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.