The Countryside Commission launched the Parish Paths Partnership (P3) Scheme in 1992. Initially it was a demonstration project, and was grant-aided by the Commission. Parish councils and other local groups were encouraged to agree with the highway authority a programme of works on the path network to improve the paths and encourage their use. The Commission funded the highway authority to recruit a liaison officer to support the groups involved in the scheme and also funded the cost of the works carried out. The Agency’s financial support for the pilot scheme has now ended, but in Devon it is still funded by Devon County Council. Devon was one of the first fifteen Highway Authorities to participate in this scheme and therefore one of the longest councils still working in partnership with Parish/Town Councils, landowners and local voluntary groups.
Within the Sid Valley we have a P3 Committee that is run and Chaired by the Sidmouth Town Council with a Co-ordinator provided by the SVA and who is also a SVA Trustee. Committee members include Town Councillors, members of the Ramblers Association and the Horse Riders Association, Trail Riders Federation, landowners, representatives of the Wardens' team and Devon County Council staff from the Rights of Way team. Many of these members are also SVA members. This committee meets regularly to discuss issues about rights of way in the Sid Valley and agree courses of action.
Each year there is a survey and inspection of the condition of the rights of way, in order to find out what work needs to be done, before the Town Council receives its annual grant. The survey provides the information necessary for calculation of the grant payment and to plan improvements of paths by upgrading and undertaking practical work such as vegetation clearance, repairing stiles and way marking, in consultation with farmers and landowners.
See more information on Devon County Council and Parish Paths Partnership at: devon.gov.uk