TAUNTON Deane Borough Council is responsible for maintaining a variety of open spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Staff from the DLO and the cleansing contractor idVerde are regularly seen carrying out their duties, ranging from street cleaning to grounds maintenance and landscaping.

The council parks are maintained by staff from the DLO with help in many cases from Friends groups made up mainly of volunteers who work in partnership with the council to improve and develop them.

Their input is invaluable, augmenting the routine maintenance programme which is carried out by the DLO and spans the entire year.

Five parks in Taunton Deane have just been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as some of the very best in the world - Vivary and Victoria Parks and French Weir recreation ground in Taunton; Wellington Park, which also received a Green Flag Heritage Award, and Swains Lane Nature Reserve in Wellington which gained a Community Green Flag.

Vivary Park which is often referred to as the jewel in Taunton’s crown is a fantastic green space in the heart of the county town which has been awarded five stars from Britain in Bloom judges for two years running and a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor this year.

Keeping it in tip top condition involves a maintenance programme which spans the entire year.

Several dozen flower beds in Vivary Park are planted every October for the spring displays and every May for the summer displays, with around 26,000 winter/spring flowering bedding plants and about 28,000 summer flowering bedding plants.

Each of these is then tended with deadheading and watering throughout the flowering season.

The grass cutting programme starts in March with two cuts per month on average.

Grass cutting normally ends in November but recent mild weather means cutting sometimes continues into December

Litter collections are also carried out twice a day, every day of the year, whatever the weather.

The park borders are packed with shrubs which require minimum maintenance but are regularly pruned; and the trees, many of which were planted to commemorate historic occasions, are maintained by the council’s arboriculture experts, including emergency work.

The bandstand, the fountain, the gates and ornamental shelter, all of which are listed, are regularly maintained on a rolling programme with one feature given a makeover each year.

Most of the work is carried out by the DLO with occasional specialist assistance from outside contractors.

Council staff also carry out daily visual checks of the equipment in the children’s play area on top of the monthly inspections.

Some new play equipment and a table tennis facility have been installed.

As well as being a stunning location the park provides something for everyone, from the sensory garden to the free tennis courts, the picnic benches and the wildlife.

The ducks have always been an attraction and the water quality in the park is improving so much that an otter has recently been spotted and a kingfisher too.

Taunton Deane Borough Council also keeps grass and hedges in public areas tidy through a planned programme of maintenance.

Grass is cut from March to October, depending on the ownership of the land. Cuttings are blown off footpaths and pavements.

Most of our hedges are cut once a year in September and October, due to the bird nesting season.

To report overgrown grass or hedges on council land fill out the online report overgrown grass/hedges form or call 01823 356356.

Taunton Deane Borough Council is not responsible for verges beside A roads or on public footpaths. These areas are the responsibility of Somerset County Council. Call 0300 123 2224.