IN this week’s column Warrington South Tory MP Andy Carter discusses the leasehold scandal.

One of the issues that appeared on my desk within a few days of being elected in December was the issue of mis-selling leasehold properties on Steinbeck Grange in Chapelford.

Many residents purchased new homes back in 2008 thinking they were freehold, to later find they weren’t and that ongoing maintenance payments would be due.

This issue has gone on for far too long and having got up to speed quickly I’ve spent time hearing from residents, spoken to developers, met with owners of the company who own the freehold.

In recent weeks I’ve also been engaging with the Competition and Market’s Authority who launched an investigation into what had happened. 

Last week the CMA announced that it intended to begin enforcement action against a number of developers who they allege have questions to answer around their selling practice. 

On behalf of Steinbeck residents, I met with Lord Tyrie, the Chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority, as well as the CMA’s chief legal counsel, who is responsible for investigating what has happened. 

I was able to brief them personally on the historic behaviour of developers so that they can prepare their legal case in full.

I want to bring the issue to a final settlement, residents have been ignored for too long, my meetings were positive and encouraging and I hope we will see a resolution in the coming weeks with those residents getting what they expected when they purchased their homes 12 years ago. 

After some long day in Westminster last week, I particularly enjoyed getting back to Warrington and visiting some schools across the constituency. 

Meeting Mrs Briggs at Great Sankey Primary reminded me how important it is for our children to be back in school not just for their academic benefit but also for the social and emotional support that being in class brings. 

My favourite part of the visit was to meet with Year 6 who were quick to tell me how much being with their friends again meant to them.

At the other end of the school spectrum, I was delighted to welcome James Gresty, the new Principal of Priestly College to the town and hear about his plans for the future of the college when I visited. 

I am very keen to see students able to follow both academic and technical education in Warrington, so I welcome the news that Priestly will be pioneering ‘T’ Levels and welcome the steps the college is taking to bring life back to as near to normal as possible over the coming weeks.

I know a huge effort has gone into getting schools open and I want to say thanks publicly to Heads, teachers, Governors and  all those who work in schools who’ve worked hard to keep our children safe.

We’re seeing an increase in covid cases again here in Warrington.  It goes without saying, making sure we all take steps to follow the basic rules to avoid the spread of Covid is still critical, washing hands regularly, covering faces when in busy areas and keeping 2 metres apart.  If you have symptoms, it’s important you self-isolate and get a test.

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