Residents in areas of Stornoway served by networks of access paths and lanes to the rear of their properties have been warned of increased costs if Hebridean Housing Partnership has to take over the maintenance of the network.

In a letter to residents, HHP’s Estates Officer Magnus Johnson says that Stornoway Councillor Charlie Nicolson has raised this issue with HHP.

He says: “These access paths and lanes serve all properties within these schemes and are there for the enjoyment of all tenants and residents but primarily they serve the properties that they are adjacent to“ as “access to the back of the properties and also for refuse bin access and storage.

“Maintenance of these paths and lanes is a shared householder responsibility and a number of householders within these schemes already maintain the paths and lanes adjacent to their properties” to ensure “they are kept clear and do not become overgrown.”

Mr Johnson says that: “If HHP were to put a maintenance programme in place for these paths and lanes, this would result in a service charge to tenants and residents alike to cover the cost of this.”

Mr Johnson advises that “in cases where a tenant or resident is unable to carry out” maintenance because of “age or disability, friends, neighbours and family should assist.”

Councillor Nicolson told that all he was trying to do was maintain the status quo from the days when the Council was in charge of social housing and provided maintenance for the pathways and lanes.  He simply wanted HHP to do the same.

(This report has been updated with a direct comment by Charlie Nicolson since first being published)