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Parish council volunteers could carry out low level roadworks under Suffolk scheme

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More details have been unveiled for a Suffolk scheme that could see parish council volunteers carrying out low level roadworks.

The Community Self Help scheme was first mooted by Suffolk Highways in the spring and tabled to help residents carry out low level work such as sign cleaning and cutting back hedgerows, which were the kinds of works that were now a lower priority for highways teams.

During the county council scrutiny committee on Wednesday, December 18, Mary Evans, cabinet member for highways, revealed the four options the scheme would entail.

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich. (6169407)
Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House, Ipswich. (6169407)

The first two would allow town and parish councils to buy services they felt were needed in their area either from Suffolk Highways or from another reputable contractor. The third features trained employees in communities carrying out work with the fourth enables community volunteers to do the work led by a parish warden who will be trained by Suffolk Highways.

She said: “We are having a stakeholder meeting in January with towns and villages keen to be involved in the scheme.”

Some bodies such as Bury Town Council have already piloted some of the options.

It is not yet clear when the initiative will formally launch.

Cllr Jack Owen, Labour’s highways spokesman, said that by ‘passing the responsibility’, the council is ‘cutting services by the backdoor’.