Defiant Bill makes council tax protest

Bill Evans with his bin next to his garden gate
Bill Evans with his bin next to his garden gate

A PENSIONER is refusing to pay his council tax over claims Hartlepool Borough Council is ignoring his list of complaints.

Bill Evans, 68, has taken the dramatic step over claims the council has not responded to his complaints about an overgrown pathway, overhanging trees and a blocked drain near his house and because bin men do not close the gate after collecting his bins.

An overgrown pathway at Newton Bewley.

An overgrown pathway at Newton Bewley.

He said he has complained regularly but council bosses have denied his claims they have not taken action.

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The pensioner lives in Newton Bewley, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, and his house fronts on to the busy A689.

Mr Evans, who was diagnosed with prostrate cancer 10 years ago, has an assisted bin collection which means workers take his rubbish from the door to the wagon because he struggles to do it himself.

But he claims they regularly fail to shut the gate, which is dangerous for his two-year-old grandson Seth Stoker who regularly visits and his two pet dogs.

In protest he has cancelled his monthly council tax payments and says he will go to court if necessary.

Council chiefs have hit back and urged him to strongly reconsider his decision.

They say work to cut back the trees on the A689 and overgrown bushes on the path next to the road is set to start within the next few weeks.

Mr Evans, who is married to Sheila Evans, 62, said: “It has reached the stage where I feel the only thing I can do now is stop paying my council tax.

“The council is not fulfilling its commitment and I will have my day in court.”

The dad-of-two said the overhanging trees make it difficult for him to safely leave his drive and he has to edge on to the road.

But a council spokesman said: “We would strongly urge Mr Evans to reconsider his decision to withhold payment of his council tax.

“It is not correct for him to claim that we haven’t taken action on issues which he says he has raised with us

“In terms of the assisted collection service, we have already instructed our collection staff to make sure that they close Mr Evans’ gate after their visit and we continue to monitor the situation.

“In terms of the trees along the A689 near Mr Evans’ property, they are already scheduled to be cut back and this work will be done in the next few weeks.

“The pathway will also be cleared of any overhanging bushes under a similar timescale.

“We can find no record of a recent complaint from Mr Evans regarding a blocked gulley, but we are happy to inspect it and to then carry out any further work if required.”

Conservative group leader Ray Wells, who has been helping Mr Evans, said: “I am extremely disappointed the situation has been allowed to continue and while I fully sympathise with his actions I have encouraged him not to take this course of action in stopping his council tax payments.”