HOMEBUYERS in a new Swindon housing development believe they have been mis-sold leasehold properties by Persimmon.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland is supporting people who bought homes in the Badbury Park area near Coate Water only to find out that they had to pay rent.

A freeholder owns both the house and the land it is on while a leaseholder rents the property for a fixed period

Mr Buckland spent many months pressing the housing developer for a residents meeting and finally got his wish after the company appointed Julian Roper as the new director in charge in July.

Due to Covid-19, and GDPR regulations, it was agreed that these meetings should take place at the development's showhome on an individual basis rather than in one big group meeting

There was such high demand for meetings that all the slots were fully booked but Mr Roper agreed to review any individual cases where a resident has been unable to book a slot.

In the end, 14 meetings were held on Friday, with the justice secretary present to represent each concerned homeowner who contacted him with a case.

Mr Buckland added: "I requested a public Zoom meeting with Persimmon which Julian Roper turned down. This was disappointing news."

When asked about this before the residents' meetings, a spokesman for the Persimmon Homes Wessex told the Adver: "We are happy to confirm that representatives from Persimmon Homes will be meeting with the Lord Chancellor, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland and local residents."

The Competition and Marketing Authority announced at the beginning of the month that it was launching enforcement action involving four leading housing developers who it believes may have broken consumer protection law in relation to leasehold homes.

Persimmon is one of those developers.

Mr Buckland added: "I will be following the CMA action very closely and will continue to support local residents with this issue.

"I was pleased last year when the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government announced that all new build homes will be sold as freehold in a move to tackle unfair leasehold practices.

"This is a step in the right direction but it does not solve the issues for the many residents, including those in Badbury Park, who have already purchased a leasehold home.

"I have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, on behalf of local residents and asked him what can be done from a government point of view to help those residents who have already purchased a leasehold property.

"I will continue to work hard and do all I can to assist residents with this issue."

The Badbury Park development will soon have 300 homes added to it as Persimmon and Redrow's joint application received the thumbs-up from Swindon Borough Council in April.

Part of the site was originally zoned to be a light industrial estate, but there was no interest in building that. The land wraps around GWH and is bounded by the M4 and A419.