The Groundsman

April 2015

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Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions ASSET TRANSFER 20 the Groundsman April 2015 he parishioners of West Bletchley are certainly seeing the rewards after the parish took over the landscape maintenance from Milton Keynes Council (MKC) as part of the devolvement of local services – not least in the fact that the 'open space' grass cutting programme has reverted to every two/three weeks compared to the longer frequency that the former principal authority was forced into due to heavy budget cuts from central government. As West Bletchley Council's parks and environment officer Simon Rose explains: "Working closely with our contractor, we are achieving much more within a similar budget – and that can only mean happier parishioners because they are receiving a better service without having to pay any additional costs." Personal approach to parks engagement Simon, who joined the parish council after being a client officer at MKC, a role that included managing the landscape contract for a section of Milton Keynes – and before that 10 years at a country park overseeing its landscaping - makes no bones about the fact that his main mission is to get more people into the parks. "Part of my role in managing, developing and promoting the use of our parks and open spaces is to engage with residents on a one-to-one basis, where appropriate, and to involve local residents and groups in the development and growth of the local T Getting more from landscape maintenance in West Bletchley The parishioners of one parish council are seeing the benefits of the devolvement of their landscaping maintenance – without any extra costs - as West Bletchley Council's parks and environmental officer Simon Rose explains By: Colin Hoskins area, including the parks," he says. He highlights how the council's 22,000 or so parishioners (from 9,000 plus households) now have one-to-one contact with him (and for that matter, other named individuals at the council for other services), either face-to-face and/or by phone, plus via the website and social media platforms. Such levels of customer relations and short lines of communication can only be better for everyone concerned, he feels. "As part of the process in which MKC devolved services to town and parish councils, in June last year, West Bletchley Council took on the responsibility for the maintenance of parks and open spaces within the parish," he says. "This included all the grass cutting and the maintenance of various football and sports pitches, shrub beds, hedges and woodlands, including minor tree works." MKC latterly managed this with an in-house team, after a period of contracting. "After following an OJEC European tender process, RTM Landscapes was selected as our confirmed contractor for the following five years." Simon Rose (inset) says his role includes involving residents in the development and growth of the area

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