OAPs' ultimatum to pay £360 bill

PUBLISHED: 13:51 17 February 2006 | UPDATED: 21:42 28 May 2010

Florence Newell

Florence Newell

THE chairman of Chatteris Town Council has pleaded with Fenland District Council bosses to drop a £360 charge levied on two pensioners. Councillor Florence Newell, right, said: I am quite staggered they should be asked to pay this sum. I am trying to get

THE chairman of Chatteris Town Council has pleaded with Fenland District Council bosses to drop a £360 charge levied on two pensioners.

Councillor Florence Newell, right, said: "I am quite staggered they should be asked to pay this sum. I am trying to get some answers."

She said pensioners Hiram and Joan Fuller have been given a fortnight to find £360 after being receiving a bill from Fenland District Council to tidy their garden when they moved out after 53 years in the house.

Cllr Newell said the couple were amazed to get the bill, since they had moved from a three bedroom council "which are like gold dust, into a smaller, two-bedroom bungalow".

Mrs Fuller, 73, said: "The council never even told me anything was wrong. We could quite easily have gotten help to tidy the garden if that was the problem."

Mrs Fuller, 73, and her husband, 79, moved recently from a three-bedroom house in Tithe Road, Chatteris, to a two-bedroom bungalow in St Martins Road.

Their move followed a traumatic time for the couple.

Mr Fuller was taken ill and moved to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, and was later moved to the (now closed) Iceni ward at Doddington.

He had a fall while in hospital and broke an arm, picked up an infection which delayed his recovery and was forced to have his right arm amputated.

On Saturday, he arrived home to find a second letter from the council saying that since the original £320 bill had not been paid, another £30 plus VAT had been added "for the cost of administering this debt".

A council spokesman said: "It is clearly stated in the tenancy agreement and in the termination agreement that tenants will be charged for anything left in the property when they vacate, so the couple would have been aware of this.

"The charge was for a number of items which had to be removed from the property, clearing rubbish from the garden as well as the shed/garage demolition.

"We do not have a policy that rewards tenants for their long-service and this was dealt with in accordance with our policy.

Mrs Fuller said they had two weeks to pay and "if payment is not forthcoming the debt will be referred to the small claims courts and you will be liable for further costs".

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