A fleet of green and yellow vehicles driven by parish stewards conducting minor highways work, will be a regular feature on local roads by the autumn as part of Wiltshire’s new multi-million pound highways contract.
Wiltshire Council’s highways contract with Ringway Infrastructure Services Limited began on April 1 2016. The contract is worth £15m per year with the company responsible for the maintenance of roads, street lights and pavements, clearing drains, gritting roads and emergency repairs. It runs for five years, with a possible extension of a further two years.
A key feature of the contract is the rollout of the parish steward programme where 20 parish stewards will work with communities to carry out local minor highways work.
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 “Wiltshire Council and Ringway have a historic successful relationship for working in partnership. With the new contract, we will build on this relationship and I am confident that we will see many improvements over the coming years.
“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.”
Scott Wardrop, Chief Executive of Eurovia and Ringway said: “Ringway is delighted to have been successful in re-securing the Wiltshire plus the Swindon highways contract for the next five to seven years. Our re-invigoration of the parish steward service for Wiltshire, which was a key aspect to our successful tender bid, has already begun and we look forward to an official launch of the new service in late summer 2016.
“We are working with the council to review the highway service, ensuring it is efficient and effective for the highway users while affordable. We have secured a new main office and depot in Bowerhill, Melksham and this means we have a good modern central facility for the highway service in Wiltshire, which supports team working.”
The parish stewards and their distinctive vans are part of the contract awarded to Ringway, which is showing the beginning of the organisation’s investment in services. The 20 vans will be rolled out over the next six months across Wiltshire.
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.
The highway services are being implemented in phases over the next six months to ensure by October all activities are provided. Ringway is also reviewing the current operations to ensure innovation and efficiencies are delivered at the earliest opportunity.
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.