Welcome to the website for Kingsmead Parish Council
The next Parish Council Meeting will be held on Monday 21st July from 7.30pm at Kingsmead Primary School. The Public Open Forum has been extended to 1 hour for this meeting (7.30pm to 8.30pm).
Created in April 2011, Kingsmead Parish Council represents those living in Royal Gardens, areas of London Road and Kingsmead village.
A majority of homes within the Parish reside in Kingsmead village, which was originally developed by Redrow Homes and Alfred McAlpine. We also live next to one of the country’s best sixth form colleges, Sir John Deane’s.
Kingsmead Parish is a varied community; young and old, all family situations. We hope, as Kingsmead Parish Council, to make this area a great place to live.
UU UPDATE 25/07/14
EXCELLENT RESULT FOR ALL RESIDENTS PAST AND PRESENT FROM 1997
Ms Jo O'Donoghue
Kingsmead Parish Council
231 Hartford Road
Dear Ms O'Donoghue
Thank you for your patience whilst we discussed the concerns you raised with United Utilities.
Crux of complaint
You originally came to us to advise that residents had been paying surface water drainage charges for surface water that ran through an unadopted sewer and into a watercourse. You were concerned that United Utilities had advised you that they intended to refund residents and arrange a public meeting but this had not yet happened.
Following your initial contact with us, United Utilities wrote to customers advising of the refund and to offer the residents the opportunity to meet with them on 1st or 2nd July 2014. You then contacted us again with further concerns from residents these being:
- Why is the refund only for 6 years?
- How has the figure been calculated?
- Why are former residents and residents who have moved within Kingsmead not being offered the same refund terms?
- Is compound interest being added to the refunded amounts?
- In addition to contact from yourself, CCWater also received contact from 36 residents of Kingsmead who told us:
- They felt the refund should be backdated to their date of occupancy
- They felt all residents (current and former) should be entitled to the same refund terms
CCWater considered there were grounds to press the company to reconsider its policy from a customer service perspective.
I am pleased to inform you that United Utilities has listened to the residents’ views and accepted CCWater’s recommendations. It has now agreed to provide all residents who resided in Kingsmead during 1 April 1997 to 24 October 2013 a refund of the surface water drainage charges they paid during their period of occupancy. The rationale for going back to 1 April 1997 is that surface water drainage charges only became a separate charge from that date and therefore CCWater considers this to be a fair outcome
United Utilities will not be paying interest on the refunds. The reason for this is that United Utilities do not charge interest to domestic customers for late payment. As such, United Utilities applies a symmetrical approach with refunds.
United Utilities will be contacting all Kingsmead residents and known former residents individually by 1 August 2014 (via a phased approach) to advise of their additional refunds.
I sincerely hope you have found CCWater’s involvement to be of assistance in terms of helping to secure this outcome. As United Utilities will now be contacting residents directly to make arrangements for the refund your case with our office will be closed. If you require our services again in the future please do not hesitate to contact us.
We value feedback on how our customers feel about the service we provide and as such you may be asked by our market research agency (SPA Future Thinking) to complete a short telephone survey regarding your complaint. They select a random sample of customers to survey from a list of all cases we have closed each month. If you would rather not be asked to provide your views on how you feel we have helped you with your complaint, please contact me using the contact details below and I will remove your details from the list.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
Address: Consumer Council for Water North West, Second Floor, 3 Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BN
Please read our complaints leaflet here: http://www.ccwater.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Your-right-to-complain-about-your-water-or-sewerage-company.pdf
UU Update 21/07/14
Kingsmead Parish Council has questioned the way in which surface water charges are calculated. The following has been received from CCWater:
Most if not all of the properties in the Kingsmead area will have water meters - properties built after 1990 should have a water meter fitted to comply with the Water Industry Act.
(Note: if a water meter cannot be fitted at a property for practical reasons (shared pipework, etc.) the water company apply a fixed rate.)
Please see the following link to United Utilities’ 2014/15 charges (1 April 2014 to 31 March 2014):
Section 2 of the charges summary in the above link refers to metered charges. You can see that metered customers are billed for surface water and highway drainage as a fixed rate. It is only the surface water element of the charge that is being refunded by United Utilities. All sewerage customers (who receive foul drainage and/or surface water drainage) are liable for highway drainage charges.
Surface water charges cover the costs of removing rainwater runoff from customers’ individual properties. Highway drainage charges cover the regional cost of draining roads and highways and is billed to all customers receiving a sewerage service (foul and/or surface water drainage).
In 2014/15, the total surface water and highway drainage charge for metered customers is £79. Of this, £41 is the surface water charge, and £38 is the highway drainage charge. Customers on an Assessed Charge are also billed £41 for surface water drainage (see section 3 of the charges summary in the link), and customers on rateable value (RV) are charged on a different sewerage rate where there is no surface water connection (see section 1).
UU Update 17/07/14
The following has been received from CCWater:
In our last update, CCWater advised that we were waiting for a timeline from United Utilities.
CCWater received that this week, following which we asked United Utilities further questions, and set out some further challenges.
United Utilities is considering how these affect its present position on the refund.
We anticipate that this may take a further 10 working days.
I hope this is of assistance and we thank you for your patience.
UU Update 8/07/14
UU has confirmed to the Clerk today at 15:30 by phone that they have decided that only residents living in a Kingsmead property on 25th June 2013 are entitled to a refund. Residents who have occupied more than one property will only be entitled to a refund for the property they occupied on 25th June 2013. Residents who have moved from Kingsmead prior to 25th June 2013 are not entitled to a refund. Kingsmead Parish Council continues to work with UU and the Consumer Council for Water to achieve an acceptable resolution on behalf of affected residents.
UU Update 2/07/14
CCWater has had the conference call with United Utilities today as planned. In order for CCWater to review this matter, United Utilities has been asked to provide CCWater with an evidential timeline of events. United Utilities has asked for 10 working days (2 weeks) in which to provide CCWater with this information.
This website will be updated once CWWater has had the opportunity to review United Utilities’ substantive reply, which is due by 16 July 2014.
UNITED UTILITIES UPDATE 25/06/14 AT 15:53
Kingsmead Parish Council has raised a complaint with The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) regarding surface water drainage charges on behalf of residents. This the statutory body that represents the interests of customers of the water industry. They are independent of water companies, and of Ofwat, the industry regulator. Their role is to try to make sure customers receive a good level of service from their water company, to offer advice and where possible assistance, as well as to investigate complaints if necessary. Further details of their role are on the website: : http://www.ccwater.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Your-right-to-complain-about-your-water-or-sewerage-company.pdf. CCWater is having a conference call with United Utilities on 2 July 2014 at which the matter will be discussed in detail and the Parish Council will then be updated. Further updates will be posted on this website.
UNITED UTILITIES UPDATE 23/06/14 AT 16:30
It was brought to the Kingsmead Parish Council’s attention in June 2013 that many residents in Kingsmead have been paying for surface water drainage and should not have been doing so as the surface water system was not adopted by United Utilities until 24th October 2013.
Representatives of Kingsmead Parish Council have met twice with representatives of United Utilities to discuss the issue and in October 2013 United Utilities agreed to carry out an investigation into the matter.
United Utilities has now completed an extensive investigation and, at a meeting held in June 2014 agreed that it should not have been charging residents for the removal of surface water prior to 24th October 2013. In some cases residents will have been paying charges for up to 16 years prior to this date.
United Utilities is writing to all affected residents this week with details of a refund and news of an information event where people can drop-in and talk to them about the matter. The United Utilities bus will visit the area on 1st July and 2nd July between 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Sir John Deane’s College, Monarch Drive, Northwich, CW9 8AF. Staff will be on hand to talk to you about this issue and answer any questions you may have. From Tuesday June 24, you can also ring their dedicated helpline 0845 026 5147 for more information. Callers outside normal office hours can leave a message and someone will call them back.
For further information with regard to a reduction in surface waste water charges please visit www.unitedutilities.com/surface-water-drainage.
Please note that Kingsmead Parish Council is unable to provide information or advice on individual cases and that all enquiries should be directed to United Utilities.
LETTER TO BE SENT FROM UNITIED UTILITIES TO RESIDENTS WEEK BEGINNING 23 JUNE 2014
I’m writing to let you know that you are entitled to a refund on part of your United Utilities bill. This letter explains why we are refunding this money and when you will receive the refund.
Why am I getting a refund?
You’re probably aware that you pay United Utilities for both your daily water needs and to take away all your wastewater. Part of your wastewater charge is to take away the rainwater that falls on your property and enters our sewers and this is shown on your bill as ‘surface water charges’.
However, it appears that properties from the Kingsmead estate have been draining to surface water sewers that had not been formally adopted by United Utilities. We have now resolved this technicality with the building developer and, after carrying out some essential maintenance and cleaning of the sewers; we formally adopted the surface water sewer system for the Kingsmead estate on 24th October 2013. This means we now own these sewers and are fully responsible for their upkeep and your surface water charges are now payable to us. Please be assured that your bill will not increase as a result of us adopting these sewers and you will see no change in the service you have been receiving.
How will I receive this refund?
We have a claim scheme in place for our household customers where customers whose properties are not connected to the public sewer for surface water drainage can claim a reduction in their sewerage charges. You don’t need to complete any forms as we are going to remove this charge from your account from the date that you occupied up to a maximum of six years in accordance with our surface water claim scheme policy.
What happens next?
We will calculate your refund and send you a cheque for the full amount in the next 2 weeks. You can also drop in and meet our team on our United Utilities Bus when we visit the area on 1st July and 2nd July 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Sir John Deane’s College, Monarch Drive, Northwich, CW9 8AF, so that we can talk to you about this issue and answer any questions you may have. If you can’t see us then you can ring us on 0845 026 5147 and we will be happy to help.
Mrs F. Bailey
Head of Sales and Cash
United Utilities PLC
Our Objectives 2014-2015
To be a dynamic and involved Parish Council.
To represent Parish residents to the best of our ability.
To make safe and maintain Kingsmead village communal areas.
To forge links with local businesses which are influential within our Parish.