A man who lost a legal battle over ownership of disused land he calls home has vowed to keep fighting.

Leo Fieran lost his case with Camden Council in January over ownership of land off Camley Street near St Pancras station, where he claims to have lived since 2007.

Representing himself at Central London County Court in January, Mr Fieran – who was evicted in March 2023 but has since returned - had hoped to appeal the 2022 order.

He handed in 500 pages of written submissions, but the judge ruled he had “no real prospect” of success, apparently ruling out any legal challenges.

Now Mr Fieran has submitted an appeal against the latest ruling, saying he does not believe the judge read all the papers.

Ham & High: Leo Fieran walking into disused land he believes is his after living there for 17 yearsLeo Fieran walking into disused land he believes is his after living there for 17 years (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

The 55-year-old believes he "entered a contract" with the council in November 2020 when an official came to the squat asking him what he was doing there, how long he had been there and what he intended to do with the land.

He applied to the Land Registry for ownership of the land in 2021, citing a principle allowing someone to claim land by openly using it without permission for more than a decade.

This was rejected and Camden Council obtained a possession order in 2022. It plans to build 350 new homes and 200,000 square feet of new workspaces in Camley Street.

Insisting his case had merit, Mr Fieran said: "The judge didn't look at some pages in my bundle. I want to show him exactly what that council officer said. She didn't randomly turn up, she was wearing a Camden Council badge.

"She said I could stay until they develop the land. The law states any attempts to evict me after 2020 would be illegal but in March last year they sent bailiffs to evict me."


Ham & High: Leo Fieran is appealing a judge's decision, even though that appeared to end his right to further legal challengesLeo Fieran is appealing a judge's decision, even though that appeared to end his right to further legal challenges (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

Terry Keeley, a volunteer at St Patricks, Soho Square homeless service, has supported Mr Fieran in court since he first asked him to in May 2021.

He said Mr Fieran has taken it upon himself to challenge each step.

"For the last hearing Leo supplied the court with a bundle of evidence that would not have looked out of place from a firm of solicitors, save for it all being handwritten," he said.

He believes Mr Fieran is different from many homeless people and with careful handling the case could end well.

He added: "Leo through his own efforts has made his refuge. Leo is always upbeat and positive; it allows him to find occasional work and not once in his time in the UK has he turned to the state for assistance.

"The parcel of land that he is currently occupying has little short-term value. Of course under a much wider project that may well not be the case, but this is likely ten to 15 years away and by then I firmly believe, given everything that Leo has demonstrated to me he will be back on his feet."

Camden Council has pledged to "help and support Leo end his occupation of this public land". But with two recent deaths in mind, Terry is fearful for Leo's future should he end up on the streets, or even be housed with other homeless people.

He said: "We have guests who are offered temporary accommodation that are bus rides and tube rides away from Soho and are then turned back onto the streets when the emergency funding is no more.

"Often this “sheltered” accommodation is with other homeless people that are suffering addiction or mental health issues.”

Fr Dominic Robinson, director of the Central London Catholic Churches Homeless Service, said: “The tragic situation of our friend Leo highlights the urgent need for a complete change of culture in how we look at the growing homeless problem in our city. We badly need a new will to really listen to, show compassion, and above all respect the dignity of those who for no fault of their own simply try to survive on the streets day by day.

"Rather than push everyone into ‘independent living’ we need a new community-based plan with proper shared accommodation, holistic support and a will to listen to those who live this life on the forgotten margins of our increasingly broken society.”