Tenants being forced to pay twice to keep the grass green?

Peel Park, Kirkintilloch
Peel Park, Kirkintilloch

WHY should tenants pay twice for the upkeep of green areas in their community?

That’s the question being asked by Kirkintilloch East and Twechar councillor John Jamieson.

He claims that Hillhead Housing Association pays £60,000 per year to a private contractor to maintain local grassed and flower bed areas.

But Councillor Jamieson says the service is carried out by the council elsewhere at no additional cost to residents, through the payment of council tax.

Councillor Jamieson said: “This is an unfair imposition on one of East Dunbartonshire’s poorest communities.

“No initial grant was paid to the Association for the transfer of this liability and Hillhead tenants now only form around half of the Hillhead population.

“Most of the complaints I get about the flower and grassed areas come from house owners who do not contribute to the upkeep and, to be fair, cannot contribute under the present arrangements.”

He added: “I am asking the council administration to justify this ludicrous situation and, if they cannot, to provide funding to maintain these public areas that benefit all of the residents in the area.”

However, East Dunbartonshire Council hit back at the claims.

Councillor Ashay Ghai, convener of housing and community services, said: “Housing Association tenants are not charged twice for outdoor maintenance work as council tax does not pay for these open spaces in Hillhead.

“When the residents were council tenants prior to stock transfer, the council maintained communal outdoor spaces as part of the tenancy agreement, and we assume that this is still the case with the housing association.”

He added: “As a council, we are committed to investing in some our most deprived communities, making sure everyone gets the services they deserve.”

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