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Leith Green Party councillor Chas Booth has been contacted by residents from all over the city, who say they are prevented from hanging laundry out to dry - forcing them to rely on costly and inefficient tumble dryers - by companies trying to protect the ‘aesthetic’ of their developments.
Residents of private developments at Shandon Gardens and Greenbank Village, developed by AMA and CALA respectively, are barred from hanging out washing, as are residents of West Bryson Road, operated by property managers James Gibb Residential Factors.
The title deeds from AMA’s Shandon Gardens development reads: “No clothes poles or clothes lines shall be erected on any part of the development common property or car park nor shall they be attached or suspended from any window in any building or from any walls or interior common passage or stairs.
“The proprietor of a private garden shall not use his private garden for any purpose other than as ornamental or garden ground.
“No garden sheds or stores or outhouses are permitted in private gardens without the consent of the managing agents.
“For the avoidance of doubt private gardens must not be used for the airing or drying of clothes.”
Representatives of AMA refused to comment on the subject of their policy on the drying of clothes.
The managing director of James Gibb, Nic Mayall, said the ban is for ‘aesthetic purposes’ and that the firm had received no complaints so far, but would not comment further.
A spokesperson for CALA Homes said: “It is important that wherever possible homeowners are able to dry laundry in a manner that is considerate to neighbours and the environment.
"With this in mind, our homes with private gardens are supplied with whirligigs, while apartment private balconies can serve as a space to place a clothes airer on nice days.
“To ensure that the shared spaces of our apartment developments can be enjoyed by all, there will sometimes be restrictions within the deeds on the drying of laundry in communal areas or the attachment of clothes lines onto the building.”
Councillor Booth said: “Of course, there are a hundred bigger issues facing Edinburgh but it’s bizarre that there are so many newly-built private developments which try to ban people from drying washing outside, even in their own private gardens.
“In some of our most cherished conservation areas clothes drying is part of the character of the area, so quite why it should be deemed by some to be so offensive in newly-built developments is beyond me.
“Forcing people to dry damp clothes indoors or to use expensive and energy-hungry tumble-driers adds potential health and climate change insult to injury.
“To be honest, I strongly suspect that such rules are unenforceable and would be laughed out of court if anyone tried.
“Let’s hope summer 2021 is a time of Edinburgh’s washing enjoying the free sun and wind.”