A PENSIONER from Wotton under Edge has won a battle with Stroud District Council’s housing department over “extortionate” bills for works to his home.

Jim Farnworth, who lives on Bearlands, owns the lease to his council flat and has to pay for any work the authority carries out on the building.

In 2017 the housing department decided to install security doors on the block and carry out other works such as replacing guttering, sockets and fascias.

Mr Farnworth, who has lived in the block for four years, was shocked to receive two estimates for the works, totalling £6,568.

But his shock turned to dismay when the final bill arrived. It came in at £8,468 – nearly £2,000 higher than the estimates.

The former oil rig engineer and IT manager said not only was he horrified by the “extortionate”amount he was being asked to pay, but also by the lack of communication from the housing department.

“The planned works were presented to us as a fait accompli, with no consultation with the tenants or leaseholders about it,” he said.

“It meant an awful lot of my money being spent on things I did not particularly need or want, with me having no control over it whatsoever.”

He added: “And the bill in no way took into account a leaseholder’s ability to pay.

“I, for instance, am a pensioner surviving off Pension Credit and Personal Independence Payments.

“With no real income how and where could people like myself find £8,500?

“This increased my anxiety and stress even more, because I could very likely see myself losing my home.”

Mr Farnworth said that he appealed to his MP, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown for help, but his inquiry was put on hold after a representative from the housing department told the MP the situation had been resolved.

He then decided to challenge the council at a tribunal, where the bills were successfully reduced to £531.42.

When asked about Mr Farnworth’s case, a Stroud District Council spokesman said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases.”