One of the colleges at Cambridge University has launched a legal battle against its tenants Barclays Bank in a row over dry rot.

St John's College is also suing upmarket property managers Cluttons after discovering its property Barclays Building in Sunningdale, Berkshire, is riddled with dry rot. It is claiming unlimited damages of more than £300,000.

The college accuses Cluttons of negligence and breach of contract, and says the managers failed to eradicate dry rot in the building, and also failed to repair damage caused by the condition when managing the property and an adjoining building.

St John's College is also suing the bank for damages, and says it is responsible for the damage caused by dry rot under leases made in May 1907 and July 17 1997.

St John's College is one of 31 colleges forming Cambridge University, and is a leader in the field of science. A High Court claim was issued under its full title of the Master, Fellows and Scholars of the College of St John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge.