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85 year old Middlesbrough man wins two year fight with council over his wheelie bin route

Cliff Kitching Photo: NCJ Media

A Grandad who challenged Middlesbrough Council in court – and won – says he is “elated but exhausted” by the two-year long ordeal.

Cliff Kitching, 85, vowed to fight council plans to block off a centuries-old access to his Nunthorpe garden and protect his weekly wheelie bin route.

Instead of a two-minute bin route, Cliff would have been forced to push his bin 200 yards, dodging trees, fences and washing lines if plans to convert Old Blacksmith’s Yard, next door to his house, had succeeded.

In a modern-day tale of David and Goliath, Cliff triumphantly beat the authority with a tribunal judge ruling that the right of way must be protected.

I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened,” he said. “After all is said and done, it should never have happened in the first place. It’s absolutely crazy.

I was expected to push my bin over 200 yards to the top of the village and back.

I can’t even walk 20 yards without my walking stick. I take my stick wherever I go."

– Cliff Kitching
Cliff's wheelie bin route in Nunthorpe Credit: NCJ Media

Landowner Middlesbrough Council had hoped to sell the site next to Cliff’s home to a housing developer, which would shut off an access through the courtyard used by the pensioner and his forbears since Victorian times.

Cliff vowed to continue his fight against the plans despite collapsing at a one-day land tribunal in Leeds and racking up a £9,000 legal bill.

But he said the two-year long wait for a resolution is now over.

Cliff hopes to recover costs but that has yet to be decided, he says.

As for the plans to develop Blacksmith’s Yard, Cliff said Middlesbrough Council “can do what they like” with the site as long as the bin route access is protected.

Cliff's house next to Blacksmith's Yard in Nunthorpe Credit: NCJ Media

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