Despite its diminutive proportions, Barnsley Council’s latest vehicle costs the same as a family car and lacks the comforts today’s drivers take for granted.
But officials believe their Gmatic three wheeler is worth every penny – because it will play a vital role in keeping the town centre’s streets looking spick and span as the area is transformed through the current regeneration work.
The machine has been bought especially to handle the tough job of keeping stone paving installed several years ago during an early stage of the regeneration programme looking at its best.
Despite opting for high quality materials, the council has found the stone has weathered and become stained under the feet of many thousands of users.
But the Gmatic, which scrubs the surface as well as sweeping away debris, will return the surfaces to a fresher look and then ensure they stay that way, matching the image of the new groundworks being installed on Cheapside, Queen Street and Peel Square, as well as the yet to be created new town square where the temporary market currently stands.
The transformation will not happen overnight and it will take repeated runs with the machine to remove all the grime from existing surfaces, but once that is done, it is expected the streets will be kept looking that way through regular treatments, with the Gmatic expected to spend around three hours every day buffing up parts of the town centre.
Cleansing teams manager Chris Eyre said there were two teams, each now trained to use the machine, which is an addition to their fleet of street cleaners.
“It has been brought in specifically for the Yorkshire stone, around the Town Hall and in other areas. Because of the build of dirt, it won’t clear it straight away, we will have to keep going over it.
“But once it is clean, we will be able to maintain it that way,” he said.