A DRUMRY pensioner was "worried sick" after the council incorrectly asked residents to pay a three-figure fee for the upkeep of an outdoor area they are unable to use.

Margaret Stevenson is one of several residents at Melfort Avenue Sheltered Housing who received a letter from West Dunbartonshire Council stating that the annual grass-cutting fee – which had previously been free – would be going up to £100.

Clydebank Post: The outdoor area at the back of the sheltered housing on Melfort AvenueThe outdoor area at the back of the sheltered housing on Melfort Avenue (Image: Kiera Burns)

Ms Stevenson told the Post that she was concerned over the increase in the price of the service as she is already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis - but was able to breathe a sigh of relief after the Post took up the matter with the council on her behalf.

She said: “I was sent a letter from the council and I phoned them up and was told ‘if you don’t want to pay you can always get someone to do it yourself’ and I told them that wasn’t the point.

“I asked if they could take it on as common ground because that land is basically not ours.

"We live in sheltered housing, some people can’t even get out their own door.

“If you’re housebound, like most of the tenants, there’s no way you can get up the steps to use the grass.

“There is a wee patch out the front that we seldom use but at the back, there is a decent chunk of outdoor space but there are 12 steps up to it so we can’t use it.

“They’re asking for £100 from each of us regardless of income. Everything else is going up in cost, the TV, broadband, Wi-Fi, and all you’ve got is your TV if you’re housebound.

“We don’t mind paying a nominal fee as long as it’s a decent fee for the front because it’s only a postage stamp.”

Clydebank Post: Steps leading up to the grass which Margaret says she and other residents are unable to accessSteps leading up to the grass which Margaret says she and other residents are unable to access (Image: Kiera Burns)

After receiving the letter earlier this month Margaret raised her concerns with local councillors in the hope that the council “would come to their senses” on the issue.

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The Drumry resident told the Post she feels like residents living in sheltered housing were not taken into consideration when the fee was discussed at the council’s budget meeting held on March 1.

Clydebank Post: Margaret Stevenson at her home in Melfort AvenueMargaret Stevenson at her home in Melfort Avenue (Image: Kiera Burns)

Margaret added: “They said they were going to help pensioners - this isn’t helping. All the other tenants feel exactly the same way.

“Some of them can’t pay it. I’m struggling myself. When you’re on a limited income you don’t get any bonuses or anything like that.

“Any increases are going to have an effect, especially £100 - that’s going to have a big impact on your budget.

“We’re just hoping that the council will take it on as common ground like car parks and places like that.

“We hope the council come to their senses and say ‘if you can’t use it, it’s not yours’.”

The Post contacted the council over the matter, after which it claimed the letters were issued to residents in error.

It is also understood that the grass-cutting service for this area will remain free of charge.

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesperson said: “This area will continue to be cut as part of the general grass-cutting regime.”