A housing association has apologised to householders after sending out bills for services they have never received.

Residents on Brow Hey, Clayton Brook were told ‘service charges’ which they pay even though the homes are privately owned were set to increase by more than 100 per cent to £31.72.

Places for People sent letters to the residents demanding the fees for services such as communal lighting and maintenance.

However, householders who got the letters said that the only service from Place for People was the occasional cutting of grass areas on the estate.

Jackie Stubbs, 76, has owned his home on Brow Hey for 26 years, but is still billed by the housing association He said: “We were all irritated paying a few pounds a week for very limited services but when this latest bill came through I was shocked and angry.

“It has caused consternation in the neighbourhood and all those affected were appalled.

“It seems to us that they were looking for quick ways of getting revenue in.”

Mr Stubbs added that the list of charges also include street lighting, which they pay for through their council tax bill.

The affected residents signed a petition protesting the increase and have received support from Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle.

But Mr Stubbs said that last week when residents who called the Bamber Bridge office of Places for People to complain they were told that recovery action would be taken if the bills were not paid.

Places for People is responsible for more than 60.000 homes nationwide.

Pat Egan, North West managing director at the housing association said a mistake had been made with the bills.

He added: "Places for People has become aware of an error connected with service charges to some of our customers at Brow Hey and is urgently investigating.

“We have written to those customers affected by the error and explained the mistake.

“We will contact them again as soon as possible to give details of what service charges they are required to pay and why. In the meantime, I would like to offer those customers my sincere apologies."