Herefordshire locality stewards are celebrating a year of significant success as they mark their first year anniversary.
The ground-breaking team, launched by Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) for Herefordshire Council, has taken huge strides to improve local roads and public open spaces.
The 13 locality stewards, who cover every ward in the county, have raised more than 32,000 jobs to fix problems from potholes to blocked gullies and dangerous trees to litter picking.
Cllr Paul Rone, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “The locality steward team has made a really positive impact since they started working across Herefordshire last year. The stewards are very knowledgeable about their localities and have developed a good understanding of local needs and priorities. They provide a valuable link between the service delivered by BBLP, Councillors, Parish Councils and the community.”
In the past 12 months the team has inspected more than 12,000 miles of local roads to inform the Council’s two-year, £20 million road maintenance programme. Now in its final year, BBLP is on track to fix more than 67,000 potholes and complete resurfacing more than 120 miles of roads.
Alison Wright, Parish Clerk of the Callow & Haywood Group Parish Council, added: “Since the inception of the idea of the locality steward, the parishes have seen a greatly improved communication system and a far more personal and focused service, in my experience.”
In Bodenham, flood risk has been a major concern. Barbara Mitcheson, Secretary of the parish Flood Protection Group: “From day one the Locality Steward, Donna [Tregenza], has been interested in the work of the Flood Group and has given us every support we have asked for. This being so, we have been able to ensure that the village is as prepared as it can be for any flooding issues which may arise.”
Foxley Group Parish Clerk Brian Barrett praised Locality Steward Phil Pankhurst’s impact on local roads. "Before Phil arrived there was no point of connect like this between Foxley Group Parish Council and Balfour Beatty. Since his appointment, our local highways are the subject of favourable comment and have awakened the interest of local people in parish affairs."
The locality stewards look after nine areas - Bromyard, Kington, Mortimer, Golden Valley, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Hereford, Leominster and Weobley.
Recently appointed manager Paul Shipton said: “All the locality stewards have built good working relationships with key stakeholders in their locality and I’m keen to look at how we can build on this and develop collaborative working relationships with a range of local organisations to benefit the public realm.”