A SCHEME has been launched which will see parish and town councils given a share of £51,000 to cut grass and repair footpaths.

In total 14 different authorities across Essex have signed up for the scheme.

Under the plans Essex County Council will hand responsibility for some highway services to the councils for up to 12 months.

Each council signed up will be handed 68p per person in their parish or £1,000, whichever is the greater amount.

The scheme launched this month and will run until February.

If it is a success it may be rolled out further in the future.

The parish councils signed up will be given responsibility for snow clearance and salting footpaths, minor repairs to paths, verge cutting, weed control and tree trimming.

They will also take control of public right of way maintenance, bus shelters and repairing road signs.

Kevin Bentley, County Hall’s infrastructure boss, said: “Devolution is important to us at Essex County Council.

“This pilot, which we are supporting with funding, is about getting decision-making as close to the public as we can for works which are important locally, but not of a top priority for the county as a whole.

“Through the parish and town councils taking part in this pilot, residents can help decide which highways work they want to prioritise to make their area look and feel better.”

West Bergholt Parish Council will get £2,277.

Chris Stevenson, chairman of the council, said: “West Bergholt Parish Council is delighted to be a member of the pilot and given the opportunity for local people to set the priorities for highway related small works.

“Since joining the pilot, residents have seen small but important projects implemented both quickly and efficiently by their village handymen and warden.

“We look forward to increasing the number of projects to be undertaken and further strengthening the collaborative relationship.”