A defiant disabled biker claims that if a garage complex used to store his treasured trike is demolished, he will have to be led off the site “in handcuffs”.
Paul Kelly has been paying rent to house his three-wheeled vehicle in a garage near his home in Wilfrid Street, Boldon Colliery, for more than two years but was given just two weeks’ notice to shift his property by January 24.
The furious 56-year-old uses the specially-designed trike to visit family and attend bike rallies after a stroke suffered in 1999 ended his days on two wheels.
The former floorlayer was first told last year of plans to flatten the six-garage site to make way for a plan by Isos Housing to build 11 homes on the site.
But he was only served with a notice to quit the garage on Monday.
Mr Kelly says South Tyneside Council should honour its rent agreement and find him an alternative garage before trying to force him out.
The only way to get me out of there is in handcuffs.Paul Kelly
He has vowed to ‘camp out’ at the garage and refuse to budge when the D-Day arrives later this month.
South Tyneside Council says the garage will be demolished after planning approval for the housing bid was granted.
However, the council insists it is working to find an alternative garage for Mr Kelly – and is asking for him to remain ‘patient’.
Mr Kelly said: “When I suffered a stroke I lost the feeling in my hand and it means I can no longer ride bikes.
“I have always loved bikes and have rode everything from a GoldWing to a Harley Davidson.
“The trike is the next best thing for me and means I can travel to visit my family and go to biking rallies.
“I will have nowhere to put the trike and it could get vandalised if left out on the street.
“I have always paid my rent every week.
“I am not asking for much – just a garage to store the trike.”
Mr Kelly insists he is not going anywhere – and has warned it is far from the end of the road in his garage battle.
He added: “I will camp out at the garage if I have to.
“The only way they will get me out of there is in handcuffs.
“The council should honour its agreement.
“I feel gutted about this, but I will be sticking in there.”
A council spokesman said: “As the application from Isos has been approved, the garages will need to be demolished and tenants have been served notice.
“We are looking for an alternative garage where Mr Kelly can store his tricyle and would appreciate his patience while this work is ongoing.”