The Superintendent of the Commons to be heard.
The Committee received a verbal update from the Superintendent of the Commons updating them on management and operation activity at the Common since the last meeting. The following points were noted:
The Director of Open Spaces, Sue Ireland, was due to retire and her replacement, Colin Buttery would start on the 1st March 2017. There had been a 40% turnover of employees in the department since the Superintendent assumed management of the Division 3 years ago.
The division had been expected to make £162,000 worth of savings, of which £121,000 had so far been achieved. The difference of £41,000 has been deducted from the 2017/18 budget. The savings would be made both from cuts and increases to charges. It was hoped that the amount of donations could be increased to contribute to filling the shortfall. A year on year saving of 2% would be expected from 2018 onwards.
A review of property assets had been conducted across the Commons, as part of its regular review of space and incoming generating opportunities. There had been a low level of interest in the office advertised at Farthing Downs, however Officers were optimistic for an occupant in the Spring.
Open Spaces Bill
The Open Spaces Bill was on its third reading in the House of Commons. There had been one accepted addition from the Kennel Club, who had petitioned that the use of Community Protection Orders should be the subject to Freedom of Information requests. The City is considering its position.
A review of the rota arrangements across the Commons had taken place and changes had been made to standardise arrangements where appropriate. From this, staff at Ashtead would be given more autonomy over operational matters. This will increase efficiency and improve patrols.
Fleet and Plant Sale
A sale of redundant fleet and plant across the Commons had raised £31,000 (out of a total of £125,000 across the Open Spaces Department). The money would be invested in energy saving initiatives.
The Superintendent outlined the achievements of teams from across the Commons Division including the successful £1million, 3 year project that had been undertaken at Kenley Airfield. The Superintendent undertook to arrange a visit to the project should Members wish to visit.
In response to a query from a Member in relation to the increase in charges from Wayleaves it was confirmed that there had been no local opposition.
RESOLVED – That the update be noted.