Since Balfour Beatty took over the contract from Amey, changes have been made in the Public Rights of Way Department. The document below outlines the new system, which may be of interest to riders, cyclists and walkers who use the Public Paths.
Balfour Beatty and Herefordshire Council recognise that maintaining the Public Rights of Way (PROW) network is key to ensuring the public have access to the countryside; however given the changes in budget our approach to prioritising work on paths has had to change. Our focus will be on ensuring that hazards are dealt with in a timely manner and that our premier promoted routes continue to be regularly inspected and maintained to a high standard. Obviously the rest of the network remains important and thus we are grateful for the efforts of Parish Councils and their Parish Footpath Officers (PFOs) in helping to look after it. We are aware that there has been very limited communication with Parish Councils and PFOs over the last few months. We recognise that this may have created difficulties for some and apologise for that.
Going forward. the key link for parishes and PFOs will be the Locality Stewards, who are part of the Locality team. The Locality Team is managed by the Locality Manager; Alasdair MacDonald. The team will consist of 13 stewards at full capacity. As this is a new role, a programme of recruitment has been initiated and should be completed by the end of August. Until that time however, we will not always be able to respond as quickly or engage as widely as we would like. Your patience during the recruitment is very much appreciated.
The Locality Steward covering your parish will make contact with you in due course and will have a wide range of responsibilities of which PROW are only a part. Nonetheless they aim to provide a similar service to that received in the past from the previous Rights of Way Warden. Stewards will:
• Induct new Parish Footpath Officers and arrange for the issue of authorisation letters,
• Arrange for the supply of materials for works where your parish is involved in the Parish Paths Partnership (P3) scheme.
• Provide advice and support about public rights of way issues you face in your area.
• Deal with enforcement issues, more complex problems or ones where some conflict with landowners is anticipated or occurs.
We do hope that this will prove to be an effective way of working and thank you for your patience whilst the Stewards become established in their new role.
Should you have any urgent issues or queries in the interim then these can be reported via Herefordshire council’s Customer Services by telephone on 01432 261800 or via the Council’s website at