Who’s been tidying up?

Who’s been tidying up?

The Wadhurst Parish Council (WPC)  is delighted to report that the engagement of a lengthsman contractor is impacting parts of the village that have not been maintained for a while, and many residents have noticed the ‘tidy-up’ and given positive feedback for this initiative.

 What is a Lengthsman?

The modern “Lengthsman” scheme is the reincarnation of an old concept: the term Lengthsman was originally coined in the 1700s from an even older idea that goes as far back as the War of the Roses and enclosure. Originally, it referred to someone who kept a “length” of road neat, tidy and passable, and lengthsmen were used on canals and railways from the beginnings of both.

 What can the Lengthsman do?

Today’s Wadhurst Lengthsman Contract has been initiated and funded by Wadhurst Parish Council to carry out maintenance tasks around the village, which the WPC are allowed to carry out.

The sorts of tasks that the Lengthsman is carrying out are listed below.

 Cutting back vegetation overhanging the road or footway (if not the responsibility of the landowner)

  1. Clearing footways of weeds/moss
  2. Grass strimming
  3. Reporting defects
  4. Sweeping roads and pavements
  5. Litter picking
  6. Removing flyposting
  7. Removing unauthorised signs
  8. Removing graffiti
  9. Cleaning street name plates
  10. Cleaning bus shelters
  11. Minor repairs to street furniture
  12. Village upkeep
  13. Road signage cleaning (non-illuminated)

 What can’t the Lengthsman do?

Unfortunately, the Lengthsman cannot undertake pothole repairs or any repairs to the road surface or maintenance of streetlights or illuminated road signs. Problems relating to Highways and Streetlights remain the responsibility of East Sussex Highways and should be reported to them; this can be done via their website,, or the ‘fix my street’ app.

 Why is the Parish Council doing this rather than the District or County Council?

Most of the Lengthsman tasks can be requested to be carried out by higher tiers of government, such as the District or County Councils, and the Parish Council will continue to engage with them to provide and prioritise these services. However, having a lengthsman contractor carry out some of the more locally valued tasks for Wadhurst is proving far quicker and more cost-effective (less administrative time is spent logging and chasing jobs).

The scheme doesn’t affect the County and District Councils’ responsibility to maintain the Parish, but it provides an opportunity to prioritise minor works which would not necessarily get done by ESH or Wealden Councils unless there was a safety issue. These jobs can therefore be prioritised at a Parish rather than District or County level.

Please contact the Clerk if you spot any work that may be appropriate for the Lengthsmans Work Schedule, but we hope you’ll continue to notice the parish looking ‘spick and span’ as we all take pride in our ‘Wonderful Wadhurst’.