A DISABLED pensioner claims a council is trying to force him from his houseboat after blocking off an access road to Benfleet Creek.

Robert Grant, 65, has lived in a converted barge in a run-down boatyard off Canvey Road, Canvey, for the past 14 years.

He cannot drive, has a bad back and can only walk with two sticks. Because of this, he is reliant on friends, who usually drive into a makeshift car park near his boat and transport him to the shops.

However, Essex County Council has blocked the entrance to the area with mounds of earth, which it insisted yesterday had to be done to keep out flytippers.

Mr Grant said: “Because of my condition, I need someone to pick me up and take me shopping, so I can buy food. Otherwise I’ll die.

“Now the car park has been blocked-off they have to wait for me on the main road. I have to try to walk up a slope to get there, which is dangerous and really difficult for me.”

Mr Grant thinks the council is trying to force him to move from the boat and close down the boatyard. He feels he is being punished for the untidy state of the rest of the site.

He said: “It has been like a rubbish tip down here for years, but I still live here and they are making my life nearly impossible by doing this.”

Tracey Chapman, county councillor responsible for highways and transportation, said: “The land in question is not actually a car park. The area was being used as such in breach of planning regulations. There is no official vehicular access and cars have entered over the kerb.

“There has also been a large amount of flytipping on the plot.

“Essex County Council was approached to resolve the problems and the only way we could prevent them from happening again was to install an earth bund to stop illegal access.”