New pilot scheme launched to tackle rural flooding

PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 December 2014


The money has come from the Parishes Together Fund

Uplyme and Axmouth has teamed up with Sidmouth and Combpyne/Rousdon for a pilot project that will see them share a service to clear roadside ditches and drains to alleviate flooding problems.

The parishes’ respective councils have netted joint funding from district and county authorities to commission lengthsman work.

The money has come from the Parishes Together Fund, which encourages towns and villages to work together.

The parishes have also secured some extra cash from Devon Highways chiefs to employ their own contractor, rather than relying on the county-provided service.

Sidmouth town clerk Christopher Holland said: “Similar schemes in other parishes have shown that, if the work done is locally-controlled, it’s much more effective, so we now hope to reap the benefits ourselves.

“We will be able to get the most important jobs done quickly, and with local knowledge of the roads, we’re often in a much better position to do this than the county’s contractors.”

Uplyme parish clerk Lois Wakeman added: “In days gone by, each parish had a lengthsman who was responsible for keeping ditches, drains and road edges clear of weeds and debris.

“This project hopes to return our currently-neglected rural lanes to a much better condition, by employing a local company under the direction of each council.

“If this pilot is successful, we hope to continue with council taxpayer funding in future.

“Devon Highways has to find huge savings next year, and more and more of this sort of work will have to be done at the parish or town level.”

Anyone interested in tendering had until Wednesday (December 3) to state their interest.

A specification can be downloaded from Uplyme Parish Council’s website, or call the clerk on 01297 444707 for more details.

The amount of money allocated to the parishes will depend on the outcome of the tendering process.

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