Why we need a lengthsman and what valuable work he does?

What is a Lenghtsman?  He is a qualified person the Parish Council employs to maintain local roads and footpaths, they are not allowed to work on main roads ie   A438.

Because of lack of funding, Balfour Beatty, Herefordshire Council’s main contractor, has failed to carry out highway and footpath maintenance for many years.  The responsibility has now fallen onto the Parishes, although if a major defect is reported it comes down to the responsibility of Balfour Beatty.

Money to pay for employing a lenghtsman is totally funded from the Parishes precept – last year we allocated £1,655 from the precept to cover the  lenghtsman costs, previously the parish paid 67%, Balfour Beatty 33%.

Here is a quick look at how the parish has spent this money in the last financial year April 2018 to March 2019:

  • In the spring and summer months cutting back visibility spays, clearing drains and cleaning signs, etc. April, May, July and August invoices totalled £520.00
  • In October a blocked cross ditch on Bishon Lane, after years of neglect was causing flooding, the lengthsman hired a small digger to clean this out and other ditches in the area
  • In January a blocked ditch on Ferry Lane Byford again, after years of neglect was cleaned by the lengthsman along with ditches on Byford Common.
  • Several potholes in Byford were also filled by the lengthsman, Balfour Beatty had failed to fill these reported potholes due to budget restrictions.

This extra work along with monthly maintenance cost the Parish Council £1,110.00. This total of £1,630.00 for the year kept the Parish council just inside their budget.

2018-19 was the last year Herefordshire Council would fund the P3 footpath maintenance scheme where the Parish Council paid 23% of the cost and Balfour Beatty 77%. The scheme works out a figure of £1060.00 for our parishes, this related to the total distance of footpaths we maintain.

After the usual maintenance of cutting footpaths in Bishopstone, Bridge Sollars and Byford we spent only £210.00 of the fund. To use the rest of the allocated money the Parish Council installed a Woodstock kissing gate (see below) on the junction of KT4 on the Kenchester/ Bishopstone boundary and also purchased a spare kissing gate for stock to use up the rest of the quota at a net cost of £905.00.

Woodstock kissing gate on the junction of KT4 on the Kenchester/ Bishopstone boundary

 

History Evening, April 25th – Humphry Repton in Herefordshire

Our speaker for the next Local History Evening on Thursday April 25th is David Whitehead who will give an illustrated talk about Humphry Repton in Herefordshire. This is particularly relevant to us as we have local examples of Repton’s work at Garnons and The Weir at Kenchester. As usual the talk takes place at the New Bridge Community Centre at Bridge Sollars at 7.30pm, admission £3 to include coffee and biscuits.

The list of our future meetings is as follows:

May 23rd The History of Lady Hawkins School, Kington by Allan Lloyd

September 26th Strange and Wonderful Herefordshire Churches by Penny Platts

October 31st Lost Country Houses of Herefordshire (part 2) by John Macklin

November 28th to be arranged

That’s the plan but it’s likely that the May talk will have to be cancelled if the community centre is being used for EU elections – Electoral Services have booked it so presumably they are expecting the election to happen. In that case I will try to book Allan for the November slot.

Sue Hubbard

Film Night, 6th April – Bohemian Rhapsody

On Saturday 6th April we will be showing Bohemian Rhapsody, the award winning story of Freddy Mercury and Queen from his joining the band in 1970 to their Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

As usual Film Night takes place at the New Bridge Community Centre in St Andrew’s church at 7.15pm (doors open at 7), admission £5 to include coffee and biscuits. Visitors welcome

Local History Evening, 28th March – Lost Country Houses of Herefordshire

At our meeting on Thursday (28th) John Macklin will present an illustrated talk entitled Lost Country Houses of Herefordshire in which he will remind us of the many great houses in the county which were destroyed during the 20th century.

The talk will take place at the New Bridge Community Centre in St Andrew’s church at 7.30pm, admission £3 to include coffee and biscuits. Visitors welcome.