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85-year-old Middlesbrough man to receive £8,600 legal costs over council bin dispute

Clifford Kitching Photo: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

Middlesbrough Council has told ITV News Tyne Tees it will pay 85-year-old Clifford Kitching full legal costs of £8,682, after the pensioner successfully took court action earlier this week, to maintain access to his bin collection route.

The Nunthorpe grandad took the council to court, because it wanted him to walk an extra 200 yards through a path at the rear of his property on bin collection days, in order to proceed with the sale of neighbouring land to developers.

It would have involved Mr Kitching dodging trees, fences and washing lines just to put his bin out.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Mr Kitching's two year battle to maintain access to the old Blacksmith's Yard next door to his house, has taken it's toll on his health. The pensioner collapsed during the one-day land tribunal in Leeds.

I'm only too pleased it's over now and I can settle down to some kind of normal existence. I was just beginning to enjoy life when my wife died five years ago, bless her, and then I got this. To go to court, well, that did frighten me, because I didn't have the means really. I was convinced I had a good case and past dealings with the council, I thought well, they're just going to roll me over again. I couldn't allow that to happen.

– Clifford Kitching
Helen Garrad Credit: ITV News

Helen Garrad, Mr Kitching's daughter, said the property has been in the family since 1926, so it was important for her father to continue his legal fight for bin access to the neighbouring yard.

This is his home. This is where he's lived all his life. He's always had the access to the back of the property, but knowing my dad, he had to fight. The fact he's 85, it's amazing, but it's definitely taken it's toll on his health. to expect my dad to wheel a wheelie bin up here, it's just ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

– Helen Garrad, Clifford's daughter

Middlesbrough Council said they offered Mr Kitching personal access to the yard for his "lifetime only".

The council explained the Blacksmith's Yard was marked as "surplus to council requirements" in 2012 and a development scheme was subsequently drawn up to recognise the Conservation Area status of Nunthorpe Village with extensive public consultations carried out in 2014.

Blacksmith's Yard Credit: ITV News

The Blacksmith’s Yard was then advertised for sale with bids closing in October 2015. Five bids were received and a prospective purchaser approved before the claim to the Land Registry was submitted in early 2016.

The authority had endeavoured to resolve this matter without the need for the court process, however we acknowledge the judge’s decision and, while disappointed with the outcome, we will continue to focus on resolving the future of the Blacksmith’s Yard.

– Middlesbrough Council