Tenant farmer wins eviction battle against Essex hunt

An Essex hunt is facing a substantial damages and legal costs bill after turfing a farmer off land his family had tended for generations.

Terence Grimes and his father before him had farmed 49ha at Althorne Lodge, near Burnham on Crouch, as the hunt’s tenants.

But the trustees of the Essex Farmers and Union Hunt wanted a higher rent and granted the lease to someone else in September 2012.

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Mr Grimes left the land “under silent protest”, but later took legal action and has now won his appeal case at the Court of Appeal in London.

Three senior judges accepted his claim that his tenancy had not been validly terminated and he had been “wrongfully dispossessed” of the land.

The trustees of the hunt, which now operates as a “country riding club”, were ordered to pay Mr Grimes £31,500 in damages.

And, on top of the that, they must pay £100,000 towards Mr Grimes’ lawyers’ bills by 2 June.

Notice ‘sent to wrong address’

Lord Justice Henderson ruled that the farmer had never been validly served with notice to quit the land.

That was because the notice was sent to a house in Glebe Way, Burnham, where Mr Grimes had not lived since 2005.

He had given notice in writing of his move to Maple Way, Burnham, but the crucial document had been served on the wrong address.

The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Beatson and Lady Justice Macur, allowed an appeal against an earlier ruling in the trustees’ favour.

Lord Justice Henderson concluded: “It follows that the notice to quit was not validly served on him… and his tenancy was not validly terminated.”

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