We took the decision in 2019/20 to improve communications in the village by installing 2 additional noticeboards. We reviewed a number of options from suppliers of Parish Council style boards. For Phase 1 we planned to have a free standing one at the top of Peacroft lane and a wall mounted version which we subsequently mounted in the Wellbrook Medical Centre.

We obtained prices from 3 suppliers, and decided not to go with the cheapest ( for the free-standing) as we wanted a standard that was robust, of good design, and gave the best security features. The same company did supply the cheapest wall mounted.

The 1st 2 Boards, including installation, and anti-graffiti paint were £2055 (ex VAT)

The comparisons were:

Christmas Tree Street Lights

As a Parish Council we decided that we would like to do more to recognise Xmas in the village. Additionally during the spring/summer months we wanted to explore the idea of having hanging baskets throughout the village.

A number of Councillors had seen the Xmas Tree Street light displays in Hatton last year. We approached the Hatton PC who gave us the contact details of the supplier, Plantscape.

The advantages of Plantscape's offer are:

  • Solar powered - so no electrical supply issues
  • Lamp post mounted - no wall fixing issues on private property.
  • Not owned by the PC, rented just for the Xmas period.
  • All necessary testing carried out by the supplier, including maintenance and programming.
  • Brackets can be retained and used for hanging baskets and Xmas trees in subsequent years if we chose to do so.
  • Proven and successful with Hatton PC

Plantscape pioneered the lamp post mounted solar powered Xmas tree lights. This is their proprietary product.

The prices are £98 per half tree, and £15 per each lamp post tested. We decided that, in order to get a good spread across the village ( Main Street, and Welland Road) we would order 40 half-trees, across 20 lamp posts. This results in an ex-VAT price of £4235 for 2019/20.

As these are proprietary products offered at a fixed price i.e. no options exist with this specification we are not required under PC ( or National rules) to obtain 3 quotes.

We felt that this offered value for money in support of our commitment to improve the village scene during the festive period , and the sense of community.

In 2020/21 we increased the number of lamp posts with Xmas tree lights to 46 resulting in an overall cost of £8,000.


The previous website needed upgrading. Under new rules around accessibility the website needed to be compliant to those standards. We wanted to contract with an organisation who had a track record in websites with Parish Councils in mind, provided, training, on-going-support, email accounts, and flexibility of configuration.

We looked at many PC website standards and focused on 3 suppliers that delivered options that met our requirements.

A comparison was done, and a recommendation to proceed with 2 Commune. The initial set up and Year 1 costs in 2019/20 were £1450. Annual costs £800 pa

New Van

The previous Toyota Van was on a 3 year lease which expired on 30 January 2020 for which we were paying £200 per month. The van did on average 100 miles per month.

We carried out a considerable amount of research across the market place looking at new / 2nd hand - petrol/diesel/electric.

Our preferred option is for an electric van however the costs are prohibitive and we wanted to explore more commercial options to make this a value for money proposition. Our decision was to buy a 2nd hand vehicle as a bridging option; as petrol vans of the size we wanted were quite rare we accepted that a diesel van was the only option.

Based on the 2nd hand market, and the option to have a trailer, and external markings, we agree on a budget of £6,000. The van we bought cost £4495, before the markings, tow bar and trailer.

  • Van - Comparison of options (PDF, 485 Kb)

    Detailed analysis presented to December Full Council supporting the decision to proceed with a 2nd Hand Van and the budget maximum of £6000.

The 2nd hand Fiat Diablo van


At the beginning of 2020 the Council had 3 mowers available for use:

One mower showed high oil usage and the engine is in a very poor state

One mower had a defective drive shaft / bearing and needs parts from Australia ( with a long lead time)

The third mower was a garden mower and not owned by the Council

  • New Lawnmowers - Initial assessment (PDF, 587 Kb)

    Paper submitted for Council review at the January 2020 meeting. It was agreed to buy 2 mowers, and a more thorough analysis of the options and sources to be carried out

  • New Lawnmowers - detailed comparison (PDF, 487 Kb)

    Detailed analysis of options, specifications and costs presented at the February 2020 Council meeting. It was agreed to buy 2 Cobras.


There was a need for the competitive tendering of the Parish Council's main insurance contract ( not vehicle).

There was a 3 year contract in place which ended 31 May 2020 ( £4973). A full market review was conducted which resulted in a significant cost reduction and a more flexible and comprehensive cover.

On renewal in May 2021 it was decided to lock in the competitive price for 3 years at £1480 pa. This will increase in 2022 as the new play equipment will breach the total asset value covered so a higher premium is expected.

Insurance is arranged through Parish Protect with the Military Mutual Insurance company. This product is tailor made for Parish Councils and covers all the requisite insurance needs except motor vehicles which is covered by a separate policy.

Hanging Baskets

The Council wanted to provide floral displays throughout the village during the summer months. When we contracted with Plantscape to provide Xmas Tree lights over 2019/20 we were aware of their hanging basket / planter offer which would utilise the same street lamp fixturing. This was an attractive proposition for achieving the floral objective and was the agreed strategy.

Plantscape use the existing lamp post fixturing, supply pots, plants, maintain and water throughout the summer period. It is a fully inclusive product and service. There is no burden on Parish Council Office.

As we were keen to pursue the Plantscape product/service option then there was no value to be gained by obtaining quotes from other suppliers which would not be directly comparable.

For summer 2020:

There are 46 hanging basket locations with 88 hanging baskets (inc watering) - £4980 (£56 each)

3 roadside planters by "Welcome to Hilton" signs £370

Lamp post testing £390

Total £5740

For 2021/22 the overall offer was extended to include more planter based displays resulting in a total cost of just under £8,000. These were all supplied by Plantscape.

New Astro Turf Surface and Basket Ball posts (£28087)

The Astro Turf pitch was originally laid around 10 years ago. Whilst it has been maintained very well and, generally, in good condition, it was wearing in a number of places and losing its grippiness.

The decision had been taken previously to fully re-lay the surface.

In discussions with a number of providers, looking at the pitch spec options, and the requirement to keep it multipurpose we decided to remain with the existing specification (Matchwinner Velour 1 17mm needlepunch Astroturf).

Additionally our survey work had identified a need for recreational use of basket ball posts for shooting practice. We felt that, as the court would be out of action for 1-2 weeks, that it was an ideal opportunity to install the posts at the same time.

As the value of the contract was expected to be greater than £25,000 we were legally required to go through a formal tender process, and to advertise the tender on the Governments "Contracts Finder" website. This proved to be very useful and generated 10 tender responses.

Adventure Playground (£102,213)

The Parish Council had planned for some years to install new play equipment for children in the 10-15 agre range.

The need for a facility for this age range was evident from the Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire; the village has a number of playgrounds for younger children.

A number of surveys were undertaken with children involved in the Youth Group as well as through a structured set of questions with children at John Port Spencer Academy to identify the most popular pieces of equipment.

Discussions took place with several suppliers to identify kit options.

The budget was £100,000

The location was confirmed as just south of the Village Hall (shown in the picture above). Other options were considered throughout the village however, it was felt best to consolidate the range of play features in this area.

In order to be sure that we were purchasing the right kit the project was split into 2 phases. There was overwhelming support for Zip wires so we proceeded with a full public tender ( through Contracts Finder) for 2 off. The contract was awarded to Wicksteed on the basis of price at £19395.

Phase 2 was the balance of the project. We wanted to have a striking feature piece of equipment. Based on the surveys the preferred, affordable item, was Wicksteed's K6 Climber. In addition to that the requirement was to have:

  • Inclusive roundabout
  • Traditional / Alternative swings
  • Exercise bars
  • 2 Climbing challenge posts

The climbing posts are a Proludic product. The other 3 items were subject to 3 quotes and, in total, Wicksteed was the cheapest.

Wicksteed will project manage both phases, including the supply and installation of the Proludic (supplier) post. The total project cost (including the zip wires) is £102,213

Installation is planned for Spring 2022.

Wicksteed's K6 Climber

Wicksteed Zip Wires