Home-owners to fight council over costs

Pensioner Rachel McKinnon and her family are querying the costs of improvement work on her flat building. Picture: Michael Gillen

Pensioner Rachel McKinnon and her family are querying the costs of improvement work on her flat building. Picture: Michael Gillen

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Home-owners in Langlees are set to fight the local authority over costs to upgrade their ex-council houses.

Falkirk Council is embarking on an improvement programme, which includes cavity wall and loft insulation, in the area on a total of 162 properties. Of these, five are private and owners have to foot the bill for the improvements under agreements in their missives.

Owners say the bills they have been hit with are too much coming in at around £8300, which could rise to £11,000 once VAT and other costs have been added when the work is complete.

The council says the existing roof coverings and roughcasting on walls are coming to the end of their lifecycles and the insulation will help tenants and owners reduce household bills through improved energy efficiency.

Sandra Stevenson, whose 80-year-old mother Rachel McKinnon owns her flat in a four-in-a-block property in Lomond Drive, said she is querying the costs and is prepared to take legal advice if necessary if the council don’t enter into negotiations to find a price the family feels is fair.

She said: “Looking at the invoice, I think there is a lot that we shouldn’t be paying for. For instance, they want to charge over £100 to remove and re-install a TV aerial. So if you times that by four, one for each property, that would be over £400 to take one TV aerial down because they are all attached to the one thing.

“The price for scaffolding is also based on the whole project. I think we should only be paying for the time it takes to do our own building.”

The family is also gathering quotes from other builders to do the work.

A council spokesperson said: “There are a small number of owner occupiers who will also benefit from this work and they have been kept informed since the start of this programme.

“However, owners are able to obtain their own quotations which will be considered in line with our agreed criteria to ensure works are undertaken in accordance with safe working practices.”