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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

‘Debateable Lands’ estate in bins row

RESIDENTS of Townfoot in Langholm are in dispute with the council and housing landlord over who is responsible for filling grit bins and other services.

KC bin Feb14
DGHP tenant Billy Scott with the full red bin at the bus stop in Glenesk Road, Langholm

They have branded their estate the new Debateable Lands.

Dumfries & Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) says it is up to the council to fill bins, although the residents must ask for this service. The council says it fills only its own bins but DGHP says it owns no bins.

The residents have shown the E&L Advertiser an empty bin at the top of the estate and two full bins, one at the bus stop in Glenesk Road and the other below the entrance to Border Fine Arts, which are filled by the council.

At Langholm community council one of DGHP’s Townfoot tenants, Billy Scott, said: “The grit bins are red and I’m told they belong to DGHP but it doesn’t fill them. DG First should fill them.

“DG First fills the red bin at the bus stop and one outside BFA and leaves empty the one outside Eck Christie’s and Brian Jardine’s houses. It hasn’t been filled for three years.

“Last winter some of us got together with DG First and we were given shovels, spreaders and gloves but we can’t get the grit if they aren’t going to fill the bins.

“I spoke to DGHP and was told it was DG First’s responsibility to fill them.”

He said they had a similar problem with the street lighting which he described as a ‘bloody shambles’. The poles belonged to DGHP but the council replaced the bulbs.

Annandale East and Eskdale councillor Denis Male said the council could not go onto DGHP land and fill the bins. If DGHP paid a contractor or the council to fill the bins, they would be filled.

Neither could the council clear the pavements on DGHP land. The roads were not adopted by the council; they belonged to DGHP.

The lighting was owned by DGHP and the council had the contract to change the bulbs. He agreed it was a mess but they were stuck with it.

On a visit to Townfoot the residents showed the E&L Advertiser the damage to the tarmac from last summer’s flooding incidents. Water had gushed from beneath the tarmac, lifting the surface.But they did not know who was responsible for repairing it.

They also complained about the uneven surfaces of the footpaths which were a danger to the elderly residents. The lighting was so poor it was often too dark to see so they left on their outside lights.

When it snowed, the council’s small plough came into the estate entrance opposite BFA but then turned around. The residents, mostly pensioners, had to clear the rest themselves.

The tenants’ association had arranged for residents’ parking signs to be put up but they could not be enforced because no one knew who the ground belonged to.

Mr Scott said: “Nothing has been resurfaced or improved since these houses were built in 1971.”

A DGHP spokesman said: “There are a number of areas within Townfoot under DGHP ownership and to help clarify matters we are in the process of arranging a meeting with the residents and community groups.

“With regards to the salt/grit bins, we don’t stock salt and we have no responsibility to fill them. The council will fill these, however, if asked to do so. In the meantime, if any tenants are unsure of anything, we would urge them to call our customer service centre on Freephone 0800 011 3447.”

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