17 June 1998
Farmer faces £1m bill in land appeal

A FARMER was ordered yesterday to repay £606,000 he had been awarded against valuers who said that his property was only worth £70,000 – it was later sold for £750,000.

Farmer Roger Watts, of Felsham, Bury St Edmunds, Sussex, faces a £1 million bill – including costs and interest – after the Court of Appeal ordered him to repay the damages he had been awarded.

Mr Watts had sued Savills for negligence in grossly undervaluing the land at Felsted, Essex, when he and his brother, Donald, decided to split up the assets of the estate left to them in equal shares by their father.

A partner in Savills, instructed by Roger Watts, had agreed with the valuer representing his brother that the land in September 1986 was worth £70,000 and a year later it was awarded to Donald at this figure in the demerger of the estate.

But within 14 months Donald had sold the 33.99ha (84 acres) to a property development company for £750,000.

  • The Daily Telegraph 17/06/98 page 11