Landscape maintenance contractors say that they expect to see more monster deals next year for grounds upkeep straddling multiple local authority boundaries.
Big firms such as the Landscape Group and Glendale hope to win more large-scale contracts for maintenance following notable successes in recent months. Such deals offer big savings, they claim.
Last month, the Landscape Group said it would lop £5m off upkeep costs for parks and gardens in Hastings Borough and Rother District Councils as part of a 10-year deal that also includes AmicusHorizon housing association. A few weeks later, Gristwood & Toms signed a decade-long deal with the two councils.
Glendale Managed Services managing director Andy Corcoran said: "A contract offered for tender by more than one authority is likely to continue to be a feature of the sector in 2013. This is sensible when the needs of authorities are convergent."
Parks consultant Sid Sullivan agreed that 2013 will be marked by more large-scale grounds upkeep contracts. "I think we are going to see some of the largest contracts we have ever seen in the UK in the next couple of years.
"More local authorities will look to form alliances with each other to buy long-term contracts. Most parks departments realise there are economies of scale to be gained and there are a lot of companies - and therefore competition - out there."
"By forming a joint partnership with Rother and AmicusHorizon we have been able to realise savings through economies of scale and smarter working. This is the first time we have procured the grounds maintenance contract in partnership. The deal brings financial benefits of £5m."
Jeremy Birch, leader, Hasting Borough Council.