In a ruling which illustrates the pitfalls of inaccurate land sale particulars, members of a family who sold their vegetable patch to a developer for more than £150,000 have been ordered to repay the money by a judge who found that part of the land that they auctioned did not belong to them.

Derek and Oriel Bleaken and their son David, of Wooton under Edge, Gloucestershire, must also pay interest and damages under the Misrepresentation Act 1967 after Mr Justice Morgan ruled that the developer was entitled to rescind the sale contract.

After obtaining planning consent for a four-bedroom house on the plot, the Bleakens sold it to Harsten Developments Limited for £154,000 in 2007.  However, when the company began to clear the site, it encountered objections from the owners of the adjoining property, who insisted that they owned a box hedge and a former open ditch running along the plot’s eastern boundary.

Resolving the issue between the neighbours, the judge ruled that the legal boundary ran along the middle line of the hedge. However, he went on to decide that the auction particulars for the plot had misrepresented what the developer was buying.

Contrary to the position stated in the particulars, the Bleakens did not own the whole of the hedge and the judge found that there were also misrepresentations in respect of the plot’s drainage arrangements and whether the planning permission was capable of being reasonably implemented.