MORE than 270 angry Castle Mead residents claim they are being threatened with a legal charge on their homes, after they started a bid to sack a company which they feel is failing to keep public open spaces on the estate up to standard.

Hundreds of people who bought homes on the 670-plus Trowbridge estate built by York-based Persimmon Homes are unhappy with the way GreenSquare is managing the maintenance contract.

The residents claim that litter is left uncollected, grass is not being cut regularly and broken fences are left un-mended. They say they are not getting the high quality service they expected.

In protest, some have refused to pay Chippenham-based GreenSquare’s £111.36 a year charge for the service. They say they have now been told that if they do not pay up the company could put a charging order against their homes to collect the money - which could mean they get bad credit records or find the houses difficult to sell.

So far, over 280 residents have joined a Facebook collective, the Castle Mead Open Spaces Rental Charge Scheme, to pressure the company into improving the quality of its service, and are being backed by their local MP Dr Andrew Murrison.

Spokesman Simon Helps said: “We have 281 members and growing. We held a vote on removing GreenSquare and 100 per cent said yes.”

“Our new residents’ action group has gained almost 300 members in just a few days.”

On Wednesday, angry residents confronted GreenSquare representatives at a public meeting on the issue.

Nigel Bridge, GreenSquare’s head of property services, said: “We were concerned to hear that some residents at Castle Mead are unhappy with the estates service we provide there.

“Although the complaints we have received are from less than 10 per cent of households, we always take complaints seriously.

“We will discuss this with our customers and explain how this works; but, of course, we hope to resolve any issues in a positive way so that Castle Mead residents are happy for us to continue providing the service in the months and years ahead.”

"If anyone is unable to attend the drop-in session, but would like the opportunity to talk to us, the team is very happy to meet individuals at a more convenient time.

“We will review all the feedback we receive and send an update to all customers at Castle Mead – around 670 households – to clarify our next steps and provide clear information about the scope of our service.

“The estate rental charge – currently £111.36 per annum – is a fixed fee that each homeowner pays towards the upkeep of the open spaces.

“This charge is payable by all households and has been carefully calculated to maximise value for money and reflect the costs of the maintenance programme.

“We do have a company ‘vote out procedure’ that can be applied if large numbers of customers are unhappy with the service we provide."