Marple Community Forum & Noticeboard

Local Community => Local Issues => Topic started by: admin on December 05, 2018, 06:22:07 AM

Title: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: admin on December 05, 2018, 06:22:07 AM
Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance

(https://www.marplememorialpark.org.uk/images/stories/taskday-14618.jpg)

Despite making significant cuts to park and green space budgets already over the last few years, Stockport council is now consulting on proposals to make even more budget savings on Maintenance of Parks, Street Cleaning and Highways Verge Maintenance.

The proposals include:
They acknowledge that this will result in a deterioration in the quality of the finish in parks and verges across the borough and are seeking comments from local people.

To have your say, visit this link:

https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/policy-performance-and-reform/stockport-street-cleaning-park-and-highway-verge-m/ (https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/policy-performance-and-reform/stockport-street-cleaning-park-and-highway-verge-m/)

The consultation closes on 11 January 2019

For those with an appetite for more nitty-gritty details but don't want to plough through the 38 pages of the Strategic Commissioning Plan, here are some extracts from the consultation documents:

Draft Implementation Plan (Strategic Commissioning)

Stockport Council is consulting on more cuts to Street Cleaning, Parks and Highway Verge Maintenance budgets. These are part of further proposed cuts to many other council services but this particular consultation is regarding the Street Cleaning, Parks and Highway Verge maintenance only.  The outline proposals below are extracted from the council's Draft Implementation Plan (Strategic Commissioning) document and they are seeking your views on these:

Proposal

This review will consider how to minimise the impact of reducing the investment in these services. There will be a small number of efficiencies that can be achieved within these services but the overall impact of reducing the budgets will be to reduce the quality of the maintenance of the public realm. The broad and high-level scope and impact of reductions will be:
And from the actual on-line consultation document: Stockport Street Cleaning, Park and Highway Verge Maintenance Consultation

Within the on-line consultation itself the proposals are explained slightly differently and don't seem to cover any detail about Traffic and Infrastructure. So it appears that this particular consultation is actually just about the Street Cleaning and Greenspace aspects only:

Proposals

The proposals to achieve these savings are outlined below. It should be understood though that once the reduced teams are actually operating across the borough there would be a need to closely monitor, review and refine the working arrangements and continue to make adjustments to maximise the efficiency of the service. However the broad proposals are:(https://www.marplememorialpark.org.uk/images/stories/img_6125a.jpg)
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: ringi on December 05, 2018, 02:01:09 PM
I think some grass area should have wild flowers and spring bulbs planted, being cuts only once a year WITH THE GRASS CLIPPING REMOVES, so as to promote wild flowers like you get on hay meadow.   If the clipping are not removed, the wild flowers will not increase.

In parks etc, I think there should be wide “paths” cut every 14 days into the “wild” areas, so as to provide good access for walking etc.    Clearly some areas need to be cut so children can play ball games etc.

For road verges, the verge near junctions should be cut often so as to maintain good sight lines, with the rest of the verges being managed so as to promote wild flowers and spring bulbs.   Funding should be provided for resident groups to plant bulbs and wild flowers in the verges using the buying power of the cancel to get a very good deal.

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Cutter grass every 30 days instead of 14 will make it look a mess, but managing the land correctly to maximise wild flowers would give a better result and be cheaper.     However the once yearly cutting and removal of the cut grass would have to be contacted out to farmers, as it needs to be all done in a few weeks to fit in with the life cycle of the wild flowers.
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: admin on December 06, 2018, 06:40:19 AM
I think some grass area should have wild flowers and spring bulbs planted, being cuts only once a year WITH THE GRASS CLIPPING REMOVES, so as to promote wild flowers like you get on hay meadow.   If the clipping are not removed, the wild flowers will not increase.

In parks etc, I think there should be wide “paths” cut every 14 days into the “wild” areas, so as to provide good access for walking etc.    Clearly some areas need to be cut so children can play ball games etc.

For road verges, the verge near junctions should be cut often so as to maintain good sight lines, with the rest of the verges being managed so as to promote wild flowers and spring bulbs.   Funding should be provided for resident groups to plant bulbs and wild flowers in the verges using the buying power of the cancel to get a very good deal.

----------------

Cutter grass every 30 days instead of 14 will make it look a mess, but managing the land correctly to maximise wild flowers would give a better result and be cheaper.     However the once yearly cutting and removal of the cut grass would have to be contacted out to farmers, as it needs to be all done in a few weeks to fit in with the life cycle of the wild flowers.

There are some good ideas that may work in some areas there @ringi. Please make sure you complete the questionnaire to tell the council but also consider your response to proposals for reducing the frequency of street cleaning, reducing the number of Bowling Greens, removing litter bins from streets and parks, removing horticultural beds from parks, reducing time spend with voluntary groups, modifying play areas to reduce maintenance required and reducing maintenance of shrubs and hedges in parks.
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: jimblob on December 06, 2018, 11:17:57 AM
How about a nominal reduction in people's council tax if they offer to maintain a grass verge outside of their own property against simple guidelines? I mow at least fortnightly the verge outside my own house and feed it at least once a year.
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: amazon on December 06, 2018, 11:19:12 AM
How about a nominal reduction in people's council tax if they offer to maintain a grass verge outside of their own property against simple guidelines? I mow at least fortnightly the verge outside my own house and feed it at least once a year.
Why have a grass verge .
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: jimblob on December 06, 2018, 11:21:39 AM
Why have a grass verge .

Personally, I think a well tended grass verge enhances the public realm; what would you propose in it's place?
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: jimblob on December 06, 2018, 11:47:11 AM
and to add....
Traffic and infrastructure – this could see a reduction in the number of bespoke traffic calming and parking measures introduced at a local level by reducing members discretionary budgets and the associated costs.

ABSOLUTELY, reduction in traffic calming measures would have saved us and in the future save us a FORTUNE both in their design, time taken for consultation, implementation and subsequent maintenance.
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: andrewbowden on December 06, 2018, 12:03:41 PM
How about a nominal reduction in people's council tax if they offer to maintain a grass verge outside of their own property against simple guidelines? I mow at least fortnightly the verge outside my own house and feed it at least once a year.

Suspect the costs of administering such a scheme would end up being greater than the benefits of it.  How many people actually have a grass verge AND would be willing to maintain it?  I don't know the proportion of roads with grass verges, but I can't think of any near me.  I do know of a large grassy area on one of the side streets but it's a bit far for me to lug me petrol lawnmower to ;)
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: amazon on December 06, 2018, 03:49:46 PM
Personally, I think a well tended grass verge enhances the public realm; what would you propose in it's place?
Green tarmac
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: jimblob on December 06, 2018, 04:03:24 PM
Green tarmac
Nice to know this discussion is being taken seriously
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: Razzle24 on December 06, 2018, 04:17:46 PM
Didn't one of our local councillors base his election campaign on grass verges?
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: amazon on December 06, 2018, 08:11:37 PM
Nice to know this discussion is being taken seriously
Ther are some nice shades of green .
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: Steve Gribbon on December 09, 2018, 09:30:55 PM
Didn't one of our local councillors base his election campaign on grass verges?

I believe this may be me that you have in mind with this question. I didn’t base my election campaign on grass verges, I based it on having a desire to help our community. What I did do was highlight something which stood out as needing doing for safety reasons and for asthetics as I believe where we live deserves to look good and be safe I’m finding out some things do not happen overnight, time and effort is needed.

I hope this clarifies the point you have raised.

Kind regards

Steve
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: CTCREP on December 31, 2018, 03:43:30 PM
I think  Stockport MBC should  reconsider how they spend their money overall, instead of trying to reduce the miniscule amount of work done by the  Parks Department etc, to the point where one must seriously consider if we need a Parks Department at all.  Currently there is a multi-million pound plan to replace the bus terminus with a new design which includes something akin to park land.   With the minimal maintenance being proposed it will soon become a weed infested rubbish tip, and why build an unnecessary new bus terminus for a town that is being allowed to fall into decay through lack of maintenance.

So many of this Council’s schemes go ahead regardless of the opinion of those that are affected by them - the new Shared Cycle and Pedestrian Path on New Bridge Lane for example which was totally unnecessary and which some consider to be potentially dangerous. So why have a consultation at all., the Council doesn’t listen.   It is time those who consider themselves responsible to take a second look how this Council’s money is wasted before agreeing to remove the few useful facilities that are left.

Although this Consultation is somewhere on the Council’s Web Site, type Grass Verges into the search facility and  there is no link to the Consultation. Why not? The Council is wasting thousands of pounds on an IT department that produces a  Web Site that is far from user friendly.

There is an old saying - Look after the Pennies and the Pounds will look after them selves. Why do we need a printed 4 page document, most of which is irrelevant to the subject, and which few people will find to read. A formal link with facilities such as the Marple Web Site would give the Council far greater publicity of their schemes for far less expense. We need to stop this Council wasting money, not offering ideas on how the facilities can be reduced.
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: amazon on December 31, 2018, 06:55:15 PM
I think  Stockport MBC should  reconsider how they spend their money overall, instead of trying to reduce the miniscule amount of work done by the  Parks Department etc, to the point where one must seriously consider if we need a Parks Department at all.  Currently there is a multi-million pound plan to replace the bus terminus with a new design which includes something akin to park land.   With the minimal maintenance being proposed it will soon become a weed infested rubbish tip, and why build an unnecessary new bus terminus for a town that is being allowed to fall into decay through lack of maintenance.

So many of this Council’s schemes go ahead regardless of the opinion of those that are affected by them - the new Shared Cycle and Pedestrian Path on New Bridge Lane for example which was totally unnecessary and which some consider to be potentially dangerous. So why have a consultation at all., the Council doesn’t listen.   It is time those who consider themselves responsible to take a second look how this Council’s money is wasted before agreeing to remove the few useful facilities that are left.

Although this Consultation is somewhere on the Council’s Web Site, type Grass Verges into the search facility and  there is no link to the Consultation. Why not? The Council is wasting thousands of pounds on an IT department that produces a  Web Site that is far from user friendly.

There is an old saying - Look after the Pennies and the Pounds will look after them selves. Why do we need a printed 4 page document, most of which is irrelevant to the subject, and which few people will find to read. A formal link with facilities such as the Marple Web Site would give the Council far greater publicity of their schemes for far less expense. We need to stop this Council wasting money, not offering ideas on how the facilities can be reduced.
They should to trying to encorage shops to come to Stockport   if they reduced business rates some what that may help .its no worth going to stockport for now anyway .
             HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL .
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: admin on January 07, 2019, 11:03:15 AM
Stockport Council's consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance closes on 11 January 2019

Please ensure you have your say before this deadline, via this link:

https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/policy-performance-and-reform/stockport-street-cleaning-park-and-highway-verge-m/ (https://consultation.stockport.gov.uk/policy-performance-and-reform/stockport-street-cleaning-park-and-highway-verge-m/)

There are only 2 main questions to the survey. Here are my personal responses, which I've structured around the bullet points of the proposals.

I hope that sharing these may inspire other to respond in a similar vein but whatever your views, you should make them known:

Q - What impact would it have on you if these proposals were implemented?
 
As a key member of Friends of Marple Memorial Park these proposals are alarming. The council is at grave risk of alienating and loosing the support of groups like Friends of Marple Memorial Park if they make further changes to our parks maintenance without detailed consultation with these groups as key stakeholders. The impact of previous cuts to park maintenance budgets have largely been kept at bay by the increased efforts of volunteers rising to the challenge of filling the gaps left by previous cuts. If Friends Groups were to cease their activities out of frustration at further cuts because they were not consulted properly then the impact on the park would be devastating. All the cuts previously made and mitigated by volunteers would become apparent in a very short timespan.

Grass verges on highways would be mowed less often:
The regime adopted this year left the verges around Marple in a total mess and I don't see how it can get much worse by not doing them at all  – the verges looked scruffy when uncut but a complete disaster when they were. Is there a way that a plan to plant larger verges as wildlife meadows and progressively remove all smaller grass verges completely could be instigated to save money in the long term?

The frequency of street cleansing rounds would be reduced:
I would like to see Street Cleansing focused mostly on the Marple District Centre and the park and would not wish to see the removal of bins or the reduction of them being emptied as they are often overflowing already. I think it would be worthwhile to support more volunteer litter-picking in the town and also to make much more use of community payback.

The number of litter bins would be reduced across the borough, both on the streets and possibly within parks:
I do not want to see this happen in Marple and especially not in Marple Memorial Park. It is not long since bins in the park were upgraded and new ones installed with consultation and agreement of Friends of the Park. The bins are regularly full and their removal would lead to a significant increase in littering problems. Friends of the Park and other regular visitors often pick litter and credit needs to be given for this and volunteers supported more. It is crucial for safety that park attendants check the skatepark area each day for broken glass as this is a regular problem, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Many smaller play areas will be modified over time to reduce the demand on maintenance costs by increased use of natural play equipment:
I understand this and accept it to a degree in smaller parks but Marple Memorial Park is a destination park for families with children and the council needs to carry on working closely with Friends of Memorial Park to continue the improvements that we have achieved together over many years. We wish to continue striving to improve the play areas in the park and have long-term ideas for creating a better larger play area that amalgamates the existing Infant and Junior facilities into one. We also consider it essential that the play areas remain protected by fencing due to the disgusting high level of dog fouling in Memorial Park – we cannot allow this fouling to happen where our young children play.

Grass mowing in all greenspaces, except sports pitches and play areas, would be reduced. There would be longer grass for longer periods.  It is anticipated that several areas will become space for wild meadows:
Friends of the Park are generally satisfied with the current grass cutting regime in the park, although we believe that some of the machines need to be better maintained as the grass done using the triple machines are often not cut properly. If further reduction in grass cutting is to be made then we would not wish this to effect the mowing of the grass around the flowerbeds and formal areas. The attendants do a good job with these and when coordinated with the activities of our volunteers, who do the edging, the results are still very good. We would not wish this to deteriorate and would be pleased to meet with the council and TLC to discuss how savings may be made without impacting the appearance and upkeep of the park. We would also be happy to discuss which areas of the park may be suitable for additional wild meadows.

All aspects of park maintenance such as pruning shrubs and hedge cutting would be reduced:
Apart from the hedge around the Bowling Green and the perimeter of the park most pruning of hedges, shrubs and shrub beds is done by Friends of the Park already. We have also adopted all the flowerbeds in the park, preventing them from being grassed over since 2011, and have been hugely successful in maintaining these and the War Memorial beds, plus numerous other small beds within the park. We have taken over maintenance of all the benches in the park too, enabling the refurbishment, adoption and replacement and installation of new benches all at no cost to the council. Our volunteers have saved huge expense to the council with these initiatives whilst contributing significantly to the improved standard of maintenance of the whole park. We have also directly raised over £113,000 for maintenance and improvements to the park and been instrumental in the investment of many more thousands of pounds from grants and other sources. We therefore feel that we should be considered key stakeholders and directly consulted over any detailed proposals for additional savings to be made by further cuts to the council's commitment and effort to maintain Memorial Park.

Greenspace – a reduction in greenspace activity will result in a deterioration in the quality of the finish in parks and verges across the borough. It could also mean that an increase in the amount of land converted from lawned to natural habitat, a reduction in the number of bowling greens, litter bins across the park, removal of all horticultural beds etc. and reduced time spent with voluntary groups:
The council has already removed from their responsibility and cost the maintenance of all horticultural beds in Memorial Park and this is now done by volunteers, so there are no more savings to be made on this but much to loose by alienating volunteer groups while trying to do so. The Bowling Green is extensively used and has recently had considerable investment by the council to enclose it in fencing and from Friends of the Park and Marple Area Committee to protect it from vandalism. These initiatives have been very successful and it would be counter-productive and wasteful to remove the Bowling Green from Memorial Park. It is not clear what is meant by reducing time spent with voluntary groups. TLC and SSK before them never spent any time with our volunteer group during our task days. They have provided training in the past, but not for several years. Apart from emptying the green waste area for us and coordinating efforts at Remembrance time it is not clear what could possibly be subjected to further cuts in terms of time spent with volunteers. We do receive limited but very welcome support from stretched Greenspace Officers. If the level of support from these Officers is to be reduced further, or withdrawn, it is likely that it will lead to the demise of the Friends Group and the consequent loss of significant volunteer hours being invested in the park. This will result in a rapid decline of existing maintenance standards currently achieved with the help of Friends of the Park. Please consult with us in detail before actioning further cuts.

Q - Do you have any alternative suggestions for reducing the budget within street cleaning and maintenance of parks and highway verges?

Treat volunteers as key stakeholders and discuss detailed strategies with them for making further savings in parks. Make greater use of Community Payback Teams. Encourage volunteer litter-picking. Do not reduce time spent with volunteer groups but support, encourage and train them to work more productively with Greenspace Project Officers and TLC. Talk to these groups and don't take them for granted or you will loose them.

Remove small grass verges and replace larger grass verges with wildlife meadows.

(https://www.marplememorialpark.org.uk/images/stories/img_6125a.jpg)
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: CTCREP on January 09, 2019, 05:16:04 PM
Well said, and I would hope the Council will listen, but I very much doubt it, they have never done so in the past.

I suspect any savings achieved would be negligible when contrasted with the waste of public money that this Council has achieved in the past.  If my information is correct, recently they have used a Flood Repair Grant to upgrade some little used bridleways in the vicinity of several dwellings in the Mellor Strines area which were in no way likely to be flooded as most people consider the term, while Etherow Country Park is to lose a well used attractive path due to real flooding.  The flooding is an annual occurrence and any damage done in the past was easily dealt with by the Park Wardens. Unfortunately it is probably beyond the capabilities of the current members of the Friends of Etherow Country Park, however the Flood Repair Grant would have been more than enough to deal with that problem and still have money left over for more other outstanding repairs affecting far more people. 
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: amazon on January 09, 2019, 10:03:56 PM
Well said, and I would hope the Council will listen, but I very much doubt it, they have never done so in the past.

I suspect any savings achieved would be negligible when contrasted with the waste of public money that this Council has achieved in the past.  If my information is correct, recently they have used a Flood Repair Grant to upgrade some little used bridleways in the vicinity of several dwellings in the Mellor Strines area which were in no way likely to be flooded as most people consider the term, while Etherow Country Park is to lose a well used attractive path due to real flooding.  The flooding is an annual occurrence and any damage done in the past was easily dealt with by the Park Wardens. Unfortunately it is probably beyond the capabilities of the current members of the Friends of Etherow Country Park, however the Flood Repair Grant would have been more than enough to deal with that problem and still have money left over for more other outstanding repairs affecting far more people.
was round there yesterday theres now a tree down  coming up from keg pool top path that comes up to  Hirst cottage ,nothing been done about the small bridge that  was suposed to be reinstated .
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: CTCREP on January 22, 2019, 10:52:58 AM
Whilst I am probably in agreement with everything that Admin has said, unless I am mistaken, I am disappointed that the relevant proposals only appear to refer to the Memorial Park and not all parks.

The Council’s  lack of interest in maintaining Etherow Country Park is easily demonstrated by viewing the Information Board close to the Brabyns Park car park.  It shows the way to the Aqueduct but not to Etherow Country Park. Why not.

When Stockport took control from the original Compstall Council their plan was to fill in the Sailing and Fishing Lake and turn it into a housing estate.  Only local pressure prevented this.  With the Council’s acceptance that Etherow Country Park is slowly becoming derelict it is difficult not to suspect that is their plan now.  Why else would they ignore the fallen trees etc, most of which could be cleared by volunteers. Generally the Council refuses the volunteers permission to use anything much more than a pair of secateurs and a spade.

While Stockport MBC only thinks in terms of pounds, without any idea of how to make Stockport a place that people would like to live in and visit, there is little point in trying to help them with their plans.

Our local Councillors, and other interested bodies, should be pressing for more sensible use of our Council Tax payments, not simply accepting the Council’s only ideas of reducing the very little benefit we get from paying them.

Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: admin on January 22, 2019, 11:43:53 AM
Whilst I am probably in agreement with everything that Admin has said, unless I am mistaken, I am disappointed that the relevant proposals only appear to refer to the Memorial Park and not all parks.

As far as I understand it the proposals relate to all Stockport Parks.

My own comments are occasionally general but mainly refer to Marple Memorial Park. That is because this is what I know about and being a organiser / member of the Friends group, it's my main concern. However, I would expect other Friends groups to have done the same and provided comments in relation to their own parks. All Friends groups registered with the Stockport Greenspace Forum were notified of the consultation and I hope that they were as vocal as I was about their own patches.
Title: Re: Council consultation on Parks, Street Cleaning and Highway Verge Maintenance
Post by: jimblob on January 22, 2019, 04:51:25 PM
Whilst I am probably in agreement with everything that Admin has said, unless I am mistaken, I am disappointed that the relevant proposals only appear to refer to the Memorial Park and not all parks.

The Council’s  lack of interest in maintaining Etherow Country Park is easily demonstrated by viewing the Information Board close to the Brabyns Park car park.  It shows the way to the Aqueduct but not to Etherow Country Park. Why not.

When Stockport took control from the original Compstall Council their plan was to fill in the Sailing and Fishing Lake and turn it into a housing estate.  Only local pressure prevented this.  With the Council’s acceptance that Etherow Country Park is slowly becoming derelict it is difficult not to suspect that is their plan now.  Why else would they ignore the fallen trees etc, most of which could be cleared by volunteers. Generally the Council refuses the volunteers permission to use anything much more than a pair of secateurs and a spade.

While Stockport MBC only thinks in terms of pounds, without any idea of how to make Stockport a place that people would like to live in and visit, there is little point in trying to help them with their plans.

Our local Councillors, and other interested bodies, should be pressing for more sensible use of our Council Tax payments, not simply accepting the Council’s only ideas of reducing the very little benefit we get from paying them.
Well said indeed !