A negligence case between the Earl of Malmesbury and Strutt & Parker began today at the High Court, with the Earl claiming damages that could rise as high as £164m.

The case centres around the levels of rent negotiated by Strutt & Parker on 13 acres (5.26 hectares) of land owned by the Earl’s estate adjacent to Bournemouth International Airport between 2000 and 2003.

The Earl claims that Strutt & Parker were negligent in advising a fixed income rent of £9,000 a year on the land, on a 24-year lease, with no break clauses, and rent reviews fixed to the price of season tickets which the airport itself controlled.

The Earl is claiming that Strutt & Parker should have proposed a rent based on turnover, or a lease with rent reviews that would take into account the open market value of the site.

He says the former would have entitled his Estate to 90% of car park earnings that he estimates as a possible £182m, dependent on planning permission, or that the open market value of the land from 2005 onwards stands at £1.25m.

Strutt & Parker have filed a counter claim against solicitors Wilsons, who acted on the Heads of Term in the case, arguing if Strutt & Parker are found to have been negligent, then this is also true of Wilsons, and that the solicitors firm should be responsible for the payment of damages.

Mr Justice Jack is hearing the case, which is scheduled to continue for the next three weeks. For regular updates on the case visit www.propertyweek.co.uk