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Generous contractor waives fee after building burns

Mathew Hodgton's bungalow in Burgess Hill was severly damaged by fire. Steve Robards SUS-141004-163631001

Mathew Hodgton's bungalow in Burgess Hill was severly damaged by fire. Steve Robards SUS-141004-163631001

 

After losing his home to the blaze and moving to the care home, Mr Hodgson was sent a bill for £889 from private contractor Garden 2 Gable who secured his building after the fire.

Mr Hodgson said: “I was astounded, I thought surely all that should come out of the council tax.

“Then I thought it had been quashed but it hadn’t because I got another bill demanding the money.”

The letters came at a time when the 93-year-old was already reeling from the shock of losing his home.

“It’s so worrying because they were charging for everything, every nail, all the equipment.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees you know,” he added.

Owner of Garden 2 Gable Michael Varns explained the procedure: “Normally the owner signs a document listing everything he needs to pay for, how much we charge down to every board.

“He wasn’t available to sign so the British Red Cross gave him the option of leaving the property open or securing it.

“We were given the go ahead, as he gave them verbal confirmation that he wanted it to be secured.”

However, Mr Hodgson argued he had not given his permission for the work to be done, and the British Red Cross also stated this was not their understanding of the situation either.

After enquires made by the Middy, Mr Varns told us he had decided to waive all the charges.

He said: “I’m taking a huge loss on this, the property needed securing, someone could have looted the building, some young kid could have climbed the roof and he would have been liable.

“I’ve done him not only a service but a favour,” he added.

On hearing the news, Mr Hodgson said: “I can’t thank him enough.

“I can live a little easier now.

“I’m so grateful for what everybody has done for me.”

Mr Varns sent his best wishes to Mr Hodgson and said he will no longer be hearing from Garden 2 Gable.

 

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