Anger as 'vulnerable and elderly' couple face eviction from Poplar Dock

By Rob Virtue on February 22, 2014 6:15 PM |


Over 1,000 people have signed a petition urging the landlords of Poplar Dock to overturn a decision to evict a couple in their seventies.

Rod Taylor and Annie Gavin, who have both recently undergone treatment for cancer, have lived at the site for 14 years but face being kicked out following a lengthy dispute over rising charges, which ended up in court.

Earlier this month the couple were sent a letter from British Waterways Marinas Limited accusing them of costing the firm "substantial legal costs" and saying Rod, 75, who is recovering from lung cancer and last year suffered heart failure, had "become aggressive".

Now management at the company also insist say terms and conditions have been breached, although it admits the couple have not missed payments.

Speaking to The Wharf, Rod (pictured above) said receiving the 28-day eviction notice was heartbreaking.

"We're not going anywhere," he said. "It's a great community there's nowhere else like it in London and we've made a lot of good friends."

The recent court case was won by BWML but Rod said he will appeal. He believes it is this action which led to the eviction notice.

The petition, which has received 1,042 signatures in just three days, states: "Rod contested a range of inconsistencies in the company's terms & conditions, and in promises and statements made to customers over the years. He was effectively standing up for all BWML customers, who would have benefited from a judgement in his favour."

It is calling on BWML's owners, the charity Canal and River Trust to act in the face of "aggressive actions" by its subsidiary.

In a statement put out on Friday, BWML's operations director Darren Bramhall responded: "We have operated totally within our terms and conditions and this unfortunate action was a necessary business decision, however hard that may sound.

"For many years, BWML has tried very hard to explain the need for compliance with the agreed exchanged contract terms and conditions. It is only reasonable that both parties, when these contracts are exchanged, agree to the compliance."

Rod denies the couple have breached any terms and conditions while the company insists it cannot go into details due to the Data Protection Act.


Jane Snell said:

I live on the marina and was at both hearings. I have signed the petition and support both him and Annie whole heartedly. Rod was fighting the widebeam charge being implemented here when we have been told on many occasions it would never happen. My boat is in the widebeam charge by 2" and for that pleasure my mooring fee has gone up from 437 pounds a month to 5077 and it won't stop there! Justice has not been done!

Jay said:

At the end of the day people decide if they wish to comply with any terms there mooring provider.
If the increase as stated by Jane is correct that that is indeed high, I suggest however the 5000 is annual and not per month

Keith Norfolk said:

I think Jane's finger slipped and she meant to say £507 per month.This means an increase of £840 per annum!

Jay said:

I have been looking at this campaign and I am sure there is the other side to hear. It would appear that BWML are acting in a fair way, in that if you agree to something you should honour, Mr a Taylor appears not to be doing so in the main due to the price. Why do people think that can act as they see fit, if he does not like what is being imposed, can I ask why he has not left the marina.

Helen said:

I completely agree jay, I find this document to be very one sided and an extremely biased opinion. Let's all remember how in recent years this marina has literally been transformed. The couple in question are in the wrong, the ombudsman and the courts have all agreed. British waterways are not ageist and therefore the company terms and condition are a standard for all customers. Should a young adult have the same conduct as this couple, would the marina family still be in uproar? I'm sure the couple will have had enough warning prior to any legal action they should follow the same rules as everyone else. I for one am glad they was evicted and will be disappointed should they be allowed to stay.

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