Babergh District Council

The Landscape Group is currently in the fifth year of a seven-year grounds maintenance contract with Babergh District Council, South Suffolk.  The contract is predominantly rural, with two attractive market towns – Sudbury and Hadleigh.  

The contract is a joint ‘clean and green’ enterprise.  The grounds maintenance element covers grass cutting; hedges; shrub beds, herbaceous & display bedding maintenance; play areas; parks; local housing authority sheltered scheme; flood areas and ditches, and tree maintenance. In addition, The Landscape Group care for a number of animals in Belle Vue Park as part of the pets corner.

The cleansing element covers mechanical sweeping; street cleansing; public convenience maintenance; play area and hard surface cleansing; car park sweeping and dog/litter bin emptying.

As such, this is a very varied contract covering a wide variety of tasks and diverse environments over an appreciable area.

Like all local authorities, Babergh District Council has not been immune from the reduction in budgets and has been working with The Landscape Group to reduce expenditure without impacting on the overall appearance of the District to any great degree.

Through close consultation between The Landscape Group and our client, certain elements of the contract have been removed but high profile areas, such as town centres, have actually received increased funding. This has necessitated a complete re-routing of the cleansing rota and a change in working practices.  The transition of this took place throughout the summer of 2011, with trials of revised routes, manpower and machinery to determine the success of our joint solution.

 As a result of the trials The Landscape Group has introduced alternative sweeper resources, with an Applied Sweeper introduced to Sudbury town centre to relieve the requirements on the HGV Sweeper. Trials of Billy Goat pedestrian sweepers with the ground crews have been extremely successful – all cleansing teams have been endeavouring to take the Billy Goats on their runs, due to the saving in time and the quality of finish that can be achieved. Car Park, play area and sheltered scheme teams have also requested Billy Goats to assist with de-leafing during the autumn.

Efforts are also being concentrated on reducing the maintenance requirements for shrub beds and hedges, and to manage resources accordingly.  

In 2011 it was also identified that a number of hedges were above readily maintainable height so a hedge reduction programme was undertaken, with shrub beds also subject to a major pruning programme.  This combined reduction programme reduced the maintenance requirements in 2012, allowing The Landscape Group to operate within the reduced contract value with fewer resources.  In this way, Babergh District Council delivers its required budgetary savings, but retains clean, green and attractive amenity open spaces for its customers.

Our joint ultimate objective is to reduce the time taken to maintain a large contract area with reduced resources. The Landscape Group intends to run the service at a reduced cost while still maintaining a perceived high standard – a tough call but one that we believe is achievable.

The Landscape Group, Babergh District Council and Sudbury Town Council successfully entered the Britain in Bloom Awards in the summer of 2011, achieving a Silver Gilt award.  In 2012, the district was thrilled to be awarded the top 5* rating in the Clean Britain Awards recognising the high standards of cleanliness on the streets. 

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