Repair fears as housing firm axes workmen

Regional hub: The Places for People regional headquarters in Bamber Bridge
Regional hub: The Places for People regional headquarters in Bamber Bridge
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Concerns have been raised over maintenance of properties belonging to a major housing association, after maintenance workers were axed.

It is understood that Places for People, which has its regional headquarters in South Rings Business Park in Bamber Bridge, has shed 137 general maintenance jobs nationally, with 20 of those in the Preston area.

This will leave only a handful of maintenance workers in the area, supported by more specialised plumbers and joiners.

But the housing association said they are confident that efficiencies can help to provide an improved service to customers.

One maintenance worker from Preston, who asked not to be named, disagreed.

He said: “We were all called into a meeting last week and told that our jobs were going.

“They explained that it was to do with welfare reform changes and the income they expected to get.

“It’s really not good. On the one hand, there’s all the jobs that have gone, and then there’s the residents who could be affected.

“My concern is that it’s just going to be emergency repairs being done, and that all of the estates in Preston are going to be run down.

“The tenants could be badly affected, including people who are disabled and vulnerable.”

A Places for People spokesman said: “Over the last five years, although our stock has risen by only two per cent, our repair costs have risen by 48 per cent.

“We have undertaken an extensive analysis of our service and found that a reorganisation will offer efficiencies and most importantly, an improved service to our customers.

“This will benefit customers in two ways, delivering a better service of Right First time repairs at an appointment convenient to them, and allowing the efficiency savings to go on other, much needed projects.

“We have discussed this with our customers and they support this strategy. We recognise this is a difficult and uncertain time for a small number of our staff but we are working to complete the process as quickly as possible.”