Flats company criticised over lack of notice closing car park

Flats company criticised over lack of notice closing car park
Ashby's Point in Tonbridge

Some of the people who live in the 92 flats at Ashby’s Point were given 12 minutes’ notice, receiving an email at 8.48am on February 12 saying the car park would shut at 9am.

And those who pay almost £1,000 a year – £800 plus VAT – for allocated parking spaces were only informed at 5pm the previous evening.

The building on Walter’s Farm Road is maintained by Town and Country Housing Group [T&C]. The car park has been shut to carry out work to avoid the spread of fire, following an inspection by specialists.

The Borough Council has made provision for residents to use one space each at three car parks nearby, but several have already received parking tickets.

Matt Boughton, Councillor for Medway ward where Ashby’s Point is situated, said: “We will be asking T&C why they have given such short notice when it was obvious they knew about the need to close the car park before now. Under a day really isn’t enough.”

Town and Country were criticised last September when Ashby’s Point residents saw their water bills rise by more than 300 per cent.

One disabled resident, who wished to remain anonymous, called the car park deadline ‘a disgrace’. The single mother, who has a six-year-old son, said: “We pay for our spaces and for us disabled residents it’s a huge inconvenience.

“Plus they’re only allowing one registration number per address to have public car parking for free. So for people like me who rely on multiple visitors it means there’s going to be a lot of extra parking charges, or risk not being given the care we need.”

The 31-year-old, who suffers from enteropathic arthritis, pays for the bay so that her carers can borrow her permit while they are there.

“Though I do not own a car myself, I rely on visitors to help as I’m disabled. It’s often only for a short time to either pick up or drop off myself and my son. As T&C are only allowing reimbursement of car parking fees for one registered car, it means that my visitors will have to pay for parking.

“It also means that I now need to take myself and my young child outside and over to the car park by Sainsbury’s instead of just straight down in the lift.

“And a neighbour commented on Facebook that she doesn’t know how to shuffle the kids’ dads and the childminder.”

She added: “There are multiple problems with the building and individual flats for which the residents get charged for. It’s an absolute disgrace the way residents are treated. It’s hard enough being a disabled single parent. I’ve been trying to look for somewhere else to live ever since our water bills were tripled without warning.”

A spokesperson for Town & Country said they would pay for the public parking bays and stated: “The health and wellbeing of our tenants is our top priority.

“We respect the advice and guidance of our specialists, so are taking swift action to rectify this issue.”

When asked about the notice period the housing group said: “We appreciate it was short notice. As soon as we were made aware of the potential risk, we promptly put measures in place and acted as quickly as logistically possible following the advice of our fire specialist.

“The majority of our residents and shared owners were very understanding of the need to act swiftly.”

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