Neglected garage areas become a magnet for fly tipping and often become overgrown with weeds and bushes
Liberal Democrat Councillors successfully proposed, at least nights budget committee meeting, that funding for the garden maintenance scheme be restored.
A Tory Councillor – who subsequently resigned from his executive position – had proposed a £46,000 cut in the budget for the service.
It meant that nearly 100 elderly and disable residents – who are physically unable to tend their gardens – would have lost Council assistance.
Now the cut has been restored.
The funding will come from the Housing Revenue Account the income for which comes from Council tenants rents.
The housing account is expected to have a £6 million surplus during the next financial year.
Elsewhere in the Councils investment capital) budget, now includes a provision for improvements to Council garage areas.
Many garage sites need to have their forecourts resurfaced, boundary fences repaired and undergrowth removed.
Council tenants entitled to free garden maintenance have been angered by delays in cutting back overgrown vegetation this summer.
The Councils housing department offers a free gardening service for elderly or disabled council tenants who have no-one else to help, cutting grass five times and hedges twice between April and October (weather permitting).
The scheme has run for many years but periodically it seems to fall behind schedule causing substantial inconvenience for some of its vulnerable clients.
This summer we have seen one example where an elderly tenant, living in the Foxwood area, complained on five occasions that her garden was becoming overgrown and unsafe.
Following an admission to hospital, upon her return home a few weeks later, she found that the access path was overgrown – a potential hazard for the less nimble – while weeds had started to overgrow the windows.
Window engulfed by weeds
Local councillors have pledged to follow up individual complaints but it seems that basic contract supervision arrangements – and complaint handling systems – have badly let down several vulnerable residents this summer
NB. The garden maintenance contract was awarded to Oakdale NE Ltd in June 2014. The two year contract was estimated to be worth £140,000.