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Residents fury at tv fee fiasco

TV or not TV? That's the burning question that has divided elderly residents of an Acocks Green sheltered housing accommodation in two.

TV or not TV? That's the burning question that has divided elderly residents of an Acocks Green sheltered housing accommodation in two.

One half of the pensioners living in the Dorsington Road scheme, were awarded a TV licence concession after an application by Birmingham City Council was approved by the Licensing team in Bristol.

This allows them to pay £7.50 instead of the compulsory £139.50 a year.

But for neighbours living in the newer half of the scheme, a separate application was turned down - because of a discrepancy over the warden's working hours.

It's all too confusing for Kevan Harris aged 65, who moved into his property in March 2006 and has been paying the full fee since then.

"It's ridiculous, it's seems the rules are being made up by the licensing board as they go along," he said.

To receive a concession, applicants must be over 60 and for those living in sheltered housing schemes or care homes where the TV is not communal; there must be a full-time warden.

The retired serviceman firmly believes his side of the road easily matches the criteria and blames the council for not being clear about the warden when the application was made.

"We pay around £10 a week for a full time warden who splits her time equally between both halves of the road. "It doesn't make sense that some residents can be granted an allowance, while the rest of us are made to pay."

Wheelchair-bound Kevan counts watching TV as one a few luxuries he enjoys. "I don't drink and I rarely go out.

"I only watch TV for Ceefax when cricket is on or the 24 hour news channel so it's not even worth paying over £100 a year."

He claims to have "spent a small fortune" on phone calls to the council and the licensing board but vowed to keep going until it was resolved.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "The City Council has asked TV Licensing in Bristol to review its decision not to award concessions to a number of properties in Dorsington Road, however they have declined our request."

A TV Licensing spokesman said they were "sorry for any inconvenience" caused and stated they were abiding by rules laid down by the Government. "To qualify for a concessionary ARC Licence, a sheltered accommodation scheme must employ a warden who lives within the boundary or works a minimum of 30 hours per week within the boundary of the scheme.

"In this instance, numbers 82-136 Dorsington Road do not qualify for the concession as the warden is only there on a part time basis.

"We can confirm that numbers 2-80 Dorsington Road do however qualify for the concession due to a historical eligibility for the concession which TV Licensing has agreed to continue for current residents. New residents to these addresses would have to pay the full amount."



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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