Householders criticise Mansfield District Council’s handling of regeneration project

NMAC11-2711-1''Warsop Vale King Street
NMAC11-2711-1''Warsop Vale King Street

HOUSEHOLDERS have criticised Mansfield District Council’s handling of a regeneration project already being investigated for financial failings.

Chad first reported in August how the authority has lost out on a total of at least £187,000 it is owed under group repair schemes since 2001 because it did not send invoices to some homes which had agreed to contribute.

Some households have since come forward to confirm they were never billed for their payments.

But some told Chad some agreed work was not carried out by contractors, who were not monitored properly by the council.

The residents on King Street, Warsop Vale, said they signed up to improvements but some were never made by the companies appointed by the council.

“We all tend to believe the council thought they were doing the right thing by employing lots of contractors, but it back-fired on them,” said Mick Trueman.

He says he has never been billed for his contribution to work done on his house in 2008.

But problems included his roof lead flashing not being put back properly by contractors, he claims.

The group repair schemes involve residents agreeing to pay up to 25 per cent of the cost of external improvements, such as roof repairs and window upgrades, with the rest funded by a grant.

It is aimed at regenerating parts of the Newgate Lane area of Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse and Warsop Vale.

A council briefing note showed the missing total of £187,000 in contributions owed by 64 households should have been claimed by the council between 2001 and 2004 but was not invoiced.

These amounts cannot be enforced under laws saying debts cannot be pursued longer than six years.

There are also around 107 properties from Mansfield to Warsop which also still owe cash but do not fall under the six-year rules. These owe a total of £227,058.

Mr Trueman’s neighbour Ian Whatmore agreed to pay £3,028 towards a total of £13,325 in work on his home.

“When the contractors came round they appeared to have a different schedule of works to what we had agreed with the council and been given,” he said.

“It got to the point where the foreman said he wouldn’t do things like replace the windows as the schedule said. He decided he was going to do them cheaper. He reluctantly put them in eventually.

“No-one has ever come back from the council to check the work. I rang after 12 months to make arrangements. No-one ever came back to me.

“My personal opinion, having been in the building trade myself, is no-one was set up to control the contractors.”