Let them eat dandelions...
Continuing problems with the grass-cutting contract in Trowbridge have prompted Cllr Graham Payne to ask the council, "Do you think that Trowbridge will win the "Dandelions in Bloom" competition this year...?"
In response to another question from Cllr Jeff Osborn about the performance of Balfour Beatty Living Places, the cabinet member responsible gave the following garbled response:
"We made it clear to BBLP that we did not think enough resource was being applied to the West. However, this is a service contract, and we can only determine the outcome of the service not the input. We therefore monitored the situation through the first cut of the year and into the second cut of the year.
Because of our concerns about resource levels, and through our regular weekly review meetings, we elicited a number of response measures that would be invoked if BBLP were to fall behind the agreed schedules.
At the end of cut 1 BBLP were on schedule in the East and the North, but behind in both the West and the South. However the situation was redeemable so we did not invoke the special measures agreed.
During the last week of April our concerns increased re the West falling further behind so on 30th April we requested that the special measures be invoked immediately. Additional teams were employed over the bank holiday weekend at the start of May and by 7th May an additional 3 teams of grass cutters, 9 personal, were allocated to the West to bring it back to schedule. This additional resource will be provided for the foreseeable future to support grass cutting across the county to ensure appropriate standards are maintained.
The impact of these additional teams could be seen immediately and we will remain until the schedules and all back on time." (sic throughout)
Translated into English this means, "BBLP are taking the p*ss but there's not much we can do about it because we've given them the contract and we're scared of them."
And in response to the question about dandelions the cabinet member suggests the people of Trowbridge should eat them in the form of dandelion fritters or drink them as dandelion wine. For his recipes see supplement one of the agenda for Tuesday's council meeting.