A COUNCIL tenant was thrown out of a virtual planning meeting after threatening members with court action after they ordered him to keep a ‘communal path’ open.

Tam Laird insisted that claims by East Lothian Council that the path through his garden at his Musselburgh home was shared with a neighbour were untrue.

And he vented at councillors as they sided with officers and insisted that a gate he wanted to replace with fencing be retained.

Mr Laird had told the committee, which met online on Tuesday, that he had created the path in his garden as a design to allow his disabled partner to access their car from their ground-floor property on Whitecraig Road, Whitecraig.

And he alleged that his neighbour had verbally abused his partner, adding that he would not allow him access through their garden.

Mr Laird had applied for part-retrospective planning permission for two sheds and a greenhouse building that he put in his rear garden, along with fencing and a gate.

Gate removed

The committee heard that he lived in a four-in-a-block council property with shared access to rear gardens.

Members were told that a gate had been removed by the tenant, preventing neighbours from entering their rear garden without leaving the property and accessing it via the road.

Council officers told the committee: “East Lothian Council housing service are the landlords of the property.

“The service manager has advised that the path in dispute is a communal path and the gate should be retained to allow the occupants access to their garden without having to leave the property.”

'A disgrace'

However, Mr Laird insisted that the path in question was not shared.

He said: “That pathway is part of my garden and my drawing is staying the way it is, I am not breaking any tenancy agreement.

“If you are telling me I am not allowed to do what I want in my own garden, which I think is a disgrace, you are not on.”

Mr Laird then told councillors that he would take court action if they tried to make him retain the gate in question before berating them for holding the meeting online and demanding to sit down with them and talk face-to-face about issues.

He then refused to switch off his microphone and repeatedly interrupted councillors as they discussed the application.

He told them “if you touch that pathway I will have you charged with damaging my property” before planning convenor Councillor Norman Hampshire asked for him to be removed from the meeting, after repeated warnings not to cut in were ignored.

Councillors unanimously supported officers' recommendation to approve the sheds and greenhouse but insisted that the gate was retained in the fence.