A CHESTER couple are pleading with their water company to correct an error with their water rates they say has been going on for years.

Roy Fairclough and his wife Evelyn live in a semi-detached home near Mollington, but their rates were incorrectly valued in 1992 as if they were living in a detached property and they subsequently received higher bills.

Mr Fairclough said he contacted the former Chester City Council to make them aware of the miscalculation and the council subsequently corrected their records so Mr Fairclough was receiving the correct council tax rate.

But the couple say Dee Valley Water (now Severn Trent Water) have still been calculating the water rates based on the erroneous, higher value of their property.

Mr Fairclough, 85, explained: "I discovered that soon after our house was re-evaluated they [the council] had made a mistake. I contacted the council and luckily they repaid us, they had valued it as a detached house.

"But Dee Valley Water have refused and I am still overpaying by about £3-4 a month. It has been going on for years so I must've overpaid by hundreds of pounds.

"They said it is too far back to do a re-evaluation, and I am saying it's not a re-evaluation, it's a correction based on the type of property.

"Me and my wife are on a basic pension, we are disabled – I suffer from arthritis in both legs – I am going on 86 and I have been put under very severe stress by this.

"I have contacted my MP and the local Ombudsman but now I feel the only solution left is legal action, but how do I pay for that out of my £100 a week pension? We have nothing to spare and may have to sell something to pay for a solicitor, but I don't know if that would afford one."

A Dee Valley Water spokesperson said: “The rateable value of a property is set by the Valuation Office Agency and we are unable to change the ratings that are supplied to us.

“One option for the customer is to consider having a water meter installed, we offer this service for free and in the majority of cases it will help customers to reduce their water usage and save money.

“We also offer a number of cost saving schemes and we’d encourage this customer to get in touch with us directly to discuss this further.”