Bletchley improves grounds maintenance standards by taking control of management

A parish council has improved both grounds maintenance quality and resident satisfaction after taking control of its green spaces, according to a speaker at IoG Saltex 2016.

Parks and environment officer Simon Rose speaking at IoG Saltex 2016 - image: HW
Parks and environment officer Simon Rose speaking at IoG Saltex 2016 - image: HW

Parks and environment officer at West Bletchley Council in Milton Keynes, Simon Rose, moved from managing the landscape contract for a large part of Milton Keynes to being parks and environment officer at the tier one council when the parish persuaded the town council to let it manage its part of the grounds maintenance budget.

The move was in response to a decline in standards due to local authority cuts.

"Residents saw and reported an increase of overgrown grass, thick arising, brambles in shrub beds and weeds on footpaths," said Rose.

"West Bletchley Council decided to take the view that it would be better to assume responsibility and deliver the landscape contract ourselves, in order to be in better control of the standard and to be able to respond directly to residents."

It tendered for a contractor and engaged RTM Landscapes in 2014. Contractors work closely with officers with Rose operating a "no call-centre", "nowhere to hide" policy or residents, with a resulting rise in both standards and resident perception that things were improving, he said.

Turf and landscape show Saltex, held at the Birmingham NEC, is on today and tomorrow and has four seminar theatre running presentations and debates through both days.

For more see the next issue of Horticulture Week.

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