AN ‘offensive’ sign branding a council ‘evil scum’ for allowing 500 homes to be built near an East Lancashire village has put a man and town hall chiefs on a collision course.
Council officials in Nelson are set to serve a community protection notice, ordering former water worker 73-year-old Alvin Kegg to remove inflammatory messages outside his home, on the banks of Pendle Water at Higherford.
MORE TOP STORIES:
One contentious sign, on his back fence beside the Pendle Way footpath, reads: “Pendle Council’s destroyed Barrowford. The Evil Scum.”
And another, affixed to a tree on the edge of his property at Old Oak Cottage, says: “England was a proud country destroyed by scum, thieves and traitors.”
Mr Kegg, who has lived in the cottage for more than 30 months, told the Telegraph he is ready to defy the authority, which will enforce the notice under anti-social behaviour legislation.
And he confirmed that his protest concerns the controversial decision to construct 500 homes at Trough Laithe, on the outskirts of Barrowford, where he grew up.
He said: “I knew Arthur Pickles, who had the land. I knew his labourers and all the footpaths around that farm. We used to go sledging around there and got up to all sorts.
“But they want to build 500 homes on this beautiful piece of land, which is agricultural land. They will need that land to feed people in this country before too long.”
Mr Kegg did recall receiving a visit from Tom Partridge, the council’s countryside officer, to explain why he had to remove the notices, but insists he has heard nothing from the town hall since.
“I’m not taking the signs down, they can stuff it. They are on my land and I’m perfectly entitled to put them up. And there’s plenty of people around here who support me.”
Cllr Linda Crossley, chairman of the Barrowford and Western Parishes Committee, which approved the community protection notice, said the council always usually preferred to negotiate, when it came to such matters, but discussions had not proved effective.
She added: “The signs are on a public right of way and they are offensive so this is what we are going to do. It was brought to our attention prior to our last committee meeting in March and we took advice from our officers.”
Councillors have been told that Mr Kegg could appeal to the magistrates court to overturn the notice.
Tim Horsley, the council’s community protection co-ordinator, said: “This notice would ultimately give the council the ability to enter the land and remove the signs.”
Dog walker Jerry Loudon, 62, said: “Lots of people in Barrowford and Higherford might agree with him - even if he hasn’t necessarily gone the right way about it. These houses will change the face of the village and I’m sure there’s many who would back this guy up.”