New highways scheme ‘gives communities more control’

Cllr Carl MaynardA NEWLY-launched scheme will help communities in East Sussex shape the way highways services are delivered in their area.

Community Self-Serve will allow parishes and community groups to apply for match funding for small-scale highway improvement or safety schemes, buy additional goods or services or take control of services themselves.

The scheme, a partnership between East Sussex County Council and its highway contractor Kier, was launched in front of an audience of parish and county councillors and community groups.

Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “Every community is different and this scheme will allow them to deliver local services in a way that suits them.

“As the highways authority, we are responsible for the bulk of highways maintenance and improvement and that won’t change, but there are additional services we have the skills and desire to provide, but for which we don’t currently have space in our budget.

“This is about ensuring we use our limited resources to achieve the greatest impact for communities, by helping them to deliver services which will be of real and lasting benefit to them.”

The initiative will see the county council assist communities in organising and carrying out basic functions such as roadside planting, litter picking and sign washing.

The county council will match funding raised by local communities for work such as creating new rural footpaths, installing safety features or drop kerbs or solving local drainage problems.

Meanwhile, parishes and community groups can buy additional products and services from the county council, such as car park resurfacing, grass or hedge cutting or providing winter maintenance equipment such as hand salt spreaders.