Midhurst tenants fear service charge rise

Tenant Bob Shaw
Tenant Bob Shaw
  • The Hyde Group sent some consultation letters out unfranked which have remained at the Post Office
  • They are consulting tenants on changes to their handyman service
  • Now the letters are being sent again and a new deadline set for responses

BELEAGUERED housing provider Hyde is having to re-run consultation on a service charge increase at Midhurst after a blunder left some tenants without a chance to take part.

Hyde has apologised and a new response date is being set, but disgruntled tenants fear whatever they say, the cost will go up.

They now want a meeting with Hyde to negotiate opting out of the service altogether.

Hyde sent letters to tenants in Cobden and Wells House flats and Bridgefield Close flats and bungalows, but tenants say about half ended up at the Post Office because they were unstamped, where tenants had to pay £2 to collect them.

They are being asked to say whether they want to continue paying 85p a week for a handyman one day every 11 weeks, or to pay £3.85 for a visit to the 
housing development once every two weeks.

Cobden House tenant Bob Shaw said: “This is a 400 per cent increase for a service 
we don’t believe we are going to get.”

“The last time the handyman came to Midhurst was six months ago,” said Mr Shaw. “There is no way he will get here every fortnight, when he can’t manage every 11 weeks. He can’t cope with the number of jobs now.

“Some people are still waiting for jobs to be done a year after asking.”

Residents’ services manager Ann Greaves told tenants: “To continue providing the service the contribution to cover the cost of provision would need to increase.

She said the contribution would have to be increased from 85p to £3.85 weekly, but added the new contribution would mean the handyman visited once every fortnight instead of the present once every 11 weeks.

A spokesman for the Hyde Group said: “We are aware some consultation letters were posted without being franked; this was due to a genuine human error.

“We would like to apologise for this.

“Residents who have paid to get their letters should contact us immediately to be reimbursed.

“The consultation aims to give residents an option to retain the service, with improvements, by increasing their weekly contribution.

“However if residents do not vote for change, we will be unable to continue to provide it.

“We want to work with residents to give them the service they desire and on this occasion, by giving those affected the opportunity to vote, they will be able to truly influence the final decision.”

Hyde recently faced questions from Chichester District Council over concerns about increased service charges on some of its properties.

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