Residents clamped in Newbridge estate

RESIDENTS who were clamped outside their own front door after they refused to pay their management fees in a local housing estate in Newbridge have begun a campaign against the management company.

RESIDENTS who were clamped outside their own front door after they refused to pay their management fees in a local housing estate in Newbridge have begun a campaign against the management company.

Spokesperson Tom Ennis from Millfield Manor in Newbridge organised the campaign ‘of peaceful resistance’ with a handful of residents who were clamped outside their own homes for not owning a parking permit.

“We have a myriad of problems - one of the major ones is that the management company, Morristown Properties brought in a clamping operator in 2009 and people who withheld their fees were clamped,” he explained.

“It was in the contract that when you bought your house you paid for the first year - we bought in 2006 and paid E400 in fees but we feel we got no services and we refused to pay after that. We paid for 2010 on the agreement that we got two parking permits but I didn’t get any permits and they clamped my wife’s car. They clamped five cars last week and three of those clamps were taken off with an angle grinder.

“People now have to park elsewhere and walk home. Imagine you can’t park outside your own home after paying a fortune for your property. Now we have organised a campaign of peaceful resistance. We want the management company changed. We want to put it out to tender and decide what management company comes into the area,” he added.

The estate is now managed by Morristown Properties who took over the contract 14 months from management company Mill Field Manor Ltd. According to a statement from Morristown Properties “since our appointment last year we have received little help from them (Millfield Manor Ltd). The management company had no funds and owed substantial amounts to creditors. Property owners, predominately were over E200,000 in arrears in total.”

Laurence Phelan of Morristown Properties also owns the creche leased to Child’s Play on the estate.

A statement from the company released to the Leinster Leader said that when an owner has contacted the management company and made “a reasonable attempt to pay” they deliver their two permits which they display on their car. “This places the onus on the non-paying owners to contact us - we gave over six weeks notice of the introduction of the system (clamping) rather than us continually writing and pleading with them to make some attempt to pay their portion of service charges,” it read.

Meanwhile a spokesperson from APCOA - the parking management company - said that it is criminal damage to remove a clamp from a car.

“We would take that matter quite seriously,” he said. “We would take a strong a view and speak to our legal department on that.”

Noeleen Eustace who lives in Block E, Hazelwood bought her apartment in 2007 and paid the E850 in management fees for that year, however she fell into arrears in 2008. “I have no problem paying my arrears if I can see the accounts and they fulfil their contract,” explained Noeleen.

“I now pay E16.34 a week for my fees but I still don’t have my parking permit. The bins are a disgrace, the halls aren’t cleaned, the lifts don’t work, and the plastic sheets are still on the windows. I want to be proud to walk into my own home; instead I am mortified.”

The estate, which is not fully finished, was built by Barrack Construction back in 2006 but the company went into receivership two weeks ago.

According to the management company they have been operating on a ‘shoestring’ since they took over the contract.

“The grass is cut weekly and every week a minimum of one litter pick is done in the entire estate incorporating cleaning of the bin stores. As management agents our entire fees were unpaid for 14 months and we are managing the estate on a shoe string budget. If we do not receive service charges from apartment owners we cannot continue to provide services to them.”

The management company confirmed however that there was a “serious dumping” matter at the rear of the estate.

Barrack Construction were contacted by the Leinster Leader for a comment on this however at the time of going to press they had failed to do so.