In what will undoubtedly come to be known as the showdown of the Century, a tribunal judge has ruled that Middlesbrough council could not block off a centuries-old right of way as part of a new private housing development due to the efforts of a single gutsy pensioner. The proposed action would have blocked Cliff Kitching (85) from his usual bin route, approximately 20 yards away, forcing him to walk over 200 yards to the top of the village – effectively turning his weekly bin drop off into a pilgrimage of wheelie big proportions. Not on Cliff’s watch.
Despite collapsing at a one-day land tribunal in Leeds and racking up nearly a £9,000 legal bill, our seasoned protagonist vowed to continue his fight against the local authority, as in his words: “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.” Making for a truly fascinating account of one man’s ceaseless determination to protect his bin drops like they were his own young, the story has been described by local news outlets as “The David and Goliath of our times”. A true enough observation, though we think it actually is far more resonant of Harry Brown (minus the guns and pension violence): a tale of an elderly hero stepping up to the plate where no one else would to protect his local community. We commend you sir.
After 2 years of legal back and forth with the council, Cliff has finally emerged victorious, with the court ruling in his favour and protecting the wheelie bin route that was used by his father, and his father’s father before him. Presently it is unclear if Cliff will receive compensation back for the time and money put into the case, though he remains hopeful. Now that a resolution has been reached, Cliff has signed off by saying the council “can do what they like with the site, as long as the bin route is protected”. Let that be a lesson to you Middlesbrough, and any other council that would stand between a pensioner and their bin collections.