RESIDENTS of a village near Glasgow are facing bills of tens of thousands of pounds after it was discovered their homes were built on land contaminated with dangerous chemicals.

Homeowners in Blanefield, Stirlingshire, have been told they will have to pay between £22,000 and £33,000 to have the land made safe.

Problems surfaced when a soil analysis carried out by the local authority last year found traces of lead and arsenic which posed a "significant possibility of harm" to residents.

A group of 13 homes situated around Blane Avenue, Blane Crescent and Blane Place are affected, and work will now have to be carried out to dig up their gardens and replace much of the ground with clean soil.

The ground is the former site of the Blanefield Printworks, which closed more than a century ago, and it is thought the chemicals leaked into the ground from dye vats.

A report by Stirling Council said children are particularly at risk from the contaminants, and residents have been given guidance on how to minimise the danger.

The clean-up bill is expected to run to more than £300,000, and people living in the area have called on Stirling Council to help them foot the bill.

The homes were built in the 1960s long after the Victorian printing plant was demolished. The company that ran it has long gone out of business and there is no successor firm which can help pay for the decontamination work.

Margaret Vass, chair of Strathblane Community Council, said many residents were in shock over the huge bills they face to make their homes safe.

She said: "For the past 18 months residents have been worrying if their garden will be classed as contaminated. This has been a desperately difficult time for them.

"Now the small number of residents who are affected through no fault of their own may be faced with paying for their gardens to be cleaned up. The residents and all our community are pressing Stirling Council to fully fund the remediation needed and not to register the properties on the contaminated land register.

"This is so unfair and could never have been anticipated when residents bought their home. In some households there has been three generations of occupation and there have been no recorded ill-effects to date."

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has been working with families affected and Stirling Council to try and find a solution. He said: "I have been working closely with the residents' group, the community council and Stirling Council since the issues concerning the former Blanefield Printworks site came to light.

"All sides have engaged positively to find a solution to these issues, and I will continue to work on behalf of the residents to secure the most positive outcome possible."

Work to make the land safe will involve digging more than 1ft of topsoil out of exposed ground and placing a protective cover in the trench. This will then be covered with fresh earth brought in from elsewhere.

Stirling Council is due to discuss a rescue package for the residents at a meeting on June 6.

A council spokesman said: "At their meeting on April 11, 2013, Stirling Council's Environment and Housing Committee considered a report by council officers detailing the findings of their investigation into a contaminated land issue affecting a number of properties on a housing estate in Blanefield.

"The committee also agreed to instruct officers to consider the options for the provision of financial help to affected owners and to report back to their next meeting.

"Affected owners have been advised as to the status of their property. This issue has caused considerable worry and distress to all of the owners in the area through no fault of their own."