Talks On Changes To Maintaining Merton's Green Spaces

Council bosses meet with parks community groups

Groups who use Merton's parks met council officials yesterday (March 2) to give their views on the proposed changes to the way the borough's parks, cemeteries and other green spaces are maintained. 

Merton Council is proposing a controversial plan to work with neighbouring councils on refuse and recycling collections, street cleaning, parks and other grounds maintenance services.

It is facing £32 million of savings in the next four years and says that by working together it is hoped that, as a result of economies of scale, significant savings will be made.

But the Conservative opposition said the idea, which could save around £1m, was "preposterous" when it was announced in November 2014.

Friends of the parks groups met with Councillor Andrew Judge (Merton's cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration) and Chris Lee (director of environment and regeneration) yesterday.

As part of the South London Waste Partnership (made up of Merton, Sutton, Kingston and Croydon Councils), the four neighbouring boroughs are looking at working together to commission specialist environmental services companies to take care of the borough's waste collections, street cleansing and parks maintenance from April 2017.

The SLWP will not be delivering the services, but will secure contracts with companies which are specialists in their fields so they will be looking for a company specialising in horticulture and grounds maintenance and a company who is a specialist in street cleansing and waste collection services. Merton Council will continue to retain the management of the borough's parks.

Councillor Judge said: "Our local friends of the parks groups do fantastic work with the council to keep Merton's green spaces looking clean and tidy as well as helping to make our parks great places to visit. There will be no changes at all to how these groups use our parks and I want to make sure that we continue the good work we do together."

March 3, 2015