SBC response beggars be-leaf

When people talk about Scottish Borders Council it tends to be with a roll of the eyes and a derogatory comment. Not having had any personal dealings with the local authority, I have reserved judgement until this year.

My first ‘roll of the eyes’ came after contacting my housing association to fix our back gate of an enclosed fence as people were letting their dogs come in and use our shared grass area as a toilet. They did indeed come and put a bolt on the gate.

Two weeks later the council’s parks department removed over 10ft of the fence as the gate that staff used to enter with their grass cutters had been broken. This was months ago and we are still waiting on it being replaced.

Now irresponsible dog owners are letting their dogs use our grass area as a toilet.

My second ‘roll of the eyes’ came this week. Due to it being autumn, leaves fall in abundance.

We have two trees, one either side of the steps leaving the back area. The steps become covered in leaves at this time of year which, in turn, become treacherous. Year after year I try and keep them under control so no-one slips.

I have tried to pile them up thinking hedgehogs may want to use them or indeed any other wee beasties. As soon as we get a windy day, though, the leaves are all over the steps again and I am back to square one.

Last year I scooped them all up, put them in a black bag and put them in my wheelie bin, but then had no room for my own general rubbish.

This year I thought I would be organised and set up something so I wouldn’t have the same problem.

I first phoned my local council office – and the conversation was laughable. I asked if there were green bags for people who don’t have green wheelie bins as there are blue bags for people who don’t have wheelie bins for general rubbish. I was told: “No”.

I told the man the problem with the leaves – he said he didn’t know what to do. I suggested that maybe I could get blue bags for the general rubbish and put the leaves in that.

I was then told: “Ah, but the refuse collectors might not take it away if they see it’s leaves”. I was then told to contact my housing association as I might be able to get the leaves picked up as part of the contract with the grass cutting. I phoned my housing association and asked about the contract. I was told the association would contact the relevant people who would phone me back – I am still waiting on that call.

So now I have joined the rest of the eye rollers when it comes to Scottish Borders Council.

Louise Stark