The article ‘They’re trying to shut us up’ – Stevenage leaseholders’ anger after forum ban appeared in the Comet on December 5, 2013.
Carlyle Charles and Richard Aitkins, both leaseholders at Lonsdale Court in Stevenage, have received letters from Stevenage Borough Council saying they cannot attend public meetings where problems concerning council-owned buildings can be discussed.
I was at this meeting, and it was rather bad tempered. Mr Charles and Mr Aitkins were angry with Stevenage Homes and they did very little to hide it.
According to the Comet article:
The council said the pair’s behaviour was “unacceptable” and that they “dominated the meeting with their own agenda and made unacceptable comments about members of staff”.
The reason for the anger stems from Mr Charles taking Stevenage Homes to a Leaseholder Valuation Tribunal over work carried out in Lonsdale Court. The LVT found that almost half of the 39 maintenance job charges were either reduced or not payable.
I talked to Mr Charles after the meeting. He showed me some photographs of the work in question. He is a qualified bricklayer and clearly has strong opinions on the standard of the work carried out. He is also angry about having to go to the LVT to get the charges reduced.
In its findings the LVT said:
“The tribunal finds that Stevenage Borough Council’s methodology is directly responsible for the dispute in question. A reactive management system is generally not a satisfactory way of managing a building but, if operated, must be rigorously checked, lest the quality and specification of the works does not match the costs charged. In this case, the checking of only 10% of the work has resulted in sub-standard work.
The council did not provide a comment on the LVT’s findings to the Comet.