A DEFIANT businesswoman is still refusing to leave her company’s premises as a civil dispute with her landlord continues.
Anne Ganley, owner of Thompson Waste, has been camped out at its industrial unit in the Parade, Hendon, Sunderland, since Friday.
The 57-year-old is refusing to move despite ACT Construction, an agent for the building’s owner, Alan Thompson, taking possession of the property on Thursday.
Ms Ganley says her employees had been able to return to their duties at the weekend and are due to return to work today as discussions with lawyers continue.
She is refusing to leave the premises because she fears she will lose what is now home to the company her father Albert founded more than 60 years ago.
She says will be staying put until she is presented with a forfeiture order agreed by a court.
ACT Construction, however, says Ms Ganley is a tenant at will, meaning that her occupation can be terminated with immediate effect.
Mr Thompson has alternative plans for the property, it added.
Ms Ganley said: “We were told by our legal team that the lads could come back to work, so they have been working over the weekend to try to get on top of everything.
“My legal advisers say that, by stopping them from carrying out their work, they had been breaching their human rights.
“I will be continuing to stay on the premises until this is sorted, and I am meeting with my legal team later today to discuss the next course of action.
“I am quite pleased the lads have been able to return to work.”
Ms Ganley says the police have been called to the scene on a number of occasions since the start of the dispute after allegations were made that she had been trapped inside the premises after doors were welded shut.
Jim Campbell, of ACT Construction, has refuted any allegations of intimidation and reiterated the company’s legal right to evict, adding that a solicitor’s letter terminating the tenancy with immediate effect had been handed over last Monday.
He said: “ACT’s position is that we have had legal opinion from counsel that Anne’s occupation of the waste yard was a tenancy at will and her occupation could be terminated with immediate effect.”
ACT had allowed property and food to be taken into the premises, and his employees had made no attempt to enter it, he added.
Anne Ganley joined her family’s scrap metal business straight from school at the age of 15.
She was given an OBE in 2013’s new year honours list but was made bankrupt in October that same year.
The company she rebuilt now provides skip hire and waste removal services.
Anne has won numerous business awards in both her own right and for the company.
She was named entrepreneur of the year in the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards in 2004, Thompson Building Centres claimed the community award and overall business of the year title in 2010, and 2011 saw her honoured with an accolade for making an outstanding contribution to the city.