Rother may be an unlikely house repair and finance solution for most, but one tax-payer has managed to have house repairs done by the District Council. Freedom of Information requests have revealed that Rother has spent a total of almost £4,000 for repairs in 2006 and 2013, to the Grade II-listed home in Winchelsea of Icklesham parish councillor, member of Winchelsea Corporation and former mayor, Tony Moore.
Moore has refused to spend money to maintain the exterior of his house or to prevent the risk to his neighbours of windows falling out and tiles dropping off on top of them, or of birds getting into the interior of the 18th century terraced, tile-hung, timber-framed building. In 2005, Rother served a Section 215 notice on Moore requiring repairs to his house, which was at that time unoccupied. When Moore refused to respond to communications from Rother, he was prosecuted and fined. However, when he still refused to comply, Rother paid for the repairs themselves. In 2013, renewed complaints from neighbours led to the Environmental Health Department of Rother serving an Improvement Notice on Moore under the 2004 Housing Act. This required him to remove the hazards created by his property. Rother were also asked to consider seeking a Council Tax premium on the property by virtue of it being abandoned and derelict. In the end, Moore avoided further action by moving back into his house after several years’ absence from Winchelsea and Rother stumped up the money for a second set of repairs.
The tax-payers’ money spent on Moore’s residence will be recovered when his house is sold. But in the meantime, he benefits from an interest-free loan from Rother at a time when the council is under financial pressure and has been cutting services. He has been asked for his comments, but has not replied.