Grass cutting cull is a con says former councillor who became MSP

A former councillor-turned-MSP has accused council chiefs of playing fast and loose with the truth in regard to the end of a key service.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 9:25 am

North Lanarkshire Council had a longstanding agreement to undertake grass cutting across the authority whether they owned the land or not.

That will controversially cease this month on cost grounds as the authority has said that £90,000 can be saved in the process.

Yet, that is just not good enough, according to Motherwell and Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle, who believes the arrangement files in the face of council documentation which aims “to keep our environment, safe clean and attractive.”

And in a hard hitting accusation he also believes that councillors have been denied the facts over who has truly been responsible for this all along.

Mr Lyle said: “As a former Motherwell District councillor and subsequently North Lanarkshire councillor, I know too well that Motherwell district adopted all land prior to mid-1980s and then changed their policy to commuted sums from developers to take over land.

“If developers did not want to pay, they had to set up a factor for their house buyers to pay.

“The council own the land they adopted, and it’s time they started looking after it properly.

”For example, in an area in New Stevenston which they say they won’t keep tidy as they don’t own it, they themselves have built a stone display which states ‘Welcome to New Stevenston’. It cannot be one rule for one scenario, and another when it does not suit the council.

“Councillors have not been given the facts on the issue of owned land and its maintenance.

“I know the history.

“It’s high time North Lanarkshire Council realises they’ve made a mistake and gets back to maintaining the land it owns -if they truly want North Lanarkshire to be the place to ‘Live Learn Work Invest and Visit’. as they say.”

However, a council spokesperson said: “The council has comprehensive records of the land that it owns, including sites where an agreement was put in place with developers, and it will continue to maintain that land in line with its legal obligations.

“Where we do not have a record of ownership for the land, we will no longer maintain that site; the budget savings relate to these areas of land.

“Any resident concerned about land near their property should check their title deeds for ownership then discuss the issue with us.

“Details of how to identify land ownership if available on our web site https://www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=35007.”