YOU might not know Charlie Wright but thousands of Wirral commuters almost certainly know where he lives.

His is the solitary house that sits alone in the deserted, barren wasteland just off Corporation Road, near to the docks in Birkenhead, propped up by the creaking remains of two derelict properties on either side.

A first impression might be: "Poor man, having to live there in the middle of nowhere."

But then you notice the Union Flag flying from a pole in his back garden and you realise there's more to this situation than meets the eye.

You see, Charlie loves his home.

He was born and raised in it alongside his nine brothers and sisters, eventually bought it off the council, and despite the 603 other homes that used to make up the River Streets Estate having been demolished years ago, he wants to stay put in the home he shares with his chihuahua, Max: "I don't need anyone to fight my battles, but if the council wants a war it's got a war because I'm staying here," said Charlie, sitting in the front room of his home in Ilchester Road, where he has lived for the last 55 years.

One of ten children, Charlie went to a nearby school and later worked over the road at what used to be the Mobil Oil plant.

But council plans to demolish the homes and build factories on the site sounded the death knell of what was once a thriving community.

Five years ago there were over 600 houses on the estate. Today, Charlie's is the only one left standing on what is now a bleak, desolate waste ground. "At one time around here everyone had families. They grew up and stayed for years and there was a real community spirit," said the former boilerman and shop steward.

"There were nice five-bedroomed houses and people liked living here. I look around here now and can't believe it's all gone. The situation angers and upsets me.

"The reason given by the council when they wanted to clear the area was that there was too much housing stock and no-one to live there," Charlie said.

"That's rubbish, because I have spoken to friends who used to live here, who say they would give anything to move back - if there was anything to move back to."

Proud of his roots, Charlie was heavily involved in community projects. In 1974, as chairman of the Riverstreet Action Group, he helped create a community centre.

"There were pensioners' clubs, kids' clubs and other clubs. It was very popular with residents. I also employed a group of men as security guards and cleaners to look after the estate and there was no vandalism or untidiness for four years."

In 2001, the local authority announced that the houses would be demolished to make way for factory buildings in a bid to attract jobs to the area.

In the same year, Charlie was made redundant from Mobil Oil and the community centre had to be closed down because it was on land wanted by the council. His long-term partner also left him.

Charlie said: "The council says it wants the land to build factories on to bring more work in. But if you look around here, you'll see buildings such as Mobil Oil and other factories that have been empty for years, with no work coming in. So what's the point of building new factories?"

Charlie has had several meetings with the council, who have offered more than £30,000 to buy the house and re-home him, but to no avail.

"At the end of the day if I had to move out, I don't know what I'd do or where I'd end up," he said. ""I have been offered other places to live, but none of them have been any good."

Alan Stennard, director of Wirral's regeneration depart-ment, said: "We are surprised at Mr Wright's assertion that he's unwilling to move as we have had some positive discussions with him recently about finding somewhere else to live. Mr Wright's neighbourhood is currently an empty and derelict site and could provide a significant economic boost for local people by the creation of buildings for employment use. To allow this to happen we will have to work with Mr Wright to secure his relocation. If we are unable to secure mutual agreement in the future, we will be considering the use of compulsory purchase."

Bidston Cllr John Cocker said: "It's a long-standing issue and Mr Wright obviously feels very strongly about his home. The clearance has occurred over many years and the council felt the area was getting less and less popular and was getting a reputation.

"It's a long-term dilemma.

"The problem is that, at the moment there are no plans to develop on the site of Mr Wright's home."