How much would you estimate it will cost to put everything back how it should be?
How many landowners will be joining in with this action?
Have they produced any estimates or quotations for the work?
There appears to be little doubt that you or the Lodge companyare responsible for the damage although it appears that this is largely not of your making and the alternative would be for the Lodge company to be in breach of contract.
They have certainly been negligent in their estimate of getting down the lane.
Therefore it comes down purely to the quantum of damages (the value of the claim) and, if the lodge company will not agree to pay, the value that a court would put on it.
I would suggest that you obtain quotations (quotations not estimates) for putting the work right and then, you can agree and get paid, what is agreed making that payment in full and final settlement and if they don’t accept it, and the landowners issue court proceedings, you will have to defend them on the basis that the claims are exaggerated.
I don’t know whether who actually did the work but it may be that the landowners have you and the Lodge company as first and second defendant and the court will decide (if it gets to court) who is actually liable.
The legal situation is that either you or the Lodge company is liable to put the landowners back into the position that they would have been had this damage not occurred and it is purely the value of that which is in dispute.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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I think you could successfully argue that you signed whatever you signed on the day under pressure/duress.
It isn’t actually blackmail in a legal sense, because they are not demanding money with menaces. They are just overcharging. It is potentially fraud of course.
It would be very difficult for them to enforce a contract which actually improved the property although if the fence was falling down, but it had to be removed, you would have no option but to put up a new fence to replace the old one. It appears however that you agreed to that and that would not be unreasonable.
It’s not unreasonable, also, if they want to hedge replacing with the fence, to use the opportunity of you requiring the access to make it a condition that you do that. It is just the cost of the fence which is going to be in dispute.
Ultimately, if neither you nor the Lodge company will agree to pay them what they are asking for, they can either take what is on offer or take you to court and the judge will decide.