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Picture shows Timber Close, St Austell, Cornwall.  Foreground shows the flats/communal area and the houses are above. The small group of buildings half way up the left side of the picture and about 1 inch inwards are the 7 Sanctuary houses in Gover Road.

The following is a follow-up to last weeks "The Sanctuary Housing Service Charge Scam for 2013 - 2014.
Amendments : I confirm Sanctuary had previously indicated the same grass cutting timetable, and also indicated the same weekly tasks. Not mentioned or considered were the 7 Sanctuary houses in Gover Road, opposite Timber Close, St Austell, Cornwall.

Blog entered 16 September 2013.

The following is a brief account of a typical grounds maintenance visit by Sanctuary Housing on Tuesday 10 September 2013.

The Sanctuary gardener visited in the afternoon and normally visits only once a week. On this occasion the gardner spent just over 2 hours at Timber Close and visits can be a bit longer if grass cutting is required. Various jobs were noted but did not include all the weekly tasks specified in the 'Grounds Maintenance Specification'.

Timber Close comprises 45 properties made up of 29 houses and 16 flats. There are also 7 Sanctuary houses in Gover Road, "7 dwelling houses" according to the Council, which the gardner also removes litter from.

So just how much did the visit cost the tenants that day ?

The flat tenants each paid £3.13 and the house tenants approximately £1.00 less at  £2.13. Because a proportion of the tenants are in receipt of benefits the Council pays.

Details on how much the house tenants pay for services ceased to be provided to all tenants around the same time the 'Grounds Maintenance Specification' ceased to be provided. (* See Footnote for details).

The 45 tenants therefore paid Sanctuary almost £112.00 for just over 2 hours work, or over £50.00 an hour allowing extra for grass cutting which was not necessary on this visit. If Sanctuary visits only every other week it will be paid almost £224.00 for that visit, or approximately £448.00 a month.

How come ? Because the tenants pay almost £112.00 every week 52 weeks a year, based on the above, regardless of how many times Sanctuary does not visit.

However, the above calculation does NOT take into account any weekly Service Charge payments resulting from the 7 Sanctuary properties opposite Timber Close. If the Service Charge from them was also included, given that the gardner clears litter from them at the same time, and based on an estimate of £2.13 from each tenant, then Sanctuary actually charged almost £127.00 for just over 2 hours work, or just over £253.00 for visiting every other week, or approximately £507.00 a month for just over 8 hours work.

I acknowledge some of the Service Charge also covers other things such as an Administration Charge of 15%, which the tenants have to pay regardless of excessive profits or internal cock-ups such as that experienced in the 2012 - 2013 Service Charge increase and reduction.

According to Sanctuary Timber Close comprises 45 properties but according to Cornwall Council's Planning Approval PA11/08787, Timber Close comprises 1 - 46 properties. I have now asked the Council to help me find number 46 Timber Close. I think a big hello is in order.

Although Sanctuary has over 1,000.00 properties in Cornwall it has no office or base in Cornwall unlike some smaller and more responsible landlords with the Council. Sanctuary did have an office in Truro years ago but closed it when it began to grow bigger and greedier.

Because Sanctuary has no office or base in Cornwall most of it's staff are employed in Devon and have to travel to and from Cornwall which costs time and money. The notion that a Cornish grounds maintenance company could not do the work for less, which would better support the Cornish economy and reduce costs to tenants and the local authority, has little to do with common sense and everything to do with Corporate Greed. That if we are all in it together we have manure and Sanctuary has roses.

I have recently been informed of a local grounds maintenance company who charge £10.00 an hour per man. Cornwall Council should take heed and stop giving it's housing partner whatever it demands from Cornish tenants and the Cornish economy.

Footnote : * Based on the 2011 - 2012 figures the house tenants each paid .96p less than flat tenants which I have rounded up to £1.00 to compensate for the time spent on the estate being a little over 2 hours.

It is unclear if the reduction in transparency had anything to do with the 2009 Service Charge Rip-Off which enabled Sanctuary to steal over £3,000.00 from tenants/Council, and allowed an anti-social tenant to determine grounds maintenance and what services the tenants could and could not have despite the tenants paying a weekly fee for the use of all services. This continued unchallenged for much of 2009 and although Sanctuary was kept fully informed in writing it's response was only to protect the anti-social tenant and itself further deny services the tenants were paying for.

Swales Deed of Deception in 2009, the TPAS Mediation Scam in 2010, Sanctuary's closure of my 800+ day old complaint unresolved in 2011, my arrest by the police in 2012, a hand delivered Notice to Seek Possession of my home a few hours before my wife died in 2013, and further threats and harassment, are just a few of the underhanded and unlawful methods used by Sanctuary to cover up it's criminality.

Up-date :The gardner visited briefly yesterday, Tuesday 17 September, and stopped only to pick up litter. There was a white carrier bag in the communal shrub bed in the morning which the wind had blown there and was clearly visible. Based on last week, Sanctuary charged us over £110 to remove yesterday's litter. I removed the carrier bag myself from the shrub bed this morning and binned it. That's got to be worth atleast a fiver off my next Service Charge payment.

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