DISPUTES over land ownership is rocking the restoration work at Dauntsey Lock after a former Wilts and Berks Canal Trust trustee, who owns a stretch of the canal, says she hasn’t been consulted on plans for the Peterborough Arms.

Rachael Banyard, who bought two miles of the canal in 1994 with Tina Haynes, has said she will not work with the current management of the trust again after they submitted three planning applications to develop the pub and the visitors centre which she believes encroach on her land.

“The trust has acted disgracefully,” the 72-year-old said. “I bought the land in 1994 but part of the land was unregistered. I worked with the Trust’s volunteers and other local volunteers to help repair and restore the canal but all of that has now been rubbished by the current management.

“When you submit a planning application, you have to highlight your land in red and the planned development in blue, except the plans are on part of my land. They’ve been totally dismissive of it and have acted in totally inappropriate ways.

“I no longer have any intention with working with the current management, but I will work with anyone else who wants to restore part of this area’s heritage.”

The plans, which include the installation of temporary mobile units at the back of the pub and work to the pub have also outraged the former vice chair of the trust.

“When I stepped down in 2011, I thought I was leaving the Trust in safe hands,” Luke Walker said “We always tried to work with landowners, so that we could build relationships with them to help restore the canal. Except the way they have treated Rachael Banyard is disgusting.

"Their reaction, which was to stick fences up around the site on land which isn’t even theirs and submit three planning applications, is appalling and they have done it all in the public domain.

“All they needed to do was ask but they haven’t and now their actions have weakened the prospect of getting the canal back.”

Mrs Haynes, who joint owns the land with Mrs Banyard, confirmed that she had not seen the plans. 

"I think it is a little unhelpful for the Trust not to supply me with the application information and although they are allowed to submit a plan for land they do not own, they should inform the landowners to make sure that everything is right and in its place. 

"I haven't seen the plans and can't comment on them at this time but I must add that the towpath has not yet been opened due to a health and safety aspect at this time."

A spokesman for the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust said: “WBCT has requested planning permission on land that WBCT owns adjacent to Dauntsey Lock to locate our innovative Transitions Project in temporary buildings behind the Peterborough Arms.

"The Transitions Project has proved a great success, with a number of vulnerable groups and individuals in Wiltshire and Swindon participating in our environment, cultural and art programmes based on the canal that we run for the benefit of the public.

"WBCT wishes to continue this work when the Peterborough Arms opens commercially in the near future.

"It is a matter of regret to WBCT that two former members of WBCT are objecting to the planning permission on the basis of land ownership of the lock itself, which forms no part of our planning application.

"WBCT have been in discussion with former owners of the Peterborough Arms and with the joint owners of the canal on either side of the lock, Tina Haynes and Rachael Banyard, since January 2017 to help resolve the ownership issue of the lock itself."