Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, has confirmed that the County Council’s Parish Lengthsman scheme will grow to support up to 130 parish councils this year.
Councillor Humby said: “The Parish Lengthsman scheme enables parishes to carry out work that they see as enhancing their local communities, such as ditch clearing, cutting back vegetation and sign cleaning. It also means we all continue to develop a strong working relationship between parish councils and the County Council.
“The role of parish lengthsman was reintroduced in Hampshire to give local communities more say in the upkeep of their own areas, as they are best placed to prioritise any improvements they would like in their villages. We started with ten parish councils as a pilot in the Meon Valley – the scheme has been a great success and in 2016, the numbers of parishes participating in the scheme will have grown to 125. I’m pleased to confirm that the County Council is able to continue to fund it for the coming financial year.”
The Parish Lengthsman scheme was first reintroduced by Hampshire County Council in 2010, to give local communities more say in the upkeep of their surroundings and to play an active role in the highways service to improve their village environments, while adding value to the County Council’s planned and routine maintenance programmes. This year, the Authority is investing an additional £30,000 in the scheme, in recognition of the work the lengthsman carry out on rights of way.
While there is some flexibility in how each parish can operate its Parish Lengthsman service, the main principle is that small highways jobs can be locally managed, by employing a dedicated resource. Parishes can either employ their own Lengthsman or commission a Lengthsman service from the County Council’s term highways maintenance contractor, Amey. Each participating parish will receive a total of £1,000.
Parish Lengthsmen operated until the late 1960s in Hampshire, undertaking work to keep the sections of highway they were responsible for, in a good and tidy condition.