Yet another example of how completely dislocated from reality our “elected representatives” really are…
Via The Telegraph:
Basildon Council, in Essex, says it needs the full nine-month assessment ahead of a re-tendering process next year.
The council has hired Cumbria-based Atlantic Geomatics Ltd to measure the borough’s greenery so that it can specify the height at which it must be mowed, ensuring contract documents offered out to companies, telling them how much land they had to cut, are accurate.
This means that the £150,000 will be spent before the council even pays for a new company to cut its grass.
The re-measuring will take about nine months to complete, and also includes an assessment of what obstacles, such as bollards and pylons, could hinder the new grass cutting efforts. The contract also covers shrubs and hedges.
The town’s opposition Labour group, which opposed the council privatising the service in 2010, has criticised the spending.
Leader Nigel Smith said: “It does sound like a bit of a shambles. We opposed the privatisation of the contract in the first place, and I think we have been proved right.
“It would have been so much better if it was council staff carrying out these jobs.
“£150,000 is a load of money to be paying out on top of a contract to another company afterwards and you need to wonder about the competency of the council.”
The last re-measuring took place in 2008 at a cost of £45,000, but Conservative councillor Kevin Blake said that this wasn’t done properly, and led to issues with the previous English Landscapes contract.
He said: “It’s a lot of money, I make no bones about that, but we’re talking about a huge project here.
“It will go into the fine details rather than a finger in the air job.
“I don’t want to spend £50,000 and then run into problems later down the line. What you pay for is what you get.”
The council said Atlantic Geomatics Ltd has the specialist equipment required to carry out the project, and it is a sophisticated process with the information being recorded and stored electronically.
The council served 61 rectification notices and 40 default notices to English Landscapes in a six-month period shortly after the grass-cutting was privatised.
They took 20 days to cut one area of grass and fell five days behind schedule to do just one lawn in Basildon, Essex.