Acrimonious exchanges between Peverel management and a house manager of 10-years standing have caused a second retirement leasehold site in Knutsford to erupt in rebellion.
Marge Ashley, 67, originally from South Africa, handed in her notice two days ago at Ash Court.
Her departure has caused widespread dismay among residents. The case comes within days of Peverel deciding to sell off the house manager’s flat at Mere Court if the residents vote to end the in-house manager service. It is far from certain that Peverel actually owns the property.
The company says it will make a £10,000 contribution to the contingency fund, and the case has raised concerns with both local MP George Osborne and Sir Peter Bottomley, who are demanding explanations.
It is not known what ambitions, if any, Peverel has for the in-house manager’s flat at Ash Court, shortly to be vacated by Marge Ashley.
“It is absolutely disgraceful how they have treated her,” says Ann Cowburn, 75. “She has put a lot of her life into this place and always put the interests of the elderly residents first.”
Mrs Cowburn, who has lived on site for three months, concedes that Miss Ashley is a strong personality. It is also admitted that some residents would be less sad to see her go than others.
“I saw how she was treated when we had a meeting with the area and regional manager here recently, and it was not acceptable. I am very sorry that she has resigned, because that means her enemies have won.”
The meeting at Ash Court was prompted by a circular to residents from a managing agent offering to take the block right to manage and to dispense with Peverel.
Peverel executives are keen to thwart the move, but the departure of a well-liked house manager is not going to help.
In a deeply ironical twist, one of the main supporters of taking the site away from Peverel’s management is a resident who is also a shareholder in private equity group Electra – one of the new owners of Peverel along with Chamonix.
“Fortunately, Electra has investments in many other enterprises than Peverel,” s/he said.