A LOCAL councillor has hit out at the decision to make Goldenhill Park and the Duntocher Village Green “areas of biodiversity”.

Councillor Douglas McAllister recently took a walk to both areas, which are situated within his ward, after “numerous” complaints about the sites.

Nearby residents have been in touch with the councillor to complain that they have experienced problems with rats, and one even said she had racked up a bill from the vet because of the park.

The Post reported last month that a pensioner who lives beside the park said she received “excuses” from West Dunbartonshire Council when phoning to complain about the long grass.

Read more: Residents slam state of Goldenhill Park leading to 'rats in gardens'

Councillor McAllister told the Post: “I continue to be hounded with complaints by residents in relation to Goldenhill Park.

“Residents, particularly dog walkers, can’t use the park. An elderly woman had to take her dog to the vet after it picked up ticks in the park and ended up with a huge bill.

“The bulk of my emails are coming from Duntocher and Hardgate residents who think I’m not doing anything about this.

“The council are claiming there are no issues with rats. I have got confirmation from environmental health who described the problem as unprecedented and said they had to lay very large rat traps, which they’ve never used in the authority [area] before.

“I have been up to see the park again – it’s not biodiversity. You can’t get to the picnic bench because of the grass.

“I also took a walk to the war memorial. It’s meant to be a garden of remembrance, but it’s overgrown with weeds. Its utterly shameful.

“Nobody has been to tidy that garden all summer. That’s not saving the planet – it’s an utter disgrace. It’s just an excuse and a cut-back, and its hugely unpopular.”

One reader of the Post got in touch via email over the issue with a picture of the picnic bench in the park.

He said: “This is the picnic table sat next to the play area in Goldenhill Park. Due to the West Dunbartonshire Council fixation on biodiversity I think it should be renamed a pictick table.”

Clydebank Post:

Councillor McAllister said that the areas of biodiversity have occurred after the SNP’s decision to cut Greenspaces’ budget from £750,000 to around £245,000.

Another space left to be an area of biodiversity is Duntocher Village Green, which was opened around 10 years ago, and was formerly an old scrapyard.

Councillor McAllister said: “The green is a very sorry sight indeed. It is in a very prominent position on the Main Road in Duntocher. It is completely overgrown, it is an appalling eyesore and, frankly, it is shameful to see it in such a condition.

“This was a park enjoyed by old and young alike. In fact, there is sheltered accommodation immediately across the road and many elderly residents enjoyed sitting in the park.

“A six-figure sum was spent at the time when the park was developed including landscaping and the planting of expensive flowers and shrubs. All of this good work has gone to waste.”

Read more: Roman-themed kids playpark being built in Goldenhill Park

Councillor McAllister backed a motion put forward by Community Party Councillor Jim Bollan at a meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council last week, calling for a re-think of the biodiversity plan.

In a lengthy discussion between Councillor McAllister and Councillor Iain McLaren, the Labour member described West Dunbartonshire as a “miserable place to live this summer”.

Councillor McLaren put forward an amendment to the motion, which called for a “refresh” of the plan, as well as assessing the possibility of bringing back the post of a biodiversity officer to the council.

Also in his amendment, the councillor asks that processes are started on making Havoc Meadows into a local nature reserve.

The amendment was passed by 10 votes to nine.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Goldenhill Park and Duntocher Village Green, like all open space areas in West Dunbartonshire, are maintained with grass cutting every three weeks and weed killing treatment bi-annually.

“The war memorial is also maintained on the same frequency as all other memorials in the area.

“Greenspace officers will continue to plant wildflowers and trees at designated biodiversity sites in the park, which provide habitat for important wildlife species including birds and bees.”