North West Wales

Valley residents complain £1,300 bills 'out of the blue'

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Media captionOne resident Julie Hallybone said she was still looking for answers

Residents on an Anglesey housing estate have accused a council of "bullying" after threats of legal action unless they pay hundreds of pounds for sewerage services within days.

The bills vary from £500 to £1,300 and some invoices go back several years.

The residents live in former Ministry of Defence (MoD) properties at Bryn Trewan near RAF Valley.

Anglesey Council said bills were sent out annually and anyone affected could contact them to discuss the matter.

Around 60 houses at Bryn Trewan were bought by the council from the MoD in the early 1990s and were then sold on, either to individuals or housing associations.

Bailiffs threats

One resident Julie Hallybone said that sewerage bills, originally received from the MoD, stopped years ago and they had assumed the cost had been added to the council tax or the water bill.

She said her reaction was "shock and disbelief" when she received a demand for £522.

"It was completely out of the blue," she said.

"When you get a massive bill like that, it's a big shock. As far as we were concerned our bills were up to date."

Residents have been given 14 days to pay but some are unhappy that letters took a week to arrive and threaten legal action or even bailiffs if bills are not paid.

Ms Hallybone accused the council of being "very heavy handed."

"It's very upsetting. I'm quite angry about it, because it's extremely threatening to be told that if you don't pay within 14 days, you're going to have bailiffs at your door or you could be declared bankrupt. It's frightening for myself, let alone my neighbours, some of whom are pensioners."

Image caption Bryn Trewan residents used to get bills from the MoD

Llinos Marsh, who received a bill for £1,339, said: "We've been on the phone to the council but they haven't been much help. These letters are basically bullying people into giving them money."

The residents who spoke to BBC Wales' Newyddion programme said they had not received invoices or any kind of reminder previously.

A council spokesperson added: "The properties are in fact connected to a private Ministry of Defence-owned and maintained sewage treatment works.

"As the original property purchasers the council are invoiced annually by MoD land agents for sewage disposal."

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