A 76-year-old man whose canalside cottage stands in the way of the multi-million pound regeneration of Birmingham Eastside has been served with a compulsory purchase order by the city council.
Fred Grove says he is determined to fight the order at a public inquiry in an attempt to win the right to stay at the house in Digbeth, where he has lived for 41 years.
Mr Grove said he was shocked to be handed the CPO, less than a month after the council claimed it was close to reaching an agreement with him.
"I finally realised that they are determined to push me out. Well, I am just one man but I am not going to let them take my home without a fight.
"I am a thorn in the side of the council," Mr Grove added.
The council insists it wants Mr Grove out of the house for his own good.
Ken Hardeman, cabinet member for regeneration, said the house at Belmont Row would be "in the middle of a building site" when work began on the next phase of Eastside. It would not be safe for Mr Grove to remain while contractors' vehicles used the site.
Coun Hardeman (Con Brandwood) said there were no plans to demolish the house. The future of the property would not be determined until the planning permission s tage of the Eastside development.
Prospective Eastside developers were given a brief-ing yesterday by the council about possible uses for land to the east of Millennium Point, including the site occupied by Mr Grove's cottage.
Mr Grove believes the council's claim about the danger of living in a development site is merely a smokescreen.
"Once the property is empty and they board it up, it will decay and be vandalised. Then the council will demolish it and clear the site," he said.
He said the council had promised him the market value for the property, but had not mentioned a figure.
Mr Grove met council representatives last week.
He said: "They stated quite clearly that there was no room for negotiation. As far as they were concerned there was no alternative, I would have to go.
"While they confirmed that there were no specific plans for my house they claimed that for me not to leave would jeopardise the whole development - though they could not, of course, say why or how."
Coun Hardeman said he wanted to offer a suitable compensation package but had been prevented from doing so because Mr Grove had failed to respond to letters from the council.
An alternative proposal, moving Mr Grove to temporary accommodation while work took place and then allowing him to return, was still under consideration, Coun Hardeman added.
He said: "There is a degree of urgency about this now and we do want to deal compassionately with Mr Grove.
"I have been, and remain, very concerned about Mr Grove and I will endeavour to try to resolve this issue in a way that will be advantageous to him."
A public inquiry which will consider objections to the Eastside development is expected to get underway later this year and could ultimately decide the fate of Mr Grove's house.