Couple forced to reschedule home after losing border dispute over six inches of land

Philip New, 52, and his wife Denise New, 47, are now paying the costs of a 2012 “six inch” boundary dispute with neighbors at their property in Benfleet, Essex

Philip and Denise New have found themselves tens of thousands of pounds in debt with their
Philip and Denise New have found themselves tens of thousands of pounds in debt with their “nightmare neighbours” in a decades-long legal battle.

A couple has been forced to reschedule their home after falling into debt with their neighbors after a decade-long legal battle over six inches of land.

Philip New, 52, and his wife Denise New, 47, are now picking up the costs of a boundary dispute dating back to 2012 with neighbors at their property in Benfleet, Essex.

Neighbors argued that the fence was in the wrong place and should go further into the couple’s garden.

Phil said: “I wish I knew why they’re doing this. The maximum amount of land they looked for was about six inches, it’s tiny.

This image shows the weeds and plants that Philp removed from the original fence in his yard


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He added: “We had to get a new mortgage because of legal fees. We fooled ourselves thinking we were going to win the case and then we didn’t and we had no choice but to appeal.

“So far it’s probably cost us around £25,000-30,000 and that’s not including the final cost – if it really goes wrong it could be another £30,000-40,000.

“It drove us crazy and took over our lives. We don’t seem to be talking about anything other than that. It’s a nightmare, it won’t go away, we live and breathe it.

This image shows a broken portion of the original fence that ran behind Philip and Denise’s garage and summer home


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“They’re just selfish people who went through the whole process without losing anything to gain something that they obviously never had on the property.”

Philip, Denise and their two children have lived in their three-bedroom home for 16 years and say the fence has always been in the same spot.

They say they replaced the fence panels in 2010, but they used the original cement posts, which they say have been there for about 50 years.

The feud began in 2012 and in 2015 they agreed to arbitrate and have a surveyor determine the boundary to resolve it.

This picture shows the boundary line drawn by a surveyor at Philip’s request


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This picture shows the double fence in Philip’s garden


Kennedy News and Media)

Philip claims the surveyor did an “extremely poor” job in determining the boundary line and said they drew it in a position that would mean it would have to pass directly over a drainage system.

The tinsmith says his neighbors insisted on following the new border.

This would mean that the neighbors would gain six inches at one end of the garden while at the same time losing some land at the other end.

Philip said: “It was a bit quiet for about three years and then in 2018 we got a court summons for trespassing, damages and establishing the boundary line.”

After receiving the court summons, the couple appeared for their first hearing in February 2021.

The pair were so desperate to end the feud that they conceded and forfeited more land than was necessary by building a second fence and seeking an out-of-court settlement.

This is the drain that runs near the original fence line


Kennedy News and Media)

Her neighbors received free legal representation while receiving disability benefits and have defended their position, claiming the couple are just “very bad losers” who “can’t get over the fact that they lost”.

The unnamed neighbors said Phil and Denise are “the saddest people they have ever met in their lives” and pointed out that several judges ruled in their favour.

During the court proceedings, Philip claims her solicitor established that the surveyor who carried out the work was not a surveyor but a construction surveyor.

The couple lost the case when the judge found the agreement binding and ordered them to stick to the new boundary.

Philip and Denise then appealed the verdict, saying the appraiser had no jurisdiction, leading to a High Court hearing just months later in May 2021.

Their main argument was that the surveyor had no jurisdiction under the settlement agreement because he was not a surveyor within the meaning of the agreement.

But the original judge had ruled that the surveyor was “sufficiently qualified” and did not contest the agreement.

The appellate judge eventually ruled to dismiss the point, confirming that both parties were bound by their 2015 settlement agreement and expert opinion.

The judge also ruled that they were not allowed to appeal this verdict.

The unnamed couple say they too were left with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt as not all of their legal fees were unpaid, so they had to take out high-interest loans.

The neighbors said, “We’ve had this for 11 years. They lost and they don’t like it, they are very bad losers.

“You are the saddest people I have ever met in my life. He’s the one who always pays more.”

They explained that they previously offered Philip and Denise a settlement, but didn’t take it because they were “too greedy”.

Neighbors said: “So you’re telling me three senior judges got it wrong but Mr New got it right? I do not think so.

“This guy has a serious, hefty bill to deal with the fence issue.

“He lost the case and he will not give us our country back. He is not allowed to erect a fence. We want our fence brought back.

“Six inches is a lot of land and he has no right to take it.”

Philip and Denise have since started one GoFundMe to cover their extensive legal costs.

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