AN ARGUMENT about a high hedge in Dunfermline escalated to the point that neighbours were “sending drunk men into the garden when there are small children there”. 

The tenant, who has not been named, also complained that they had been “physically threatened” while Fife Council were “doing nothing” to help. 

The Housing Maintenance Officer (HMO) did not turn up for a scheduled appointment to discuss the issues, or get in touch to rearrange and was “not doing their job by not returning calls”. 

And the council said sorry after the complaint was upheld. 

A report to the City of Dunfermline area committee said: “This started regarding a hedge that has now grown to 10 feet, the tenant is being harassed and has been physically threatened, children are getting into the garden and purposely trying to let the tenant’s dog out by undoing the chain and the neighbours are sending drunk men into the garden when there are small children there. 

“The tenant said that the HMO is aware of all of these details and remains doing nothing.”

The report said that the complaint had been upheld and added: “Apology offered and work orders raised to consider the hedge and a new gate section. 

“The HMO will engage and talk tenant through incident diaries. 

“The tenant has been assured that the lack of action from the housing officer will be addressed.”

It was one of 294 complaints the council received relating to the Dunfermline area between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019. 

A total of 278 were closed – the remainder were still open, withdrawn or pending an allocation decision – and the average time taken was 5.9 working days.

In Dunfermline last year, there were 58 complaints about housing services – with a big increase in ‘disputes with neighbour’ from two cases the previous year to 10 – followed by 52 about environment services, including issues with bins, and 38 about building services. 

A further 32 were received about the contact centre, there were 26 about transportation, 20 to do with revenue and shared services and 14 about education, including bullying at schools. 

Another complaint highlighted to councillors concerned repeated failures to collect a Dunfermline resident’s green bin, while the report said that a tenant struggled to get into their flat after returning to ‘wet cement’ notices on the common stairs and upstairs landing. They had not been given prior notice of the work. 

Both complaints were upheld and apologies offered by the council. 

Committee convener Councillor Helen Law said: “We welcome feedback, both positive and negative, from our customers because it helps us improve the services we provide.

“Work is being done to improve the time it’s taking to respond to customers which should hopefully mean better performance in the future.”

The council responds to more than seven million contacts from customers every year and aims to deal with simple complaints immediately if possible, or at least within five working days. More complex complaints should be dealt with in 20 working days.