The Parish Clerk and I attended a meeting at 8.30am this morning with Andy Hudson (Head of Environment & Waste at MK Council and John Price (Countryside Manager, MK Council).
We were again discussing the proposal for transfer of the responsibility for landscape maintenance in the Parish from MK Council to the Parish Council. This follows the meeting we had on 15th May 2014 which I noted up in a previous blog post.
The “go live” date we previously discussed of 3rd November 2014 did not happen as MK Council have been busy with the new SERCO contracting arrangements. They now suggest a “go live” date of 1st April 2015 as this is the start of the new financial year.
SERCO have one-third of the MKC contract subcontracted to Frosts – so it is good to see a local company involved in local landscape maintenance.
We were told the arrangement would be for an initial period of 3 years but it could be extended up to 5 years as the SERCO contract lasts 5 yrs from 1st April 2015. The areas covered would be grass cutting, basic tree work (not involving working at height) and shrub cutting. Funding would be provided for each of the years and would be paid quarterly although the contractor would invoice monthly.
We agreed they would send us the devolution agreement and the latest contract specification, map and bill of quantities. There is a requirement all the grant funding is spent on landscape maintenance.
We agreed to put it on the agenda for the Parish Council meeting in January to decide whether to authorise execution of the landscape devolution agreement.
We also agreed that we would arrange a “walk-around” the areas with an officer of MK Council to discuss the specification and re-planting
Overall I think that the residents of Loughton & Great Holm would like the Parish Council to take a more active role in ensuring the landscape maintenance is up to scratch and would be willing to provide some funding from the precept to maintain the look of our area – in the same way that other villages in MK have done very successfully for many years, and thereby making the area a good place to live and work.