Northampton residents in uproar as 'second council tax' payments to private company hike up by £150 a year
A Northampton community is in uproar in the face of another hike to a 'second council tax' they are paying to a private management company.
Homeowners in Duston say they are facing 'ever-increasing' payouts to private management company Chamonix Estates.
The company are managing shared space for 20 households in Duston in lieu of the borough council or county council, and charge residents for groundskeeping services and maintenance.
At the end of 2018, households were paying £200 a year to the company to manage the spaces.
But now, residents have reacted angrily to a new letter through their doors saying Chamonix will bill them on average an extra £158 a year.
The cost has come after Chamonix founds they were responsible for maintaining automatic gates into the communities, and will now bill residents for the extra £3,177 needed to manage them.
Chamonix has told the Chronicle and Echo they plan to offer residents the option to decommission the gates so they do not have to pay for them. It is not known when this option will be available.
However, residents are upset at fresh hike to their bills.
One resident told the Chronicle and Echo: "You pay them in perpetuity to companies you have no say over.
"It's a licence to print money for little in return."
Residents have called the payments to Chamonix 'a second council tax' and have criticised the management company for adding new reasons to charge homeowners.
An email from Chamonix to a resident seen by the Chronicle and Echo claimed the company can 'demand these funds' because homeowners agreed to any new charges by the company when they signed their transfer documents.
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.
She said: "I think it's morally indefensible. These charges affect people's income and residents are incensed because they have no power over how it's spent or what Chamonix do with it.
"I'm hoping we will get together and form a residents' group so they can enter into proper discussions."
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.