Considerable time was spent at last week's River Community Council meeting discussing those areas of the Sutors - Lochloy housing schemes where there are grass cutting issues. Highland Council official Andrew McCracken was present. He had recently been looking at the areas in question and he had some information for the meeting. It seems developers prefer to put in place private maintenance arrangements since councils now charge a lot of money - up to forty times the annual maintenance costs to adopt the open spaces in new housing schemes. He also told the meeting that the council has no right to insist on a particular maintenance arrangement. He said:
"The Councils have no grounds on which to refuse that. It's a very fair criticism to say that we didn't go over the arrangements for Sutors Park with a fine enough toothcomb and spot the flaws in it and the lack of organisation to enforce the requirement, but the fact is that legally that open space is the joint property of the householders in Sutors Park and, whatever people have done to their title deeds since, in the original title deeds there was meant to be a requirement that they all contribute to its maintenance.
Simon Noble of River CC outlined the results of a survey his organisation had done in the area, copy available here. That document will probably help explain the problem a little to readers. The situation remains horribly complicated and River CC again heard from residents in the area about the problems they face over this issue. River CC members seemed to be moving towards helping facilitate a meeting for the residents.