RESIDENTS have slammed the state of Goldenhill Park and West Dunbartonshire Council’s approach to leaving it as an area of biodiversity.

The park in Duntocher has high grass, which has led to residents nearby “finding rats in their gardens”.

Mrs O’Rourke, who lives beside the park, told the Post: “The grass is getting really high now, and it used to be such a beautiful place. The council are doing as little as possible and it’s time someone got something done about it.

“When you phone up you get excuses - they’ve got no money to do it. All they’re doing is cutting the football pitch, and small paths, but nothing else.

“We can nearly lose our dogs in it. The park’s in a hell of a state because the council are getting away with doing nothing.

“And we have rats now. There have been rats found in my garden, but not only mine, there’s others roundabout with the same issue.”

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities.

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Councillor Douglas McAllister said he has received “countless” complaints by email, phone call and letters from “fed up” residents of Duntocher and Hardgate in regard to the state of not only Goldenhill Park, but other areas, including Duntocher Village Green.

He added: “I have been left to complain to Greenspace, and it’s not their fault. The manager, Ian Bain, has been fantastic. But his hands are tied by the SNP budget cuts.

“They cut more than half a million pounds in park maintenance, and grass cutting. Last summer residents were complaining across all authorities and this year is the same.

“The Greenspace budget was three quarters of a million and now its £245,000.

“The council have had to incur areas of biodiversity which are hugely unpopular with residents. There is nothing wrong with areas of biodiversity in the right places but parks, children’s play areas and open spaces are not suitable.

“So, these places are being left as areas of biodiversity – or in other words left to get out of control. I have explained to residents all I can do is plead with Ian. I’m not blaming him. The staff are overworked and have limited resources because of this budget cut.

“At the last full council meeting Councillor Jonathan McColl stated that there was no problem with the areas of biodiversity and they had not received any complaints. That might be the case, but I find it utterly staggering.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’ve had nothing but complaints, so it is hugely unpopular.

“And when you leave the area to grow out of control it builds up a vermin problem. The environmental health department have had to put rat traps down and to my mind, it’s the long grass causing the problem.”

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A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “Grass-cutting is underway throughout Goldenhill Park, with the exception of designated biodiversity sites, which provide habitat for important wildlife species including birds and bees.

“West Dunbartonshire Council has received no reports of rat activity at the park or within any gardens of the houses in the immediate vicinity.”