Huge rise in land access rent defended

PROPERTY bosses last night defended plans to substantially hike rent levels paid by residents in a Suffolk village just so they can access the rear of their own homes.

PROPERTY bosses last night defended plans to substantially hike rent levels paid by residents in a Suffolk village just so they can access the rear of their own homes.

Householders in a section of High Road, Trimley St Martin, near Felixstowe, have received a letter from property agents Bidwells on behalf of Trinity College, Cambridge, informing them the licence fee they pay to access the back of their homes is to increase.

The college, which owns a field to the rear of the three properties, between Howlett Road and Church Lane, currently charges about £25 a year for householders to drive on to the land and park their vehicles behind their homes as there is no suitable driveway at the front.

However, last week residents received a letter informing them the licence fee for this access would increase to £250 a year - 10 times the current rate.

Those affected have been left shocked by the news but Tim Collins, partner at Bidwells - which acts as agents for the college - said the hike was justified because there had not been an increase in the fee since 1993.

“I can confirm a review of the current licensing rates for vehicle access to the rear of properties in High Road, Trimley St Martin, is underway,” he said.

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“As happens from time to time all licence fees and rents do get reviewed and one has to make a judgement on what a reasonable market figure should be. In this instance the licence fees haven't been changed for a very long time so you would expect a substantial increase.

“You could argue the householders have been playing their own market for some while and now have to catch up. For example the current rates don't even cover our basic administration fees.

“Taken in this context it is not an unreasonable amount to ask and probably fair for what people are getting as it is important access for those living there.”

Mr Collins said they would be happy to consider individual cases so payments could be staggered if the increase proved difficult.

“There is no reason why the rises cannot be phased,” he said. “We are always open to discussion and in the letters I think we actually ask for comments and queries should anyone have concerns.”

Trinity College bought 3,500 acres of land in Trimley St Martin, Trimley St Mary, Kirton and Walton in 1933.

It has since outlined a 20-year vision for its assets on the Felixstowe peninsula, including plans to build 1,500 homes in the Trimleys behind the sports and social club and mushroom farm down to the railway line and between the link road off the A14 and Church Lane.

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