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Disputed area of land 'a real mess'
The row over a tiny patch of land continues with Marston residents lodging an official complaint against Oxfordshire County Council.
The land, which is outside the old Friar pub, is the property of the county council but residents claim it is not being kept tidy now the authority has asserted its ownership of it.
Earlier this year they attempted to claim ownership over it by erecting a fence around the land, only for it to be taken down.
The triangular patch of land is home to a memorial tree which was planted on Armistice Day 1950 to commemorate the people of Marston who died during the Second World War.
Locals hoped to take control of the land by a common law process called adverse possession which means that if an area of land is fenced off and not claimed it becomes the property of the people who took control of it.
Once appropriated they would have put up a plaque to highlight the significance of the tree as well as maintaining it.
But the county council has revealed that the land is considered part of the highway, so cannot be claimed by that process.
Roger Baycock, who runs saxophone shop Allegro Oxford on the other side of the road, said: “We are awaiting a response from the county council after putting in a formal complaint.
“They have not been maintaining the grass and the residents are very angry about this. For the residents it is a bit like a town green.
“But we are in an absurd position.”
Mr Baycock said it was the residents who cut the grass and kept the area tidy, not the county council.
The plot is not part of the land which comes with the pub, which is due to be turned into a Tesco store later this year.
Simon Petar, Tesco’s regional corporate affairs manager, confirmed building work would start before the end of 2012.
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “We can confirm we are currently dealing with a complaint raised by a group of Marston residents in relation to the redevelopment of the old Friar public house and an area of public highway land on Old Marston Road opposite the site.
“We will be responding to this in due course.”