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  1. ITV Report

Goathland residents revolt over "King's ransom"

Residents of Goathland in North Yorkshire claim they are being held to ransom by the community's Royal landlords, the Duchy of Lancaster. Photo: ITV News Tyne Tees

People living in a village made famous by ITV's Heartbeat are in revolt against the Queen - over being charged thousands of pounds to go in and out of their homes and fields.

Residents of Goathland in North Yorkshire claim they are being held to ransom by the community's Royal landlords, the Duchy of Lancaster, which has claimed ownership of the common land that runs throughout the village.

In the past, the Duchy granted locals access rights across the verges for a peppercorn rent.

The Duchy says it invests much of the cash in the village and has made a number of improvements to secure its long-term future. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

But now landowners say they are being stung for thousands of pounds for the privilege of crossing the Duchy grass verges which separate their driveways from the road.

James Fearnley, who turned some of his land into a car park, told ITV News Tyne Tees he faces a legal bill of £40,000 after fighting a request for more than £2,000 a year in rent.

The Duchy says it invests much of the cash in the village and has made a number of improvements to secure its long-term future.

A spokesman said although it has to generate income, it tries to be fair:

"Through our agents, we work closely with people and organisations wishing to use our land to try to reach a mutually acceptable agreement guided by market value and always take the full circumstances into consideration when negotiating licences, easements and rents."

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But villagers disagree and are calling for Parliament to intervene.