FOLLOWING heavy criticism about its council housing repairs and maintenance work, Mears Group has agreed with Stroud District Council to end its £4million contract.

The Gloucester-based firm had been responsible for work at council homes in the south of the district since April 2016, but struggled to meet demands from council.

As a result, it was agreed to cancel the contract which could have lasted for up to 10 years and been worth as much as £4million.

Council housing maintenance and repairs had been split between Mears Group, which covered the south of the district (including the Dursley, Berkeley, Wotton-under-Edge and Nailsworth areas) and NKS Contracts Central covering the north including Stroud and Stonehouse).

From March 12 – when the Mears contract ends – NKS will take over work across the entire district while Stroud District Council goes through the process of tendering for a new firm to cover the area.

A spokesman for Stroud District Council said: “Mears were unable to maintain the high standards we demand of our contractors, and also found elements of the contract commercially challenging.

“When the contract was awarded, we built in the contingency of appointing two contractors so that if one was unable to carry out work, the other could take up the slack.”

A number of council home tenants have complained about Mears Group with many saying they had experienced months-long delays and poor quality work.

Rob Titheridge, who lives in a flat in Cam, said that a bathroom refit at his home which was started in August has still not been completed.

“Initially I’d asked for this to be done because my wife was very poorly but she died before work was even close to being done,” the 63-year-old retired line manager said.

“Being retired, I’m lucky that I can afford to hang around all day waiting for them to arrive but it’s still infuriating being promised workmen will turn up when they don’t over and over again.

“I’ve felt like a prisoner in my own home waiting endlessly for someone to turn up.”

Sophia Taylor has lived at a flat in Dursley for four years and said that maintenance delays had been much worse since Mears took over the role on behalf of Stroud District Council.

"Everything is done at a snail's pace," she said. "I've heard from so many people who have been waiting weeks or months to have work done.

"It's unacceptable but hopefully a new company will come in and do a better job."

The council spokesman added: “We have written to all our tenants who will be affected by the change and will keep them up to date with the progress made in making alternative arrangements.”