Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Service Charges: Hulme Green Party reaction

In reaction to the service charges concern, Hulme Green Party candidate Ruth Bergan issued this statement

"These plans are an outrage. The Labour Council said it would uphold City South's promise not to introduce further charges, they must stand by this. Mary Murphy claims to be a voice for Hulme residents, so why is she even considering this proposal? Hulme residents deserve good, affordable housing. It is a terrible reflection on Labour that, at a time when everyone is facing money problems, they are part of plans to introduce new charges."

No reaction has been forthcoming from local Labour Party candidates.
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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

MMU Campus Plans begin to concern Hulme organisations

Local Hulme campaigners opposed to Manchester Metropolitan's plans for £120 million super-campus recieved a boost recently when social landlord 'Places 4 People' wrote a letter of concern to Manchester City Council's Planning Department.

The Housing Trust, with over 250 properties in Hulme, outlined the main concerns of its residents.

The commentary on the Birley Fields website, also pointed out the lack of support from the local Hulme councillors, all of whom are Labour, "And forget about asking the local councillors, they don’t seem to have a clue outside of the party line on this issue."

Hulme Green Party candidate, Ruth Bergan said "Birley fields is an important green space for local residents. The scale of building proposed will take all this away, residents will see traffic increase on roads that can already be difficult to cross, and they will have reduced sunlight coming into their homes. The Green Party thinks it's healthy to have a diverse community and students have a place in that, but the scale of this development is not justified. We need to preserve our green spaces for both the environmental and the health benefits they bring".
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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Shock Service Charges Planned by City South Manchester Housing Trust

Stunned tenants fear extra charges

Along with a letter telling of rent increases, tenants of City South Manchester Housing Trust (CSMHT) were shocked to also get letters on their "Rights and Obligations" under Service Charges.

CSMHT promised NOT to introduce services charges for the work it’s doing now, in its offer document when it took over council property. That was only 4 years ago. The document, called ‘Your Future, Your Choice’ says (on page 28):

“The rent after transfer would pay for the full range of services you now get from the City Council – managing the estates, repairing your home and maintaining the landscape.

“There would be no services charges for any of the planned improvement works described in this booklet. In the future, if you want City South Manchester to provide extra services, these would be paid for by a new service charge, but this would not happen without a full consultation with all tenants affected by the change.

“So, there would only be a new service charge for a new service, not an improved service.”

What is written in this offer document is LEGALLY BINDING as it is part of a contract between CSMHT and Manchester City Council. Page 18 of the document says,

“City South Manchester would be independent from the City Council. However, Manchester City Council would have a legally binding contract with City South Manchester, through which the City Council would make sure that the promises made in this booklet are kept.”

This means the promise not to impose this proposed service charge is legally binding.

Residents are angry that this is even being considered, despite promises made, and massively disappointed that 2 labour councillors, including Hulme’s Mary Murphy, the Vice-Chair, are on the board that have agreed it.

Leaked papers from the Trust show costs will vary between £10 and over £1000 per year, with the higher charges being aimed at tower block tenants.

Residents have called upon the Housing Trust and Councillor Mary Murphy to confirm or deny that

  • A service charge for new tenants was introduced on April 1st
  • service charges for existing tenants in flats and multis will follow at a later date
  • the offer document promised no services charges for current services
  • the offer document is a legally binding document that was guaranteed by Manchester City Council.

Because depending on the answers given, there are implications for the Trust, the City Council and the Councillors involved.

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