Proposal for council-led team to landscape town
Start-up cost of £1.5 million for all-new service
Council chiefs have announced a £1.5 million plan to create an ‘in-house’ grounds maintenance service.
As part of the landscape management improvement plan, councillors want to create their own council-led team to cut, mow, prune, plant, clear and clean.
Ashford Borough Council’s (ABC) cabinet agreed a one-off revenue budget allocation of £200,000 to implement the work across 2015 and 2016, at its meeting last Thursday.
They also agreed to approve a capital budget of £1.5m to buy grounds maintenance machinery, equipment and a depot.
The move will see services transferred from the KCC Landscape Services team to an ABC-employed team who will manage and operate everything across the borough themselves.
Members said it would also allow “the devolution of responsibilities to parish councils”.
Cllr Clair Bell, ABC portfolio holder for public interaction and borough presentation, said: “We need a different way of doing things in the future to achieve the quality we want to see in our open spaces and on the roundabouts and verges around the borough.
“Resources have been reduced significantly over a period of time and this has resulted in a service delivery which, frankly, hasn’t managed to keep pace with the standard we now want to achieve.
“An in-house service will give us the control to focus on our priorities, allow us to be agile in our response to areas which may need particular attention at a certain time, rather like the way Tcat operate.”
Cllr Bell added: “I believe we need this investment to make the town more welcoming to visitors, something we want to encourage given the significant contribution they make to the local economy.
“I think we owe it to our residents, as well.
“We should take pride and pleasure in seeing a pleasant well-maintained environment as they go about their daily business, particularly for young people, because it’s surely beneficial to grow up in a place where it’s clear public spaces are something to be valued and cared for.”
‘I believe we need this investment to make the town more welcoming to visitors’
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Ashford Borough Council’s Clair Bell says in-house grounds maintenance service will allow council to prioritise work