Land ownership wrangle in Kilsyth set to be resolved

Flashback: Anne Russell and Margaret McCaffrey with others who were affected by the land wrangle, in the picture we used when we broke the story
Flashback: Anne Russell and Margaret McCaffrey with others who were affected by the land wrangle, in the picture we used when we broke the story

THE long-suffering residents of former housing association properties on Rennie Road have finally got the breakthrough they’ve been hoping for.

The home owners have watched helplessly as a near 10-year wrangle over land ownership between themselves and the West of Scotland Housing Association has led to the deterioration of all common areas in their estate.

However, following a dramatic public meeting last month in Kilsyth Academy, at which a document was produced which appeared to show Kilsyth Town Council had assumed ownership of the land in 1971, North Lanarkshire Council has agreed to take responsibility for the upkeep of the area.

Anne Russell (66), who lives in the complex, said: “I’m exceedingly happy, absolutely over the moon. We got a letter through telling us the council are going to take over the upkeep and they aren’t going to charge us the £300 that had been talked about before.

“I suppose if they were looking into the cost legally it was probably far cheaper for them to just say right, let’s get it done, than to continue the way things have been going.

“It’s great, I feel as if I’m a Kilsyth person now, and I’ve only been here for 40 years.

“Now, when something’s wrong on a path or a set of stairs we can just go down to The First Stop Shop and report it, and we’ll be down there to pay our council tax anyway.”

Anne added: “I feel like celebrating, it’s a weight off of our shoulders. I’ve said before that we should have a street party because we have a good wee community up here.

“Hopefully, now that this is being taken care of, we can all get together and have a wee social event.”

Another resident, Margaret McCaffrey (68), said: “It’s very good news. We heard unofficially on Wednesday but then some of the residents got their letters on Friday.

“I nearly had the Union Jack out the window when I heard! I really don’t know the final reasons for the decision but everyone’s delighted, they couldn’t believe it.

“I think everyone expected it to drag on longer before there was a decision made, it’s really taken everyone by surprise that it has happened so quickly.”

Margaret added: “I think that everyone has always taken pride in our area. It was hard for us all to see it going downhill because we care about it.

“But we all like living here, we look after each other and it’s a great place to live. This is the final piece of the jigsaw for us.”

From Monday, North Lanarkshire Council assumed responsibility for the upkeep of the common areas such as paths, stairways and retaining walls and will also cut the grassed areas. Damaged sections will be prioritised and repaired.