Agency disputes 1923 licence allowing land it bought two years ago to be occupied by Lewisham man

London Development Agency has started a legal battle in a bid to remove a man from land in London’s Lewisham.

The agency bought land at 326 Lewisham Road, Lewisham, from the 10th Earl of Dartmouth in July 2006, according to a High Court writ.

In 1923, the earl’s predecessor had granted licences allowing the land to be occupied, and this licence passed to Bentley Investments (Lewisham), who gave a 20 year lease of the land to Mehmet Nidai in March 2001.

After buying the land, London Development Agency’s solicitors wrote to Bentley and other occupiers of the land, and asked Bentley to acknowledge that it had no interest in the land, and that as his interest came from a licence which was personal, the licence came to an end when the agency bought the site.

The agency argued that Bentley had no right to grant a lease, and that its sub licence came to an end when the agency bought the land. Bentley accepted that the licence did not bind the agency.

The agency also wrote to Nidai, saying that any interest he had in the land came to an end when the agency bought the site, but asked him to give vacant possession, but he has not given any such assurances, the writ says.

Now the agency is suing him for possession of the land, and mesne profits (occupation charge) until possession as well as legal costs.