Falkirk Council forced to step in to sort Garden Aid issues

The garden in Langlees was due to be cut this week
The garden in Langlees was due to be cut this week

The council has been forced to step in to ensure people who qualify for its Garden Aid scheme are getting their grass cut.

Residents have been repeatedly complaining to Falkirk Council after the contractor it employs to cut grass for the scheme – MES 2000 – failed to do so on several occasions, despite being instructed to.

The scheme offers eligible people a free grass and hedge cutting service if they are over the age of 65 or have a disability that prevents them from maintaining their garden.

One of the conditions of the scheme is that before the service starts the grass must be short – contractors will “not cut extremely long grass”, and hedges must be 1.5 metres or less in height with a maximum width of 1m.

A pensioner from Langlees, who has asked not to be named, should have had the first cut of her garden done during the week beginning June 8 and then every two weeks after.

However, the 63-year-old, who qualifies for the scheme through a shoulder injury, hasn’t had her grass cut once and was forced to pay someone else to cut it last week as she feared the contractor wouldn’t do it if it was too long.

She said: “It really has been a nightmare and I really don’t see what the problem has been.

“The contractor came out after one of my complaints and asked what was needed and I showed him, but it still wasn’t done and that was weeks ago. They cut my hedge on one occasion but ignored the grass.

“After reading that if the grass grew too long they wouldn’t cut it I had to pay to get it done because I was scared they wouldn’t do it.

“Steve Tapley from the council had to come out with the contractor and physically showed him what had to be done, but I had already shown him.

“I thought there was a principle here that if someone is being paid by the council to do a service then they should do it.”

The Falkirk Herald contacted MES 200 for comment but a company representative declined to comment.

A council spokesman said: “We apologise to the tenant for the inconvenience this has caused. We have met with the contractor and the tenant and the grass will now be cut on every cutting cycle.”

Another Bonnybridge resident who complained about her garden not being cut on the scheme said she was unhappy with the time it took the contractor to do her garden and hedge, again after several complaints.

The council say bad weather had an impact in this case.

The spokesman added: “Unfortunately, the hedge did not get its first cut due to an error by the contractor. We apologise for the delay and the contractor has confirmed this work has now been carried out.”