ANGRY pensioners have claimed they will struggle to pay road maintenance fees after estate bosses hiked charges by a staggering 670 per cent.
Residents of Fountain Court Gardens, off Waterside, spoke out after they were told in a letter to pay £77 four times a year rather than a sole yearly payment of £40.
The levy was first introduced as a contribution to maintain the road but Mainstay, who took over the management of Fountain Gardens in 2012, said the increase was needed to fund ‘considerable’ maintenance work on the highway.
But irate homeowners have signed a petition to the estate manager Mainstay telling bosses they won’t be paying the new road charges.
David Lloyd, who has lived in Fountain Court Gardens for 22 years, told the Observer many residents would find it hard to find the extra cash.
“We don’t mind it going up, but not from £40 a year to over £300 a year in total,” Mr Lloyd said.
“Nobody can justify that increase, it doesn’t matter what you’re paying for.
“We felt very angry. I just ripped up the letter, I am not paying it,” he added.
Mr Lloyd also raised fears of a drop in house prices and claimed a house sale fell through because the buyer found out about the £300 a year road charge.
“If we want to sell our house we won’t be able to anyway,” he added.
“One neighbour has had to drop their asking price by £15,000.
“It had already sold but as soon as the buyer found out she had to pay a £300 road fund she pulled out.
In response, Mainstay said the increase was owing to a lack of cash for the work, planned for 2022/23, but claimed fees would then be reduced.
“Surveyors have now carried out a survey under the instruction of our client and they advised that in 2022/23 the roadway will require considerable maintenance work,” a spokesman said.
“Therefore, due to there not being any long term maintenance reserve planned into the budget prior to our appointment, we have had to increase the contribution made by homeowners, to generate enough funds to cover the cost of the planned works.
“It should be noted that the contribution will decrease again post work, although we will still look to include a small contribution to the reserve funds and the planned long-term maintenance plan of the roadway.
“Any decision to increase costs to our customers is always a last resort, and it is never taken lightly.
“However, we have a responsibility to our customers to ensure that there are sufficient funds available to guarantee their homes and surrounding areas can be maintained appropriately,” he added.