Mayor made redundant after more than 35 years

Cllr Alan Roberts
Cllr Alan Roberts

SIX landscape gardeners, including the town’s mayor, Alan Roberts, have been made redundant.

The Landscape Group, which is contracted by Hastings Borough Council (HBC) to maintain the borough’s parks and gardens, laid off Cllr Roberts and his five colleagues this month.

All six worked at the firm’s depot in Alexandra Park.

Cllr Roberts, 58, worked as a landscape gardener for more than 35 years and said the redundancy came as a shock to him, it being the first time ever he had been unemployed.

He said: “The Landscape Group was trying to save money and didn’t need all of the staff.

“It is also contracted to carry out work for AmicusHorizon and Rother District Council.

“I was called into a meeting on November 4 in the morning and by the afternoon was redundant.

“I am angry because I could have retired at 60 and have never been out of work until now. I worked in the same job for more than 35 years.”

The council directly maintained the town’s parks and gardens when Cllr Roberts started out. In 1992 the work was contracted out to Onyx, before changing to Quadron in 2003 and finally The Landscape Group in November last year.

Cllr Roberts was the health and safety manager for Quadron until last year.

He was signed off sick in May this year after injuring his left leg following an accident in which he slipped during a bad asthma attack. He is expected to have an operation in the New Year.

Kevin Boorman, spokesman for HBC, said: “We do not comment on our contractors’ operational decisions.”