Biggest Grounds Care Fleet ever Assembled
By Peter Driver
The biggest ever fleet of municipal grounds care equipment in the UK was brought together in Leazes Park recently to demonstrate Newcastle City Council's commitment to delivering best value to the residents of the Northeast's principal city.
The equipment has been supplied under a partnership agreement between the Council's Citywide Services department and Ransomes Jacobsen, based at Ipswich in Suffolk one of the leading manufacturers of turf maintenance equipment, worldwide.
"We are now in the fourth year of our partnership with Ransomes Jacobsen and it has gone from strength to strength", said David Hay, Head of Citywide Services. "We signed the initial agreement in March 2003 and took delivery of over £1,000,000 of grounds care products. We are now in the first phase of a rolling replacement programme and this was the first opportunity to assemble the majority of this year's new equipment at a single venue.
"Undoubtedly, the Partnership has been an unqualified success, delivering on our promises to residents to deliver best value across the City. It has also made a significant contribution to the Service Improvement Plan implemented by Citywide Services. The quality of cut from the assembled equipment is second to none and their reliability has translated into greater efficiency, increased productivity and, most importantly, value for money. Downtime had been virtually eradicated and the decision we took four years ago, following an 18-month feasibility study, has been fully justified."
A key aspect of the partnership agreement is the commitment of Ransomes Jacobsen's local dealer, Hexham-based Rickerby Ltd. Sales Director Alastair McRobert commented, "We work closely with David Hay and his team and are on hand to provide service and support excellence whenever it is required. I'm delighted to agree with David about the reliability and robustness of our products. In the initial three years they have performed extremely well and their reliability has resulted in much reduced workshop hours and greater productivity."
A total of 42 machines were assembled in Leazes Park and included 11 Ransomes Commander, 5-cylinder mowers with cabs, 16 Ransomes Highway 3-cylinder mowers, five Ransomes Frontline 728 rotary mowers, seven Iseki ride-on rotary mowers and three Ransomes Super Bowl walk-behind mowers.