A SOLUTION to the wrangle between Chillerton residents and Southern Water over free water supplies could soon be reached.
Residents in the Isle of Wight village believe they are entitled to their water free — or at a reduced rate — under a 999-year-old legal agreement made in 1907 by Sir Charles Seely when he gifted the land.
But the water company says the right to free, or cheap, water has long since expired. Despite that, it provided free water to some recently built properties but not to others built at the same time.
Residents formed the Chillerton Water Action Group (CWAG), which was represented at a meeting with Southern Water, attended by Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner, Isle of Wight councillor Peter Bingham and parish council chairman Cllr John Kingston.
In a statement Mr Turner said: "What particularly concerned me was Southern Water had stated the legal agreement was no longer valid without properly considering the position.
"It is a financial giant of a company, with a turnover of more than £650 million, and it knew residents could not afford to take it on in the courts.
"It was a positive meeting which gave villagers the opportunity to put forward their arguments to Southern Water.
"It has agreed to consider the points raised carefully and bring forward a plan to resolve the issues within the next three months. All residents affected will then be able to consider the proposals."
A Southern Water spokesman said: "We were pleased to attend the meeting with residents and local representatives, called by Andrew Turner MP.
"Although there is a difference of opinion between us, it became clear that Southern Water has not communicated well enough on this, for which we have apologised. We are working to agree a plan to bring the issues to resolution."