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Battle lines drawn in Gornal after man told he must leave his life-long home
12:09pm Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
GORNAL residents are preparing for battle to block the eviction of a neighbour set to lose his life-long home.
People in Stickley Lane are demanding a U-turn from Dudley Council after former maintenance worker Colin Davies was told time was up on his tenancy following the death of his mother.
His friends and family, with the support of political activists from UKIP, say they will resist any evictions and are planning mass protests and even direct action to block the way if bailiffs are sent to the house.
Mr Davies, who no longer works due to illness, said: "I've lived here since I was born. I do my best to be a good tenant and a good neighbour. The treatment I'm getting from the council has really upset me and is damaging my health."
The 58-year-old, who was born in the front room of the house, now lives alone in the three-bedroom property and council chiefs say he must move to a smaller home.
Councillor Steve Waltho, Dudley cabinet member for housing, said: "The council must always ensure it serves the interests of the whole community and it would not be appropriate use of a council home to allow a single occupier to live in a three bedroom family house.
"Mr Davies has no legal right to remain in the property and we will work closely with him to ensure we find appropriate, suitable accommodation to meet his needs."
UKIP Dudley chairman, Bill Etheridge, said: "We are taking up Colin`s case and will do everything possible to keep him in that house up to including standing outside to block the entrance to anybody wishing to remove him."
"Whether it be the disgusting bedroom tax or a simple lack of humanity and courtesy the council and its officers need to remember they are here to help and serve the public."
Cllr Waltho added: "It is true that if Mr Davies was allocated the property and allowed to stay there he would be underoccupying it and any claim he made for housing benefit would be subject to the government's bedroom tax, however the decision not to allocate him the property is not related to this but is in line with our allocation policy on making best use of our housing stock to meet housing need in the borough."
Campaigners have already gathered a petition with 300 signatures demanding Mr Davies, who is being treated for anxiety and depression, is allowed to stay in his home and a protest is planned for noon on Thursday October 10 on the steps of Dudley Council House.
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