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15th Jun, 2021

Residents group slams Bromsgrove District Housing Trust as 'unfit for purpose', claiming their homes are damp, draughty and full of mould

Harry Leach 24th Mar, 2021

A RESIDENTS’ association has slammed Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT), claiming it is ‘unfit for purpose’.

The ‘Hello Burcot’ group, made up of residents living in the providers homes at Burcot Lane, penned an open letter detailing how the provider had fallen short, and called its senior staff ‘grossly overpaid’.

In 2016 this paper highlighted how BDHT’s former chief executive, Mike Brown, earned almost £130,000-a-year.

Its current chief executive, Mark Robertson, is on a similar amount.

In the letter Hello Burcot described BDHT’s customer service as ‘appalling’.

“We have experienced aggressive, rude and dismissive staff and feel they look down on us akin to third rate citizens when they visit,” it read.

“Our accommodation is cold, damp, draughty and rife with mould problems – many flats are in a state of disrepair.

“From our point of view, BDHT prefers to sweep issues under the carpet, patching up problems rather than treating them at the cause.

“Temporary fixes simply make the problems worse, weeks down the line.”

The group said guttering on all blocks remained unacceptable, and that requests to have them cleared were ignored by the housing provider.

Residents say the gutters are blocked with moss and debris, causing leaking and mould inside the flats, particularly for those living on the top floor.

BDHT made nearly £6million from a £25.8million turnover in the financial year ending March 31, 2020, according to public records.

But despite this, residents said they were given the impression ‘there is no money’.

The letter added: “We feel the general neglect of the area goes further from the interiors of the flats to the outside areas; certain parts of the complex are very dark at night, which is hazardous, particularly when coupled with paving stones that are decrepit and sticking up and out.

“Most of the windows are in a poor state and cannot shut properly, which means many flats cannot adequately block out noise.

“And when we tried to improve our communal area by making a small library shelf, for example, so children could share books, BDHT asked us to remove it.

“Most of us cannot afford cars and, occasionally, have pushbikes stored under the stairs, but BDHT threatened to take them.

“We are tired of living here – the Burcot Lane development was meant to be halls of residence for New College.

“It was never designed to be a full-time residential development.”

BDHT director Graeme Anderson told the Standard the Burcot Lane complex would benefit from new improvement works totalling £1million.

“Due to the pandemic, we have experienced some delays however, these improvements will commence in due course,” he said.

“We will need residents to work with us to allow us access to their homes.

“Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our tenants is of utmost importance and we want Burcot Lane to be a place where residents enjoy living, so we are sorry to hear they feel they haven’t received the high levels of customer service we are renowned for providing.”

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