FOR seven years a group of Sheepridge residents have cleared rubbish from council- owned land in front of their homes.
They planted bushes and flowers and turned what was an eyesore into an area of beauty.
But council officials have now demanded to know who is responsible for carrying out the work without permission.
And residents have been told they could now have to pay a tenancy for the land.
If they refuse, it could be returned to the eyesore it once was.
Resident Graham Blackburn, who lives with wife Alicja and son Thomas, two, believes people will take no pride in their community if the council continues to treat people that way.
Mr Blackburn, head greenkeeper at a golf club, said: “Seven years ago it was a right mess – nobody ever came to clear the rubbish away.
“There were takeaway cartons – we even found a motorbike in there.
“Bit by bit over the last seven years people have helped to clear it away and made it look nice.
“And this is how we have been thanked – by being told we might have to pay a tenancy.”
The occupants of six terraced cottages cleared the litter and cut back the bushes at the small triangle of land off Ashbrow Road.
Last week they were shocked to receive letters from Kirklees Council demanding to know who has “carried out the work without seeking the permission” of the council.
The letter continued: “In order to regularise the situation we are writing to ascertain who the person is responsible for maintaining the gardens.”
When the residents contacted the council, they were told they could have to pay a tenancy of anything between £20 and £35 per year for the land.
Mr Blackburn added: “We are not trying to claim the land as our own.
“We’re just trying to make the area look nicer for everyone.
“I’d rather look out of my window and see a nice area like we have than what was there before.
“Nobody from the council ever came to clear the rubbish, it looked more like a tip.
“The council is always asking people to help to improve their community and make it tidy, but when you do they try and charge you for it.
“People simply won’t take pride in their area.”
The Examiner repeatedly asked Kirklees Council for a comment but the council did not respond.