Coalville man to bill council for 'repairs he made to its road'
A man is preparing to bill a local authority for thousands of pounds of repair work he carried out to a council-owned "track" after it said he would be charged £90 for using it to get to his garage.
Paul Kelly, of Agar Nook, Coalville, is one of 214 householders in North West Leicestershire to be notified by letter of a proposed "access charge".
The district council wants to charge people £20 for an annual licence to access their back gardens by foot over council-owned land. People such as Mr Kelly, who park in garages at the rear of their property will have to pay £90 a year.
The 64-year-old self-employed gardener, who has lived in Sharpley Avenue since he was a child, said: "I have walked and driven up this lane for over 60 years without having to pay.
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"I – and my father before me – have cut the hedges on either side, filled in potholes where necessary and carried out general maintenance of the drive.
"I feel as if I've been mugged by the council and I intend to send it an invoice for all the work I have carried out over the years."
Mr Kelly said he cut the hedges at least three times a year.
"It takes about four hours each go. If you say £10 for labour, that's about £120 a year," he said.
"That's £2,400 for 20 years. Then there's the potholes and asphalt I've paid for myself. To charge me for the privilege of getting to my own garage, after all the work I've done off my own back, is frankly insulting."
Other residents with garages have said they would park in the street if the charges were introduced.
Councillor Nick Clarke, Labour member for Coalville's Greenhill ward, said: "This appears to be a stealth tax. Mr Kelly and others are rightly angered by the whole affair."
Ibstock councillor Dave De Lacy was due to table a motion calling for the proposed access charges to be dropped when the Conservative-led council met today.
Coun De Lacy said: "All over the district, residents have been protesting to us about these crazy charges."
Councillor Nick Rushton, the council's portfolio holder for corporate services, said: "We are still committed to a fair, consistent and equitable approach for all residents and organisations that require access to their property across council-owned land.
"Following feedback from residents and businesses, we are conducting a site-by-site assessment with each resident and business to agree their requirements.
"This is progressing well and it is our intention to conclude this, ahead of schedule, within the next few weeks.
"The council will make contact with Mr Kelly so we can discuss his individual situation with him directly."
The public can attend today's council meeting.
It starts at 6.30pm at the council offices in Whitwick Road, Coalville.