Thamesmead Homeowners Association protest 'rip off' Gallions Housing Association charges

News Shopper: Thamesmead residents protest "unjust" maintenance charges outside a Bexley Council public cabinet meeting on Tuesday (November 13). Thamesmead residents protest "unjust" maintenance charges outside a Bexley Council public cabinet meeting on Tuesday (November 13).

A NEW Thamesmead protest group has demonstrated against "rip off" charges levied by a housing association.

Around 100 residents picketed a Bexley Council public cabinet meeting on behalf of the Thamesmead Homeowners’ Association on Tuesday (November 15).

Many held placards and banners attacking Gallions Housing Association’s "unjust" estate charges.

The company owns and manages much of Thamesmead’s housing stock and charges some tenants in Southmere nearly £600 a year for the upkeep of the area.

THA committee member and Portmeadow Walk resident John Wroe praised the "brilliant" event and said: "We made our views clear and it’s up to Gallions now."

The retired TV news librarian claims many residents have been summoned to court by Gallions for being up to £2,400 in arrears for charges dating back to 2009 and has himself refused to pay a £434 bill for the same period.

The 66-year-old grandfather-of-two added: "People can’t see value for money and are pretty angry. It’s Big Brother tactics.

"You wouldn’t go and have your car serviced without an itemised list of what was done."

All Gallions tenants are required to pay estate charges covering such areas as drain refurbishment and road, footpath and bridge maintenance while leasehold tenants also have to pay service charges for the upkeep of their buildings.

The THA argues bills vary considerably from year to year and Gallions does not provide adequate proof how money is spent.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said: "Clearly this is a great concern for a significant number of Thamesmead residents.

"What needs to happen now is that there is a serious level of engagement between all parties and I will personally be seeking a meeting with the chair of Gallions to discuss the matter"

Statement from Gallions

"We recover estate charges from freeholders who signed a covenant to pay this charge when they purchased their home and do acknowledge that some homeowners are dissatisfied with this and the amounts being requested.

"The charges cover the costs of managing such things as sewers, roads, estate lighting, lakes, canals, green spaces and parks.

"Each homeowner is given a detailed breakdown of how their charge is worked out.

"We encourage individuals to get in touch with us if they have any concerns, queries or difficulties paying so that we may look at their individual cases.

"Although they pay council tax and may assume that this covers the upkeep of all parks and other public areas in Thamesmead, this is not the case.

"We manage these areas as part of our business with no extra funding from government bodies.

"Charges vary from area to area and from homeowner to homeowner.

"The amount a homeowner is liable for is determined partly by the terms in their Transfer Deeds.

"For the 2012–13 financial year, the highest charge for a Southmere homeowner is £576.41 per annum."

Comments (15)

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4:02pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott says...

I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system.

A good 80%, I'll bet.

Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs.

Bless them.
I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them. Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott
  • Score: 0

4:53pm Mon 19 Nov 12

joertmclark says...

Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott wrote:
I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system.

A good 80%, I'll bet.

Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs.

Bless them.
Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't.
All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody.

Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about.

You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside
nts.co.uk

I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge.
[quote][p][bold]Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott[/bold] wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.[/p][/quote]Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't. All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody. Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about. You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside nts.co.uk I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge. joertmclark
  • Score: 0

8:25pm Mon 19 Nov 12

angry.pug says...

Lord snooty,
Your comments are a bit misguided.
Why would slobs who dont work be
protesting about estate charges,as you say they wont be paying it anyway!
Its HOMEOWNERS,people who HAVE to work to pay their mortgage.
Lord snooty, Your comments are a bit misguided. Why would slobs who dont work be protesting about estate charges,as you say they wont be paying it anyway! Its HOMEOWNERS,people who HAVE to work to pay their mortgage. angry.pug
  • Score: 0

8:58pm Mon 19 Nov 12

joertmclark says...

Here Here! I agree with Angry Pug all the way!
Here Here! I agree with Angry Pug all the way! joertmclark
  • Score: 0

1:11am Tue 20 Nov 12

Virtual-Monster says...

If you choose to live in Thamesmead you get EVERYTHING you deserve.
If you choose to live in Thamesmead you get EVERYTHING you deserve. Virtual-Monster
  • Score: 0

1:56am Tue 20 Nov 12

Thames res says...

I agree that gallions should have to answer for what it is they actually spend our hard working cash on. I am a resident and every year I query as to why the service charge has gone up and what it is actually for. I am told several different answers but mainly the upkeep of your block ( hello I live in a house) well the upkeep of your grass area. Well if that's the case they cut a 6x6 bit of grass every 6 months and charge me and my neighbours nearly 300 pounds each a year to do so ( I'd rather cut it myself), not to mention that they also have volunteers who clear canals and paint subways on there behalf .
I agree that gallions should have to answer for what it is they actually spend our hard working cash on. I am a resident and every year I query as to why the service charge has gone up and what it is actually for. I am told several different answers but mainly the upkeep of your block ( hello I live in a house) well the upkeep of your grass area. Well if that's the case they cut a 6x6 bit of grass every 6 months and charge me and my neighbours nearly 300 pounds each a year to do so ( I'd rather cut it myself), not to mention that they also have volunteers who clear canals and paint subways on there behalf . Thames res
  • Score: 0

9:09am Tue 20 Nov 12

MsChevious says...

joertmclark wrote:
Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.
Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't. All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody. Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about. You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside nts.co.uk I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge.
Actually Joe pretty much everyone who lives in a leasehold property or anywhere with privately owned communal areas (such as blocks of flats or new build estates) has to pay a maintenance fee. It's pretty standard for planning permission for new build estates to include a clause ensuring the council aren't responsible for the additional sewerage, lighting etc required and so this is covered by a service charge. Which, incidentally, sounds like a pretty good deal - I looked at a flat in one of the new developments in Greenhithe recently and the service charge there was £120 A MONTH.

If Gallions do the work for Gallions residents then why should my tax pay for it?! If you don't like having a service charge where you live then you could move somewhere without one!
[quote][p][bold]joertmclark[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott[/bold] wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.[/p][/quote]Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't. All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody. Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about. You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside nts.co.uk I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge.[/p][/quote]Actually Joe pretty much everyone who lives in a leasehold property or anywhere with privately owned communal areas (such as blocks of flats or new build estates) has to pay a maintenance fee. It's pretty standard for planning permission for new build estates to include a clause ensuring the council aren't responsible for the additional sewerage, lighting etc required and so this is covered by a service charge. Which, incidentally, sounds like a pretty good deal - I looked at a flat in one of the new developments in Greenhithe recently and the service charge there was £120 A MONTH. If Gallions do the work for Gallions residents then why should my tax pay for it?! If you don't like having a service charge where you live then you could move somewhere without one! MsChevious
  • Score: 0

9:15am Tue 20 Nov 12

joertmclark says...

MsChevious wrote:
joertmclark wrote:
Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.
Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't. All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody. Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about. You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside nts.co.uk I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge.
Actually Joe pretty much everyone who lives in a leasehold property or anywhere with privately owned communal areas (such as blocks of flats or new build estates) has to pay a maintenance fee. It's pretty standard for planning permission for new build estates to include a clause ensuring the council aren't responsible for the additional sewerage, lighting etc required and so this is covered by a service charge. Which, incidentally, sounds like a pretty good deal - I looked at a flat in one of the new developments in Greenhithe recently and the service charge there was £120 A MONTH.

If Gallions do the work for Gallions residents then why should my tax pay for it?! If you don't like having a service charge where you live then you could move somewhere without one!
MsChevious - you are talking about service charges. I totally understand that service charges need to incur for leaseholders and community areas.
I am specifically talking about estate charges.
We are freeholders who own our property. We do not have communal areas on our property. We pay our council tax for the roads and lakes, canals etc.
[quote][p][bold]MsChevious[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]joertmclark[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott[/bold] wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.[/p][/quote]Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't. All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody. Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about. You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside nts.co.uk I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge.[/p][/quote]Actually Joe pretty much everyone who lives in a leasehold property or anywhere with privately owned communal areas (such as blocks of flats or new build estates) has to pay a maintenance fee. It's pretty standard for planning permission for new build estates to include a clause ensuring the council aren't responsible for the additional sewerage, lighting etc required and so this is covered by a service charge. Which, incidentally, sounds like a pretty good deal - I looked at a flat in one of the new developments in Greenhithe recently and the service charge there was £120 A MONTH. If Gallions do the work for Gallions residents then why should my tax pay for it?! If you don't like having a service charge where you live then you could move somewhere without one![/p][/quote]MsChevious - you are talking about service charges. I totally understand that service charges need to incur for leaseholders and community areas. I am specifically talking about estate charges. We are freeholders who own our property. We do not have communal areas on our property. We pay our council tax for the roads and lakes, canals etc. joertmclark
  • Score: 0

9:47am Tue 20 Nov 12

MsChevious says...

joertmclark wrote:
MsChevious wrote:
joertmclark wrote:
Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.
Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't. All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody. Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about. You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside nts.co.uk I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge.
Actually Joe pretty much everyone who lives in a leasehold property or anywhere with privately owned communal areas (such as blocks of flats or new build estates) has to pay a maintenance fee. It's pretty standard for planning permission for new build estates to include a clause ensuring the council aren't responsible for the additional sewerage, lighting etc required and so this is covered by a service charge. Which, incidentally, sounds like a pretty good deal - I looked at a flat in one of the new developments in Greenhithe recently and the service charge there was £120 A MONTH. If Gallions do the work for Gallions residents then why should my tax pay for it?! If you don't like having a service charge where you live then you could move somewhere without one!
MsChevious - you are talking about service charges. I totally understand that service charges need to incur for leaseholders and community areas. I am specifically talking about estate charges. We are freeholders who own our property. We do not have communal areas on our property. We pay our council tax for the roads and lakes, canals etc.
Unless Gallions are lying in their statement above (which I don't necessarily dismiss as a possibility!) this was part of the covenants signed when buying - much as I have a random ancient convenant on my house which means I pay someone £5 a year who has nothing to do with my property and who does nothing for it. If it's in the deeds then it's legal sadly. If you were not aware of this then your solicitor didn't do a very good job when you bought your home.

Like I said, it is likely that the maintenance of roads, lakes, sewerage etc is the responsibility of Gallions as set out in the planning permission or similar - unfortunately it is very unlikely that you are going to get any success in this.

This is exactly the same position as people who live in new estates such as Ingress Park - you may be a freeholder of your property but open areas which are considered 'communal' such as parks and roads are maintained through such charges.
[quote][p][bold]joertmclark[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MsChevious[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]joertmclark[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott[/bold] wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.[/p][/quote]Lord Piggott - do you pay an estate charge as well as council tax? I bet you don't. All the people I know that are backing this campaign are freeholders and hard-working citizens. All we want to do is pay our full council tax. Who in the country pays council tax and an estate charge? Nobody. Gallions did not have the right to dictate the conditions of the right-to-buy scheme. This is what the whole protest is about. You can read more at www.thamesmeadreside nts.co.uk I'm a resident of Abbey Wood Village so this isn't effecting me but I'm supporting the residents of Thamesmead on this unjust charge.[/p][/quote]Actually Joe pretty much everyone who lives in a leasehold property or anywhere with privately owned communal areas (such as blocks of flats or new build estates) has to pay a maintenance fee. It's pretty standard for planning permission for new build estates to include a clause ensuring the council aren't responsible for the additional sewerage, lighting etc required and so this is covered by a service charge. Which, incidentally, sounds like a pretty good deal - I looked at a flat in one of the new developments in Greenhithe recently and the service charge there was £120 A MONTH. If Gallions do the work for Gallions residents then why should my tax pay for it?! If you don't like having a service charge where you live then you could move somewhere without one![/p][/quote]MsChevious - you are talking about service charges. I totally understand that service charges need to incur for leaseholders and community areas. I am specifically talking about estate charges. We are freeholders who own our property. We do not have communal areas on our property. We pay our council tax for the roads and lakes, canals etc.[/p][/quote]Unless Gallions are lying in their statement above (which I don't necessarily dismiss as a possibility!) this was part of the covenants signed when buying - much as I have a random ancient convenant on my house which means I pay someone £5 a year who has nothing to do with my property and who does nothing for it. If it's in the deeds then it's legal sadly. If you were not aware of this then your solicitor didn't do a very good job when you bought your home. Like I said, it is likely that the maintenance of roads, lakes, sewerage etc is the responsibility of Gallions as set out in the planning permission or similar - unfortunately it is very unlikely that you are going to get any success in this. This is exactly the same position as people who live in new estates such as Ingress Park - you may be a freeholder of your property but open areas which are considered 'communal' such as parks and roads are maintained through such charges. MsChevious
  • Score: 0

11:31am Tue 20 Nov 12

Hk says...

Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott wrote:
I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.
You really are a really nasty horrible person. Please dont tar everyone with the same brush that lives on Thamesmead. Some of us dont have a choice at the present time but also some of us have actually lived there a very long time and can honestly say that it hasnt always been as bad as it is now. You actually disgust me. But to be honest Ive probably just given you the response you wanted!

What a vile person.
[quote][p][bold]Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott[/bold] wrote: I wonder just how many of these Thamesmead residents' maintenance charges are paid by taxpayers who actually go to work and contribute to the benefits system. A good 80%, I'll bet. Still, I'm sure that when they got home after the protest they had a nice pizza delivered straight to their doors to warm them up in front of their wide screen TVs. Bless them.[/p][/quote]You really are a really nasty horrible person. Please dont tar everyone with the same brush that lives on Thamesmead. Some of us dont have a choice at the present time but also some of us have actually lived there a very long time and can honestly say that it hasnt always been as bad as it is now. You actually disgust me. But to be honest Ive probably just given you the response you wanted! What a vile person. Hk
  • Score: 0

11:33am Tue 20 Nov 12

Hk says...

Virtual-Monster wrote:
If you choose to live in Thamesmead you get EVERYTHING you deserve.
Some people have lived on Thamesmead for a very long time like myself. Yes I would now like to move off of there but unfortunately Im stuck there until I can sell my house. I dont like some of the people that live there but is this not true about many other areas in the borough.

Another not very nice person.
[quote][p][bold]Virtual-Monster[/bold] wrote: If you choose to live in Thamesmead you get EVERYTHING you deserve.[/p][/quote]Some people have lived on Thamesmead for a very long time like myself. Yes I would now like to move off of there but unfortunately Im stuck there until I can sell my house. I dont like some of the people that live there but is this not true about many other areas in the borough. Another not very nice person. Hk
  • Score: 0

11:47am Tue 20 Nov 12

Gypo.Joe says...

Thamesmead aint living, it's an existance.
Thamesmead aint living, it's an existance. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Tue 20 Nov 12

Lynus1 says...

When we moved to Thamesmead 38 years ago it was a wonderful place to live.Like many of the protesters against the charges we was hard working people and purchased our house .Over the years the facilities and recreation spaces have been taken away and now in the vision they have for Thamesmead they are being resurrected as if it was something new.We are being asked to bankroll this vision to replace what has been lost
When we moved to Thamesmead 38 years ago it was a wonderful place to live.Like many of the protesters against the charges we was hard working people and purchased our house .Over the years the facilities and recreation spaces have been taken away and now in the vision they have for Thamesmead they are being resurrected as if it was something new.We are being asked to bankroll this vision to replace what has been lost Lynus1
  • Score: 0

9:52pm Tue 20 Nov 12

lollie,erith says...

i used to be a leaseholder and the council sent us bills for works which were of poor quality. i got free legal advice and got my money back. there are more rights for leaseholders now and if the council/housing association are trying to charge for unnecessary works or extortionate costs, then take it further. good luck. sadly, as usual, the same names not providing anything other than rudeness and abuse. good luck to residents.
i used to be a leaseholder and the council sent us bills for works which were of poor quality. i got free legal advice and got my money back. there are more rights for leaseholders now and if the council/housing association are trying to charge for unnecessary works or extortionate costs, then take it further. good luck. sadly, as usual, the same names not providing anything other than rudeness and abuse. good luck to residents. lollie,erith
  • Score: 0

9:58pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Gypo.Joe says...

Capital letters Lollie. Know wot I mean like innit.
Capital letters Lollie. Know wot I mean like innit. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 0

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