After a long slog with numerous delays, we are delighted to finally be moving staff into our new office building from the beginning of June. The building will house staff from 2 of the Bourne Group of companies, namely Gardenscape and John Bourne & Co. Bourne Amenity and Bourne Sport will remain in the original office building, which itself will soon undergo an internal renovation.
As most people are aware the cladding of the building was delayed substantially as we were unable to start until the Council had approved the material that we were using, and this took over 4 months. However, we have now finished the cladding and, as you can see from this photo, the scaffolding is now coming down. Once it is down the landscaping around the new building can begin. This will involve extensive ground level planting as well as the replacement of the hoarding with new gates and security fencing.
Our aim in regards to the landscaping is to soften the building within its surrounds. Once the scaffolding comes down you will notice that one part of the building has not been clad, specifically the top part of the wall facing the bridge. This is because we hope to install a living wall on that end. If we are able to do this then it will provide a beautiful aesthetic for people arriving into Newenden across the bridge from Sussex. The wall will offer year round interest, be beneficial to the environment and hopefully attract all sorts of insects and birds.
In addition we will be doing some work on the roof. Again with a view to softening the building, we plan to plant in a variety of irrigated planters. Due to the exposure to the elements at that height we will be limited in what can be planted up there, but we are working with experts who are advising us on what we can achieve.
Both the living wall and the roof planting require a further planning application. We will be submitting this soon after the scaffolding is down, when we can start working on the visuals that we will submit with our application. For this reason neither of these elements will happen immediately. Whilst we will again be at the mercy of the Planners timetable, we hope that this will be majority finished by the Autumn/Winter of this year.
We appreciate that this has been a long process, and we have been as frustrated by this as we know many local people have. However we are excited to be moving into the offices now, and look forward to the ongoing works to improve on the visual impact of the new building and its immediate environment.
John Bourne & Co takes safety, environmental performance and haulage best practice very seriously - something our customers frequently remark upon as well. The prime way of showing our commitment is by being FORS members, and we have just had confirmation that we continue to qualify in the top tier of the scheme.
FORS - the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme - is an accreditation scheme promoting best practice for commercial vehicle operators. The aim is to drive up the standards for safety, efficiency and environmental protection and accredited members of the scheme are required to show commitment to such standards well beyond the minimum legal requirements. There are three levels: bronze, silver and gold; each requiring increasingly stringent audits and evidence.
The FORS Association manages the standard and provides training and case studies, showing how being FORS accredited helps operators across the industry. There are now over 5,000 members but fewer than 800 have so far reached the Gold level. Many delivery contracts in London, in particular, now require the operator to be FORS accredited.
John Bourne & Co were early adoptors of the scheme, in line with our commitment to delivering the highest quality of service. We reached Gold status in 2016 and have just passed our second repeat audit, confirming our Gold status for another year.
...we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas - and a Happy New Year!
Now, where's that figgy pudding....
See you in 2019!
Santa Claus is coming to town, so we are taking a bit of a break over Christmas and the New Year. Friday 21st Dec will be the last working day of the year, and we re-open on Wednesday 2 January at 8am sharp!
As the dust settles on the 6th instalment of the Futurescape trade show, it is worth taking a minute to recognise and appreciate the positive effect that both the show, and in general the ProLandscaper magazine and associated publications have had on our industry.
It has been 10 years since the first edition of ProLandscaper magazine was published and it has been an upwards trajectory ever since. The team at Eljays44 have helped to lift the profile of the industry we know and love, and given the landscaping industry the voice that it fully deserves.
This year’s instalment at the increasingly more congested Sandown park racecourse venue saw another great line-up of guest speakers covering business topics from industry big hitters like Ken White from Frosts Landscapes to more technical seminars from the likes of Green Blue Urban and Tim O’Hare Associates. These educational forums break up the monotony of stand surfing and allow new members of our Bourne Amenity sales team to gather invaluable insights from seasoned industry campaigners like Mark Gregory and David Dodd. The 30 under 30 competition is also a great way to encourage and celebrate emerging talent within the industry, which is desperately needed within the sector.
The strength of shows such as this is that they focus on innovation and education rather than being purely business driven and although we have had a stand since the show inception, it is a great opportunity to meet and share a coffee with friends and foes from within the industry. Although we operate in a ferociously competitive trading environment, the Futurescape concept allows for, and is at the time of year where, we can take stock of the year’s successes and look at ways to build and drive innovation moving toward next year. The single day, winter format is perfect for a quick snapshot of the marketplace and if this year is anything to go by, then the landscaping sector has never been more buoyant.
We welcome the input from the team at Eljays44 and are proud to support all of their new initiatives. We have recently been announced as the headline sponsor for their inaugural Podium Awards in March of 2019. We see ourselves as innovators within our own specialist field, and the exposure that comes from the shows, seminars and workshops provided by organisations such as BALI and Eljays44 has undoubtedly helped the industry move with the times, and respond to the challenging trading environment and a greater desire for innovation and excellence.
Overall the show was another resounding success, and the general takeaway feeling was that the industry was in decent shape heading into 2019. There are some startlingly innovative specifications that land on my desk on a weekly basis, from ambitious roof garden schemes to outstanding work in the field of SuDS and other environmentally continuous projects. The mood seems positive given the rising threat or opportunity provided by Brexit, and the team at Eljays44 are certainly doing all they can to promote the hard work and dedication emanating from within the industry.