I am honoured to represent a number of members of the armed forces, notably from the Royal Engineers. One case which I have taken up this week strikes me as being particularly deserving, and makes me question whether we treat our armed forces as well as we should.
I hope that the letter below will make Annington Homes, who run much of the MoD estate, think again before evicting Kevin and Sam Bain and their two children (and two dogs) from their home in Chattenden on 14th August.
Mr James Hopkins
CEO, Annington Homes
1 James Street
London W1U 1DR
02 August 2013
Dear Mr Hopkins
Mr Kevin Bain of 29 Chattenden Lane, Chattenden, Rochester, Kent, ME3 8LE
I am writing on behalf of my constituents Mr Kevin Bain and his wife Sam, who have been your tenants at the above address since 2006. Mr Bain completed two tours of Afghanistan over this period, during which he received correspondence from you relating to their possible eviction. I am writing to ask you to reconsider allowing Mr Bain to negotiate directly with you to buy the property which he, his wife and two young children are currently living in.
I understand, of course, that you desire to maximise the income from the sales of your estate, but I would also expect you to consider indirect costs and benefits, as well as the reputation of Annington with the military and more generally. For instance, I believe that some consideration is due to Mr and Mrs Bain for remaining in the property and paying rent to you while other properties nearby were unoccupied and boarded up.
During this time I had a number of complaints from Chattenden residents that facilities were vandalised and there was significant anti-social behaviour because of the state to which the area was allowed to deteriorate. They also informed me that more action was taken on these problems by Land Securities, who are interested in developing nearby Lodge Hill, than by Annington whose responsibility it should have been. Mr and Mrs Bain were the only residents who continued to occupy their property during this period and I believe that the damage and deterioration to your properties and the surrounding area would have been greater if they had not remained resident.
Further, I believe that there would be some financial advantages to Annington in addition to the sale price were you to negotiate a sale with Mr Bain. For example you would not need to spend money refurbishing the house, costs which I understand may amount to £5,000 – £6,000, or pay estate agent fees when other sales, albeit initially stated to be for higher prices, have fallen through for you nearby. I am also concerned to learn that Annington appear to have a contract with the Ministry of Defence and / or tenants which requires unproductive expenditure, such as the cleaning and making good of carpets and other items which are only then to be stripped out of the house.
Please could something be done to give Mr and Mrs Bain a reasonable and fair chance to buy the house in which they have lived for so many years
Mark Reckless MP
Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood