Dover District Council launches in-house grounds maintenance team

Ellie Fosterin Public Places

Dover District Council (DDC) has brought the maintenance of its parks and open spaces in-house with effect from 1 April 2017 as a new team of 25 directly employed staff gets to work on Council-owned land across the district.

The launch of the new team follows a Council decision in September 2016 to take the service back in-house at the end of the contract with English Landscapes, which expired on 31 March 2017. Most of the English Landscapes staff are transferring to DDC.

Roger Wragg, head of parks & open spaces at Dover District Council, said: "Our parks and open spaces are important local amenities which people value highly. We're fortunate to have some of the best public parks in East Kent.

"Taking maintenance back in-house gives us greater control over the quality and consistency of maintenance of our local parks and open spaces. We want everyone to take pride in these great assets and to be able to use them to their full potential."

Dover District Council owns 25 parks and open spaces, ranging from historic parkland such as Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens in Dover, and strips of coastal land such as Walmer Seafront, to small open spaces popular with local people such as Poulders Gardens in Sandwich. There are currently no 'Green Flag' parks within the district so raising the standard of parks and open spaces is a key aim of the new team.

The team will also maintain strong links with other local partners, including the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership and the Heritage Lottery funded 'Up on the Downs' Landscape Partnership, who are doing so much to protect and open up the area's rare chalk grassland.

Roger Wragg continued: "With a clear strategy for investment and maintenance we're committed to raising standards. By taking maintenance back in-house we'll be able to deliver a more flexible and responsive service.

"With Spring just around the corner, we hope people will see the difference as our new team sets about maintaining the district's parks and open spaces."

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