Father and son revive lengthsmen tradition in Harworth and Bircotes

A FATHER and son have been put to work in Harworth and Bircotes as Notts County Council look to revive the traditional role of a parish Lengthsman in a bid to give local communities more say in the upkeep of their surroundings.

Lengthsmen Matt and David Brearley are the first to be involved in the scheme in Notts and will now be maintaining the weeds, grass and hedges by the roadside in the villages.

The term ‘lengthsman’ dates back to medieval times when he was required to “walk the length of the parish”, to ensure that the ditches and drains were clear.

In the 21st Century the role is much the same except the lengthsman has modern tools and cleaning equipment and required to do any number of jobs

Letters have now been sent to local councils asking for expressions of interest, with the aim of setting up a pilot scheme with up to six ‘clusters’ made up of between four and 10 neighbouring parish and town councils who would share a lengthsman.

Notts County Council say that the pilot could create up to four jobs for local people in their own communities, while a wider roll-out could create as many as 40.

“A lengthsman scheme will be of considerable benefit to local communities,” says Coun Martin Suthers, deputy leader of the County Council.

“It will ensure that local concerns are acted upon quickly, nipping minor problems in the bud before they become significant and costly issues, and with a quick response time for urgent local matters.”

Coun Suthers added: “It will also provide local employment opportunities and is part of the Government’s localism agenda whereby communities become more involved and take pride in their areas.”

-For the full story see next Friday’s Worksop Guardian.