Barkingside neighbours ‘furious’ after Redbridge Council hands them £20k repair bill estimates
PUBLISHED: 17:01 04 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 04 October 2018
Neighbours have been left fuming after the council hit them with £20,000 planned repair bills.
The furious home owners from Cherry Court, Barkingside, were told they had to pay towards the estimated £1million cost of proposed work on communal windows, bin stores and a flat roof.
Leaseholder Peter Rose said: “It’s an unbelievable amount of money. It’s ridiculous. They’ve hit us with a huge bill. We’re really angry.”
Retired cab driver Raymond Barnett, who has leukemia, said he was told to contact the Department for Work and Pensions when he told the council he couldn’t afford to pay.
“I’ve got to live,” the 76-year-old said.
Sue Nussbaum said: “I had to read the amount twice, I thought it was a misprint.”
Caroline Bannister, in her flat for 29 years, added: “It’s not as if we’re rich. We’re all working class people living month to month.”
The council told at least 16 leaseholders the building had to have regular repairs so it could meet its obligations towards social housing tenants and people’s lease agreements.
The leaseholders group say they aren’t opposed to the work, just the cost. They accused Redbridge of neglecting the four-storey building for years.
Bill breakdowns show thousands of pounds worth of additional fees for “asset management”, “prelims and overheads” and “home ownership”, among others.
The residents slammed the council for not putting the job out to tender after telling them the contract had been awarded to refurbishment firm Lawtech Group Limited.
Resident Lee Joseph said: “This should be put out to tender. We want a genuine estimate, a sensible figure people can afford to pay.”
The neighbours have written to Redbridge demanding an explanation and calling on them to recognise the impact the sudden, “huge” payment request has had.
A council spokeswoman said: “We appreciate the concerns leaseholders may have which is why we always consult before undertaking major work, offer repayment plans and don’t recover charges for at least a year after work starts.”
The proposed refurb applies to things scheduled for replacement under this year’s capital programme, she added.
Council officers are due to meet leaseholders on Thursday.