St Neots Mobile Home residents say they are facing 'water poverty'
- Credit: Stephen Ferguson
Residents at Eynesbury's Mobile Home Park are angry that they are being charged up to as much as £18 a week for water.
St Neots mayor, cllr Stephen Ferguson has described the situation as "absolute nonsense" and says the residents are being charged way above the average household per week for water.
Cllr Ferguson said: “If you drive into Eynesbury Mobile Home Park it’s a lovely quiet 'village' and there is a lot of elderly people who are retired there.
"The mobile home park is owned by Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC), operated by Chorus Homes and has its water supplied by Anglian Water.
“In the last seven years the residents there have seen their water bills double.
“There is a lady there who is 90 years old and lives by herself in a caravan that only has a toilet, two sinks, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen, and a shower.
“She has no dishwasher and she is being charged £18 a week for water.”
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“They won’t put water metres individually on the homes and they are being charged an outrageous price for water.”
Councillor Ferguson added: “I live in a four bedroom house with four bathrooms and five people and we are paying less than £9 a week for water. So this poor lady is paying twice and that it is a huge issue.
“Water poverty is if you spend more than three percent of your income on water and sanitation.
“Most of these residents are elderly and retired and will not be earning an income of £30,000 a year.”
An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns relating to charges for water at the mobile home park in St.Neots, however, this is matter between the residents and the owners of the park as this is a private site and not related to Anglian Water.”
A spokesman for (HDC) said: “There is a single water supply, and a meter to the site is provided by Anglian Water, with the council as the lead customer.
"Pitches are not metered individually, so residents pay a weekly charge, collected alongside their ground rent.
"Legally, the council cannot make a profit from the supply of water, so fees can and do only reflect the actual water consumption and charges incurred.
"It was recommended that the water charge should be increased by two per cent for 2021/22.
"While plots sizes and associated usage charges vary, the average increase for the year equates to 25p per week, with the average water charge per home £12.60 per week.”
(HDC) also addressed that there was an option to explore individual metres to each home.
A spokesman said: "The option of having individual meters installed on each plot has previously been explored with Anglian Water to enable direct billing to residents.
"However, at a cost of approximately £150,000 this would be a considerable expense for the residents to incur and all would need to agree to the change for it to be possible.
"Many have indicated that they do not wish to alter the current situation."
HDC also said in April 2020, Anglian Water replaced the main water meter and when measuring the flow and pressure it became apparent that there was a heavy leak on the park.
"This has been an ongoing issue throughout the past year, being investigated initially through Anglian Water and subsequently through HDC’s grounds contractor.
"(HDC)’s contractor located the source of the water leak and repair works were completed late 2020.
"The costs of the repair (£12k) were not passed on to residents.
"The additional usage costs incurred because of the leak have not been passed on to residents.
"Officers regularly monitor the Anglian Water (Wave) tariff charge to ensure that the best available rate is delivered.
"If we find that water consumption has reduced because of the water pipe repairs then the costs to residents will be reduced when we set charges for April 2022."