The Groundsman

April 2015

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Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions ASSET TRANSFER 21 the Groundsman April 2015 Park planning for the future A division of RT Machinery – an established supplier of a wide range of groundscare-related products - RTM undertakes a variety of external grounds services, including grass cutting, sports ground maintenance, forestry/tree works and general and hard landscape maintenance and works, as well as gritting and snow clearance. RTM's contract with West Bletchley Council includes the maintenance of football pitches, which are subjected to a regular programme of cutting, marking and verti-draining. "Simultaneously we also introduced short, medium and long-term landscape plans – which are targeted to continually improve the service delivered to residents – but from the feedback we've received from residents it is clear that we're already seeing the advantages of our approach," Simon adds. For example, he says, by reverting the frequency of open space grass cutting between March-October to every two/three weeks means that the grass areas look more presentable (sports pitches were kept on their usual more regular frequency). Plus the council has also eliminated the issue of having long grass cuttings 'spilling' everywhere on paths and roads – which needed to be collected – and, of course, cutting long grass invariably created problems with mowers, jamming the blades and such like. As well as producing a strategy for the council's open spaces, sport and recreation in line with national policies – and developing a Green Flag management plan for one park – Simon points out that his office is always open for residents. Discussions include joint planting schemes and events involving local schoolchildren, including wildflower meadow schemes. "Such events mean residents really do take ownership of 'that little bit of land', since they see it every day and they see it 'bloom' and therefore our joint efforts succeed. "The difference is that West Bletchley Council wanted to be in control of this contract because we knew we could do a better job without having to raise charges to residents. We set out to do what's right for the parish and our residents." l Celebrating Green Flag success The residents are seeing the new approach 'bloom' in their parish

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