Grounds maintenance work at ancient sites up for grabs

Stone circles, ancient abbeys and crumbling castles could add a little history to the contracts books of companies in the South West and West Midlands.

English Heritage sites including Stonehenge and Kenilworth Castle are set to get a new grounds maintenance contract to start next April.

Almost 60 sites across the South West and West Midlands require grounds maintenance through the English Heritage contracts, which have all come up for renewal at the same time.

English Heritage South West grounds maintenance manager Chris Bally said that there had already been dozens of enquiries about the work.

"It is a bit of a pain they are all up this year because it means a lot of work, so we are trying to get them to finish in different years from now on," added Bally.

The contract is divided into seven lots across the area and covers properties in Wiltshire, Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

"We are merging the work into seven lots to make bigger contracts," explained Bally.

Of the seven lots, six will be let as five-year contracts, with various lengths of extension, while the Wiltshire group lot, which includes Stonehenge, is a four-year contract.

The work is currently being carried out by firms including Landscape Maintenance, Lakeland Landscape, Parsons Landscapes and Countrywide Grounds Maintenance, as well as Sodexo, SJL Landscapes and ES Wright & Sons.

Tasks includes grass cutting, turf repair and maintenance. Bally added that on a site such as Stonehenge the work would need to be carried out during early mornings.

"There are 800,000 visitors a year to Stonehenge, so to cut in among the stones you would be in everyone's photo," he said. "But in most of the other sites you can be in one area when visitors are in another."

The contracts range from £35,000 a year each in Dorset and Somerset to £60,000 in Wiltshire.

The deadline for all the contracts is 10 November.

- For more details, email debbie.swatton@english-heritage.org.uk or call 0117 975 0721.


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