PENSIONER Edward Meakins will be allowed to remain in his home of 74 years after Barnet Homes overturned their plans to evict him.

Huge public pressure has been placed on the housing management organisation after the Times Series exclusively reported its decision to force the 83-year-old out of his Cricklewood home after his sister Margaret died in May.

Thousands of people joined a Facebook group to save him from the eviction and hundreds had signed online petitions.

He had also received support from MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, and last night, the bachelor was presented with a letter from Tracey Lees, chief executive of Barnet Homes, giving him assurances that he will be able to remain in his home, in Cloister Road.

She said: “All cases of this kind are very difficult. We have to weigh up our sympathies for the individuals concerned against the number of families who have applied for council housing and are in need of a larger home.

“Given Mr Meakins’ age and the length of time he has lived at his property, we do not feel it right or proper that we should pursue any eviction proceedings against him.”

Mr Meakins moved to the three-bedroom house when he was nine, with his mother, father and three siblings.

Ms Lees said Barnet Council's allocation policy stipulates that if a relative (non-spouse or partner) applies for succession to a tenancy, and the property is deemed larger than the succeeding tenant requires, then steps may be taken to rehouse them in a smaller home.

And in the letter, she made clear that it was the organisation's “preference” that he considered moving into a smaller home of his choosing.

Ms Lees said: “Taking into account the intense pressure on council housing in Barnet, we have repeated our offer that Barnet Homes would support a move to a smaller property.

“Such a move would only take place if Mr Meakins is happy with this property and its location.”