St Leonards residents refuse to pay for entry system

(R-L) Unhappy Beaufort Court residents Dave Robinson, Tony Dempsey, J Van Aalst, Rose Jones, Ernie Ballard and Joyce Piper
(R-L) Unhappy Beaufort Court residents Dave Robinson, Tony Dempsey, J Van Aalst, Rose Jones, Ernie Ballard and Joyce Piper

Some residents at a St Leonards sheltered housing scheme are refusing to pay for a new entry system.

Beaufort Court residents are being asked to pay £2.48 a week towards a £50,000 replacement pull cord system by the owners, housing association Orbit South.

But a group believe they should not be the ones to pay the bill despite the majority of residents voting for it.

Resident Dave Robinson said: “We’re not happy with any of it. They’re a multi-million pound firm surely they would be able to foot the bill?

“The state pension’s gone up to £3.35 and they want to take £2.48 from it, that doesn’t work does it?”

“A lot of people moan about it but they’re too frightened to say anything because they [Orbit] use a sort of bully tactic.”

Orbit asked residents to vote on whether they wanted a warden call system and a separate door entry system, or a combined system.

According to the owners, 49 per cent of residents voted and 43 people chose the combined system.

Resident Ernie Ballard asked Orbit for a copy of the surveyor’s report so they could prove that it is necessary to replace it, but the housing association said it was ‘unobtainable’.

One resident who had been at Beaufort Court for 18 years described it as ‘disgusting’ and Mr Ballard said it was totally wrong.

“I think Orbit should pay for it. I’ve made it quite clear I’m not paying,” he said.

“I know there’s a considerable amount of doubt as to whether people can pay the increased amount without going without heating or whatever else it may be.

“Someone said that this is the last year I’ll be able to afford presents for my children because it’s not £2.48 a year, it’s £2.48 a week, which might not be much to the directors of Orbit but it’s a considerable amount to people living off of a state pension.”

Orbit told residents that it could not afford to pay for it as there are ‘minimal’ funds in its renewal fund.

Orbit South’s head of independent living Angela Rankin said: “Although Beaufort Court is an independent living housing scheme, Orbit wants to ensure that customers living there are kept safe.

“The current pull cord system needs to be replaced and as customers are responsible for the costs, Orbit consulted with them to review options for a new and improved system.

“It was put to a vote and 97 per cent of the customers who voted, elected for the new system to be installed.

“It is going to cost each household a total of £710 and to make it more affordable, Orbit has offered to spread that cost over a five year period, costing customers £2.48 per week.”

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