Video: Thamesmead Homeowners' Association demonstrate on Gallions Housing Association's Sidcup doorstep

News Shopper: THA members protest in Sidcup. THA members protest in Sidcup.

A GROUP of Thamesmead protestors brought their fight with a housing association to its doorstep with a demonstration in Sidcup.

Around 25 members of the Thamesmead Homeowners’ Association gathered outside Gallions Housing Association’s offices in Maidstone Road demanding their concerns be listened to.

Gallions owns and manages much of Thamesmead’s housing stock, requiring freehold residents to pay estate charges covering such areas as drain refurbishment and road, footpath and bridge maintenance.

Leasehold residents also have to pay service charges for the upkeep of their buildings and the THA argues bills vary considerably from year to year and Gallions does not provide adequate proof how money is spent.

The dispute has seen the association take dozens of residents to court over unpaid charges while the THA says concerns its members are being ripped off aren’t being listened to.

News Shopper:

Posters stuck by protestors on the sign outside the Gallions offices. 

Carol Hardiman was one of the protest leaders and she told News Shopper there would be more demonstrations until the group gets the answers it is looking for.

She said: "Gallions have brought this all on themselves. We are not going to sit back and accept what they’re telling us.

"We are not going away and this is only the beginning of what we’ve got planned.

"They are not listening and all they are doing is paying us a little bit of lip service.

"The charges were introduced in 2009 and we are coming up to 2013 and we are still not being charged correctly."

Case study

News Shopper:

Faith McKie, 41, joined protestors waving placards on Wednesday carrying a number of bills she has been sent by Gallions. 

The mother-of-three says she is being charged nearly £10,000 for estate and service charges relating to a two bedroom flat in Bright Court, Byron Close, and a three bedroom house in Fieldfare Road.

The mental health nurse says she cannot possibly afford the £9,807.21 Gallions is demanding after she and her family were forced to move back into Bright Court in October.

She and her husband Samuel, who is 56 and a minicab driver, were living with children Rebecca, 21, Susan, 14, and Krystal, 5, in Fieldfare Road.

But now she says her offspring have to share just one bedroom in their flat as they couldn’t afford to remain at their three bedroom property.

Mrs McKie has a 30 day deadline from November 28 to pay £7,290.64 for ‘major works’ to the roof of Bright Court which she claims to have had no say in.

She said: "We can’t afford life anymore or to live in Thamesmead. We won’t have a Christmas because we owe so much money.

"How can you have Christmas with that bill? It is very upsetting and I seriously regret buying those properties from Gallions."

A Gallions spokesman said: “Where major works are necessary, leaseholders are informed and have the opportunity to comment on the proposals. 

"Leaseholders are charged a proportion of the total costs of works that are carried out to their building in accordance with their lease provisions. 

"We encourage residents to get in touch with us if they have difficulties paying either their service charges or their contribution to the costs of major works. 

"In these circumstances we are flexible in terms of arranging longer term payment plans”.

Gallions board steps down

Gallions’ five board members have agreed to step down after criticism of the £397,000 redundancy package awarded to former chief executive Tony Cotter.

Regulator the Homes and Communities Agency also reprimanded the association for breaching gas safety regulations when it downgraded Galllions’ governance rating by two notches in a report in October.

Three independent board members will be replaced before Christmas and two new resident members will be appointed in the New Year.

The new board will be seeking legal advice on the size of Mr Cotter’s settlement.

Comments (6)

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7:36pm Mon 16 Dec 13

HearTheFacts says...

Getting a straight answer from Gallions, no way!. It will dodge the issue, time and time again.

The Tony Cotter saga, Gallions has failed to inform It's residents about this. Will not answer questions on this matter, whats true or myth or lies. Most residents have no knowledge of this. It's £400.000 of money that should have been spent on It's residents. For such things as providing services, or repairs. Not to payoff someone, or is it a cover up?. Are there issues to be paid off for?. Makes one wonder!.

Come clean Gallions, address the issues. Or more demos will happen!. Be warned!.
Getting a straight answer from Gallions, no way!. It will dodge the issue, time and time again. The Tony Cotter saga, Gallions has failed to inform It's residents about this. Will not answer questions on this matter, whats true or myth or lies. Most residents have no knowledge of this. It's £400.000 of money that should have been spent on It's residents. For such things as providing services, or repairs. Not to payoff someone, or is it a cover up?. Are there issues to be paid off for?. Makes one wonder!. Come clean Gallions, address the issues. Or more demos will happen!. Be warned!. HearTheFacts

10:23am Tue 17 Dec 13

Joelo says...

I simply can't believe they are able to get away with it!
I simply can't believe they are able to get away with it! Joelo

1:19pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Extra Jolly Jack Tar says...

Gallions housing are charging some residents hundreds of pounds a year for services that should be provided by the local council.

They provide no explanation as to why some people are paying twice for many services, how the charges are calculated or why only some pay and others don’t.

This is a scam, but I think we now know where the money goes.
Gallions housing are charging some residents hundreds of pounds a year for services that should be provided by the local council. They provide no explanation as to why some people are paying twice for many services, how the charges are calculated or why only some pay and others don’t. This is a scam, but I think we now know where the money goes. Extra Jolly Jack Tar

7:12pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Inspector Montalbano says...

Gallions had better get used to this. From what I hear this protest is just the start.
Gallions had better get used to this. From what I hear this protest is just the start. Inspector Montalbano

8:11pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Owl fan says...

Gallions are robbing the residents to finance their new ventures and redundancy pay offs. It doesn't seem right to me,
Gallions are robbing the residents to finance their new ventures and redundancy pay offs. It doesn't seem right to me, Owl fan

8:56am Wed 18 Dec 13

neonis says...

Basically Gallions are just a waste of space. They harass the decent people that live on Thamesmead, but let the idiots have free reign.
Basically Gallions are just a waste of space. They harass the decent people that live on Thamesmead, but let the idiots have free reign. neonis

Comments are closed on this article.

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