Launched four years ago Hackney Homes which works in partnership with the London Borough of Hackney Council is responsible for managing council homes in Hackney. A major part of the not-for-profit organisation’s work is to keep the amenity grass in the borough’s 266 estates in top order. Last year, the decision was taken to switch from mulch mowing to cut and collect in an effort to further improve its grounds care service and to upgrade its Audit Commission accreditation from 2-Star to 3-Star, which is potentially a route to higher Government funding.
The organisation bought nine Etesia ride-on mowers – two Hydro 124DN models and seven BLHP’s – from their dealer P. Tuckwell’s of Colchester and the machines are now in full swing across the borough. Here, each of the two models trims the grass at a housing estate in Shoreditch, just a mile from London’s Liverpool Street station. This site, like all the other Hackney estates gets its grass cut once every ten days by the Hackney homes grounds care team.
“There were requests from residents as it is a cleaner and tidy system, so we needed mowers that picked up the grass,” explained Balavant Barber of Hackney Homes, the non-profit organisation, which works in partnership with the London Borough of Hackney.
“The grass we maintain is definitely looking better already. The job may be taking a little longer because of the collection of clippings, which we deposit at a recycling depot, but because there is no cutting debris it is better for residents and more satisfying for the grounds care team.”
One of the Etesia mowers’ safety facilities – which influenced their purchase – is the protection of the twin blades by two shear bolts. This helps avoid major damage if there is hidden object impact.
The two larger 25 horsepower 124D machines with the facility for front fitting of hydraulically controlled attachments have multi-purpose adaptability. Leaf clearing in autumn and snow clearing in winter are also on Hackney Homes job sheet, so this added to the mower’s appeal.
The Hydro 100D features a tight 1.1 metre radius turning circle, which Hackney Homes operatives find useful for work on the more restricted sites and for negotiating municipal fixtures like lamp posts. There is no rear axle, so the way is clear for ejection of cuttings.
Both of the new mower models now in use across Hackney have 600 litre grass boxes, which take a lot of filling. They each feature hydraulic lift emptying up to a maximum height of 1.80 metres.