Unhappy Stevenage residents seek to take control of council services

A RESIDENTS’ group is looking to take control of certain council services after receiving “more and more complaints” about how they are delivered by the local authority.

A survey compiled by a steering group of Shephall Residents’ and Associates is being sent to 1,500 people living on the Shephall and Bandley Hill estate in Stevenage.

It asks residents to rate current services provided by Stevenage Borough Council (SBC), to cite any main problems and to state any preferred changes.

It also asks residents to support the formation of a tenant management organisation (TMO), which would look to take over some council services.

Resident Robert Clark, who is vice chairman of the residents’ group, said: “Stevenage Borough Council took over the control of our housing and we are receiving more and more complaints about how services are being delivered on our estate.

“We are asking residents to tell us what they think we should do about this unsatisfactory situation.”

Mr Clark said complaints from residents include inadequate clearing of refuse, failure to generally keep the area tidy, and failure to address concerns over parking.

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“We feel some of our concerns aren’t being listened to by councillors and the council and feel we need to look to do something different,” he said.

“A TMO which can bid to take over some of the council services - we feel we might pursue this path, providing residents are happy for us to do so.”

But Cllr Ann Webb, who represents Shephall on SBC, has rubbished Mr Clark’s claims.

“It’s just not true,” she said.

“I haven’t had more than three complaints in a year, and they have been dealt with immediately.

“Our average time to resolve complaints is just under nine days and our performance is 96 per cent.

“I would like to see the evidence of these complaints.

“They banned councillors from attending residents’ meetings. If I was there, I would deal with a complaint. As I’m banned, there’s not a lot I can do.”

The steering group is also holding an open day at The Hyde Out in Stevenage on Saturday from 10am to 4pm, when residents can give their opinions and ideas about the management of their homes.

The deadline for completing the survey is April 21, after which a proposal will be drafted for residents to vote on.

For more information, or to join the steering group, call Mr Clark on 07983822285 email ShephallSteeringGroup2012@gmail.com or visit https://sites.google.com/site/shephallsteeringgroup/home