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Facilities Management Journal February 2017

FMJ.CO.UK MEDWAY ESTATES CASE STUDY out the helicopter rescue people when he suspected there was a vehicle caught on the side of a chalk face. For this reason and because the job does involve a fair amount of isolated site visits Jones always carries a panic button – connected to a GPS which he can use to talk directly to a security firm engaged for his protection. He can even switch on the device so colleagues can listen in to an exchange if he finds himself in a vulnerable situation with aggressive or threatening people. He also has a very good relationship with the local PCSO who the site owner and the local landowner co-fund to patrol the area and has had extensive training in conflict management in how to diff use a situation while simultaneously recording and reporting any incidents. We begin our tour by visiting one of the listed buildings in the property portfolio. At the Cedars, a Grade II listed building, leased out to an organisation that provides training and support for fostering, Jones oversees the grounds maintenance and some of the building maintenance. Reflecting the fact that the whole area was founded on the cement industry, the property also features a renovated cement wagon in the gardens, which is how they used to transport materials many years ago. There are also a range of large storage containers on site, which Jones explains: “Belong to a group of local volunteers who collect and archive historical books and maps and drawings of the local area, some of which is irreplaceable, so we’ve off ered to host them.” This kind of community interaction is typical of the contract, as Jones and the site owner work in partnership with local community volunteers and organisations such as Natural England, Kent County Council, Kent Wildlife Trust and Kent Downs. For example Jones has worked with the Valley of Visions (VOV) an impressive landscape-scale project that, thanks to a £2.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is helping to sustain the landscape of the Medway Gap. This scheme has forged partnerships with communities, schools, landowners and local organisations to conserve the landscape, wildlife and rich heritage of the area. Explains Jones: “Working with Valley of Visions we used some lottery money to clear and fence a large area of the land and installed two flocks of special Hebridian Sheep which thrive on eating scrub to keep the foliage under control. “We work with local landowners and local authorities to meet their motto which is ‘securing the landscape’, to help in our fight against fly tipping and FEBRUARY 2017 23 to conserve and protect the land, as well as ensure the safety of the general public because many of these areas have public rights of way.” That’s a lot of land to cover, which is why Jones uses his sturdy land rover to carry out site visits to some of the more vulnerable areas every day, getting around the other less accessible ones as regularly as possible. Many of the quarries have now been so successfully reclaimed by nature that they have become attractive nature reserves. He explains some of the challenges of the job: “There are problems with petty crime in these areas, because they’re so deserted, and despite being ringed by fencing, I regularly find burnt out cars, evidence of people driving four by fours or bikes in protected areas and recently I even came across a migrant who was being exploited by nearby gangs to mind dogs they use for fighting.” This kind of occurrence is sadly not rare, which means his day-to-day activities may include reporting burnt out cars, mending the fences which are routinely pulled apart by intruders and he recently called


Facilities Management Journal February 2017
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