Elderly in St Margarets distraught after getting council tax demands from two councils

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Angry: Councillor Geoffrey Samuel Angry: Councillor Geoffrey Samuel

A historical boundary mix-up left St Margarets residents scratching their heads after receiving council tax bills from Richmond and Hounslow this month.

Several people in the northern part of the town, near Isleworth, were sent bills by Hounslow Council on April 4.

A Northcote Road resident, who did not want to be named, told the Richmond and Twickenham Times that she was billed £617 by the neighbouring borough.

She said: “It was very odd. I found it quite worrying but my neighbour, who is over 90, found it very worrying.

“We both didn’t know what to do about it really and it really annoyed me.”

She said she struggled to get in touch with Hounslow Council to find out what was going on, with the letter stating the bill must be paid in cash by April 18.

She added: “I tried ringing them and that didn’t work, then when I went down there I was told I would have to queue for an hour.

“It was very odd but fortunately Councillor Samuel helped and managed to get it sorted very quickly.

“I know a few neighbours who received these bills and it is quite puzzling.”

The problem was caused by a historical administrative error as part of St Margarets used to be located in what is now Hounslow.

A Hounslow Council spokesman said: “Earlier this month we received a retrospective band adjustment from the Valuation Office Agency for four properties in Northcote Road for a period before the boundary change that moved them into Richmond in 1994.

“Unfortunately, an error occurred, which led to incorrect demands being sent.

“This was corrected the same day we became aware of the mistake, and we have contacted those affected to apologise, explain exactly what happened, and offer appropriate refunds.”

The deputy leader of Richmond Council, Councillor Geoffrey Samuel, called on Hounslow Council leader Jagdish Sharma to apologise to St Margarets residents.

Councillor Samuel said: “Elderly residents in particular were distressed to think they had to pay twice and they found it impossible to contact Hounslow.

“I immediately asked our senior officers to contact Hounslow, who readily admitted that they got it wrong.

“I have protested personally to the leader of Hounslow Council and I expect him to apologise personally to every resident wrongly receiving a bill.

“This was a nasty shock for many of our residents but I hope that our prompt action on their behalf is making things right.”

Comments (1)

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9:13am Fri 25 Apr 14

Concerned_Resident says...

That's Hounslow Council for you! Incompetent in the extreme.

Makes me grateful to live in Twickenham.
That's Hounslow Council for you! Incompetent in the extreme. Makes me grateful to live in Twickenham. Concerned_Resident
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