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'We'll have it!' Council to claim ownership of mystery land needed for road revamp

The mystery surrounding who owns a plot of land needed for the Heartsease roundabout revamp has come to an end <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
The mystery surrounding who owns a plot of land needed for the Heartsease roundabout revamp has come to an end (Image: Newsquest)

After months of uncertainty, the mystery surrounding who owns a vital patch of land needed for a major roundabout revamp project has come to an end.

Work on the £4.4m revamp of Heartsease roundabout was at threat of being stalled after it transpired Norfolk County Council (NCC) did not own two patches of land on either side of Harvey Lane needed for the scheme.

While Greene King was later identified as the owner of two plots outside the Heartsease pub, the authority is now seeking to stake its claim over another section outside the former Lloyd's bank site as it is unregistered and no legal owner has been identified.

Eastern Daily Press: Land outside the former Lloyds Bank
Eastern Daily Press: Land outside the former Lloyds Bank

Land outside the former Lloyds Bank (Image: Newsquest)

A legal process for NCC to become the registered owners has now begun and a compulsory purchase order is progressing to buy the two Greene King-owned plots for an undisclosed sum.

Graham Plant, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: “We’re pleased to say that the purchasing of the areas of land in the Heartsease roundabout project area is progressing well.

"Having established that the plots in question are not registered to any known party, we can continue with the CPO process and do not anticipate any delays to construction within these areas.”

Eastern Daily Press: Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport
Eastern Daily Press: Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport

Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport (Image: Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk)

READ MORE: Businesses facing big drop in trade due to roundabout revamp

Over 85pc of land in England and Wales has a registered owner but if it is found to be unregistered with the HM Land Registry, anyone can apply to take possession of it.

But if somebody comes along within a 12-year time frame and says it is their land, they can claim it back providing they have valid evidence to prove this.

NCC's handling of the Heartsease revamp has come under fire since it began in September, with local councillors calling it a "fiasco" due to the mystery of land ownership.

Businesses have also called for compensation after suffering a huge drop in footfall and trade.