High Court finds in favour of landowner in beach hut dispute

A group of beach hut owners have lost a high-stakes legal battle over a new tenancy agreement.

A group of beach hut owners have lost a high-stakes legal battle over a new tenancy agreement.

The individuals who initiated court proceedings had cabins at Portland Bill, in Dorset, and had objected to the terms of the new agreement, which gave the landowner the right to evict them at just three months’ notice.

They claimed that this clause betrayed the principles of a previous “gentleman’s agreement” regarding tenancy arrangements along the stretch of coastline.

Last week it was confirmed that the High Court had found in favour of Howard Legg, a former Mayor of Weymouth and Portland, whose family has rented the land for around 60 years.

The ruling brings to an end a three-year legal wrangle, in which the five hutters have racked up considerable legal fees. They have also lost their huts, valued at £25,000 each, having been evicted from the land.

Julie Moverley has said that she and her husband Patrick shall have to sell their home in order to cover the costs of the legal battle.

“It is devastating and the whole matter has been handled really poorly,” she told the Dorset Echo.

“The deal he was proposing was just not fair, and he wanted the right to be able to evict anyone and anytime for any reason.”

Following the ruling, Mr Legg explained that his parents had bought the land in 1956 and, other than one previous incident in the 1960s, there hadn’t been any problems since.

“On the advice of my solicitor I decided to get a formal agreement written up so everyone knew where they stood and it was signed by 66 of the 71 owners.

“The five that didn’t sign wanted an indefinite lease which is absolutely absurd.

“It ended up in High Court and ultimately the judge agreed with me that what they were saying was not correct.”