Residents' anger as cleaning charge gets go-ahead weeks before consultation ends

Daily Echo: Residents' anger as cleaning charge gets go-ahead weeks before consultation ends Residents' anger as cleaning charge gets go-ahead weeks before consultation ends

CIVIC bosses in Southampton have given the go-ahead to a controversial new cleaning charge on residents – weeks before the consultation on the proposal has actually ended.

Now residents have called for a rethink after city council bosses approved the 91p a week cleaning charge on Tuesday, more than three weeks before consultation ends on February 28.

They have branded the consultation a “sham” after letters were only sent out informing them of the plans last week, days before the council’s Cabinet approved the charge.

The new levy, which amounts to £47.30 a year, will affect 7,000 properties in council flat blocks and sheltered housing and was drawn up by the council after complaints about the state of shared stairways and walkways.

But while some residents say they already pay for cleaning through other charges, they are also critical of the way the council has informed residents.

Plans for the charge first surfaced in the council’s 2013/14 budget last February, which stated that consultation would take place. A council spokesman said consultation was done through tenant participation groups.

But letters only went out to all of the affected residents in the week of January 27 to 31, with the charge set to be rubberstamped by the full council next week and implemented from April onwards.

Bill Gornall, a resident of Malin Close in Lordshill, said: “It looks like it’s cut and dried before we’ve even had a say on it. I think they should have a rethink and do away with it. The first we knew of it was the letter. It is unfair that they gave us no time to think and react.”

And Emma Clarke, a 25-year-old council block tenant from Thornhill, said: “No one even asked us for our opinion about this. The letter says there was a consultation, but I haven’t seen one.

“I feel angry about this. It is not fair we should pay for something we do not even want.”

Putting People First councillor Don Thomas described the consultation as a “sham”.

He added: “The contemptuous letter sent to residents clearly states ‘there will be a cleaning charge of 91p a week per property’ – it only gives an opportunity to comment on the change in service, it reads as though it’s a done deal.

“I have been inundated with worried residents expressing alarm and unease. These same people are telling me they are already paying for a management service.”

Labour council housing boss Warwick Payne said it was “not unusual” for consultation to take place after a decision had been made on the council’s housing and revenue account budget, adding that the decision would not be “set in stone”.

When asked why the consultation was taking place now, he said: “I had asked officers if this consultation could be done earlier, and was told that this was the earliest it could be done.

“But if the consultation comes back and it proves massively unpopular then it may not be done, but that would be contrary to what residents have told us.”

Comments (18)

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11:09am Thu 6 Feb 14

hulla baloo says...

Thats only the beginning. Once in place, look out for annual increases.
Thats only the beginning. Once in place, look out for annual increases. hulla baloo
  • Score: 1

11:54am Thu 6 Feb 14

sotonboy84 says...

So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in...
So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in... sotonboy84
  • Score: 22

12:31pm Thu 6 Feb 14

loosehead says...

maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves?
In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them?
I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves?
maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves? In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them? I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves? loosehead
  • Score: 13

12:34pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Paramjit Bahia says...

The NuLabourites running Southampton Council are either exceptionally arrogant or stupid or simply clowns.

If what Cllr. Payne is saying was not actually happening, people will be thinking it is some kind of a joke. You could not make it up even on 1st April, but Payne is proving to be real pain for the already lousy image of NuLabour.

Coxford ward councillor Cllr. Don Thomas is spot on that this council's consultation is a sham.

How can it be a honest and proper consultation if the arrogant out of touch power drunk tyrants have already made the decision?

Cllr. Payne saying that after consultation the decision may be reversed has some serious implications.

Because the decision has already been made many tenants will not take part and why did they waste time on making decision if few days later they only wanted it to be reversed, is it not waste?

This shambles only proves that Leader of the Council Cllr. Simon Letts is master of appointing people into his cabinet who are unfit for the job. Sadly these poodles of Simon are costing council tax payers lots of money.
The NuLabourites running Southampton Council are either exceptionally arrogant or stupid or simply clowns. If what Cllr. Payne is saying was not actually happening, people will be thinking it is some kind of a joke. You could not make it up even on 1st April, but Payne is proving to be real pain for the already lousy image of NuLabour. Coxford ward councillor Cllr. Don Thomas is spot on that this council's consultation is a sham. How can it be a honest and proper consultation if the arrogant out of touch power drunk tyrants have already made the decision? Cllr. Payne saying that after consultation the decision may be reversed has some serious implications. Because the decision has already been made many tenants will not take part and why did they waste time on making decision if few days later they only wanted it to be reversed, is it not waste? This shambles only proves that Leader of the Council Cllr. Simon Letts is master of appointing people into his cabinet who are unfit for the job. Sadly these poodles of Simon are costing council tax payers lots of money. Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: -8

12:43pm Thu 6 Feb 14

befriendly says...

loosehead wrote:
maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves?
In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them?
I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves?
A very good idea, but you're forgetting the health and safety issue where the council would stop them because they were untrained on cleaning stairwells, weren't wearing safety equipment or the now obligatory yellow jackets and using brushes and brooms and cleaning liquids that left the stairs slippery. Then there's filling in reams of paper on risk assessment. The list goes on and on and explains why the council employs so many non productive managers and why they need to increase council tax to pay for it all.
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves? In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them? I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves?[/p][/quote]A very good idea, but you're forgetting the health and safety issue where the council would stop them because they were untrained on cleaning stairwells, weren't wearing safety equipment or the now obligatory yellow jackets and using brushes and brooms and cleaning liquids that left the stairs slippery. Then there's filling in reams of paper on risk assessment. The list goes on and on and explains why the council employs so many non productive managers and why they need to increase council tax to pay for it all. befriendly
  • Score: 3

1:17pm Thu 6 Feb 14

gilbertratchet says...

sotonboy84 wrote:
So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in...
Yep. Personally, I think this is a pretty sweet deal. I go to work, and a small proportion of that work I do contributes to me having a clean area to live in, without me having to actually do the cleaning work myself.

How long does it take to earn 91p? Even on minimum wage you're talking about ten minutes. I can think of countries where the idea of working for ten minutes a week, to not be surrounded by filth, would be considered luxury beyond their wildest dreams.
[quote][p][bold]sotonboy84[/bold] wrote: So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in...[/p][/quote]Yep. Personally, I think this is a pretty sweet deal. I go to work, and a small proportion of that work I do contributes to me having a clean area to live in, without me having to actually do the cleaning work myself. How long does it take to earn 91p? Even on minimum wage you're talking about ten minutes. I can think of countries where the idea of working for ten minutes a week, to not be surrounded by filth, would be considered luxury beyond their wildest dreams. gilbertratchet
  • Score: 11

1:25pm Thu 6 Feb 14

gilbertratchet says...

befriendly wrote:
loosehead wrote:
maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves?
In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them?
I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves?
A very good idea, but you're forgetting the health and safety issue where the council would stop them because they were untrained on cleaning stairwells, weren't wearing safety equipment or the now obligatory yellow jackets and using brushes and brooms and cleaning liquids that left the stairs slippery. Then there's filling in reams of paper on risk assessment. The list goes on and on and explains why the council employs so many non productive managers and why they need to increase council tax to pay for it all.
And of course, no back-handers from cleaning firms.
[quote][p][bold]befriendly[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves? In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them? I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves?[/p][/quote]A very good idea, but you're forgetting the health and safety issue where the council would stop them because they were untrained on cleaning stairwells, weren't wearing safety equipment or the now obligatory yellow jackets and using brushes and brooms and cleaning liquids that left the stairs slippery. Then there's filling in reams of paper on risk assessment. The list goes on and on and explains why the council employs so many non productive managers and why they need to increase council tax to pay for it all.[/p][/quote]And of course, no back-handers from cleaning firms. gilbertratchet
  • Score: 1

1:46pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Paramjit Bahia says...

gilbertratchet wrote:
befriendly wrote:
loosehead wrote:
maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves?
In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them?
I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves?
A very good idea, but you're forgetting the health and safety issue where the council would stop them because they were untrained on cleaning stairwells, weren't wearing safety equipment or the now obligatory yellow jackets and using brushes and brooms and cleaning liquids that left the stairs slippery. Then there's filling in reams of paper on risk assessment. The list goes on and on and explains why the council employs so many non productive managers and why they need to increase council tax to pay for it all.
And of course, no back-handers from cleaning firms.
No of course not. The contacts may also be awarded in places where only men meet with rolled up trousers with funny hand shakes!
[quote][p][bold]gilbertratchet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]befriendly[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: maybe the residents should keep these areas clean themselves? In Lordshill Channel Islands there are a couple that go around collecting waste so surely if they're willing to do it to keep this estate clean then residents in flats could sweep up the area close to them? I'm no Labour council fan but isn't this a case of people wanting it all done for them for free instead of getting off their arses & doing it themselves?[/p][/quote]A very good idea, but you're forgetting the health and safety issue where the council would stop them because they were untrained on cleaning stairwells, weren't wearing safety equipment or the now obligatory yellow jackets and using brushes and brooms and cleaning liquids that left the stairs slippery. Then there's filling in reams of paper on risk assessment. The list goes on and on and explains why the council employs so many non productive managers and why they need to increase council tax to pay for it all.[/p][/quote]And of course, no back-handers from cleaning firms.[/p][/quote]No of course not. The contacts may also be awarded in places where only men meet with rolled up trousers with funny hand shakes! Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: -4

3:32pm Thu 6 Feb 14

jaycee2947 says...

I live in midanbury walk sheltered housing, which is 4 blocks of 6 flats, we as residents keep our own walkways clear and I see no reason why we need and certainly don't want this service, its just another rent rise by stealth that goes alongside the 45p per week we are charged for digital tv aerial ad infinitum, Also this letter arrived the day after we received notification that our rents will be rising by nearly 7% this april, can the council please tell me where the extra apprx £10 per week will come from?
I live in midanbury walk sheltered housing, which is 4 blocks of 6 flats, we as residents keep our own walkways clear and I see no reason why we need and certainly don't want this service, its just another rent rise by stealth that goes alongside the 45p per week we are charged for digital tv aerial ad infinitum, Also this letter arrived the day after we received notification that our rents will be rising by nearly 7% this april, can the council please tell me where the extra apprx £10 per week will come from? jaycee2947
  • Score: -3

3:58pm Thu 6 Feb 14

commonsence says...

I believe the Council will only be cleaning some of the blocks of flats once a fortnight , not weekly .......Also some of the blocks of flats have a communal balcony where the stairs are open on each floor to the elements. The stairs then get very wet when it rains and with the weather we have had in recent weeks leaves get blown into the buildings , which happens in the block where I live. 91p a week may not be much to some people but add together 7,000 X 91p and it equates to £6,370 a week.
I believe the Council will only be cleaning some of the blocks of flats once a fortnight , not weekly .......Also some of the blocks of flats have a communal balcony where the stairs are open on each floor to the elements. The stairs then get very wet when it rains and with the weather we have had in recent weeks leaves get blown into the buildings , which happens in the block where I live. 91p a week may not be much to some people but add together 7,000 X 91p and it equates to £6,370 a week. commonsence
  • Score: 0

4:04pm Thu 6 Feb 14

sotonboy84 says...

jaycee2947 wrote:
I live in midanbury walk sheltered housing, which is 4 blocks of 6 flats, we as residents keep our own walkways clear and I see no reason why we need and certainly don't want this service, its just another rent rise by stealth that goes alongside the 45p per week we are charged for digital tv aerial ad infinitum, Also this letter arrived the day after we received notification that our rents will be rising by nearly 7% this april, can the council please tell me where the extra apprx £10 per week will come from?
The story suggests that residents complained of dirty communal areas so the council addressed this by bringing in cleaning charges so if anybody is to blame it's the residents – after all, it must be some of the residents making the areas dirty.
[quote][p][bold]jaycee2947[/bold] wrote: I live in midanbury walk sheltered housing, which is 4 blocks of 6 flats, we as residents keep our own walkways clear and I see no reason why we need and certainly don't want this service, its just another rent rise by stealth that goes alongside the 45p per week we are charged for digital tv aerial ad infinitum, Also this letter arrived the day after we received notification that our rents will be rising by nearly 7% this april, can the council please tell me where the extra apprx £10 per week will come from?[/p][/quote]The story suggests that residents complained of dirty communal areas so the council addressed this by bringing in cleaning charges so if anybody is to blame it's the residents – after all, it must be some of the residents making the areas dirty. sotonboy84
  • Score: 2

4:08pm Thu 6 Feb 14

sotonboy84 says...

commonsence wrote:
I believe the Council will only be cleaning some of the blocks of flats once a fortnight , not weekly .......Also some of the blocks of flats have a communal balcony where the stairs are open on each floor to the elements. The stairs then get very wet when it rains and with the weather we have had in recent weeks leaves get blown into the buildings , which happens in the block where I live. 91p a week may not be much to some people but add together 7,000 X 91p and it equates to £6,370 a week.
I believe from the story that the charge is calculated weekly, there is no mention of how often communal areas will be cleaned.

The above post mentions 6 flats to a block so on this basis of 91p a week x 6 is £5.46 and £21.84 a month so it's not a lot of money for all six flats to pay a month. Most domestic cleaners will charge £12/£15 an hour.
[quote][p][bold]commonsence[/bold] wrote: I believe the Council will only be cleaning some of the blocks of flats once a fortnight , not weekly .......Also some of the blocks of flats have a communal balcony where the stairs are open on each floor to the elements. The stairs then get very wet when it rains and with the weather we have had in recent weeks leaves get blown into the buildings , which happens in the block where I live. 91p a week may not be much to some people but add together 7,000 X 91p and it equates to £6,370 a week.[/p][/quote]I believe from the story that the charge is calculated weekly, there is no mention of how often communal areas will be cleaned. The above post mentions 6 flats to a block so on this basis of 91p a week x 6 is £5.46 and £21.84 a month so it's not a lot of money for all six flats to pay a month. Most domestic cleaners will charge £12/£15 an hour. sotonboy84
  • Score: 3

4:59pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Inform Al says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
The NuLabourites running Southampton Council are either exceptionally arrogant or stupid or simply clowns.

If what Cllr. Payne is saying was not actually happening, people will be thinking it is some kind of a joke. You could not make it up even on 1st April, but Payne is proving to be real pain for the already lousy image of NuLabour.

Coxford ward councillor Cllr. Don Thomas is spot on that this council's consultation is a sham.

How can it be a honest and proper consultation if the arrogant out of touch power drunk tyrants have already made the decision?

Cllr. Payne saying that after consultation the decision may be reversed has some serious implications.

Because the decision has already been made many tenants will not take part and why did they waste time on making decision if few days later they only wanted it to be reversed, is it not waste?

This shambles only proves that Leader of the Council Cllr. Simon Letts is master of appointing people into his cabinet who are unfit for the job. Sadly these poodles of Simon are costing council tax payers lots of money.
In this case no tax payers money is wasted, everything in council housing is paid for from the Housing Revenue Account which is totally financed by tenants rent.
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: The NuLabourites running Southampton Council are either exceptionally arrogant or stupid or simply clowns. If what Cllr. Payne is saying was not actually happening, people will be thinking it is some kind of a joke. You could not make it up even on 1st April, but Payne is proving to be real pain for the already lousy image of NuLabour. Coxford ward councillor Cllr. Don Thomas is spot on that this council's consultation is a sham. How can it be a honest and proper consultation if the arrogant out of touch power drunk tyrants have already made the decision? Cllr. Payne saying that after consultation the decision may be reversed has some serious implications. Because the decision has already been made many tenants will not take part and why did they waste time on making decision if few days later they only wanted it to be reversed, is it not waste? This shambles only proves that Leader of the Council Cllr. Simon Letts is master of appointing people into his cabinet who are unfit for the job. Sadly these poodles of Simon are costing council tax payers lots of money.[/p][/quote]In this case no tax payers money is wasted, everything in council housing is paid for from the Housing Revenue Account which is totally financed by tenants rent. Inform Al
  • Score: 1

5:12pm Thu 6 Feb 14

loosehead says...

when I did leafletting I did blocks of flats on Millbrook estate as well as Shirley.
In millbrook these were council owned & ran some had residents who cared & kept the stairwells clean others were like walking through a rubbish tip there was open pizza boxes with slices of pizza in them bags of rubbish chucked into corners instead of bins I wonder if they would complain if they had rats?
I saw council wardens pulling up & a group of ladies went in to clean these places & when asked they said this was just the start they had many more blocks to clean because they were so bad?
I can't see how those residents can complain about being charged because i'm sure they'd be in this paper complaining if they had rats wouldn't they?
Shirley flats have council tenants but are Housing Association & they have cleaners to keep this area clean I don't know the difference in rents between council & housing association or how much either charge for maintenance but if you live in one of the blocks say near the Saints Pub I can't see you have a right to complain about 91p & as i've said I'm no supporter of this Labour council
when I did leafletting I did blocks of flats on Millbrook estate as well as Shirley. In millbrook these were council owned & ran some had residents who cared & kept the stairwells clean others were like walking through a rubbish tip there was open pizza boxes with slices of pizza in them bags of rubbish chucked into corners instead of bins I wonder if they would complain if they had rats? I saw council wardens pulling up & a group of ladies went in to clean these places & when asked they said this was just the start they had many more blocks to clean because they were so bad? I can't see how those residents can complain about being charged because i'm sure they'd be in this paper complaining if they had rats wouldn't they? Shirley flats have council tenants but are Housing Association & they have cleaners to keep this area clean I don't know the difference in rents between council & housing association or how much either charge for maintenance but if you live in one of the blocks say near the Saints Pub I can't see you have a right to complain about 91p & as i've said I'm no supporter of this Labour council loosehead
  • Score: 2

11:44pm Thu 6 Feb 14

timewaster1 says...

When I lived in a council tower block many years ago part of the conditions of tenancy was that we kept the area outside our flat clean. That even went as far as washing the floor outside the front door. I used to have to clean mine on a daily basis as I was the first flat in the row and nearest the lifts so everyone in our row passed my front door. The ones at the end had the best deal because they were the only ones that walked down there. I appreciate it's not so easy nowadays with health and safety but it wouldn't hurt tenants just to get a brush out and sweep outside their doors.
When I lived in a council tower block many years ago part of the conditions of tenancy was that we kept the area outside our flat clean. That even went as far as washing the floor outside the front door. I used to have to clean mine on a daily basis as I was the first flat in the row and nearest the lifts so everyone in our row passed my front door. The ones at the end had the best deal because they were the only ones that walked down there. I appreciate it's not so easy nowadays with health and safety but it wouldn't hurt tenants just to get a brush out and sweep outside their doors. timewaster1
  • Score: 1

3:18pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Lordshillvoice says...

sotonboy84 wrote:
So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in...
Your missing the point we already pay a charge (included in our rent), for this service, which does not happen, which is why we are complaining.
So working on your logic, you take your car to be washed and they charge you £5. When you complain that they have not done it you would accept a charge of £10 to wash it again???
[quote][p][bold]sotonboy84[/bold] wrote: So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in...[/p][/quote]Your missing the point we already pay a charge (included in our rent), for this service, which does not happen, which is why we are complaining. So working on your logic, you take your car to be washed and they charge you £5. When you complain that they have not done it you would accept a charge of £10 to wash it again??? Lordshillvoice
  • Score: 1

3:22pm Wed 12 Feb 14

loosehead says...

Lordshillvoice wrote:
sotonboy84 wrote:
So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in...
Your missing the point we already pay a charge (included in our rent), for this service, which does not happen, which is why we are complaining.
So working on your logic, you take your car to be washed and they charge you £5. When you complain that they have not done it you would accept a charge of £10 to wash it again???
Does it say specifically cleaning or just the maintenance of out side & communal areas?
maybe if you could prove your paying for it & can get sufficient volunteers you could clean it yourselfs & get your rents reduced?
[quote][p][bold]Lordshillvoice[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sotonboy84[/bold] wrote: So residnets complained that communal areas are dirty then complain when cleaning charges are brought in...[/p][/quote]Your missing the point we already pay a charge (included in our rent), for this service, which does not happen, which is why we are complaining. So working on your logic, you take your car to be washed and they charge you £5. When you complain that they have not done it you would accept a charge of £10 to wash it again???[/p][/quote]Does it say specifically cleaning or just the maintenance of out side & communal areas? maybe if you could prove your paying for it & can get sufficient volunteers you could clean it yourselfs & get your rents reduced? loosehead
  • Score: 0

3:23pm Wed 12 Feb 14

loosehead says...

oh! I've just noticed in the photo Morrells there so is he trying to whip up support by stirring he pot?
oh! I've just noticed in the photo Morrells there so is he trying to whip up support by stirring he pot? loosehead
  • Score: 0

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