West & Middle Chinnock Parish Council gave a special presentation of thanks to South Somerset District Council’s (SSDC) Senior Land Records & Research Officer, after several years’ hard work resolving a land ownership issue in the Parish.
Neil Cochran from West & Middle Chinnock Parish Council presented David Shears with a special glass plaque memento, a certificate and a cheque for David’s favourite charity (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) at the Council Offices.
The Parish Council purchased a 2 acre parcel of a large field in 1933 which was used as parish allotments until 1967. In 2010, the Parish council decided to register the land and the access track to it, but discovered that not only was the track not mentioned in their deeds from 1933 but that it had somehow been registered to a neighbouring farm in 1991 along with another part of the field.
In 2011, the Parish Council asked SSDC to help in establishing a right of way over the access track and to register ownership of their part of the field.
In order to do this, David first needed to research old maps and to interview (now elderly) former residents whose parents had rented the allotments from the 1930’s to 1967. He also read many hundreds of pages of the Parish Council books from 1894 and other records held in the Somerset Heritage Centre, along with researching files held by SSDC.
As a result, David was able to make an application to the Land Registry in late 2014 for 3 acres of field, the former access track and a small triangle of land where the Women’s Institute had planted a tree in 1977, and the application was successfully registered in May 2015.
Speaking after being given the special presentation, David said, “I’m very grateful for the generosity of the Parish Council and would like to very much thank them for everything. There have been many other council officers also involved including the fantastic admin support I have received from our Democratic Services team in typing out pages of minute book extracts, help from Engineering & Property Services who have produced dozens of A3 plans and from Development Control in accessing considerable numbers of microfiche records”.
Speaking on behalf of West & Middle Chinnock Council, Neil Cochran said, “The Parish Council is very pleased to have been able to say thank you to David. It is due to his tenacity and attention to detail over the last five years (the PC has gone through 3 chairmen in this period!) that the parish has achieved such a welcome outcome regarding the ownership of what is now an extremely valuable community asset”.
Councillor Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council added, “We are absolutely delighted by this personal recognition”.
Photo: David Shears (2nd right) being presented with a special glass plaque memento, a certificate and a cheque in recognition of his hard work for West & Middle Chinnock Parish Council over the years.