Redbridge Council could halve £20k repair bill thrust upon furious Barkingside neighbours

Neighbours from Cherry Court are up in arms after each receiving bills up to £20,000 for planned ref

Neighbours from Cherry Court are up in arms after each receiving bills up to £20,000 for planned refurbishment work. Pic: JON KING - Credit: Archant

Neighbours left fuming after the council asked them to fork out £20,000 for planned repairs by 2023 could see their bills halved.

But council officers warned the residents of Cherry Court, Barkingside, that short-term cost-cutting will mean they have to pay more in the long-run for a slew of inevitable repairs to the building’s two blocks.

Around 15 Cherry Court residents attended a heated consultation meeting in Holy Trinity Church, in Mossford Green, last night (November 14).

Council officer Ola Afinke presented the details of more than £604,000 worth of proposed repairs, which he said could fall to around £300,000 if only the “essentials” are done - a reduction of 50.3pc.

“None of the work that gets deferred is going away,” he warned.

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“It will still need to be done at some point.”

The essential work includes upgrading fire safety measures, emergency lighting and repairs to the roof.

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While plans to replace windows and re-paint communal areas are among several “aesthetic” works which could be put off.

Soyla Bailey, who moved into the property only four years ago, was among the residents in attendance to voice their concerns.

“I am not paying £18,000,” she said.

“I already pay insurance for the building, I pay ground rent and I pay service charge.”

Last month residents were landed with bills from the council ranging from £8,000 to £20,000.

Doing the bare minimum repairs could see this come down to between £7,000 to £9,000 each which must be paid, either as a lump sum or in installments, by 2023.

But Peter Rose, chair of newly-established Cherry Court Leaseholders Association, queried an 8pc “asset management fee” and one-time fixed fee homeowners would still need to pay on top of this.

Responding, Ola Afinke said: “[The fee] it will remain 8pc until we know otherwise.”

Concluding the meeting, he urged residents to submit representations of what package of works they would like to see carried out for Redbridge Council to consider when making a decision at a cabinet meeting in January.

It will be considered as an exempt item, due to “commercially sensitive” information and the result will be posted on the council’s website.

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