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Balfour Beatty

Contract winner Balfour Beatty handed an ultimatum by Wiltshire Council

Multinational infrastructure group Balfour Beatty – holder of a £150 million maintenance contract covering jobs like cutting grass verges and filling potholes – must up its game or it won’t get paid, according to Wiltshire Council.

The firm – which lost its chief executive, Andrew McNaughton, when it issued a profit warning in May – was awarded the contract last year, but the council has been dissatisfied with aspects of Balfour Beatty Living Places’ performance for some time.

In a statement issue this week, the council said: “Wiltshire Council this week requested that its contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) carries out measures to improve its performance following issues with certain areas of maintenance work.

“BBLP was awarded the contract last year and its performance has proved to be below the expected standard in a small number of areas including grass cutting.”

At a council meeting on May 13, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, John Thomson, warned that if performance did not improve then the council would seek further actions from BBLP.

This week’s statement continued: “Unfortunately, there have been further issues recently particularly with grass cutting in the west of the county, therefore Wiltshire Council has set out measures such as withholding payment for the areas where grass cutting has fallen below the agreed standard and requiring detailed plans from BBLP which outline clear resource levels for each area of work.”

Councillor Thomson said: “The service being provided isn’t good enough and we are determined to work with Balfour Beatty Living Places so standards are raised quickly.

“This is a resource level issue and it is limited to certain areas of maintenance. BBLP performed well during the winter flooding and we want this level of service across all the areas of work which the company is responsible for.

“I am confident that we can move forward and although we are working in partnership with the company this does not mean we won’t be holding them to account when there are clear problems.”