RESIDENTS in Aveley are having their communal gardens cleaned up three years after they were last maintained – after the Gazette stepped in.

Tenants hit out at Thurrock Council after they claimed the council had failed to treat a communal garden, but they were still being charged for maintenance costs.

Tenants said they couldn’t believe it when they received annual bills through the post saying they owed more than £250 for work that had not been carried out.

The people who live in the block of flats in Martin Road, who include private and council tenants, share the community space which had weeds growing through the concrete slabs, hedges growing to enormous sizes and rubbish which had reportedly not been collected for more than two years.

However, after the Gazette contacted the council, it has vowed to step in.

A spokesperson said: “Thurrock Council would like to thank the Gazette for pointing this out.

“It would appear that when the council’s own cleaning and greening team took on the housing department environmental work, this area of land was not included.

“The land is difficult to see from the road and the environment teams did not know it was there.

“However, the team leaders have now visited and the area will be cleared on Monday and inserted on the schedule for regular visits from now on.”

Despite this, residents feel action should have been taken much sooner.

John Deller, 52, said: “The council is aware of this issue, but nothing was done despite this being its responsibility.

“Why should I pay my maintenance fees when nothing is done for so long.”

Maureen Pearce, ward councillor for Aveley and Uplands, said: “How can the council expect people to come out here and be able to enjoy their garden.”