Angry Harborough residents set for face-to-face meeting over 'hidden charges' outrage

Furious homeowners on a Market Harborough estate are gearing up for a showdown with maintenance agency chiefs over 'fleeceholding' fees.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 1:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 1:07 pm
Aiden Perks, Lara Raffaelli, Roy Saint and Malcolm Solly.

People living on Farndon Fields are getting together to fight “hidden charges” being imposed on them by Chamonix Estates.

Now they are heading towards a full-scale face-to-face public debate with the Sandon-based operation.

Chamonix Estates has set up the residents’ meeting at Robert Smyth Academy on Burnmill Road, Harborough, at 6.30pm on Tuesday February 4.

Fuming Lara Raffaelli, 53, said: “We can’t wait to go toe to toe with Chamonix because it’s so hard to get hold of them.

“They’ve only called this meeting because the story of our plight appeared in the Harborough Mail in the first place.”

Lara, of Angell Drive, Farndon Fields, added: “I’m sure there will be an excellent turn out on the night.

“I would urge everyone on Farndon Fields – and indeed everyone affected by fleeceholding fees – to go along.

“We’ve had years of being hit with these hidden charges.

“Now it’s time to turn up and make the bosses at Chamonix Estates face the music at last.”

She said local people are becoming increasingly angry and frustrated as they battle for “justice”.

“We’re having regular sitdowns to discuss the situation and our campaign to get to the truth is taking off.

“More and more residents here are becoming mobilised,” said Lara, who’s also started a petition battling fleeceholding fees.

“We have to repeal the law which stopped local authorities automatically taking on new developments.

“Estates like Farndon Fields are effectively being privatised now where as previously we’d have been looked after by Harborough council.

“We shouldn’t be getting billed £600 a year for essential maintenance and infrastructure work on our estate that never seems to get done.

“It’s an outright scandal.

“And we are just the tip of a very big iceberg.

“We’re fighting for tens of thousands of people in the same boat as us all over the UK.”

She said Harborough Liberal Democrat councillors Julie Simpson, Peter James and Roger Dunton have got behind them.

“We’re also meeting our MP Neil O’Brien at the Methodist Church on Northampton Road at 5pm on Friday January 31,” said Lara.

She said she was also worried that Adrian Povey, 53, a director of Chamonix Estates, has already had over 300 directorships according to Companies House.

“That doesn’t seem right to me.

“It does concern residents Mr Povey appears to have been involved with so many firms over the years,” said Lara.

A Chamonix Estates’ spokesman said: “We hope that by holding the residents’ meeting we can further explain the set up and charges and discuss the estimated charges.”

He insisted: “There is certainly nothing immoral happening here.

“Solicitors have a duty to advise new purchasers of what they are buying into upon purchase of their new home.

“The collection of funds before completion indicates that the customer has been made aware of the estimated charges upon purchase.

“We would hope that the contractual agreement that residents have signed upon purchase is fully explained to them.

“In terms of Adrian Povey's directorships, the developer will usually be appointed director of the Management Company during the initial build phase.

“Naturally, developers move onto new build projects elsewhere and therefore appoint a person within their appointed managing agent as ‘Nominee Director’ whilst the remaining completions go through and whilst the land is still under developer control.

“You will appreciate it is not in the residents' best interests to have the developer as director when they are no longer on site day to day.”