Family in bitter battle over £2million 'dilapidated' petrol station

Mother and son are locked in a multimillion pound court battle over a ‘dilapidated’ Windsor petrol station which has been in their family for nearly a century

  • Tudor Marsden-Huggins and mother Caroleta lock horns over £2m Windsor plot 
  • Mother and son are locked in bitter court fight over 1930s former petrol station
  • Dr Caroleta Marsden-Huggins envisions 50-room hotel to be built  on site
  • Tudor argues plans to sell off land to highest bidder has left him out of pocket 

A family are locked in a bitter multimillion pound court battle over a ‘dilapidated’ petrol station bought by their artist ancestor which is now worth a fortune.

Recruitment boss Tudor Marsden-Huggins is battling his mother Dr Caroleta Marsden-Huggins over ownership of the former filling station in Windsor which has been in their clan since the 1930s, and adjoins the family burial plot.

Over the course of almost a century the site has rocketed in value, with Dr Marsden-Huggins claiming developers have previously offered to buy it for £2m.

Now permission has been granted for a 50-room hotel to be erected there and its value will surge ever higher, she insists.

But her plans to sell off the former filling station to the highest bidder have landed her in a court fight with son Tudor, who is determined to keep the site in the family and display his great-grandfather’s artwork there.

Papers filed with London’s High Court set out how mother and son are the descendants of Windsor artist Wilfred Huggins, whose son Marsden acquired the filling station site in the 1930s.

Recruitment boss Tudor Marsden-Huggins (left) is battling his mother Dr Caroleta Marsden-Huggins (right) over ownership of the former filling station in Windsor which has been in their family since the 1930s

The ‘dilapidated’ former filling station in Windsor was bought by Wilfred Huggins in 1930 and has ‘skyrocketed’ in value above £2million, the family say

Tudor, the decorated artist’s great-grandson, says he has spent £430,000 gaining planning permission for a hotel on the site so it can be kept in the family and used to honour his forebear’s talents by displaying his work.

He says he spent the money having been assured by his property manager mother that the site – which is in her name- was to be passed to him and his brother.

Now Tudor claims that, following a falling out between him and his brother, Saxon, his family is denying him his rightful claim to half of the property’s value. 

Mother Dr Caroleta has described herself as the family’s ‘custodian’ of the property, but the family feud has been brewing since at least 1998.

Since 2014, Tudor claims to have invested more than £400,000 in refurbishment and planning permission investments to ensure he would ‘inherit the property’ and honour his family history. 

In court papers, Tudor’s lawyers say: ‘The property is a former petrol filling station and is in a severely dilapidated state.

‘It has been owned by the Marsden-Huggins’ family for approximately 100 years. The defendant has been the registered proprietor of the property since around August 2000 when she inherited it from her late husband. 

‘On occasions too numerous to particularise, since at least 1998 until this dispute developed in about 2020, the defendant has consistently and repeatedly represented to the claimant and Saxon that they would jointly receive the property before or her upon her death. 

Since 2014, Tudor claims to have invested more than £400,000 in refurbishment investments to ensure he would ‘inherit the property’ and honour his family’s rich history

‘The claimant estimates that he has spent somewhere in the region of £430,000.

‘He invested those sums in the expectation that he would inherit the property, together with Saxon.’

A background on Windsor-based artist Wilfrid Huggins (1873-1949)

Wilfrid Huggins, born 1873, was an artist of local renown in Windsor.

He graduated from London’s Royal Academy of Arts.

Following the death of his 33-year-old son, Marsden, he donated a painting to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

The artwork, ‘A View of Windsor Castle from Eton Wick’, was misplaced and found in the basement of Maidenhead Town Hall after a four year search.

His great-grandson, Tudor, has committed to restoring the painting to its former glory.

There are plans to display the artwork in the Windsor area for local residents to enjoy. 

The papers go on to say that the brothers subsequently fell out over business matters down under, where the family are currently based, and that his mother ‘appears to be fixed in her intention to sell the property.’

Tudor also argues that his mother, Dr Marsden-Huggins ‘recently indicated a willingness to sell the property’ to him but ‘has continued to deny his beneficial interest in the same’ and is demanding full market price, which she puts at over £2m.

Alternative to a half share, Tudor is demanding his mother give him his £430,000 investment back, plus interest.

Dr Marsden-Huggins insists that if her son wants to keep the site within the family, he must pay the same price as any other bidder. 

In her defence, barrister Jamal Demachkie argued: ‘The defendant admits that she has often discussed her intentions with her sons, but denies…that she has represented that her sons would certainly receive the property before, or upon, her death.’

She has never ‘evinced any form of intention to convey to the claimant any interest in the property, let alone a 50% share as he seeks in this claim,’ the barrister adds.

‘The defendant has never provided any representation or assurance that the property would be inherited by her sons. This may have been the desire of the claimant, but, if so, it was not based on any representation or assurance from the defendant.’

Her lawyer states the family have ‘received an offer… to purchase the property for £2 million’ from a developer and that, planning permission for the hotel having been granted earlier his year, the site is now worth ‘well above this figure.’ 

‘The defendant believes that Tudor’s desire to hold on to the property at any cost has been behind his increasing expenditure and his refusal to countenance any sale to a third party, contrary to the wishes of the defendant.

‘The current dispute has seemingly been borne out of the defendant’s desire to sell the property so as to ensure that in the latter years of her life, she is able to earn an income and not be tied into a development project of uncertain duration, from which she is unlikely to ever see any benefit in her lifetime,’ her barrister concludes.

The contents of the court documents have yet to be tested in evidence before a judge. 

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