Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
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    April 30th, 2012jamiewakerdghousing, kennet island

    Hallmark have issues letters to Kennet Island residents charging them for each petResidents that live on Kennet Island have come home today to find letters informing them that will need to pay £36 to the Management Company, Hallmark Property Management, for each pet that resides with them.

    It is not clear at this stage if this latest action is aimed at Residents who live in apartments where there are likely restrictions in their leases or to all residents.

    As I have not received a letter (and I own a pet), I can not be sure of which type of resident has received a letter but from the calls and emails I have received so far, residents feel as strongly as I do about this.

    There has been no consultation with residents or issues raised with them.  There is no indication on how long this license runs for, how it will be policed and how it can be interpreted if you had 10 fish for example!  It also does not state what the charge will be used for.  It it for example to pay towards the upkeep of the small grass areas that are used by residents with their dogs or it simply going into the pockets of Hallmark?

    I have written to Chris Gilbert, MD at St James for an explanation.  I have asked him whether this is some kind of misunderstanding and for St James reasoning for implementing this charge now when they have given residents permission previously.   I have also made him aware that residents are deeply unhappy about this and it’s management by Hallmark Property Services.

    If there have been issues with residents owning pets – why have they never been raised with KIRA before?  That way a mutually agreeably solution could have been found that is not bullying residents who are already disappointed with issues such as parking.

    I have launched a petition to evidence the feeling held by residents which I will send them as soon as residents have had the opportunity to sign it.  The petition can be found at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/say-no-to-pet-licensing-by-hallmark-and-st-james.

    It’s this sort of thing that happens in our community that has prompted me to stand in this Thursday’s Local Elections and I will of course keep you, my neighbours, informed as this pet licensing threat develops.

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    On Wednesday evening, I was asked to accompany a resident to a meeting with developer, ST James, regarding residents concerns over the ever increasing service charges imposed by management agent, Hallmark. It is quite apparent that residents do not feel they are getting value for money and feel that they are being overcharge as well as being charged for services that they do not receive. The resident that had arranged this meeting was frustrated as she had contacted her elected councillor for help and she felt she was palmed off without any support. I was only too happy to help when other options failed her. The resident also invited a member of the Kennet Island Residents Association to the meeting as they hadn’t met with St James regarding the service charges and to avoid duplication over this issue.

    The meeting did seem proactive and I’ll update residents when agreed actions have been carried out. I will be meeting regularly to pursue the issues surrounding service charges plus any other issues that arise. During this meeting, the issues surrounding broken street lights on Kennet island have been raised. The lack of lighting in areas such as Gweal Avenue have created pockets of darkness by bike sheds and alley ways and seem to be hotspots for burglary. I anticipate ST James resolving this very quickly.

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