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Elderly hit by shock 30% rise

PUBLISHED: 09:41 13 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:33 23 August 2010

ELDERLY residents of a sheltered housing complex are furious after being saddled with a near 30 per cent hike in maintenance costs. Many occupants of St James Oaks, in Trafalgar Road, Gravesend, say they will have to dig into savings to cover the increas

ELDERLY residents of a sheltered housing complex are furious after being saddled with a near 30 per cent hike in maintenance costs.

Many occupants of St James Oaks, in Trafalgar Road, Gravesend, say they will have to dig into savings to cover the increase.

They now have to pay £206 a month, up 29.5 per cent from £159 a month previously.

Resident Brian Hillyer, 78, said: "We have had our service charges put up by 29 per cent. I honestly don't know what we can do. It's very frustrating for everybody.

"Our pension goes up about three-and-a-half per cent each year so there's no way it covers the increase in maintenance charges.

"There are women here on low pensions and they have to dig into their savings to pay it."

The housing complex is managed by Gravesham councillor Anthony Pritchard, who says the increase is due to the fact that little maintenance work has been carried out for the last three or four years. As a result a backlog of work has built up.

He said: "Nobody wants to have an increase of 29 per cent. It's not a particularly pleasant prospect for me to inform everybody that this sort of increase has been brought about.

"Unless something extraordinary happens, this is just a one-off to bring it into the 21st century.

"We have never had a 29 per cent rise before and, hopefully, we will never have one again."

Mr Pritchard added that, when the 24-hour manned security gate and CCTV are taken into account, the housing complex still represents good value for money.

jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk

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