Tenants facing eviction from St Michael’s Gate declare themselves homeless with Peterborough City Council

Richard Lee and his son Cody (2). Picture by Terry Harris. THA

Richard Lee and his son Cody (2). Picture by Terry Harris. THA

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Nine tenants from St Michael’s Gate in Parnwell have gone to Peterborough City Council to declare themselves as homeless after they were forced to leave their houses.

The residents have gone to the council in the last two months after 74 properties on the estate were taken over by a private firm which is turfing out the tenants.

Controversially, the council is now paying nearly £1 million a year to the firm carrying out the evictions to use the properties as temporary accommodation as it seeks to tackle its homelessness crisis.

Remaining residents will now be able to have their say at a public meeting held by Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson at the Parnwell Community Centre in Saltersgate.

The council is not sending an officer to the meeting, which starts at 6.30pm, but it will be represented by deputy leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald.

The properties are owned bu Paul Simon Magic Homes and managed by Stef and Philips. Both companies have a shared director according to Companies House.

The council is paying roughly £550 a month to use a one bedroom house and £675 for a two bedroom house. The Peterborough Telegraph spoke to a tenant in a one-bedroom property on the estate who pays £525 a month and another who pays £490.

Two tenants of two-bedroom homes said they paid £490 and £690 respectively.

The council has also admitted that it is unaware of the tenancy agreements in place for 20 of the 74 properties, or if those properties are vacant.

The deal between the council and Stef and Philips to have access to the homes has been called in by Liberal Democrat councillors. The call in will be held on Wednesday, but even if it is upheld the council will still be able to sign off the deal.

Labour councillor for St Michael’s Gate area, Cllr Jo Johnson, is meeting with residents at the Parnwell Community Centre tonight at 7pm.

She said: “I am disgusted at the behaviour of Stef and Philips Ltd and Paul Simon Magic Homes. This is an example of a company thinking of profit rather than people.”

The council, which is projecting a £1.2 million overspend this year as it has been forced to house people in a Travelodge, insists that if it did not use the properties another council would.