Parish steward scheme officially launched
Wiltshire is one of only a few councils that has increased its spending on highway maintenance.Philip Whitehead
They are already a feature on the roads and in the communities of Wiltshire, but parish stewards were officially launched this week (1 October).
In their distinctive green and yellow vehicles, parish stewards carry out minor highways work which has been set for them by the local community.
They are part of Wiltshire Council's £15m per year highways contract with Ringway Infrastructure Services Limited, which began on April 1 2016. Since the start of the contract, 20 parish stewards have been recruited and trained to carry out this valued community service.
The stewards will serve their own group of parish and town councils in the county, reporting issues and carrying out repairs and maintenance, providing a ‘one stop and done' service. They will prioritise the needs of their patch including roads, pathways, drainage and verge maintenance. Their remit could include painting railings, highways strimming and minor pothole repairs.
Philip Whitehead, cabinet member responsible for highways said "I'm delighted we are relaunching the parish steward scheme, and I know local communities are too. Each parish steward will be a key part of the in the community they serve. They will be approachable and hardworking, and be ready to deal with the issues which matter locally.
"Wiltshire is one of only a few councils that has increased its spending on highway maintenance. With the increased investment and this new contract the council will be best placed to meet the future challenges and able to maximise the benefits of its resources for our highways."
Duncan Poole from Market Lavington parish council, said: "Local communities are well-placed to identify aspects of highway maintenance that will improve the safety and environment of our villages.
"We look forward to working closely with our parish steward to determine a prioritised programme of work during the coming year."
Parish steward vehicles are highway yellow, with unique livery. One side of the vehicle displays a horse to recognise Wiltshire as the county of white horses, the other has a picture of Stonehenge.
People who want to report a highways issue can do so using the MyWiltshire App, by the council website at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/mywilts or by calling 0300 456 0105.