BBC: ‘I almost collapsed when I got the bill’

news_bbc_20.11.2011 Announcement Date: 20th November 2012

“When I received the bill for £192,000, I almost collapsed.

“I literally had to sit down, I thought my legs were going to give way under me.”

Edinburgh cafe owner Bonita Russell said the shock of receiving that bill in April for repairs to her building has still not dissipated.

She is one of 17 owners saddled with debts of about £11,000 each after work was carried out on their stonework and chimneys.

The work was done under Edinburgh Council’s statutory notice system, a power unique to the city. It allows the council to organise repairs to private homes, and recoup the money from the owners. The system, which has been in place for decades, is designed to protect Edinburgh’s architectural treasures.

But a BBC documentary has uncovered evidence of possible fraud and serious wrongdoing in the building works overseen by the council.

An inquiry by Lothian and Borders Police’s fraud unit is still ongoing. The council has also called in auditors Deloitte to investigate.

To read the full BBC article click here.

To see the television report, click here.