The Yorkshire Post has helped to settle a marathon legal dispute as property developers were about to evict a group of pensioners from their clifftop homes.
The elderly leaseholders were facing the prospect of homelessness when London property firm Keelwalk Properties won a legal battle that had dragged on for three years.
It looked as though Keelwalk would win possession of their homes on the East Yorkshire coast, after it won at the Appeal Court, and then was backed by the Law Lords.
In a gesture of defiance, the householders stuck to a “scorched earth” agreement they’d made some months before and tore down the homes of two of the oldest residents – 84-year-old Phyllis Griffith and 75-year-old Betty Waller.
The others were facing the option of following suit as they faced similar possession proceedings, but a conversation between the paper’s Hull office chief reporter Alex Wood and Keelwalk Properties’ managing director Aron Freedman saved the day.
Freedman agreed to meet pensioners’ representative Frank Lavin if the Yorkshire Post would broker the meeting. Lavin was amazed to hear of the offer and readily agreed.
A secret meeting was held in Scarborough, with both parties’ solicitors attending, and an offer was then put to the 19 remaining leaseholders.
After the Post’s intervention, the delighted pensioners were more than happy to accept the new deal offered to them – and can now look forward to another 20 years in their beloved homes.