Homes for Heroes?

V__C281I 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
Head Office
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

Yours sincerely

Mark Reckless MP
Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood


3 responses to “Homes for Heroes?

  1. michael o'brien

    The situation just about sums up the pathetic way that our armed forces are treated by some people. If only the family had been illegal immigrants not a genuine family they would have got the house for nothing. Instead they are faced with eviction this is terrible . All I can say is lets get this issue in the National press and expose the appalling way our armed forces and their families are abused by people like Annington so called professional landlords working on behalf of us the tax payers that includes Mr Bain, who I noted offered to buy what is the family home. Come on Annington think of the service this soldier has given this nation show some compassion not only to him but let all our armed forces see that their homes are safe for them and their families. How many other members of our armed forces find them selves in similar situations. Well done Mark for highlighting this terrible injustice, please raise the matter in Parliament
    Thank you.

  2. All to often we see an increasing amount of military personal becoming homeless throughout he country, some with disability’s & mental health issues, There is, is there not a duty of care for all service personal to be provided a safe environment to live especially in the case of Mr & Mrs Bain who have lived at their residence for a number of years. You serve your Queen & Country and deserve recognition ,please raise this issue in Parliament Mark

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