Guinness Trust Under Fire
A Townstal Community Partnership working lunch was held in the Community Hall on Wednesday for residents to raise issues with housing agencies representatives.
Residents from Archway Drive and Davies Road were present as well as representatives from DCH Housing, the Guinness Trust, Dartmouth Caring and the Childrens Centre.
The main discussions were about property repairs carried out by the Guinness Trust and the meeting heard the trust was behind with 500-850 property repairs. And that the system for reporting them had disintegrated since the estate office closed in Townstal and a call centre in Portsmouth had been employed. Some Guinness telephone numbers were redundant and no address on the website was available for emails Promises to return telephone calls were not kept and many calls were lost between the Guinness Trust, its call centre and its subcontractor. One resident commented that no one seemed to own up to any responsibility
Workman did not sometimes keep appointments, and there was no compensation for residents who lost work on account of this. Charged call outs were sometimes repeated again and again sometimes the wrong workmen were sent out to jobs, and sometimes building materials were not available. And when the work was eventually completed the quality of the workmanship was often unacceptable.
One lady described how her windows were painted without the workman opening them. Guinness representatives said they were aware of these problems and blamed them on the call centre and on the subcontractors who had recently sacked their managing director. Measures were being taken to improve the service and to respond to local residents who made suggestions about how this should be done
One resident said householders were threatened if they owed rent and housing associations were duty bound to provide a better level of service in return for
the prompt rental payments.