Friday, 8 Dec 2023

Pensioner farmer evicted from life-long home after losing landowner battle

‘Forced into homelessness’: Calls to ban no-fault evictions

A retired farmer, 68, has been left heartbroken after he lost a long-running battle to stay at his life-long home.

Walter Renwick had wanted to stay at Plankey Mill, which had been in his family for three generations.

However, the Jesuits in Britain, who own the land, fought to kick Mr Renwick out.

An intense court battle ensued this year after the pensioner was served an eviction notice and ordered to leave the farm by July.

Mr Renwick, who was born at Plankey Mill, took his fight to stay at the property to court, where his case was heard at Carlisle County Court, the ChronicleLive reported. 

However, despite his best attempts, he still faced eviction and the Catholic missionary order finally took possession of the property on Thursday this week.

A spokesman for the Jesuits group said: “The Jesuits in Britain can confirm that they have re-taken possession of the property and land at Plankey Mill, which is owned by them.

“A full examination of the physical state of the property will now take place. The Jesuits wish the previous leaseholder well.”

Mr Renwick had become a well-known figure to tourists who visited the popular beauty spot, near Hexham, where he ran a campsite.

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The long-running dispute started back in 2021 when Mr Renwick’s lease ran out.

The farmer thought the lease would be passed down to him after his father’s death, but the church says that was never the case and has tried to evict him several times.

The Jesuits claim they originally extended the lease to 2021 after his father’s death, to allow Mr Renwick time to find a new home.

Back in July, Mr Renwick pleaded for help to fight his case, saying the battle had “broken a proud man”.

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At the time, he told the Chronicle Live: “I was born here. It is like a tree with roots.

“You know when your roots are here, everything has been put here: my dogs, my rabbits when I was a kid.

“Every memory I had as a kid, the football, the games when you were a kid when all the campers came.

“Happiness, there is no happiness now. Happiness is gone.”

The Jesuit group has defended their move to evict Mr Renwick, pointing out that they had often overlooked the campsite that he ran.

The landowners said the campsite was “never allowed under the terms of the lease” and did not have planning permission from the local authority.

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