TV presenter alleges couple breached agreement over development project at his Devon country home

TV presenter Noel Edmonds is suing his former friends for more than £400,000 over a property venture.

The television star has accused Ulrik and Judy Lawson of breaching an agreement to develop up to 26 properties at his crumbling country house in Devon.

The three agreed to buy the property and put in for planning consent to convert the main house and outbuildings. They also wanted to build new properties, creating between 20 and 26 separate houses, a High Court writ alleges.

Edmonds and the Lawsons each contributed £300,000 towards the price of Wood House. It was decided that Edmonds would purchase the house in his name and live in it, to avoid capital gains tax, the writ says.

But Edmonds claims the couple failed to pay him back the money he had put towards the development in anticipation of being paid back promptly, ahead of the Lawsons.

It was also agreed that any profits after expenses would be split equally, it is alleged.

The trio had decided to fund expenses equally, the writ says, but Edmonds has accused his former friends of failing to pay their half of the expenses after September 2007.

He maintains they paid just £90,000 of the total, which amounted to over £510,000, leaving Edmonds to foot the bill, and he claims the Lawsons owe him over £165,000 as a result.

Edmonds said he had been friends with the Lawsons since 2002, until relations between them soured over the property deal.

Noel Edmonds
Edmonds seeks damages of over £165,000 and payments of around £247,000

The Lawsons did not apply for planning consent at all, and Edmonds says he marketed and sold Wood House in August 2008 for £2m, the best price he could obtain.

The Lawsons have accused Edmonds of selling the property in breach of the agreement, in a letter from their solicitors dated 15 October 2008, the writ says.

They also insisted they received their share of the money first, and Edmonds says that after deducting sale costs, the bank received nearly £1.6m and the Lawsons £300,000. He says he received just over £52,000 instead of the £300,000 he had agreed on.

Edmonds is seeking a declaration that he was lawfully entitled to sell the house last year, alongside damages of over £165,000 and payments of around £247,000.