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Estate services

Building cleaning

Communal building cleaning is carried out every week by Churchill, and deep cleaning is carried out three times a year.

If your normal cleaning day falls on a bank holiday it will be done on a different day in the same week.

If you pay for communal window cleaning, Churchill carry it out three times a year in April, August and December.

If you have any issues regarding the cleaning of your building, report them to Churchill at helppoint@churchillservices.com or on 01582 760055 (8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or 0845 345 1576 (out of hours).

Estate maintenance

Our City Homes housing estates are maintained by various contractors looking after a range of services, including:

  • caretaking services
  • cleaning shared areas
  • window cleaning to communal areas
  • lift services
  • fire equipment
  • street cleaning within the boundaries
  • electricity and communal lighting
  • door-entry system
  • communal TV aerial system
  • grounds maintenance

Building cleaning is carried out by a number of providers which varies by location. These include our estate caretakers, cleaners and external contractors. Grounds maintenance such as cutting the grass and maintaining shrub beds is carried out by our Streets and Open Spaces team.

These services are monitored by various staff – including independent living facilitators, housing officers, the estates champion and volunteer resident green inspectors – to a minimum standard as set out in Housemark’s Caretaking and Cleaning Standards. [PDF, 6MB]

Maintenance calendar and window-cleaning schedule

The estate maintenance calendar gives information about the times through the year when various estate services will take place. These include the communal window cleaning at our flats, grass cutting and shrub-bed re-planting. Since the weather conditions each year are variable it gives residents an approximate idea when they can expect services to take place. Of course it may vary depending upon conditions at the time.

The window cleaning schedule is applicable to those properties paying a service charge and only takes place in the communal areas of our flats.

Grit is spread at many of our housing estates when needed; read more about clearing snow and ice.

Estate champion

Many of our City Homes properties in the south of the city are covered by an estate champion. This role includes monitoring and coordinating feedback to contractors on the maintenance of the estates and day to day management of the caretakers.

The champion also works on environmental projects to improve the council estates, provision of bike racks, reporting and liaising with other contractors on footpath repairs and other hazards, street furniture repairs, and abandoned bikes and cars.

Green inspectors

Our volunteer green inspectors kindly assist in monitoring the standard of our estate services. To find out more or to become a green inspector contact estate.champion@cambridge.gov.uk.

If you are able to complete the green inspectors assessment online while out and about (if you have a 3G or 4G tablet for example), please use our online version below. On submission, a copy of your report will be emailed automatically to us:

Alternatively, you can download a version to your device which can be completed offline, saved, and then emailed to us once you have a connection:

Bees and wasps

Bees are protected and should not be disturbed.

You can have a wasps' nest sprayed and removed by contacting a private pest control company.

Bumblebees typically live in small colonies of 50 to 60 bees and make a nest for around six weeks typically under sheds, in brickwork or under a roof tile. Bumblebees are not usually aggressive and will reach maturity after about six weeks and move on. When they have gone it is a good idea to block up the hole if you found them inconvenient. This will prevent others returning another spring to nest.

If you notice a swarm of honey bees you are concerned about, contact us to arrange collection. Bee keepers collect them voluntarily, but the bees need to be accessible, ie not up a tall tree or hanging from the guttering of a building. Contact the Estates Champion on 07816 681410 to arrange.

Guide to bee and wasp identification [PDF, 86KB]

Garden competition

The tenant and leaseholder garden competition offers prizes worth over £400 to gardeners of all sorts on council estates.

Community days

Community days are local clean up events held across the city. They rely on local volunteers and groups to come together and work with us and other services to improve their area.

We also organise regular ‘walkabouts’ with council officers and local councillors to identify and help report local issues and request repairs.

Abbey People Garden Project

The community organisation Abbey People has received funding from our East Area Committee to support garden maintenance work for a number of older people living in Abbey ward - especially those who are unable to physically manage their garden or pay for the upkeep.

The work is being carried out by the Community Payback scheme, coordinated by our Streets and Open Space team and Abbey People.

Abbey People Garden Project referral form [RTF, 74KB]

Encroaching trees

Your common law rights allow you to remove branches from trees in your neighbour's garden that cross over your boundary without the need to seek your neighbour's permission - although notifying your neighbour of your intentions is always advisable.

However, you must not cross the boundary to do so: leaning a ladder over the boundary to rest against the trunk of the tree could be classed as trespass.

You should not dispose of the branches or any other waste material from the tree over your fence into your neighbour's garden, but first ask your neighbour if they wish to have the material returned to them. If they do not want it, it will be your responsibility to dispose of it.

You are strongly advised to consult a professional tree surgeon for guidance on how best to prune back encroaching trees, unless the work is such that you could do it with hand secateurs or similar.

Before you consider doing any work to a tree you should find out who owns it and whether it are protected by a tree preservation order or is within a conservation area. If the tree is protected, you will need to gain consent by making an application or giving notice to the council.

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