Yesterday, Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath, returned to North Court to join his constituent, Sally Shiels, and other North Court residents, for a virtual meeting with Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH).
North Court, which is situated in Camberley town centre, is made up of 55 shared-ownership properties, owned by MTVH and built by Crest Nicholson as part of the Atrium development in 2006. Surrey Heath Borough Council is the freeholder.
Sally Shiels, representing many North Court residents, contacted Michael in early 2022 to ask for a meeting to discuss the remediation of the building’s safety issues and the in April, Michael had a virtual meeting with Sally and several other residents. Michael then wrote to the Chief Executive of MTVH, Geeta Nanda, with the specific questions raised by residents, and he then visited North Court in July 2022 for a follow-up meeting.
Since then, Michael has continued to assist North Court residents with their complaints to MTVH, but following the ongoing delays to the remediation works for the building, as well as many other problems relating to rent, service charges, financial transparency, poor communication and a difficult complaints process, Michael wrote to Geeta Nanda in May 2023 to request a meeting for North Court residents.
Several North Court residents were able to take part in the virtual meeting yesterday, and Geeta Nanda was joined by Dan Fielder, Senior Project Manager – Safer Buildings, Julie Shuter, Regional Director (South & South London), Deborah Viljoen, Assistant Director of Homeownership & Service Charges, and James Floyd, Public Affairs & Policy Manager.
Just after the meeting, Michael commented:
I have just been to North Court in Camberley to join my constituent, Sally Shiels, together with some of her neighbours on a virtual call with the Chief Executive and other representatives of Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing. North Court residents have been suffering a series of major issues owing to an inadequate service from MTVH, and it was important that their understandable concerns could be relayed to the Chief Executive of the Housing Association directly.
MTVH explained that a number of changes have been made to improve their service moving forward, and have also explained that they are trying to commence and complete remediation works to the building as soon as possible.
I can appreciate, however, that residents have little confidence in the promises made and MTVH will need to work to rebuilt trust.
Later that afternoon, Geeta Nanda wrote to Michael:
Thank you for your time this afternoon. It was good to meet you and to discuss the experiences of North Court residents.
We are taking residents’ concerns extremely seriously and are working to resolve the issues they are experiencing.
I wanted to share with you the actions we agreed at today’s meeting that we will be taking. We will commence work on these immediately to ensure they are completed at the earliest opportunity:
- Confirmation will be sent to North Court residents that the Service Charge estimates for 2023/24 will be sent out in September. We will ensure this deadline is met
- Action the process of paying outstanding invoices owed to First Port
- Begin the process of reviewing the managing agreement with First Port. This will include the involvement of residents who will be kept updated on our progress
- Notify residents as soon as the contract with Laing O’Rourke has been signed and hold a residents’ meeting to discuss the programme for remedial works
We will continue to communicate with you throughout these processes and would welcome any feedback they may wish to share.
I trust this is a helpful update. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Michael will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it progresses, ensuring that MTVH is held accountable.