Fear as tenants told they have no right to 'garden'

RESIDENTS fear a community garden they built in their back court is being wiped out...

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Lorna Shields with her neighbour Mary Duffey
Laura Shields with her neighbour Mary Duffey

to keep it solely for washing lines and bins.

People living in a tenement in Glasgow's Dumbarton Road were told to remove their plants, flowers, veg patch and seating from the back of their homes because the title deeds say that the area can be used only for clothes and depositing rubbish.

Their sanctuary, which they began assembling around four years ago, is on a roof of shops from 250-264 Dumbarton Road.

That roof is in need of repairs so residents understood that they would have to move their garden while it was fixed. But they are desperate for reassur-ances that they will not lose their "haven" forever.

The residents were shocked to receive a letter from Partick Housing Association - factors of the tenement - giving them eight days to remove everything from the back court indefinitely.

The letter stated: "The commercial premises own this area and therefore pay for all of the repairs and maintenance of the high back court.

"To carry out these repairs we will require the high back to be cleared and unfortunately no items (including plant pots, benches, children's toys, etc) will be allowed to remain on the high back."

They were given until last Friday to clear their garden but now have an extension. The letter included an extract from the deeds which said tenants only have right of use of the roof "for the purposes of drying, airing or bleaching clothes" and "depositing rubbish in the ashbin shelters and for no other purpose".

The housing association says it is now backing the residents to keep a community garden but they need permission from the owners of the roof.

Designer and kilt maker Lorna Shields, 48, who has ME and cannot currently work, said the garden had health benefits.

She said: "A lot of the people who live here, including myself, can't get out to the parks in Glasgow.

"So this is our green space for getting fresh air. It's a community garden that has helped bring neighbours together.

"We want permission from the landlords so we can keep our haven."

Another resident Mikaela Skogsberg, 35, said the housing association's letter had "come out of the blue".

She said: "We do understand that it needs to be moved while the repairs are done but are worried that we won't get it back."

Mary Lynch, 79, said: "It's so handy for me, I've got asthma and can't get out as much. I enjoy the company too."

A Partick Housing Association spokesman said it was "not within their gift to sanction what access" can be allowed.

He added: "The roof space is owned by the commercial premises below and the title deeds clearly state that residents can only access the space for drying clothes and depositing refuse to the bin stores."

He said they were happy to "act as an intermediary with the owners of the roof space on behalf of the residents to negotiate usage and access in future to find a compromise which suits both parties".

rachel.loxton@eveningtimes.co.uk

Home and Garden

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