CONCERNS have been raised about the continual pressure on parish councils and village communities as they take on more services.

Cllr Graham Powell, whose ward is the Golden Valley South, raised his concerns at Herefordshire Council's meeting last Friday.

The council was discussing the four year funding settlement from the government, which would mean it would get a payment every four years, rather than yearly.

There is an additional £1.89m designated for the Rural Services Delivery Grant for the year 2017/18, but this money is not ringfenced.

Cllr Graham Powell, who lives in Longtown, asked to make sure the money is spent in the rural areas.

He said the villages have already seen reductions in services with cuts to the lengthsman scheme and rural buses, and that additional pressure keeps being put on parish council precepts.

He said: "Many parish councils and volunteer parish councillors are at breaking point."

Cllr Powell said the parish councils and village communities are doing more and more.

He said in Longtown the Village Pride cuts the village green and other open spaces and there are volunteer libraries in both Longtown and Ewyas Harold.

While in Ewyas Harold, the parish council has bought the former Roman Catholic Church and is looking to turn it into a health and wellbeing centre.

Council leader, Tony Johnson, said: "I share the concerns and views of Cllr Powell of the pressure that parish councils find themselves under at the moment.

"The £1.89m additional money; at the moment it has not been earmarked for any particular purpose."

He said it would be inappropriate to make a decision too early.

Cllr David Summers said: "What are they going to do when all the parish councillors quit? It is getting harder and harder to get people to come into council to work for their parishes or anything else. They are tired. We keep pushing stuff down on top of them."

The four year settlement would mean the council could address longer term budgets. Councillors voted in favour of the settlement.