‘McCarthy & Scrooge!’ - Retirement home residents face hefty bill at Christmas time

Goodes Court in Royston - residents here have been charged extra costs at Christmas by McCarthy & Stone. Picture: Google...

Goodes Court in Royston - residents here have been charged extra costs at Christmas by McCarthy & Stone. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Royston retirement home residents have expressed their dismay at being charged almost £10,000 between them in additional costs - causing worry for them at Christmas time.

Norman Bruce has lived at McCarthy & Stone’s Goodes Court for more than three years and said that usually there’s some extra charges expected, but they’ve experienced nothing like this before.

The 89-year-old told the Crow: “Every year there’s a meeting where the management say what they are proposing, and there’s sometimes an overrun that you agree on. Little things here and there are to be expected, but 10 grand between 55 residents is not on. There is a contingency fund – and that’s sitting at much more than what we are being charged, yet they want to charge us all this money at Christmas.”

Residents have been told the charges are due to increased staffing costs for the year.

The total Mr Bruce has been invoiced for is more than £260.

He said: “They have made a mess of the staffing arrangements and it’s painfully obvious that they were wasting money.

“There are people living here on a tight budget, they are not cheap places to run. You don’t want a charge like this at any time of year let alone Christmas.

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“Our landlords are McCarthy & Stone but you could equally call them McCarthy & Scrooge! It’s just not on this day and age.”

The Crow put concerns to McCarthy & Stone, who have now agreed to delay collecting payment.

A spokesperson for McCarthy & Stone said: “Our policy is one of complete transparency around costs. Service charges cover the day-to-day running costs of developments, which we do not mark-up in any way, and we aim for these to be budgeted as accurately as possible. Audited accounts for the year ending March 2020 for Goodes Court were shared with homeowners in September 2020. The accounts showed a service charge deficit due to an unforeseen increase in staffing costs for the year.

“In November we wrote to homeowners again to make them aware that the deficit would be collected on December 11, 2020. Customer satisfaction is incredibly important to us and we are sorry if this has caused concern. We have been in contact with the homeowners at the development to advise them to cancel their direct debits which are scheduled for today (11 December) and we will make arrangements to collect payments in the New Year.”