Disgruntled residents who are being forced to pay up to thousands of pounds for car park refurbishment work are rallying together in protest at the “unfair” charges.

Homeowners living on the Wiltshire Road estate were shocked to receive a letter from Red Kite Community Housing in October last year informing them that they would be resurfacing all the car parks on the estate and due to a clause in their title deeds, property owners would be billed for the work.

The work was initially expected to be completed by March this year and cost £162,000, with homeowners paying anywhere between £500 and £1,000 each, but a new letter from the housing association sent earlier this month suggests it has now snowballed to £208,500 and will be started imminently. 

Neil Humby, who has lived on Churchill Road with his wife for six years, and his neighbours have been hit with a “monstrous” bill of £1,846 – even if they do not use the car parks or have their own cars.

In a desperate bid for help, he has contacted Marlow councillors, the Housing Ombudsman and the Homes and Communities Agency, but to no avail.

He said: “[Red Kite] are unwilling to discuss the affordability of this for household budgets or negotiate terms. In our case this fee is almost two monthly mortgage payments and around 16 months’ worth of council tax. I know of single working mothers with children who also have to pay this.

“We have been given 10 months to find £200 a month to pay for the work. We shouldn’t be responsible for this. Some have to pay for two car parks. There is no control over parking so no guarantee of being able to use them or who uses them. Private owners will bear all the costs and have to make do with whatever scraps may be available.”

Roger Woodcraft, 72, said he cannot afford the £1,249 he and other residents of Jerome Close are being asked to pay.

He said: “My wife is dying of cancer, I have had a triple heart bypass – we are living off our pensions and we just cannot afford this. I don’t see why I should have to pay when I don’t even use the car park – I have a driveway.”

Single mother, Kimberley Fountain, who also lives in Jerome Close, said she is finding the situation “very stressful” because is “simply unable to pay” the £1,249 cost and fears she may be taken to court if she cannot find the money.

Pensioner John de Giorgio, who has lived on the estate since 1979, says he is being asked to pay £400.

He said: “I just can’t understand this. We are pensioners and this is a lot of money for us to find. We don’t even have an allocated space, anyone can park in the car park. I don’t see why we have to pay this.”

Another Jerome Close resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said homeowners – particularly the elderly – have been left feeling “isolated and stuck” by the request for cash.

A public meeting for those who are concerned about the move has been set for July 22 at 2pm in Marlow Bottom Village Hall.

Red Kite's response in full: 

"As the owners of the land and car parks in the Churchill Drive estate in Marlow, we are legally obligated to carry out necessary repair and maintenance work. These car parks have not been repaired since the 1980’s and as such, they have been fully assessed and appropriate remedial work confirmed where required.

"With almost 300 homes that have a right to access the car parks we own in line with their leases and title deeds, we have written to all home owners – both freehold and leasehold – to advise them of the fair cost that they are required to pay for the benefit.

"A letter has been sent to those people who are being asked to contribute to the work according to the responsibilities they have as home owners. For those car parks being resurfaced, tenants of ours will not make a further contribution as we will cover this cost from the rent they pay us. Leaseholders who in line with their leases are required to make a contribution are being asked to pay, and freeholders who in line with their title deeds are required to make a contribution, will also be issued with an invoice that has been calculated based on the cost of the work, divided by the number of people who are required to contribute to the car park.

"Having carried out a full leaseholder consultation before appointing a contractor, we will be working with a partner that gives us the best quality of work at the best value for money. As we make a contribution on behalf of our tenants from the money they pay us in rent, it is in our interests to ensure that we obtain value for money. We are a true not-for-profit organisation, and will only recover what it costs us to carry out the work and keep the areas safe."