1. ITV Report

Woman, 90, with dementia threatened with legal action


A housing trust threatened to take a 90-year-old woman with dementia to court over a dispute about ‘two-and-a-half feet’ of land - because a fence was moved more than 30 years ago.

Mary Thompson, who needs round-the-clock care, moved into her home in Wythenshawe, south Manchester, in 1961.

Her son Mark said the boundary in the back garden of the property was altered some time in the late 1980s or early 1990s, in an ‘gentleman’s deal’ with her then next-door neighbours.

A fence at the Robinswood Road home was moved just ‘two-and-a-half feet’, Mark said.

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG), which owns the house next door to Mary, now wants the strip of land back and has started civil proceedings against the nonagenarian.

Trust bosses said court action was a last resort.

The Thompson family met with managers from the housing group and an agreement over the land being returned is expected in the coming days.

Mark insisted he would have fought his mother’s corner if he had the cash to do so.

Mark, 58, said:

I don’t understand why they want the land after all this time.

It’s the way they’ve gone about it that I don’t like.

– Mark Thompson

Mark said his late dad Ted agreed with the neighbours to move the garden fence ‘two-and-a-half feet’ more than 30 years ago because they didn’t want the manhole on their side.

As a result, a fence was moved and the matter was forgotten about, Mark claims.

Wythenshawe Community Housing Group bosses raised the issue after buying the neighbouring house.

Legal correspondence between the trust and Mary over the land has been exchanged and the case has been listed to be heard at Manchester County Court on Monday.

Mark, from Altrincham, Greater Manchester, said he wanted to negotiate a settlement to split the land as long as the costs are covered by the housing trust.

Mark said:

The change happened many, many years ago. Everyone forgot about it.

My mum’s garden ended up two-and-a-half feet wider. We cannot pinpoint it other than the late 1980s or early 1990s.

– Mark Thompson

Mark said that after more than 20 years, it would become ‘adverse possession’.

Mark said:

We have changed the fence panels twice over the years.

My mother has not even done anything. She only knows a bit about it.

She knows the people next door are trying to claim the land back. She hasn’t got the capacity to go to court.

It’s ridiculous - and all over just two-and-a-half feet of land.

– Mark Thompson

Mark and his mother currently have no legal advice.

Mary bought the ex-council house from the local authority and still has a small mortgage.

Manchester County Court confirmed a hearing is due to take place on Monday morning.

But a spokesman for Wythenshawe Community Housing Group said an agreement, in principle, had been made.

We have been in discussion with the owner occupier’s son Mr Thomson, over an 18 month period to try and resolve the land boundary dispute in question, making several offers to reinstate the boundary with no costs being incurred to themselves, but sadly we had to resort to legal action as a matter of land ownership.

We are pleased to advise however that this matter has now been resolved amicably between the said parties with the land being returned back to WCHG.

As a result of reaching this agreement WCHG will not be pursing any costs in relation to this and we will continue to offer our support to the family.

– Wythenshawe Community Housing Group