A HOUSING association boss has asked for patience from tower block residents angered by the loss of their concierge service.

People living at Joseph Groome Towers in Ellesmere Port had been used to having a concierge on site 24 hours a day, based in an office close to the entrance to the three high-rise blocks.

But since responsibility for the flats passed from Plus Dane to ForHousing, the service has been cut and replaced with an "enhanced wellbeing" system.

This involves calling a team of operatives who are on hand 24 hours a day but not based at the flats. The operative decides the best way to deal with the caller's issue and tells them when it will be resolved. Caretakers are still on-site during the day, but not of an evening.

A drop-in meeting was held at the flats last Thursday where residents put their concerns to three representatives from ForHousing, part of the ForViva organisation.

Several residents said they preferred the old concierge system, which they felt was more secure, and called for it to be reinstated.

However, Henry Terefenko - director of operations for ForViva - asked residents to be patient and give the new service time. He said the decision to cut the concierge system was not "about money" and promised to return in three months to listen to feedback.

Mr Terefenko said: "We're now delivering an enhanced service. What we found was there was a risk to the (old) service. If that one person might go to the loo or go to make a cup of tea, what happens? What we wanted was an award-winning service, which is there 24 hours a day. This is the best service that could be delivered. It's the best service you can get. There are an army of people dedicated to emergency calls."

Mr Terefenko added: "If it's not working, we'll try other things. We're not there yet but we're trying. Work with us."

But one unhappy resident responded: "You keep saying we've got to work together. You make all the decisions, we've just got to lump it."

Residents were told that all three emergency services had been issued with fobs which gave them access to the barrier to the tower block complex, allowing quick access for emergencies. The old CCTV system has also been upgraded.

ForHousing is the housing management provider for 5,500 homes in Ellesmere Port and Neston, working in partnership with landlords Cheshire West and Chester Council.