LETTING the grass grow near their homes has sparked a dispute between a group of elderly residents and a Basingstoke housing association.

Residents at the Kenwards bungalows, in Axford, have criticised Sovereign Housing Association for not cutting an area of grass opposite their homes this year.

When a group of them approached Sovereign to ask why the grass had been left to grow, they were told that they agreed to stop having the grass cut and had been given the option of paying a small additional yearly cost to have the grass maintained on top of their £60 yearly service charge.

However, the unhappy residents are arguing that they were never informed of this decision until they approached the housing association – they deny agreeing that Sovereign no longer had to maintain the site.

Mother-of-two Sue King, who is 64, told The Gazette: “They haven’t cut it at all in the last year but they said we agreed for no-one to cut it. I don’t know where they have got that from.

“It is nothing to do with us as it is their land, so why should we have to pay for it? We are all old and can’t maintain it, and some people have disabilities. It is only since Sovereign took over that we have had problems. When it was Kingfisher’s responsibility, we were fine.”

Roy Probert, public relations manager at Sovereign Housing Association, said the organisation is happy to work on a solution with the residents, adding: “Historically, we have maintained this small piece of land and not charged residents. However, when we reviewed our grounds maintenance contracts, we noticed this oversight and notified residents that there should have been a small additional amount added to the service charge.

“As part of a consultation, the residents indicated that they wanted this patch of grass removed from the maintenance contract, and that they would prefer to maintain it themselves.

“We would be willing to include this grassed area in the maintenance contract, so that it can be cut regularly by our contractor, along with the other grassed areas at Kenwards.

“However, this would normally entail the payment of an additional service charge.”