Sheltered housing residents up in arms over changes to snow-clearing service
snow way: Residents of Glen Lyon Crescent are angry over plans to remove their gritting service.
by suzanne hart
RESIDENTS of a sheltered housing complex have been angered by plans to remove their gritting service.
Previously the elderly tenants living in the 37 homes in Glen Lyon Crescent in Cumbernauld had the pavements and paths outside their homes gritted by factors Link Housing.
However, this year, the housing company gave residents the ultimatum - either pay almost 10,000 extra in factor fees between them or grit the pathways themselves.
This works out as an increase of 20 a month on to each household's factor fee, which already cost residents 78 a month.
Secretary of the Glen Lyons tenants association Neville Bigg said: "Last year Link got their gardeners to clear the snow and put the grit down. But now they have said it cost them too much.
"People chose to live here because they need assistance. We have people in their 90's living here, the majority of people also have medical conditions, how can we clear away snow and put grit down? Not everyone has family nearby to help, it's just not practical to ask us to carry this out."
MSP Cathie Craigie is working with residents. She said: "This decision has taken residents back to square one. I will be getting back on to Link as I think this decision is unacceptable."
Age Concern spokesperson Lindsay Scott also disagreed with the decision saying people would be scared to leave their homes were the paths not gritted. He added: "To jeopardise residents' ability to move safely within the sheltered housing complex simply because it is not cost effective seems ridiculous.
"To charge residents almost 10,000 a year to put down grit and take away snow is completely excessive. There must be another alternative which should be explored."
Maureen Middleton, director of housing and technical services, confirmed that following a consultation period with residents, gritting services at the complex would be reduced to the provision of grit and grit bins. She said: "We discussed the options with shelter officers and tenants and this is what they favoured as it meant no additional charge.
"This does not just affect those in Cumbernauld but includes 11 other sheltered complexes across the country. My understanding was that tenants had accepted this compromise, if changes were to be made we would need to first cost them."