Streetscape is a service run by Congleton Town Council (CTC) to maintain some of the outside spaces in Congleton. It is a Cheshire East Council (CEC) service which has been devolved to Congleton. The other towns of Cheshire East have their service provided directly by CEC. Congleton’s Streetscape service has had good feedback from townspeople and the team are very proud of their town. CEC still pays CTC for the Streetscape service. Streetscape does not maintain ALL the outside environment in Congleton. Some of this is the responsibility of other organisations, such as CEC itself. The Streetscape team plans to publish a map showing ‘who maintains what’ to help people in Congleton direct their questions to the right person.
What Services does Streetscape provide?
The services covered by the Streetscape team are:
- General maintenance and grass cutting around the town.
- Minor tree maintenance.
- Hedge Cutting.
- Shrub Pruning.
- Some of the public gardens such as Antrobus St and Moody St gardens.
- Summer and Winter planting in Congleton Park and Mountbatten Way.
- Maintaining the roundabouts at traffic intersections.
- Planting, maintaining and cleansing Congleton’s 11 play parks. This is joint with CEC.
- Supplying, planting and maintaining the hanging baskets for the businesses and shops – who pay Streetscape for their own baskets – 259 of them!
- Maintaining the ‘carpet bed’ in the park with celebration displays using small flowers and plants.
- Maintaining the Paddling Pool site.
- Maintenace of the Parks’ Bowling Green.
- Empyting on average 160 litter bins a day, also litter picks around the town (including potentially dangerous items like hyperdermic needles – which are also reported to the police).
- Notice boards and ‘Welcome to Congleton’ signs and plants.
- Restoring street furniture such as benches etc. Many of these are not owned by CTC but we maintain them anyway.
However, the following grounds works are completed by CEC:
- Hard Landscaping e.g: maintaining paths, fences, benches and gates in the Park.
- Major tree works.
- Maintenance of sports pitches (football & rugby).
How well does Streetscape perform?
Streetscape has a good reputation for its service levels and quality of work. CTC receives many comments through the year from residents to compliment the flowers and plants around the town, from the Park to the roundabouts and the baskets, and about the tidiness of the town. Streetscape contributes to Congleton’s excellent performance in and reputation with the North West and Britain In Bloom competitions.
In addition, Streetscape is contracted to perform services outside its immediate remit, such as:
- Litter picking services and tidying such as leaf-clearing in other Cheshire East towns.
- Maintaining the verges and outdoor environment in new housing estates.
- Care home grounds’ maintenance.
These external contracts make money for CTC. The team has not to date sought these contracts proactively, but has acquired them by word-of-mouth referrals. For example, a new homes developer asked ‘who maintains the roundabouts in Congleton – we want them to come and maintain our development’.
What about Sustainability?
Streetscape continues to review our environmental credentials and this work is stepping up now that CTC has declared a Climate Emergency. More sustainable and perennial planting is expensive up front, but, will last longer and so cost less in the long term. Further measures are planned, but to date we have made some progress as follows:
- We now use peat-free compost.
- We are planting more sustainable flower beds, increasingly using perennials. For example, one bed in Congleton Park with 1000 plants was previously changed twice a year, and now is planted sustainably. (Will probably need re-planting in about five years)
- We started the community allotment in the park for anyone to help themselves to the fruit, vegetables and herbs to take home and use.
- Two of Congleton’s five roundabouts are now planted sustainably, with perennials.
- We source all our plants locally from Cheshire.
- We have a wildflower meadow in the Park on the bonfire site (funded by Congleton Rotary club).
- The In Bloom judging panel noted a number of rare species of birds and bees in Congleton, especially in the Park area, which they attributed to the wide variety of planting and which helped get Congleton’s high ranking.
What does Streetscape Cost?
The 2019 budgeted expenditure was £578K of which £367K was paid for by CEC and a further £16K was earned from additional work for other organisations. Therefore, the cost to CTC in the year to March 2019 was £195K (approximately £6 per resident, per year).
How can I contact Streetscape?
If you have any questions or comments, or would like to report a problem please get in touch via email: email@example.com – alternatively you can contact the Streetscape Manager Ruth Burgess, tel: 01260 270350.
What is next for Streetscape?
We are reviewing the service for the future. Should we be accelerating perennial planting? How can we drive further sustainability whilst keeping the beautiful flowers that people love? Should we be working to get more external contracts and make Streetscape a profit centre for the town? How can we work even better with the community and with other organisations such as Friends of Congleton Park for the benefit of Congleton?
To help us do this we are planning a consultation survey going out to Congleton townspeople in early 2020, to get a better understanding of the priorities we need to set for the service going forward.