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OAP fury over giant repair bill for homes

PUBLISHED: 15:41 09 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:27 07 September 2010

PENSIONERS are angry at being hit with a £9,000 bill each for work on their Primrose Hill homes. The repairs and maintenance are being carried out on six maisonettes in Sharpleshall Road. Aubrey Sandman, 73, a leaseholder at the Camden

Haroon Siddique

PENSIONERS are angry at being hit with a £9,000 bill each for work on their Primrose Hill homes.

The repairs and maintenance are being carried out on six maisonettes in Sharpleshall Road.

Aubrey Sandman, 73, a leaseholder at the Camden Council block, said: "It's work we don't want and don't need. It's a lot of money.

"I am in favour of maintenance but I want it done efficiently.

"I think being a leaseholder is not very much fun. Everything one tries to do is controlled and you don't feel you have your own home.

"If I'd known what I was getting myself into I would have had to think twice about it before I bought the leasehold."

The work includes redecorating communal areas and installing new lighting, repairing gutters and pipes, replacing windows and re-pointing the brickwork.

Contractors are also installing a new entry phone system and front door.

Dr Sandman said: "We have a quite adequate entry phone system and the council is taking it away at considerable expense to replace it with some remote system where you can be viewed every time you come into your own home.

"They're putting up safety barriers on the roof. Who's going to fall off the roof? It's never happened before."

Dr Sandman obtained an alternative quote from a building firm after receiving a council quote for works based on its contractor's rates.

He said: "The quote was about £2,000 less but it was turned down on the specious grounds that they [the builders] hadn't got sufficient financial backing even though they've been on Chalk Farm Road for years."

Dr Sandman's neighbour, 70-year-old Nadia Rigby, is also angry about the cost of the works.

She said: "They're asking too much money. We are pensioners. In 1999 we paid £12,500 and they put in new windows. We had a new front door and now they're changing it in seven years time - the one before was there for 46 years."

A council spokeswoman said: "As with the terms of most leases, the cost of capital works and maintenance is passed on to leaseholders. All leaseholders in these properties were sent a letter explaining the works in detail and we have talked through the works in person with a leaseholder who was particularly concerned, to make sure everything was explained.

"The front door is being upgraded to fix its defects and make it last longer. Seven years is actually a long time for something that gets so much wear and tear, and we have a duty to regularly upgrade and maintain all such things."

haroon.siddique@hamhigh.co.uk

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