May 22 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
ELDERLY residents stood together in silent protest after they were BANNED from holding charity events on the green outside their park homes.
About fifty protesters, some in their 80s, came out to express their fury at Tingdene Homes, who own Fenland Village and Osborne Park, in Wisbech.
The residents have on ongoing dispute with Tingdene, with almost 50 of them refusing to pay increased ground rents.
They claim the park homes company has failed to deal with a list of complaints and that lowered street lights, placed metres from their properties, shine into their windows.
Tingdene has also barred them from holding events on the village green due to “noise complaints” - prompting residents to hold a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support on their driveways.
Members of a Rent Tribunal Commission toured the sites on Friday before attending a hearing at The Boathouse. They were met by residents, who stood silent and held placards pleading with Tingdene to reconsider their ruling on the green.
Tom Goswell, 58, who sits on the residents’ association, said: “It’s absolutely appalling what Tingdene has done here. We’ve raised thousands of pounds for charity with events on the green and now we can’t do it any more.
“There are a lot of vulnerable people here. Tingdene targets sales pitches at this elderly age group yet they show no duty of care towards them after they’ve made their sale.
“Standing firm over the ground rent increase is a different issue but we believe that banning events on the green is a form of retribution from Tingdene - all because we dared to stand up to them.
“For a lot of the people that live here, events on that green are the only socialising they do. That has been taken away from them.”
Residents were left furious when the site’s street lights were lowered. They claim that the lights shine into homes and make it darker across the estate - but Tingdene said the alterations were necessary so that only one person was needed to change the light bulbs rather than two.
Councillor Virginia Bucknor, who has supported the residents, was also at Friday’s protest and tribunal.
She said: “By law the residents are entitled to 28 days notice if Tingdene propose to make any changes to their properties. Most of the residents got half an hour notice.”
Ken Borland, 62, moved into the site in Wisbech last year after health problems forced him into retirement.
“There have been all sorts of problems,” he said. “I would never have moved here if I knew it was going to be like this.”
The findings of tribunal will be published within four weeks.
Tingdene have so far refused to comment.