Sheffield City Council expects to save thousands of pounds a year in highways maintenance by installing bespoke Brett Landscaping Verge Protection Units in 30 sites across the city.

With approximately 2,200,000 square metres of urban grass verges in Sheffield the Council was dealing with a difficult and expensive problem until they settled on Brett’s solution for areas with high numbers of complaints.

A report from Sheffield City Council described the provision and maintenance of grass verges as “a contentious and emotive issue across the City”.

The Council set up Local Area Committees which to look at issues raised by residents. These committees have been provided with small budgets to improve issues in the areas, with one of the main complaints and requests being to rectify is damage to verges.

Sheffield’s highways maintenance partner AMEY asked Brett to design bespoke units to prevent damage to grass verges, usually caused by cars mounting the verge to park.

AMEY’s contract with the council means that are obliged to repair the verges within three months of a report being placed. This entails the filling of ruts and reseeding the and, on average, it takes two tonnes of soil and two workers to carry out the work at a cost of £200 per visit.

In several instances, AMEY has been called to reinstate the same verge up to six times in a year.

Working with AMEY and the Council, Brett developed the bespoke Verge Protection Units to ensure that they are low maintenance, they do not require spraying with weedkiller around the base and have a mowing strip around the outside.

The mowing strip is the concrete square around the outside of the dome, it was designed so that the unit didn’t require weed killer or strimming up to its edge as would have to be done with a timber, concrete or steel bollard. Operatives can run the lawn mower over the edge of the unit onto the concrete strip around the outside of the dome, this has reduced the time taken to maintain the verge as the unit is set back from the edge of the kerb to allow the mower to pass between.

As well as providing the unique units, Brett also provided advice on installation providing a cross section detail so was able to offer a cost-effective, low maintenance solution.

Estimated costs for the installation of three units at a time is £1,500. This includes the cost of the three units, labour and extra materials for bedding and pointing.

The units are currently being installed at 30 areas across the city. At sites where homeowners made multiple calls a year, these installations will effectively pay for themselves within two years.

Robyn Robertson, Specification Sales Manager Midlands & North for Brett Landscaping, said: “There were some concerns these installations would be unpopular with residents but the reaction from people in Sheffield has been positive.

“We have supplied hundreds of units and there has been a massive uptake in requests from residents to have them installed outside of their properties.”

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