Greenbelt

The Green Room

Welcome to The Green Room, where you can read all the latest news from Greenbelt. Simply click on the links below to find out about our new developments, community projects and charity events. There is also up-to-date advice from our gardening guru and top tips for becoming more involved in the Greenbelt community. If there is a particular topic you’re interested in, use the search function to take you straight to the relevant articles.

greenlight for greenbelt - admiral's place

Excerpt from the Upnor Times, newsletter of the Upnor Resident's Association:

"We have noticed a great improvement in the upkeep of Admiral's Place - Greenbelt has been much more active in managing the area and even visiting some residents. If you have any questions or feedback, their contact details are Keith Barnfield, Lands Supervisor, 08450 940 940 or mail@greenbeltgroup.co.uk".

greenbelt update on all-party parliamentary group (appg), on land management, westminster june 2009

The All Party Parliamentary Group is a non statutory group of MP's interested in Land Management Companies and their role on new residential developments.

Greenbelt received an invitation to contribute to the group as the company is recognised as a leader in this field. No other Land Management Company received an invitation as far as we know.

Alex Middleton and Richard Taylor, Directors of the Greenbelt Group, voluntarily accepted and attended in early May 2008 with other contributors including The Law Society of Scotland. 7 MP's were present including Greenbelt constituency MP Mohammad Sarwar and the focus of discussion was on the home buying experience, role of developer, planner, solicitor and Greenbelt in providing secure and fair land management arrangements for new developments.

A full transcript of the contents of the meeting was taken and will presumably be made available to public.

This Group intended to prepare a report on their feedback/recommendations from contributors and forward a copy to housing and communities department of Parliament. The Chairman of the meeting gave assurances that any report prepared would be circulated to those parties which contributed however, as at June 2009, Greenbelt have not received sight of a copy and understand that a report has not yet been published.

You can download Greenbelt's submission to the APPG by clicking here.

greenbelt setting standards

Greenbelt's new code of conduct is setting base-line standards in practice and behaviour for contractors and their staff to deliver the highest standards of service.

Greenbelt Group Lands Manager Janet McQuillan says: "As the UK experts in creating and managing residential and commercial landscapes, Greenbelt is committed to exceeding customers' expectations in the quality of our work and services.

"To do this, the standards of workmanship and the behaviour of anyone representing our company have to be exemplary."

Customers have a right to expect high quality of work, so:

  • all contractors' staff must be familiar with site maintenance schedules
  • staff must have access to and be familiar with current site plans
  • all contractual and site-specific obligations must be met
  • maintenance work must not be rushed; schedules are not time-based
  • contractors' staff must be polite, considerate and knowledgeable about their tasks
  • if staff are unable to answer a query, they should:

- direct customers to the site supervisor or team leader or

- offer a Supervisor or Contractor card with Greenbelt's customer freephone number, 0800 028 1749

  • supervisors and team leaders should be available to talk to or walk the site with customers who have concerns or complaints

Read full details of the Greenbelt Code of Conduct here

greenbelt responds to a series of articles published in the herald

You can download this letter in PDF format by clicking here.

 

The Editor
The Herald
200 Renfield Street
Glasgow
20 August 2008

 

Dear Sir

GREENBELT: Recent articles printed in Glasgow Herald.

Journalist Graeme Smith

 

I refer to recent articles in your newspaper regarding Greenbelt.

I and my staff are extremely disappointed about the tone and content of these articles as they do not represent a fair and just reflection on Greenbelt. Many of the comments are inaccurate, unsubstantiated and misleading.

I would hope that Graeme Smith disclosed to you that he is a homeowner on one of the developments managed by Greenbelt. I also hope that he made you aware that his own development is not yet complete and that currently there are areas of responsibility resting with not only Greenbelt but the developer and the Local Authority. As Greenbelt communicates regularly with our residents he should be fully aware of the relative responsibilities regarding the developments open space areas. Certainly Greenbelt is fully aware of its responsibilities and works very hard to ensure the other parties meet their responsibilities on behalf of the residents who have moved into the development. Mr Smith has received additional information from my staff on the ground and my customer care team to clarify issues which typically arise on "phased build" developments. With all this supporting information to hand there is no case for printing comments which have serious and potentially damaging impact on Greenbelt. The articles have referred to:

1. A serious matter relating to "police involvement into the company" which after checking with both Grampian and Northern Constabularies has been confirmed as unsubstantiated. Neither force has any reference to Greenbelt, indicating that it was not a matter for police involvement. Both also indicated that if it had been reported as such then they regard this approach as irresponsible. There is no reason for this matter to be referred to and your journalist should have verified what the actual situation was prior to going to print.

2. A dispute between Greenbelt and one particular contractor who has claimed for works not completed. In fact Greenbelt terminated the relationship with this contractor to protect residents from work that was either not performed or not up to our specification. Greenbelt has every right, and indeed a responsibility, to pursue or dispute wrongful claims to ensure appropriate service provision to residents. We also have a responsibility to obtain best value for our customers, which is also key objective in local authority services. Such matters are in the normal course of commercial business and will be sorted out through the normal channels. Your articles appear to provide a voice to one side of a commercial dispute and again this should have verified prior to print.

3. Greenbelt liaises with Trading Standards on any real disputes raised by representative resident groups from developments. Currently there are no disputes which Trading Standards are involved in. Greenbelt is a member of the "Home Authority Scheme" which centralises and resolves any dispute effectively and swiftly. Trading Standards have expressed disappointment at the media reporting and have advised that I write to you, indicating that there is an established and effective process of resolving any dispute.

4. There is a small but effective campaign group who represent a limited number of residents on developments we manage. Despite repeated invitations by Greenbelt and other parties, including Trading Standards, to meet this group, it has chosen not to take up these offers and instead tried to progress their "story" through the media. In doing so this group has frequently either been economical with the truth about the work that Greenbelt is doing or misled the media by suggesting that areas of uncared for land were the responsibility of Greenbelt when in fact these were the responsibility of others.

5. Despite the comments regarding maintenance, Greenbelt does provide a good maintenance and management service to many developments and have many satisfied customers. We have acknowledged a problem in the North of Scotland and have responded appropriately to our customers.

6. The company manages many sites throughout the U.K. There are no planning enforcement actions on any of these sites.

7. Your article on 16 August states that a play area in Falkirk is "unsafe" and a pond dangerous to children. Greenbelt does not yet own these areas. Your report is wrong to infer that Greenbelt is responsible for them, and this needs to be corrected. All our play areas are regularly inspected to British and European standards and repaired.

8. We provide expert management of Sustainable Drainage Systems which help protect houses from any flood, sustainable management of all our woodlands and recognition of the biodiversity value on new developments. These benefits are not recognised in any of the articles which would perhaps have provided a fair reflection for readers to digest.

9. We acknowledge that the house buying experience can be improved with more informed point of sale literature and also proactive legal conveyance for new homeowners. This is a matter we have emphasised to the other parties involved in this process. Most of our customers are fully aware of details of their new home and engage with Greenbelt well, with a view to establishing new communities.

Greenbelt is a hard working Scottish company with good staff providing the service all homeowners on our developments deserve. If there are problems, which any company can be faced with, then we would make every effort to sort out and meet the customer expectation. This requires both parties to be willing to enter a dialogue to achieve resolution - something Greenbelt does not have a problem with.

Yours faithfully

 

Alex Middleton

Managing Director

award success for greenbelt knowledge transfer partnership

Neil Berwick, SUDS advisor on the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Project for Greenbelt has won the 2007 award for the best KTP presentation in Scotland.

He will be presented with his award by Jim Mather, MSP, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism at a ceremony held on 19th February at Dunblane Hydro.

Neil is part of the team at Greenbelt which has formed a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Abertay's Urban Water Technology Centre, funded by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, to create a benchmark of best practice for the development industry. It offers guidance in the implementation, monitoring and long-term operation and maintenance of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) in accordance with industry best practice and guidance from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Local Authorities.

Greenbelt's Managing Director Alex Middleton said: "I am very pleased that the good work of Neil and the KTP has been recognised with this award. Our involvement with the KTP reflects Greenbelt's continued commitment to excellence in the ongoing development and use of SUDS in new housing estates."

SUDS replace traditional networks of underground pipes for surface water drainage, improving water quality, creating "green" amenity areas, and importantly, providing storage for surface water runoff. By using a combination of SUDS tools such as permeable paving, detention basins and ponds, surface water runoff can be stored and discharged at a controlled rate, minimising risk of flooding.

Scottish based Greenbelt Group, the only UK-wide company that owns and manages open space land formed as part of new housing developments, has developed expertise in operating and maintaining sustainable drainage systems. It works closely with many of the UK's leading housing developers and manages more than 100 SUDS across the UK.

Neil Berwick said: "I am delighted and proud to accept this award. The KTP is a team effort and I look forward to continuing to work with Abertay University as we lead the way in developing innovative solutions and expertise in SUDS in the future."

April 2008

* Neil Berwick is now with the Urban Water Technology Centre, University of Abertay. Greenbelt have a contract with the university so that our work on SUDS continues. February 2012