In the 1960's increasing mechanisation and labour costs led many local authorities to move away from locally based maintenance activities. As a result, Lengthsmen disappeared, taking with them the knowledge of the local highway network, and the trust and understanding built up with many residents in their local area.
In December 2002, as a direct response to increasing numbers of minor road maintenance requests from residents, five parish councils in Worcestershire were invited to take part in a Lengthsman trial giving them greater responsibility and a budget for dealing with the highways priorities that mattered in their communities.
The trial proved to be a resounding success and, as a result, the scheme has now been rolled out to 90 per cent of the parishes in Worcestershire.
Each parish is given an amount each year, which is calculated based on the length of road within its boundary. Jobs undertaken include the clearing of gully gates, digging out of blocked gullies, removal of vegetation, cleaning of signs and hand gritting of footways/carriageways using County Council grit bins.
In short, the Parish Lengthsman scheme is all about doing the little things that matter to communities – today, and show how local people have the right knowledge to do what their communities really want done and when they want it done.
Parish Lengthsman video on Youtube - www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOMeyO0hJxE
Here's what people have been saying...
- “Our lengthsman has dealt with all the jobs mentioned by residents other
than those outside his remit. He has been a good PR man for both the Parish and
- Hanley Castle Parish, Clerk Ann Canham, 2003.
- “Councillors and residents have expressed their thanks for clearing small
floods and footpaths and having clean signs. They say it is nice to see
problems sorted out quickly. The scheme has proved popular with residents who
want it to continue. The Parish Council considers it to be successful with one
benefit being that residents can now talk directly to a Parish Council
representative whom they see most days. Recent heavy rains have brought Martley
in sharp contrast with adjacent parishes with respect to the amount of flooding;
other parishes had considerable problems.”
- Martley Parish, Clerk Tom Pearsall, 2003.
- "A very successful scheme."
- Chaddesley Corbett Parish, Yvonne Scriven, 2011.
- "Thank you very much for organising this scheme, it is a huge asset to the
- Ripple Parish, Lorna Gower, 2011.
- "Grimley Parish are absolutely delighted with the mechanics and
administration of the Lengthsman Scheme. The Lengthsman, appointed on an annual
contrast, is a super young man, very personable, capable, interested and polite
to one and all. Following initial contact from the Parish Council, he is happy
to liaise with parishioners, respond quickly to local emergencies – flash
flooding, drain damage from HGVs etc and be adaptable.
WCC are now fairly flexible with the Scheme providing that the Lengthsman has undertaken relevant training, e.g. Parish Councils are now allowed to mow visibility splays on highway land more frequently, in appropriate circumstances hire and claim costs for a skip for removal of verge / drainage debris and the Lengthsman can move around and record traffic numbers from the Vehicle Activated Signs. These are all additions to the Scheme over recent years.
The administrations works well; provided that the Lengthsmans monthly timesheet has been checked and submitted to WCC by the 16th of the month, costs are repaid by bank transfer at the end of that month. Perhaps we are particularly fortunate, here is a win, win, win situation."
- Grimley Parish, Susan Hughes, 2012.
- "We are aware that our allocation has now been reduced, it does seem
reasonable that smaller parishes have somewhat less grant than larger parishes
and we certainly expect to be able to do all our work within this new
The Scheme has been extremely successful in Rushock and all the residents appreciate the benefits which the Lenghtsman Scheme has brought about. Thank you also for the positive way in which you manage it."
- Rushock Parish, Pauline Trimble, 2012.
- "The Scheme has proved very successful in our Parish and the work completed
by our Lengthsman has had a positive impact."
- Norton-Juxta- Kempsey Parish, Jane Greenway, 2012.
- "We think the lengthsman scheme is excellent. The relationship works well,
we email our lengthsman with issues in the local area that we notice or
residents make a complaint to us about and he goes along and carries out the
work for us which keeps our residents happy. The way in which we claim
reimbursement works efficiently too."
- Wythall Parish, Kerie Harris, 2012.
- "We signed up to the scheme in July 2010 and since then have received many
complimentary comments from parishioners who have noticed the improved
appearance of certain areas in our group of three parishes. It's great to know
that we have someone 'on call' to attend to blocked drains and gullies, problems
with signage and rights of way etc. The scheme itself is very straightforward to
administer and is a great way to devolve responsibility from the County
Council with the minimum of fuss."
- Stoke Bliss, Kyre and Bockleton Parish, Louise Gibbs, 2012.
Find out more about the Lengthsman Scheme
If you have any questions about this scheme you can email email@example.com