Parish councils and resident’s groups are being asked if they could take on the maintenance work for some rural roads in Northamptonshire as part of a consultation on the highways network in the county.
The county council is asking people for their views on a range of new ideas designed to save money and ensure the highway service uses its budget as efficiently as possible.
The suggestions put forward by the county council as part its new maintenance strategy include reducing the width of some rural roads to a single lane with passing places thereby restricting the type of vehicle that can use them, helping to preserve surfaces.
Already work has begun to de-clutter roads of unnecessary signage and it is anticipated that this downsizing could be spread to possibly encompass redundant assets including some roads and bridges.
Parish councils and community and residents groups are also being asked whether they would consider taking part in maintenance work including looking after verges, hedges and clearing ditches.
There are also option for parishes, towns and community groups to take ownership of assets such as electronic roadside message signs, grit bins, village signs and gateways.
Councillor Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “These are extremely challenging financial times for everyone and we’re feeling it here in local government with the county council looking to save a further £140million over the next four years.
“Clearly just abandoning our road network isn’t an option so we’re looking at a number of solutions to maintain the network with more limited funds.
“We’ve already come up with some proposals that we’re now consulting on but it is the people of Northamptonshire who will play the biggest role in this as we need them to give us their thoughts on what they think would work and what wouldn’t.”
The assessment of any new ideas expressed through the consultation will be weighed against other factors such as legislation and government guidance, demographic data, financial costs and environmental impacts.
The survey is at www.surveymonkey.com/s/Northamptonshire_Asset_Management