Hoarder wins home appeal

Michael Jolly owner of derelict properties in St Annes

Michael Jolly owner of derelict properties in St Annes

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A MAN described as a “compulsive hoarder” has won an appeal against town hall chiefs.

Michael Jolly took his legal fight against a decision by Blackpool magistrates not to quash a notice requiring certain work to be done at his home.

Fylde Council had earlier ruled the appearance of the area around Mr Jolly’s property on St Andrew’s Road South, Lytham, was an eyesore with junk dumped in the grounds.

In February last year the council issued a notice, requiring work to be done on the house where Mr Jolly lives alone.

He appealed against that on the grounds he is disabled, but magistrates upheld the order.

But at Preston Crown Court, yesterday, Judge Andrew Woolman quashed the notice.

The court heard how parts of the notice were too vague and the local authority had failed in its duty under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, to have regard to the need of Mr Jolly’s disabilities – he has mental and physical problems and communicates by writing and occasional nods or shakes of his head.

The appeal heard the local authority was in breach of its duty under a section of the act in not considering those rights before issuing the notice.

Judge Woolman stated in his judgment “This case should act as a reminder to local authorities how important it is to apply the Equality Act in all their functions”.

He added “We are conscious we do not have the power to make declarations and may not have the power to quash the notice on any grounds other than those set out in the section.

“We will simply say that we find that this notice is a nullity. If we have power to do so on this ground, the notice will be quashed.

“In any event, we understand the respondents will not proceed on this notice unless they appeal this judgment.

Unless they appeal this judgment, any breach proceedings based on this notice would be an abuse of process.

“Accordingly, this appeal is allowed and the orders of the magistrates reversed”.

It was ordered that Fylde Council pay the costs of the appeal.