Hello I am trying to protect my land from the local land grabbing mayor who is buying up every piece of land around and banking it for the future.  I have written to the DDI for the current land zonage as the Mayor seems to be unable to provide it to me, giving me the same info as in 2005 and the land next door which is now a lottisement is written as pasture land.  The mayor has built a road which ends at the boundary of my property.  He is also looking to buy the piece of land on the other side of my property and needs the piece of mine for access I believe.

We have a horse on the land for 8 months of the year and it is registered as agricultural at the moment.  I would like to seek the advice of a land lawyer does it have to be someone local as quite frankly I would not trust anyone locally at all having been fed a pack of lies when I purchased the property.  I live in the commune of Rohan.  Can anyone please help me as the land is all that I have left to keep me going spiritually.

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The simple case is that when we purchase the house and land in 2005 we were informed there was nothing on the 10 year plan with regard to building on the land next to ours.  This was told to us by the Notaire, the Notaire acts for the Mayor in all things and 18 months later they purchased the land next to our land, and I was informed on the quiet that a lottisement was going to be built.  In order for electricity to be laid on they needed to place a new pylon on the boundary of my land, ERDF sent one of their standard contracts around (the one that acts as if you would trust them with no delineation of where we could not plough the land or build within the area of the pylon etc., etc.,).  This Convention of Servitude also declared that we could do no electrical work on our property without notifying them and so on - so the usual one that is sent out to lottisement owners and not maisons individuelle.  So I objected, went to an advocat who also objected and I made alterations to the Convention of Servitude and enclosed a plan - I used to work as a legal secretary (well most of my life) and I know how to stitch up documents and seal them so this is what I did with the plan intact.  The mayor sent around the lovely young lady from the contractors who work for ERDF and she asked to speak to my husband who owned the land and house, I sent her away with 1/2 dozen eggs, a pack of tomatoes and a reply that informed her that I was dealing with the matter.  She admitted to me that someone in the village had objected to having a pylon on his land and he is French.

The upshot was that when they accepted my altered Convention of Servitude they then sent around the man to mark the boundaries, and we asked him why there was a road leading up to the pylon was it so that ERDF could service or check the pylon.  This question was asked through a friend who speaks excellent French.  The boundary man said "oh no madame I think this is so the Mayor can have an access road to your land and over it" to which I replied "Over the Mayor's dead body" the man giggled and said in English very funny.

I am just pre-empting because I know that prior preparation prevents some bastard from taking things away from you.  I recently asked the local Notaire for the price of a piece of land locally for winter grazing for our horse.  She said that it had been sold to the Notaire and why did I need more land did I not have enough?  I responded "no doesn't the Mayor?"  Apparently he has bought every conceivable piece for sale and I have been informed that he has his eye on the field next to ours and my French neighbour says he is after this as well.

Obviously people need places to live, there is more than enough land around where I live for him to purchase and whilst I do not have the right to a view I do have the right, to keep an animal on my land which I pay an agricultural tax on I believe, and this is a large horse that needs an awful lot of land.  It is also rather nice and leads down to two captivated lakes which are not fed by the local stream.  Any ideas please.

look for the newspaper and journalist wishing to get a story and bust the maire's backside by public exposure, he is land speculating which the french do not love because it is dirty dirty that gets caught, but they love the defrocking... next supporting act is also as many local environmental protection as you can muster, especially ones with an interest in water. you clearly have spring fed lakes, therewith frogs, newts, toads and various insect species who depend on them for breeding... the green people are probably well versed in machiavellian approaches and will know who to draw in to add to maire's grief

The thing is Brian that our lakes are I believe just rain water and water table, there are frogs but no newts, and there may very well be other interesting insects.  I do not think it is an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).  It is not the land with the lakes on that he will want as he cannot build on it as it is within 30 metres of a the stream which runs at the bottom of my garden.

It is the land above (on the sloping hill) that he will want to go across and possibly put houses on. He has not made obvious his intention to do so other than the road to the pylon.  Is he really land speculating - we would not know as we do not know what the zonage is for my land or for the other land around my village.  Does he have a right to purchase the land for the commune the Notaire made it obvious to me that he does, the shame is that we have a burgeoning population and only one school with double streaming in the classes its rather like that famous village of Bradley Stoke.  

I just  need a good land attorney so that I can get ready to rebuff any advances.  I suppose I could say that if he put a road across my land that the lakes would suffer from the traffic and if he built houses, after compulsory purchase if the prefecture approves zone changes, this would in fact divide my land and isolate the lakes from me and my family.  I will try to muster green support but I cannot do it locally as he seems to hold sway and I could not accuse him of land grabbing even though I feel like it.  Thank you for your reply.

The maire has not given me any grief verbally or in writing, or even notified me of any intention I am just suspicious as the French never build roads for no reason.

ok, but as sympathetic as I was to green issues I learned that activated environmentalists are a bane. if not themselves, they have informed and experienced people who really do stir up hornets. all aquatic species in w europe are at fairly high risk, not sssi in most cases but to use as a little stick. it is always worth a try. as for charming but devious maires, books could be written under the heading 'back stabbers'.

Patsie, I would be very carefull about going against the Maire as Brian is "sort of" suggesting, especially in a small village where as you said he holds sway. You could make matters worse. Can you not just go and see him and ask what his intentions really are ?

missing my point there jane; definitely do not do anything aggressively but gain sympathy against his 'possible' mal intents. in effect you do though make my missing point which is also to do nothing that is either antagonistic or cannot be explained as 'advised to' by people in places of influence

Wise words Jane - there were some really nasty dealings in our last village over some land, it all got very silly and car windows got smashed and a bloke's nose broken all because of the maire's underhand deals. Families split up and worse here in France over land, my OH's family are all farmers here and seeing what goes on from the inside is incredible. Very very different to rural UK!

Easy does it and keep it clean as Brian says ;-)

I've heard about similar things Andrew. I'm on the Conseille Municipal in our little village and we're lucky, the Maire is a good Maire but OMG all the two facedness and double dealings that go on and try to go on. It's not untill you're part of it that those sweet little villagers that you thought were kind and lovely so you see as not so kind and lovely afterall. The wars between generations of families over literally inches of land, the things that go on are unbelievable. People you thought you could trust you discover you can't. An outsider is an outsider all their life, even if you're French and just from another region.You've just got to be so carefull who you say things to coz they end up being related to someone somewhere along the line..if that makes sense.

Dear All

I have the answer I needed to a certain extent from Guilluame but the simple point is that I am just trying to put things in place for when the event occurs, as it will.  I am going to establish the current zonage of the land.  The mayor is purchasing land for the commune and is building a land bank for future projects, I am not saying that he is doing anything illegal but I will not let him walk over me in any attempts he may make to purchase my land. 

When the original plans for the lottisement were published and in the Mayor's office my friend and I went along and noticed a footpath which ends at the bottom of my property and this road to the pylon.  When we asked him about it he simply said "oh madame this is just a mistake".  The road to the pylon is now there.  He is canny.

I was a legal secretary dealing with land for many years and have seen it all before.  I just need to know the lie of the land legally here.  I will not be obviously aggressive I will just have a response when it is necessary that will be a legal rebuff.  I have no connections to the village emotionally and could not give a tinker's cuss about falling out with the Mayor in order to protect my land for as long as possible but that said I am always polite, smile and I feel I play the game the same as he.

I find that he backs off when faced with legalities but if has the right of compulsory purchase at the end of the day it will be a long battle and I will just argue about the price which can be done for a couple of years at least.  After all he is shooting himself in the foot if he has so much other land and he has not sold all the lottisement plots next door yet and the HLMs have not been built either.

patsie - best of luck be with you.

Are these land ownership problems common-place? Are these large parcels of land?


I have just under a hectare which includes the land my home is on and two lakes at the bottom of the slope of my land with land in between.  The local mayor is buying land for the commune in order to sell plots as apparently the village I live in is very popular - which is strange as it seems to have no heart as such just becomming a large sprawl.  I live just on the edge of it, well I did but houses are shooting up everywhere.

One of the locals on the lottisement last year asked me why I had so much land, why did I need it?  I replied because I always wanted some and I pay taxes accordingly - he said he thought it was immoral for me to have this land.  I understand that the costs of laying electricity and water to detached houses on large tracts of land is expensive but it seems that wherever there is land someone wants to build on it.  


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