A judge has ruled against a Gateshead pensioner who is fighting eviction from the home he has lived in for almost 70 years.

Ken May has been locked in a long-running battle with Gateshead Council over the state of his council house in Wardley and now faces the renewed threat of being removed by bailiffs.

The 69-year-old was given a temporary reprieve in May after challenging the latest eviction notice served by local authority, but his appeal has now been dismissed.

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A district judge at Gateshead County Court found on Tuesday morning that there were “no grounds” for the warrant to be suspended and that the council’s move was “not an unlawful eviction”.

Mr May’s lengthy dispute with the local authority has previously seen him ordered to reconnect his property to the electricity grid, rather than powering it with a petrol generator, and to clean up the mess around the house in Standfield Gardens, which has been his home since 1955.

Their latest argument centres on claims that the retired merchant seaman has refused to allow council officials entry to the house in order to carry out inspections.

While a previous court ruling prevented an eviction going ahead on May 25, Mr May was warned then that he was in the “last chance saloon”.

As was the case in May, Mr May did not attend court on Tuesday. He had argued in submissions to the court that his right to occupy the property was protected under UK law through the European Convention for the Protection of Fundamental Human Rights and the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

He accused Gateshead Council of a “sustained and deliberate refusal” to recognise his human rights and of a “blatant disregard for the law”.

But District Judge Charnock-Neal decided that the council had the right to demand access, under the terms of his tenancy agreement.

She said: “Yes, there is a right to respect for private life for him and there is to be no interference by a local authority or any other public authority – except in accordance with the law and where it is necessary for the protection of others, for the protection of any individual, for the prevention of disorder or crime, and the for the protection of health.” 

She added: “The warrant is because the defendant is not allowing access for inspection or safety checks to the property, which is a requirement under the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.

"For the safety of himself and others, there is a requirement from the local authority and any landlord to ensure that safety checks are carried out and that the property is inspected to ensure that it is being used lawfully and maintained in a good condition.”  Gateshead Council had argued that to rule in favour of Mr May would have “undermined the basis of contract law and the tenancy agreement”.

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The judge added that there were “no grounds” to suspend the warrant, “no malicious prosecution”, and “no breach of his human rights”.

In dismissing Mr May’s application, she also ordered that he pay the council a £131 warrant fee by August 8.

Mr May later told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he had no intention of leaving his home. He added: “I am exercising my statutory right to remain in occupation.”

The council is yet to set a new date for the proposed eviction.