With around 2.1 million people visiting every year, the NEC is the busiest exhibition centre in Europe. With so many visitors its important they get the best first impression. That’s where commercial landscaping company Mitie Landscapes comes in. They have worked with the NEC for well over a year now, maintaining the grounds at the world famous exhibition centre. The NEC occupies a 611 acre site in the borough of Solihull, just eight miles from Birmingham City Centre. There are around 75 acres of woodland and 392 acres of hard standing ground including 16,500 car parking spaces. The site welcomes around 2.1 million visitors every year.
The NEC turned to Mitie Landscapes as they needed a partner who could maintain the fantastic grounds while also improving their winter snow and gritting service. Mitie Landscapes is responsible for, amongst other things, the winter gritting and snow clearance, managing the surrounding woodland areas as well as the general maintenance of grass areas, fencing, hedge cutting, shrub maintenance and bedding plants.
When Mitie Landscapes started working at the NEC they brought with them a wealth of horticultural experience. Combining this with their extensive management experience they were able to provide a new approach to the grounds maintenance. They have maintained the high standards the NEC expected while also managing to reduce the overall cost. They did this by introducing a pre-planned working schedule, carefully developed to account for seasonal adjustments as well as the events taking place at the site. This method guaranteed that the NEC grounds always looked their best and ensured there was minimal impact on events taking place at the site.
For the NEC winter can be a tricky time. With so many visitors trying to get in and out of the site, safe access is vital. During the winter months snow and ice can be a nightmare, and on such a large site (over 16,000 car parking spaces alone!) the task of keeping it clear is pretty daunting. Luckily, in Mitie Landscapes the NEC has one of the best winter service providers in the business. They are able to provide a robust and organised system for the provision of the winter services, utilising their extensive knowledge and resources. The NEC were able to take advantage of the specialised equipment Mitie Landscapes could provide (e.g. quad bikes fitted with gritting hoppers to grit walkways) giving them a more efficient and cost effective service. Mitie Landscapes wider gritting resource enabled them to guarantee the site remained open during busy periods, even during the worst winter weather.
This wasn’t the only way Mitie Landscapes was able to help the NEC. The two have worked closely to identify potential areas for improvements. One such project was the renovation of the area around the lake at the centre of the site. The NEC & Mitie Landscapes designed and constructed a gabion wall. With wooden seating along the top and planting beds situated along the length, it gave new life to the area and created a new space for the public to enjoy. Not only this, the wall also doubles up as a deterrent used to reduce the number of geese nesting on the lake. This has benefited the public spaces at the NEC as well as the surrounding areas.
As the NEC continues to expand and develop their site, Mitie Landscapes will work alongside them offering expert advice on how they can make the most from their grounds and ensure the NEC remains a wonderful place to visit.