COUNCIL tenants have complained after being hit with new gardening charges, which in some cases could reach more than £300 per year.
Flintshire Council say the changes will provide a fairer system so only tenants who use the service will have to pay.
As part of the new ‘assisted gardening service’, an organisation called Ground Control will take over the maintenance of lawns and hedges from Street Scene.
Tenants will be charged at a different rate depending on the size of their garden.
Gardens measuring up to 50 square metres will cost £66.50 to cut. Those over 101 square metres will cost as much as £199.50.
Hedge-cutting must be paid for separately and will cost tenants up to £103.50 – meaning a possible maximum cost of £303.
A reduction of 13 per cent will be available to those on disability benefits and those paying for the service in full with a debit or credit card will receive a 10 per cent reduction.
But Drury resident Paul Parkinson said tenants were being hit unfairly and accused Flintshire Council of treating pensioners and the disabled worst of all.
“Why does it always have to be us who pick up the slack?” he asked.
“We’ve lost so much over the last few months. We’ve always understood it was part of the rent. All of a sudden they want us to pay again.
“We’ve already lost our home help and we’re wondering how many more things we’re going to have to pay for.” Clare Budden, Flintshire Council head of housing said: “A leaflet detailing the changes to the garden maintenance service has been circulated to tenants.
“The reasons for the changes are clearly set out in the leaflet and the council believes that the revised service will now be provided on a fairer and more equitable basis, available to all tenants who have their own private gardens should they wish to use the service.
“A new organisation – called Ground Control – will deliver the service, which for some tenants will also include a basic welfare check.
“Depending on the size of the garden, charges range from £1.38 per week to £3.99 per week, with small additional weekly charges for hedge maintenance.
“In order to qualify for a reduced rate, disabled tenants will need to prove that they are in receipt of a disability benefit.
“However, they will not be required to attend an interview.”