Concern over charges for CCTV cameras

Paul McKevitt

Paul McKevitt

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RESIDENTS living in flats on the edge of Wigan town centre claim they are being charged twice for the same service.

Former tenants who have purchased their high rise flats in Scholes Village under Right to Buy are battling with town hall chiefs after changes to the way CCTV security and concierge services are dealt with.

Since April the facility has passed from Wigan and Leigh Housing to now be administered by Wigan Council’s Central Watch.

Leaseholders’ campaigner Syd Hall, claims this means that they are now being charged for the service from their annual council tax bill as well as the existing £18 per week service charge they still have to pay since buying the properties.

Pensioner Mr Hall, who lives in Crompton House, has launched a campaign for “financial justice” on behalf of 14 other lease holders. The retired Heinz worker said: “We are concerned that the council are charging us twice for the same service. We have been informed that the CCTV / Concierge Service for Scholes Village high-rise flats was transferred from Wigan and Leigh and Housing to the council’s Central Watch in the spring.

“Following our recent Freedom of Information request to the council they advised that borough wide CCTV costs from their Central Watch CCTV coverage are not charged to individuals and that the costs are recovered from the general fund via the Council Tax.

“Therefore we are already paying for Central Watch CCTV coverage through their Council Tax.

“However Wigan MBC are still continuing to charge individual leaseholders at Scholes Village high-rise flats for the provision of this via the service charge.”

But Director of Corporate Services Paul Mckevitt said: “The council is legally required to maintain a separate financial account for transactions relating to council dwellings. Income into this separate Housing Revenue Account comes from rents and service charges to council tenants and leaseholders.

“It is a statutory requirement that this housing account is used only to fund council housing services and can’t be used to subsidise services to council tax payers. So while council tenants and leaseholders contribute to the town centre CCTV service through their Council Tax, they are not paying for this again through their leasehold charge.“