Company offers to remove gates at centre of £150 'second council tax' row for Northampton residents

Residents on new estates in Duston say they are facing a 'second council tax' through payments to management company Chamonix.
Residents on new estates in Duston say they are facing a 'second council tax' through payments to management company Chamonix.

A private company at the centre of a 'second council tax' row in Northampton has offered to roll back a £150 hike in bills they announced this week - if residents agree to it.

Homeowners in Duston were outraged this week to find a bill they pay to private management company Chamonix Estates had increased by an average of £158 a year.

The company manage shared space for 20 households in Duston in lieu of the borough or county council, and charge residents for groundskeeping and maintenance.

But when the company discovered they were also responsible for the automatic barrier gates into the communities, they passed the cost of maintaining them onto residents - amounting to a sudden rise of £158 on avergage per year per household.

Residents have been upset at the fresh hike to their bills - which in some households is now over £300 a year to the private company - and have dubbed it 'a second council tax'.

Now, Chamonix is offering residents the option have the gates removed and roll back the hike in bills.

A spokesman for Chamonix said: "We will always try to work with residents to find solutions. In this case, people live in a gated community and those private gates obviously cost money for maintenance, repair and eventual replacement.

"Subject to the land transfers allowing it and agreement amongst owners, we can decommission the gates and therefore put residents Estate charges back to last year's levels. We have already contacted residents to establish if this is something that they would like us to pursue."

Meanwhile, chair of Duston Labour Sandie Maitland has called a residents' meeting for April 9 at 7.30pm at the library on Pendle Road to discuss the payments.

New legislation has also meant the gates to the communities have been disabled until a risk assessment is carried out. One email from Chamonix to a resident called the gates a 'threat to life' in their current condition and said a contractor will be sent to address the issue.