Funding for parishes to carry out minor maintenance
Posted on: 21 November 2016
A group of parishes in West Devon have got together to secure funding for equipment to carry out maintenance work in their communities.
The parishes of Bere Ferrers, Dartmoor Forest and Gulworthy have joined forces to successfully receive just over £4,000 Town and Parish (TAP) funding to purchase equipment and signs, as well as a trailer and a storage container. They’ve been presented with the equipment by Councillor Philip Sanders.
Bere Ferrers will be leading on the scheme on behalf of the three local parishes. Having undertaken the Chapter 8 training provided by Devon County Council, Ralph Maycock, Vice Chairman of Bere Ferrers Parish Council, has been appointed Community Road Warden for his parish.
The equipment will be stored in Bere Ferrers but will be shared with Dartmoor Forest and Gulworthy parishes.
Devon County Council has developed the Community Road Warden scheme to enable town and parish councils to undertake their local priority highway work, with the road wardens acting as primary point of contact with the County Council’s local Neighbourhood Highway Officers. The volunteer wardens can carry out minor work such as weed clearance, grass cutting, sign cleaning and small drainage work in their local area.
Following a successful pilot in five parishes in Devon, the County Council has widened the scope of the scheme to include minor pothole repairs, if Road Wardens wish to do so. The County Council has provided £100,000 of funding to roll-out the initiative across the county.
Ralph Maycock, Community Road Warden in Bere Ferrers, said: “The scheme enables us, as a parish council, to carry out preventative measures to keep the parish mobile. We appreciate that the County Council’s resources are stretched, so we can tackle a number of issues, such as gully and drain clearing, and working together with highways we’ll be able to fill in the gaps of what they’re not able to do. We’re hoping to build up our own work schedule to run alongside the work that highways intends to do in the parish.”
Richard Leithall, Bere Ferrers Parish Council Chairman, said: “We have enthusiastic volunteers who are now fully trained and able to take on tasks to improve our parish. It’s a question of pride and we want to keep the parish looking tidy. We’ll start with sign cleaning and verge cutting, which will make a difference, and then we’ll see about expanding to minor road repairs.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Road Warden for Sidmouth, said: “These parishes must be congratulated on their proactive approach in working together. This is exactly the sort of positive action that the Road Warden scheme is aiming to encourage in our local communities.”
Councillor Philip Sanders, Leader of West Devon Borough Council and Devon County Councillor for Yelverton Rural, said: “I am really proud of these three parishes. It is no secret that in the current economic climate communities need to work together to help maintain the areas in which they live in the best possible condition. The volunteers who are supporting this scheme are to be commended for giving up the time to undertake the training and for offering their services on an ongoing basis. This is a piece of really positive news as it puts power and control back into the hands of those who know best what their area needs.”
Councillor Debo Sellis, County Councillor for Tavistock, said: “Gulworthy Parish Council is innovative, proactive, realistic and quietly cares for its Parish. The councillors recognise opportunities and residents should know that they are an excellent team. Well done!”
Safety defect repairs on the highway and the repair of larger potholes that meet the safety defect criteria will continue to be carried out by Devon County Council.
An open evening will be held at Bere Alston Parish Hall on Wednesday (23 November) where the Community Road Wardens initiative will be discussed.
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