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Pensioner threatened with eviction from his Hackney home... over a satellite dish

PUBLISHED: 16:00 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:00 17 May 2017

Barry Williams with the satellite dish that he has removed from the front of his property. Picture: Polly Hancock

Barry Williams with the satellite dish that he has removed from the front of his property. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A pensioner was told he could be evicted from his Grade-II listed flat in Hackney if he didn't remove his satellite dish from the wall.

Barry Williams stands on Paragon Road where  his neighbours still have satellite dishes up at the front of their houses. Picture: Polly HancockBarry Williams stands on Paragon Road where his neighbours still have satellite dishes up at the front of their houses. Picture: Polly Hancock

Barry Williams, 73, received a letter from housing association Newlon Housing Trust saying he could lose his Paragon Road home or face prosecution and a huge fine if he didn’t do as asked.

The dish, which had been there for more than 25 years, has now been taken down from the listed front wall, but Barry has taken issue with the heavy-handed letter.

“That’s not right,” he said. “They said they could take me to court and make me pay thousands of pounds in costs. I’ve lived here 30 years – no one has ever said anything about it before.”

He also claims he has been victimised because neighbours in the same row of homes have still got dishes on the wall, though Hackney Council cleared that up by saying only a small stretch of the properties were listed and those that still had dishes would also face enforcement action.

Billy’s friend Patrick McKervey accused the housing association of taking things to the extreme.

He said: “Mr Williams is an elderly man who is recovering from a number of hospital operations and seems to be the subject of someone’s direct attempt to cause an unwell gentleman more and more stress and anxiety.”

A spokesman for Newlon said: “The building in question is a listed building.

“We have been asked by the local authority to approach our tenant to ensure they comply with the appropriate law and ask them to remove it.

“Our resident could approach the local authority and ask about listed building consent, although this should have been done before the dish was put up.”

The town hall said its officers would not threaten a tenant with eviction over a satellite dish, and it had never entered the minds of officers.

A spokesman said: “We asked Newlon Housing to remove satellite dishes from two properties in Paragon Road as they are listed buildings.

“We approached Newlon Housing directly, and have no control over their subsequent communication with tenants.”

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