Charity worker's tears over mining eviction threat

A Shropshire charity worker broke down in tears when mining company UK Coal told her that she has just two months in her home before being evicted.

A Shropshire charity worker broke down in tears when mining company UK Coal told her that she has just two months in her home before being evicted.

Anne Cotton, who works for Telford and District Guide Dogs, is being forced from her home of eight years because landlords UK Coal want to sell the property located near the controversial opencast mine on Huntington Lane in Lawley, Telford.

Mining chiefs say they need to sell off the house to clear company debt but the devastated 51-year-old said she would "fight to the end" over the eviction.

Miss Cotton who lives with partner Gerald Cooper, 65, at The Uplands on New Works Lane, said the couple were desperate to stay in their home.

She said: "Agents for UK Coal came around yesterday and told us they wanted to work with us to make the move as easy as possible.

"We have lived here for eight years, have dozens of pets, have based our life here and we are told we only have two months to get out. What is easy about that?

"I keep a breeding bitch for the guide dogs but she will now have to go.

"All our other dogs and birds will have to be sold or given away because new landlords are unlikely to welcome us with them in tow."

She added: "The outlook is bleak, but I will fight to the end."

She added neighbours had started a petition against the plans and the matter will be discussed by councillors at the next Lawley & Overdale Parish Council meeting.

She said: "I would like to thank everyone for their help and concern, this is a matter that will not stop with us because UK Coal own more houses in the area and across the country."

UK Coal spokesman Gordon Grant said they were looking to sell 60 properties nationwide and had so far identified two properties near the Telford mine which they were looking to sell.

He said: "We do regret having to do this, it's very sad when someone loses their home.

"But because of re-structuring to our business and a need to pay back debt we are being forced to sell off property."

By Peter Finch

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Comments for: "Charity worker's tears over mining eviction threat"


This is a major problem with many tenants having to move on some after 6-12 months (very disruptive for those with children) as what is now on the increase debt laden landlords many through poor financial advice or in some cases pure greed, having to sell and ask the tenant to leave. We now need to introduce a little more protection for many of our tenants. We need to adopt some of the more decent EU laws such as scrapping this 6-12 month tenancy agreements and introducing tenant agreements on par with many EU countries although I have been led to believe many of these laws will start to be introduced over the next 5 years.If this was in place this couple what not need to leave. The only people who would then be asked to leave are tenants who fail to pay the rent or break tenancies agreements .


Mr Grant, if I did your PR for you, I'd be in a deep depression. Own goals-a-plenty.

You are not helping youreself, are you?

And if things are so bad the sale of 60 houses can make that much of a difference...


Surely if UKCoal own the house and 'the rules' haven't been broken what's the fuss all about?

Have you ever sold a house or a car and needed to explain yourself to the press?


Bad PR is still bad PR.


"all the fuss" is about people being shafted by selfish greedy idiots. Not to mention the huge environmental damage and health impacts caused by the coal mine. And all the other coal mines UK coal are responsible for. They 'need' to sell people's houses so they can use the money to destroy the environment for their profit. I think there might be something wrong with 'the rules'

Tyrone Shoelaces

I can sympathise having been through the same many years ago in London when my landlord died and his widow sold the house i lived in for redevelopment.

This should be a wake-up call to all renters - be aware of your rights. Read your lease and understand the circumstances under which you can be asked (or told) to leave before you sign it.

Hope you find somewhere suitable to live and call home.


What exactly is the relevance of one of the tenants being a charity worker, should they be treated as a special case and if so on what grounds?

Most people aren't that comfortable when a video camera is stuck in their face without notice so the land agents reaction is quite understandable.


Well you have two sides and both want what is best for them , contrary to if any rules are broken which ever party you belong to you will do anything legal and say anything which may help your cause . Just because you may not win does not mean you go and sit in a corner roll over and suck your thumb.

mark rickards

well if i owned property i needed to get out of debt i def sell them if i needed the money. so what is the difference?.

when taking a rented property they should have taken into account its not theres in first place to over load with animals in the first place a bit on common sence should be used.

if a tenant was in a property i owned they would have lucky to have 1 cat or a dog.

so sorry no simpathy at all really


Well, how long have they lived in the house?

Do they have any chance to gain a discount on the purchase of the place?

Will UK Coal give them a mortggage that is similar to the rent that they currently pay?

Seems like a potential option.

If they can get enough of a discount to make their mortgage application simple then try one of the financial consultants in the area to get the mortgage for you.

Purchasing the place might actually be as cheap as renting. Depends upon the financial circumstances of the couple but it may be a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block.


Whilst I feel sorry for the woman the fact she is a charity worker just makes for more of a potential sob story. Most tenancy agreements only give the tenant 30 days notice after the first six month of the agreement. People need to wake up and check what they are signing instead of crying later when it goes legally against them. UK coal have every legal right to do this and if the property owner was your average Mr or Mrs Jones then this wouldn't even get in the paper as 'news'.



"Most tenancy agreements only give the tenant 30 days notice after the first six month of the agreement".

A little simplistic and poor information Paula the tenant does not have to leave in those 30 days this poor information is why many landlords fall fowl of the mine field when renting out property in a DIY manner.

The Thorn in the side of UK Coal

I am a resident of Smalley Derbyshire, we are also in a battle with UK Coal and we have residents facing immediate eviction.

The rest of the village will be blighted by a proposed extension to the existing opencast. UK Coal has proven endless times that they cannot be trusted and we send our sympathies to your residents that we have read about and seen of TV news. UK Coal is destroying lives, homes and communities up and down the country and the government just let them get on with it. A good example was the recent parliamentary proposal for opencast to residential area 500m buffer zone, which fell when the government minister responsible refused support for the proposal which an acceptable reason. This is a government promoting the hollow idea that the communities must decide what is best for themselves?

An action group further north has taken the County Council to the high court for failing to keep a promise to reinstate a former opencast development, instead they are allowing the site to be used for a Waste Collection Station. Costly to go to the high court? Not really, the action group are allowing a former war time merchant seaman to lead the fight; they found by chance that he was entitled to legal aid! The village is Arkwright, it has suffered the blight of coal since it was first discovered. I suggest you follow them; they may set a precedent for others to find justice.

If your parish council refuses to back you, then do as we intend with ours and confine them to history. The national requirement for coal is falling rapidly as the government moves to reach its carbon emission targets that have been legally set. Therefore arguments from UK Coal and their supporters whose palms are greased have no legitimate mandate to continue producing coal under the disguise of national interest. There past interest have always been driven by profit which is now disappearing fast. They recently announced a massive £100 plus million loss and the banks won’t roll them anymore knowing that their future has been limited by the governments legal commitments to close down several coal burning generation stations in favour of gas and renewables.

My message to you is this – do not allow your local or national politicians to pay lip service to this critical matter. If you get chance in May to elect a stronger council you must do so. Bring your MP to account; you can see through the internet the level of action he/she is delivering through recorded parliamentary interventions. Are they really earning their large pay cheque by fighting for your environment? Also, when finally they stop mining, make sure you lookout in advance for the interests of their bed partners, The Waste Management Industry who like filling the holes with waste that UK Coal provided. It may not be toxic, allegedly, but you will go from one blight to another. Mobilise your entire community, if you act as a community, you will be heard.

Europe has always been a thorn in the side of UK governments but for the individual, there are rights to Environmental Protection. I imagine that the residents of Arkwright Village and their war time hero Bill will be looking at Article 37 of The Charter of Fundamental Rights. We wish you well in your battle for justice and democracy.


Unfortunately the local gullible accepted UK coals promises as truth and no doubt, we will find that our promised Utopia, once they finally finish desecration, will turn out to be another building site or tip.


The tips been there for years..

Rodney Nosnail

A good, stirring message. Thank you for taking time to write it.

Rodney Nosnail

Andrew Finch, your point, as always, is well made, but to refer to landlords as greedy just because they want to sell their property at a time to suit them is disingenuous.

But if they start to take away landlord's rights and allow tenants to live in houses for as long as they want as long as they pay up and keep the place in order, then we're back to the 1970's when houses stood empty because no-one wanted the risk or hassle of renting their property not and then not being able to sell it then they needed to.

THAT is why the shorthold tenancy agreement was introduced - to encourage more housing to come onto the rental market by giving defined rights back to landlords.

Renters have a transparent contract and know their rights. If they want a longer, more stable tenancy, there is nothing to stop them asking the landlord to write this into the original agreement. If landlord doesn't feel able to do this, then tenant can look elsewhere for a place to live where their needs can be met. Giving unlimited-time rights to tenants may cause a bigger shortage of properties to be available for rent, such as those that get rented out for a while during probate, or inherited properties that may not be wanted but won't sell in a depressed market - landlords will be fearful of renting them and will just keep them empty rather than lose control of them, just as they did 30-40 years ago.

In any case, this woman has lived in the property for eight years. That's not really short-term.


The greedy tag I think can be applied to many landlords who have over committed with a property portfolio built on massive debt with the only hope of repaying is by charging from what I can see over the top unrealistic rents .

This has been picked up by the government who have realised many private tenants are in receipt of housing benefit in order to meet the rent,rental payments which in a county such as Shropshire are unrealistic and as such the government have finally realised they cant keep paying it, and I take exception to making landlords rich by paying the rents through my taxes via benefits. The only way to address this problem is by capping private rents as they do in Europe. The private rental sector in my view needs a total overhaul, from rents,time of tenure,deposits which even now with the current practices leave many tenants being ripped of by unscrupulous landlords.Many who are now home owners may in the future through unemployment ,divorce etc may find themselves in private rentals so many of these issues need to be addressed by the con/dems.

Rodney Nosnail

On that matter, I agree. Every time the housing benefits system pays more, it simply pushes up the average and so they have to pay more again. It's a circle. At least Osborne has introduced rules to stop it.