The council has apologised to residents for sending out a letter saying they will no longer help vulnerable tenants with their gardens.
A letter was sent out about the council’s garden assistance scheme – which sees a team help older and disabled residents with the upkeep of their gardens by cutting the grass and hedges.
Sent on February 7 the letter said:
The council’s garden assistance scheme has to change as it would now cost too much to do the grass and hedge cuts for everyone that got this service last year.
This means that the council will not be doing grass and hedge cuts for you in the future.
Some people may choose to simply pay for someone to do their grass and hedge cuts. We know this can take some time to organise and we’re hoping to help out with costs for those most in need.
But the local authority sent a second letter – 12 days later – apologising for “any anxiety caused”.
It says: “The letter was not clear or accurate and as a result, many tenants have asked for more details.”
The letter goes on:
We will be visiting you over the next couple of weeks so you can tell us the best way of looking after your garden.
“We want to hear from you about how you use your garden and how you would like it to be maintained. What you tell us will be used to improve the scheme in 2021.
Residents’ gardens will continue to be maintained this year.
A statement from the council says people’s feedback will be used to create a new plan for the service – which will be discussed at a meeting in April.
Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing, said: “In advance of any decision, the council is keen to explore the views of tenants to determine how best to deliver the garden maintenance service and empower residents to take full advantage of their gardens and the wellbeing associated with gardens and gardening, potentially extending the service to more people.”
A total of 409 residents were helped by the garden assistance scheme in 2016, and 365 got support from the initiative in 2017 following a “tightening of the criteria for qualification”, according to a report.