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Club under fire over lack of repairs at staff house
Published 24/12/12



A NEIGHBOUR of a house managed by Phyllis Court Club claims the property is being neglected.

The private members’ club this month submitted plans to extend its grandstand to South Oxfordshire District Council but Arnie Zarach believes repair work to the staff accommodation in Singers Close, Henley, deserves to be prioritised.

Mr Zarach, 74, who lives next door with his wife Roswitha, said the lack of attention shown to it was devaluing his own home.

The retired photographer said: “There’s no maintenance done on it at all and it’s just a mess. It makes the place look like a tip.

“Everyone else has taken on the job of looking after their homes so why can’t Phyllis Court look after theirs?


“I would rather see them spend money on maintaining the house than on a new grandstand. This is a side of the club that people don’t see.

“It’s bringing down the value of our property. If someone is looking at this house and they looked at the back they would see what they would be living next to.

“We’re in the thought of downgrading because of our age but I think it would be a problem for us.”

Mr Zarach claimed the ground outside the front door had been littered with cigarette ends for months until it was recently cleared, while roof felt on the porch and garage was rotting.

He also said a crack in a window overlooking the garden had been there for at least six years and a defunct aerial cable was left hanging down the wall.

“Someone was doing a bit of painting about four months ago and they just left the paint bucket and brush outside,” he said.

“There’s still cigarette ends in an ashtray on a table as well. The garden gets a little bit of care but it was completely overgrown before.

“They pulled some ivy down off the wall but just left it looking horrible with no attention.

“In the summer we like to sit in the garden but it’s just not a pleasant sight. I think they ought to paint the white boards.

“We also know the roof is leaking and had several people look at it but nothing has been done as far as we know.”

Mr Zarach, who has lived there for 20 years, said the house had been bought by the club about 10 years ago and he had noticed it deteriorate since then.

He said: “They don’t have a regular maintenance programme and I’ve seen the windows cleaned just once since the previous owner moved out.

“One or two people have said to us ‘why don’t they do something about it?’ but this is where we live so we have to get on with it.

“We’ve had one or two visitors who are members of Phyllis Court and they couldn’t believe it that nothing has been done.

“It’s a small cog in a big chain I suppose but they are surprised about this side of the club.”

He threatened the club with legal action because of the noise coming from self-shutting doors in the six-bedroom house and has complained to successive managers about litter outside the front door.

Mr Zarach, who is not a member of the club, said the problem was at its worst during the summer when the house was full but he had no issue with the tenants and enjoyed a healthy relationship.

Mrs Zarach, a retired accountant, said: “It’s the worst house on the street. Quite a few here are rented out so that can’t be used as an excuse.

“If the exterior looks decent it makes a difference to a person looking to buy a property but it’s not very nice.”

Club secretary Graham Owen said he was “terribly sorry” about the state of the house but claimed maintenance work on the roof was about to begin.

“We’re not in business to upset people, particularly neighbours,” he said.

“We inspect and check it as part of the club’s property services department. We’re just beginning work on it and putting scaffolding up in the next week. After that, various other things will begin.”

Mr Owen said the properties were inspected each month and he was up to date with the house in Singers Close.

“There’s no particular reason it’s taken so long,” he said. “As with any kind of building work planned over a time it depends to an extent on when the contractors are able to begin the work.”

Phyllis Court manage several properties in the town that provide accommodation for about 20 members of staff who are on call and need to be within walking distance.

Mr Owen added: “Because the people who live in the houses are staff, they report when things need repairing and there are quite close lines of communication between us and the tenants.”



ends

A NEIGHBOUR of a house owned by Phyllis Court Club in Henley claims the property is being neglected.

The private members’ club has submitted plans to extend its famous grandstand but Arnie Zarach believes repair work to the staff accommodation in Singers Close should be given priority.

Mr Zarach, 74, who lives next door with his wife Roswitha, said the condition of the house was bringing down the value of his home.

He said: “If someone was looking at our house and they looked at the back they would see what they would be living next to. There’s no maintenance done on it and it’s just a mess. It makes the place look like a tip.

“Everyone else has taken on the job of looking after their homes so why can’t Phyllis Court Club look after theirs?

“I would rather see them spend money on maintaining the house than on a new grandstand. This is a side of the club that people don’t see.”

Mr Zarach, a retired photographer, said that at the staff house:

lThe roof felt on the porch and garage is rotting.

lThe roof leaks.

lA crack in a window overlooking the garden has been there for at least six years.

lA defunct aerial cable was left hanging down the wall.

lThe ground outside the front door was littered with cigarette butts for months until they were cleared.

He said: “Someone was doing a bit of painting about four months ago and they just left the paint bucket and brush outside.

“The garden gets a little bit of care but it was completely overgrown before. In the summer we like to sit outside but it’s just not a pleasant sight.”

Mr Zarach, who has lived in Singers Close for 20 years, said the house was bought by the club about 10 years ago and the condition had deteriorated since then.

He said: “They don’t have a regular maintenance programme. One or two people have said to us ‘why don’t they do something about it?’ but this is where we live so we have to get on with it. We’ve had one or two visitors who are members of Phyllis Court Club and they couldn’t believe it that nothing has been done.”

Mr Zarach said he had no issue with the tenants at the six-bedroom house.

His wife, a retired accountant, said: “It’s the worst house on the street. Quite a few houses here are rented out so that can’t be used as an excuse.”

Club secretary Graham Owen said he was “terribly sorry” about the condition of the house and that maintenance work on the roof had now been carried out.

“We’re not in business to upset people, particularly neighbours,” he said. “We inspect and check it as part of the club’s property services department.

“There’s no particular reason it has taken so long. As with any kind of building work, it depends to an extent on when the contractors are able to begin.

“Because the people who live in the houses are staff, they report when things need repairing and there are quite close lines of communication between us and the tenants.”

Phyllis Court Club manages several properties in Henley that provide accommodation for about 20 members of staff who are on call and need to be within walking distance of the club.

Published 24/12/12

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