Dispute breaks out over land boundary and works at quiet Cliffsend road

Upset residents and councillors in Clive Road Photo Dave Stillman

A dispute has broken out between residents in a Cliffsend road and a developer brought in to clear a plot of land that backs onto their gardens.

Maybank Homes Ltd is clearing land at 20 Clive Road which has planning approval for the building of five houses.

But the work has caused outrage amongst those whose properties back onto the site who say the clearance has strayed the boundary and ‘taken chunks’ of their gardens – leaving a sheer drop into the development site.

One family also say the work crew demolished land belonging to them by using it as an access point to get to the site.

The dispute has resulted in numerous complaints to police with both sides claiming incidents of abuse, damage and confrontations as well as further complaints to Thanet and Kent councils.


Resident Saffron Clayton says she was given three hours to remove a chicken house and chickens from the site. She admits the land does not belong to her but says she has used it for the past 19 years and more time should have been given.

Couple Ann and John Townend say the end of their garden is “falling away” after the removal of undergrowth and trees.

Ann said: “There were cherry trees and bushes and now the whole lot is gone.”

After Photo Swift Aerial Photography

Resident Steven Parsons said there are also concerns that the work is too close to a gas main and worries that there is asbestos on site.

He added: “We are disputing the boundary they have made. It is also on an old tip with cars and all sorts buried there and we are told the builders found asbestos.”

Tania McCullum says workers destroyed land belonging to her in order to create access to their site. She says the patch was a wildlife area enjoyed by her two sons who have autism.

The neighbour’s plot

She added: “Our gate and fence is broken, everything is gone and it seems we can only bring a civil case. We are really upset about the impact on the wildlife and the environment.”

Steven Mayhew, from development company, says a ‘mistake’ was made when access was created but denies there was a wildlife garden at the site.

He said: “The builder accessed the site in the wrong place. I apologised and (the owner) asked us to dig out their rubbish and put it onto our site. It was full of rubbish.”

Steve Parsons said residents are upset at the loss of wildlife and trees and says there was a lack of notification.

He said: “If someone had come down with proper notification we could have negotiated and there wouldn’t be all these problems.

“I think he (Mr Mayhew) should come to my property, speak to us and get this dispute out of the way.

“We want posts and fencing. There is a 5ft drop at the end of my garden and it is not acceptable. None of us can use our gardens, there is no privacy.”

Mr Mayhew says the boundary line complies with Land Registry records and says neighbours had ‘taken’ part of his client’s land.

He said: “It is a bit of a mess. We were asked to go in for landscaping works by the owner but there has been so much trouble. We have spent 15 years working on complex sites and have never had anything like this.

“We were called in to clear and reclaim the owner’s garden, erect some fencing and then look at where we go from there.”

Green Party district councillor Becky Wing attended the demolition work at the request of a friend and says she was shocked to see the extent of the clearance.

She said a better way forward needs to be found.

She said: “Not only does it appear a resident’s land was part of this demolition/clearance work but there has been an extensive removal of habitat that seems to have been approved by TDC Planning at appeal.

“In addition, other residents gardens were left with overhangs as soil has been removed leaving exposed slopes that are now prone to erosion and falling away.

“What was really worrying when I first attended the site was the fact work was being undertaken within 10 metres of a high pressure gas pipe despite clear signage and that even the developer’s own planning applications states asbestos could be present.

“The planning  report recommends a full site investigation be undertaken but it is not clear whether this has been carried out.”

Cllr Wing added: “I hope the trees to be retained in the plans are properly protected throughout the remainder of the development, that the developer works with residents to find a better way forward and that TDC Planning ensures every aspect of the approved planning application is met to protect both people and our ever diminishing habitats.”

Councillors Marc Rattigan, Tricia Austin and Brenda Rogers have also attended the site and expressed concerns.

However, Thanet council says there have been no planning breaches.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The council has received complaints relating to planning condition breaches attached to permission F/TH/19/0407.

“Our Planning Enforcement team visited the Clive Road site but found no breach of planning control on the site clearance works.

“We understand that other relevant authorities have been contacted relating to damage to neighbouring sites and the proximity of site clearance to a gas main.”

Mr Mayhew said a site visit had been made in regards of the gas main and no issues found.

Spokesperson for gas distribution company SGN, Waseem Hanif, said: “We attended the site to carry out safety checks near our pipeline. We found there to be no safety issues.

“If you’re a farmer, landowner or contractor planning to carry out work which disrupts land including excavating, ditching and drainage works, call us on 0800 912 1722. We’ll visit your site free of charge to help you plan your work and mark the location of any pipelines.”


    • With the blessing of the planning team at TDC who have just been found to be giving illegal consents to developers elsewhere this week.
      I wonder how many more !

    • You mean developers doing what they have permission to do, on land that others have been trespassing on for some years..

  1. Would have thought if the residents were using land that wasn’t theirs like the lady had for 19 years, she could claim adverse possession? Obviously there might be details that mean it is not possible.

  2. The ‘squatters rights’ laws don’t apply these days to registered land in the way that they used to. If the ‘squatter’ applies to register the title to the land in their own name, then the registered owner is alerted to the attempted claim and they have a given time period to apply to the courts for possession, which defeats the claim. The squatter only gets title to the land if the registered owner does nothing after being alerted to the attempted title claim.

    • Ah right, neighbour tried to do that to me over a shared passage way on a house that I leased out in London. He put a small fence up on shared path and a gate at the front of the passage way. Been in place for nearly 12 years but got someone in to rip up the fence and take down the gate as was selling the house. Tenants said he was really upset and will seek legal advice but never heard a peep out of him, I guess he did get legal advice a per your comment!

  3. So a developer is doing what he has been asked to do in line with the planning permission granted, TDC and KCC have said there have not been any breaches and a neighbour admits to stealing land that isn’t hers….hmmmmm who is in the wrong here then? How is it ok to take something that isn’t yours and then complain?!

  4. I’m struggling to see what the problem is here. They stole the land and now looks like the owner has given permission for someone to take it back! The neighbours should be grateful to have used the land for 19 years. There’s a massive shortage of house’s in this area. Let’s hope the existing neighbours attitude changes – positive thinking.

  5. So a developer was doing what had been asked of him, inturn complying with the planning application, TDC and KCC have confirmed that he hasn’t done anything wrong or breached any laws. A neighbour admits to stealing land that isn’t hers, and the residents are up in arms! The mind boggles!

  6. We’re any yellow notices displayed near the site to say that there had been a planning application to develop the land? I own a plot of land and I have had numerous attempts by developers to take it / buy it over the years. I will not sell it it’s in my will to my family and grandchildren. It is inspected six months to make sure there’s no infringement by builders or anyone else.

    • Your right Bill, proposed planning consent notices should have been displayed, and probably posted through the letter boxes of those close to the development by TDC, thats the time to make any objections to the development! Seems to me these people are complaining about something that they should have complained about long ago, but didn’t, why’s that then?

      • Sadly this ‘developer’ has a habit of taking them down and it’s a well known fact that TDC do not always distribute them as they should.

  7. Feel sorry for the builders! Sounds like they’ve had a rough time of it too! Must be saints to still be working on a project with so much hate around! Would def employ them if I had a difficult job to do!

  8. Usually archeological surveys are for Roman remains. Sounds like Ford might be interested in the site if there are so many cars down there! How does the neighbour know? Maybe he put them there!

  9. So a widow has her land stolen and squatted on for years and the thieves are making out they’re the victims??? What is in the water in Cliffsend to make all these residents so vile!!!

  10. Shame that everyone is getting caught up the fact some of the residents were using the land which wasn’t theirs and not the actual issue of the appalling behaviour of the property developer and his band of builders. These issues of destroying wildlife, undercutting other people’s land and abusive behaviour are common practice of Maybank Homes. There is a stream of upset neighbours all over Thanet who have had to endure their greed, arrogance and selfishness. It also wouldn’t be the first time that Maybank Homes (or one of his many previous companies) haven’t disposed correctly of asbestos. Surprised he actually got planning permission for this before he started. Unfortunately he’ll get away with it like he always does through his egotism, having connections in the right places and having enough money to throw at problems or people. Such a shame that people form their opinions of proper property developers on ones like these.

  11. Dear Clive Road. Sorry to hear that you too are suffering the Maybank Homes treatment. Deepest sympathies.

  12. Very interesting. The exact same planning application was refused on some pretty crucial grounds a year before the current one was submitted then suddenly this one was granted! The marvels of TDC, hey?! Some very clear reasons why this land should not be developed and sadly it sounds like the biodiversity and wildlife that the committee itself said must be protected has been destroyed courtesy of Maybank Homes. It also noted that the developer must submit a clear plan for entrance and exit route to the site to prevent this happening but sounds like Mr Mayhew got around that with his contractors’ ‘mistake’.

  13. “When there’s something strange…. In your neighbourhood…. Who you gonna call….Steven Mayhew!”

  14. Thought I was reading a story from liverpool echo, scousers nick land that doesnt belong to them. Than play the victims when it’s taken back !

    Perhaps cliffsend has alot of scousers living there lol

  15. Steven Mayhew is a very decent guy doing exactly what he’s allowed to do as confirmed by planning, environmental, police etc etc! He doesn’t deserve anything but praise for dealing with such a difficult situation in a calm and professional manner. No one likes building work close to their home but don’t take it out on the guys doing their jobs!

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