Taxing issue for homeowners

SIR - Following on from the recent council tax increases across Chells Manor which have effected over 350 homes which is 14 per cent of the estate, important questions should be addressed publicly as to the part Stevenage Borough Council, and more import

SIR - Following on from the recent council tax increases across Chells Manor which have effected over 350 homes which is 14 per cent of the estate, important questions should be addressed publicly as to the part Stevenage Borough Council, and more importantly Barbara Follett MP have had to play in these increases.

The mess the VOA have made in setting the bands is there for all to see, the warning here is that this mess is not just confined to Chells Manor, the same level of inconsistencies can be seen across the town, but SBC have contributed to this mess as well, by denying the VOA information they should be given by law when a property goes through any structural improvement.

This means that if you have bought a home that was improved by its previous owner and SBC did not inform the VOA you could be liable for an immediate increase in council tax, as by law the VOA have to review the band of any such property, this is not the fault of the previous or current resident, but the fault of SBC for not passing this information on.

In Stevenage alone there are 1000's of homes in this position, SBC have stayed very quiet on this issue and will not talk publicly about their part in the mess.


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Barbara Follett MP has been aware of a major issue regarding Council Tax on Chells Manor for the last 16 months.

I have had 15 separate pieces of correspondence with her on the issue, but neither she nor her researchers ever took an interest in the issue.

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In a letter to me in March 2007 she said: ''I have reached my full level of competence on this matter'', basically admitting that on the subject of council tax she was ''incompetent'', that is not an acceptable response for our MP to give, she then refused to acknowledge the scale of the issue over the next few months.

As our MP her involvement and interest in the issue would have added some weight and profile to the dealings the residents have had with the VOA and SBC, it would have also helped her raise her self-acknowledged poor level of competence on such a basic tax as council tax. Barbara Follett and SBC have some important issues to address publicly on the 'Chells Manor Tax Fiasco' and both have had some major failings in how they have chosen to deal with the issue.

The people of Stevenage need to beware though, 14 per cent of Chells Manor has been effected by the review of this estate, that scale of error means that across Stevenage there could be as many as 5,000 other residents that could see a £40 per month instant increase to their council tax bills and some isolated examples on Chells Manor saw homes adjusted by more than one band causing bills to rise by £80 per month.

DEREK JAMIESON

Wheatland's

Chells Manor

Stevenage

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