A MUSICIAN and businessman, and his wife, from Churt are facing bankruptcy proceedings after a neighbourly dispute over a contested strip of land escalated to the High Court.
Steven Sammut, who runs the Rock and Pop Foundation in Aldershot, and his wife Sandra, were ordered to pay £65,922.86 in costs to solicitors representing their neighbour Sally Catchpole, after losing a Winchester County Court judgement in 2018.
But these costs have since spiralled to more than £122,000, claims Mrs Catchpole, after the Sammuts brought an appeal against that ruling to the High Court – and were refused leave to appeal on July 7 this year.
A ‘stay’, putting a temporary halt to bankruptcy proceedings against the Sammuts, was subsequently lifted this week – meaning Mrs Catchpole’s solicitors can now proceed with its petition for bankruptcy, to be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on January 13.
The costly dispute centres around a raised bank of land between Mrs Catchpole’s Glenhead Farm – originally part of the Lloyd George estate – and the Sammut’s Hyde Hill Farm, in Hyde Lane, Churt.
In her 2018 complaint to the County Court, Mrs Catchpole claimed the Sammuts had obstructed her right of way from one of her fields on to the highway at Hyde Lane via the bank – while the Sammuts counter-claimed that Mrs Catchpole was trespassing on their land.
Following a five-day hearing in March 2018, His Honour Judge Berkley ruled in favour of Mrs Catchpole in July 2018, commenting the Sammuts had failed to demonstrate a right to prevent Mrs Catchpole from using the bank.
The Herald has offered Mr Sammut the opportunity to comment, but is yet to receive a response.