linda Peile after a row broke out last year over ownership of a stream in Aston Park, which runs alongside the Peile’s home at Old Rectory Farm.
In the statement, the council said it wanted to ‘set the record straight’, saying: “The council accepts responsibility for their handling of this dispute, including missing opportunities to settle the dispute amicably.
“Councillors initially advanced the council’s claim to the stream in the belief that it was public property.
“The council now accepts this is not the case and has renounced all claims to the property in their out-of-court settlement, which includes payment of £10,000 in damages to Professor and Mrs Peile and payment of their legal costs.”
This decision means those living in the villages’ 1,600 homes have been hit with an average rise of £1.40 a month in extra council tax to foot the £10,000 bill.
It was decided that paying the cash as an out-of-court settlement was preferable after solicitors pointed out the cost of a court hearing was likely to soar to in excess of £30,000.
The Peiles say that the cost to the taxpayer is likely to be an extra £50 per household, with the cost of damages, legal fees and compensation amounting to an estimated £80,000.
The online statement continued: “We apologise to the Peiles for publicly claiming that the disputed area of land and stream belonged to the council, and for the distress caused to them by the way that the matter was handled by the council.”
Followingthe apology, Mrs Peile said: “It is very sad that it ever got this far, but we’re pleased they have finally acknowledged the real position. Hopefully now we can collaboratively work together and move on.”