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The photograph, taken on 9th April 2013, shows the weeded, pruned and de-littered shrub bed according to Simon Clark, Managing Director - Sanctuary Housing Services. What you actually see is a shrub bed which has remained neglected and untouched for over a year and which we have payed a weekly Service Charge to have maintained. That is to say Sanctuary Housing is still robbing us and the local authority despite the mega Service Charge Rip-Off in 2009, when Sanctuary got away with £3,000.00 in Service Charge payments by neglecting Grounds Maintenance etc. for nearly a year.

The tall green plant in the middle of the bed is a low growing shrub according to Sanctuary, as are the flowers. The piece of a drying frame has remained there for months. The Gnome is called Dave and he is a dishonest and greedy bastard just like Sanctuary.


Trophy Winner for Monday 15th April 2013 goes once again to Simon Clark, Managing Director - Sanctuary Housing Services.

Trophy awarded for Simon's recent reply to my complaint a shrub bed has not been maintained for over a year. That we the residents and Cornwall Council are again being robbed by Sanctuary in paying a weekly Service Charge for services we are only partly getting.

I quote "the bed you refer to is maintained by Sanctuary's Estates Services team and is not the responsibility of the tenant. The works specification includes weeding, pruning and de-littering of shrub beds at regular intervals. We do not believe there is any cause for concern with the standard of works, however we will ensure this area is inspected when the housing officer next visits Timber Close", unquote, and dated 4th April 2013.

The 'Grounds Maintenance Specification' for 2012-2013 states weeds should be removed from the shrub beds every two weeks. The shrubs should be pruned and trimmed monthly. Litter gathering within the shrubs and bed should be removed weekly.

Although the housing officer visited Timber Close the day of Mr Clark's reply and would have been aware of the complaint I observed no inspection of the shrub bed. Although the gardener from Sanctuary's Estates Team visited on 9th April 2013 for weekly grounds maintenance work, and briefly again on 12th April, the neglected shrub bed remained neglected and untouched.

Some readers may consider a shrub bed a trivial matter but I believe the bigger picture nationally is that Sanctuary is most likely pocketing a fortune in Charges for Services it should provide but does not. That residents and local authorities throughout the country are being ripped-off and robbed blind by landlords who knowingly cut back on maintenance and disregard grounds maintenance specifications in order to increase profits.

When an organisation continually profits from it's mistakes, the same mistakes, I think one can reasonably presume the mistakes are by design and not by accident.

So why is it residents do not challenge their landlord on Service Charges or the Services they should get ? Apart from the fact most residents wouldn't even dream of disagreeing with their landlord, most residents are on benefits and do not particularly give a shit if the local authority is being ripped off. Now that claimants will have to pay a proportion of their benefits to local authority taxes perhaps more claimants will become more responsible about just who is really being ripped-off.

In 2009 alone Sanctuary robbed Cornwall Council, residents and myself, out of £3,000.00 simply be witholding Services to just 16 residents. This based on an offer of compensation to me in 2010, which I declined, and resulted in Sanctuary and TPAS breaking the law to cover-up the issues. This offer of compensation was later increased by Simon Clark, which I also declined, and would have related to compensation of £4,800.00 overall.

My reason for not accepting this compensation payment from Sanctuary and TPAS was firstly so as not to legitimize the underhanded and unlawful way TPAS attempted to protect TPAS Accredited Sanctuary Housing. My other reason was because the bribe, for want of a better word, was only on offer to me, not my neighbours or Cornwall Council.

Sanctuary presently has some 10,000 properties in Cornwall and was recently accused of not carrying our repairs going back many years by dozens of angry Sanctuary residents in Newquay.

Sanctuary has some 94,000 properties throughout England and Scotland and has gained a bad reputation for not carrying out services and repairs. This has resulted in a growing number of MPs voicing their disgust and dismay with Sanctuary. The most recent involving Robert Goodwill MP in 'The Scarborough News' on 4th April 2013.

So just how many Sanctuary residents are paying for services they are not receiving ? How much of Sanctuary's wealth is the result of profiteering from residents and local authorities ? Just how rich, greedy and uncharitable does Sanctuary have to get before it is made to treat residents fairly and as people and not profit ?

On the subject of the Service Charge I am also reminded of the avoidable cock-up, by accident or design, of our 2012-2013 Service Charge Budget which resulted in Sanctuary needing more than the 4 weeks it offers residents just to make sense of it's own calculations. Calculations which later resulted in a reduction from £4.24 to £3.70 per week per flat resident. A saving of £112.32 for that period from just 16 residents. The beneficary being Cornwall Council since most of the residents are on state benefits. A saving of £112.32 from just 16 properties might not sound very impressive to you but you have to remember Sanctuary has some 94,000 properties and continually makes mistakes.

(The above is based on savings from only 16 flats and does not include the savings from the 29 houses on the estate).

Based on a calculation of 16 x £3.70, and 29 x £2.70, an estimate, the residents and Cornwall Council are paying Sanctuary £137.50 per week for Grounds Maintenance at Timber Close. The maintenance man is on site for approximately 3 hours a week. This means Sanctuary is paid approximately £550.00 for 12 hours maintenance per month and approximately £6,600.00 for 144 hours maintenance per year. Less in the autumn/winter months due to poor light and low growth. Given the excessive amount of money Sanctuary is paid there can be no excuse for it to disregard or neglect Grounds Maintenance unless it is wilfully and unlawfully profiteering from it. This based partly on complaints and recurring failures.

This somewhat unkept, decayed, weed ridden, littered, two green fingered, neglected and abandoned sort of Trophy in the shape of a greedy and dishonest gnome called Dave, is awarded to Simon and Sanctuary Housing for their contributions to horticulture and manure.

Footnote : If you believe you are not getting the Services you or the local authority pay for by way of the Service Charge, request a grounds maintenance specification for that year. This explains how frequently jobs outside should be done. If the grass should be cut every week and is only being cut once a month you have an issue. Start to keep a record and take photographs of neglect and issues needing repair etc..

And remember, Charity starts at home and not by deception by a Not-For-Profit Charity with a multi million pound turnover.

As for Cornwall Council I doubt little will change since it is so protective of Sanctuary that it would take a scapel and a week in surgery to separate them.



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Product Code: Gnome