THE last remaining homeowner living in an otherwise deserted street has finally decided to abandon his house after 16 years.
Carl Harris refused to leave his property after Birmingham County Council bought up every other house in the street.
But after more than a decade of legal wrangles, Carl, 65, has settled on a price for his four-bed home in Gildas Avenue, Kings Norton.
It means officials can bulldoze the road and build 117 properties for social housing.
Carl had refused to relocate until he was offered the right price for his own home. This week, the council urged him to accept £275,000.
However, he's still furious – and says he feels cheated.
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“It’s all smoke and mirrors,” he told the BBC's Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“They don't want to increase the value of the house but are making the money up in other ways, making it look like a good deal. But it's not actually a good deal at all.”
The former bus driver believes up to four houses will be built on his single plot of land.
“It's relief that I can see light at the end of the tunnel," he said.
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“However, this option is the best of a bad lot.
"I spoke to a barrister last week and he said I could go to court and I could win, but if it didn't go in my favour, I would lose the fees I've paid out already, so £20,000 or so will be gone.
“Costs are mounting up. It would be brilliant if I won in court, but if I lost, I've got no house and no money.”
Carl now has until just after Christmas to find a new home, a timeframe he said is "ridiculous".
He is not allowed to purchase a home from the council, and has been unable so far to find a suitable property in the same area.
Gildas Avenue was branded a "no-go zone" last year as crime rates rocketed. Carl says his home has been broken into three times since 2018, once by council workmen who believed the property was owned by the local authority.
Most of Carl's neighbours moved out more than three years ago. Some areas of the estate have already been demolished to make way for the new development, while other properties are derelict.
A council spokesperson said: “Mr Harris’s solicitor confirmed on Thursday, August 11 that he was accepting the council's latest offer to voluntarily purchase his property.
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"They have also confirmed that Mr Harris will be withdrawing his objection to the Compulsory Purchase Order.
“With regard to the issue about the forced entry into his property and the damage to the door and frame, the council was aware of the issue at the time and steps were taken to remedy the situation with the agreement of Mr Harris.”
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