Parks Maintenance

The Bristol Parks proposals to bring the grounds maintenance ‘in-house’ for at least 2 years from March 2015 were agreed at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (1st July).

The Cabinet report can be seen here

As discussed at the BPF meeting on 28th June the plans are for the grounds maintenance work to be brought back in-house which will give more flexibility to change specifications and priorities.

Neighbourhood Partnerships and Park Groups will have more say in what is done in our parks and park groups or others will be able to do more in their parks to improve them if they wish. We will continue the discussions started with Bristol Parks at the meeting about the mechanics of this.

Despite what you may have seen in the media, Bristol City Council / Bristol Parks have made no references to volunteers cutting grass and there are NO PLANS FOR THAT TO HAPPEN.

Core maintenance will continue to be carried out by the current in-house teams and contractors until February. The Contractors’ employees who work on the Bristol contracts will then transfer to BCC via the TUPE process and will then be employed directly.

The Labour group amendment to this year’s budget delayed the proposed £1/2m budget cut to the Grounds Maintenance budget by 12 months to 2015/16. The proposed cut is 8.5% of the existing net budget of £5.9m. (The actual cost of Grounds Maintenance is £7.3m part of which is covered by income so the actual cut is a slightly lower percentage than this; the figures are in the Cabinet Report). As such Bristol could be said to have got off lightly compared to other core cities, however, cuts on this scale will have an impact. Prior to the 2015/16 budget being finalised in February, the BPF committee will be arguing that the year in which Bristol is Green Capital is not the time to make these cuts.

Budget Set for 2014

Bristol City Council’s budget for 2014/15 was set at the Full Council meeting on 18th February.

The important news for park groups was that the proposed cut of £500,000 per year to the grounds maintenance budget was withdrawn as part of a last minute amendment. This followed the earlier withdrawls of the £120,000 cut to supervision at Hengrove play area; £180,000 of other estates costs and the propososed closure of public toilets.

In addition there is a new £500,000 revenue fund for ‘parks & play’, which is in part funded by a cut of £300,000 to tree planting and maintenance. There is additional funding for tree planting in the next two years from the Bristol Tree PiPS project.

The Budget also includes ‘business efficiency savings’ of £49,000,000. As part of these savings there will be changes to management structure of Bristol Parks. Details of these changes have not yet been published.

The implications of the Budget and the managment changes will be discussed at the next BPF meeting on Sat 8th March.

Bristol City Council Statement on Budget Agreement.

Bristol City Council Budget

The Mayor’s proposed budget for the next 3 years was published at 8pm on Monday 18th November. Details are on the Council’s website at:

As far as Park Groups are concerned the most significant cuts proposed are probably:

R-PL-005 Parks
Reduce work specification for parks, ground maintenance contracts
Re-letting contract in 2015 and reducing the specification of works in parks. This will enable essential functions such as, but not limited to, litter picking and grass cutting to take place in all parks and green spaces.
Saving £500,000 in 2014

R-PL-012 Trees
Review tree planting and maintenance service
All future tree planting will be absorbed into the PIPs (planting in primary schools) tree planting scheme (involving primary school children) which will introduce 36,000 new trees to the city over 3 years.
Saving £200,000 in 2014, £100,000 in 2015

R-PL-019 Public
Review public toilet provision
Closure of 22 of the 23 public toilets across the city, except the weekend temporary toilets in the city centre and keeping one city centre toilet open. Increased promotion of the toilet scheme where cafes and other business allow customers to use their toilets and use of other public buildings in those areas.
Saving £500,000 in 2014

R-PL-014 Parks
Review Environment and Leisure project team
This team works with the Park groups and Environmental sub groups in delivering improvements and schemes that maintain and improve parks. This proposal will offset costs within the revenue budget and recharge them to capital schemes or development projects.
Saving £228,000 in 2014

The BPF committee is hoping to arrange a meeting with Bristol Parks to better understand the full implications before making our response.

The consultation closes on Monday December 30, 2013

There are some public meetings next week where you can put your views to the Mayor: click here for details