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Leominster Blog

The Leominster Blog contains Leominster news, gossip and other Leominster related information

New learning disability champion
Councillor Nick Nenadich is the council’s new learning disability champion and will be taking on the role previously held by Cllr Chris Chappell.

Over the next few weeks, Councillor Nenadich will be spending time meeting people with learning disabilities and their carers to find out more about the services they need to live well and be as independent as possible. He will also be working across all communities and organisations to promote integration and stimulate employment opportunities for adults with learning disabilities.

Councillor Nenadich, said: “I am pleased to be taking on this new role and am looking forward to meeting some of the people who are responsible for delivering care and support, as well as some of the people who use these services.

“People with learning disabilities traditionally find it more difficult to find a real job in the world, yet we know from discussions we’ve had with service users and carers, that education and employment is very important to their wellbeing. My vision is to create employment opportunities for some of these people, but to do so in a way that means they can earn a living wage if they choose to. This promotes independence, confidence and community integration.

“I am particularly keen to promote social enterprise and getting local business communities backing this. People with learning disabilities have a wide range of needs, but they also have some amazing skills and there’s no reason why we should not do more to help them utilise these skills.

“At the same time, we know that the Care Act is likely to bring further changes to health and social care in Herefordshire. Legislation is very complex and we want to try and help people make sense of things to make sure they get all the support they are entitled to. That may mean speaking and writing documents in plain, simple and understandable ways.

“It is critical that we provide a platform for people with learning disabilities to voice their concerns and I will work with council colleagues and our partners to make sure this happens.”

Posted : 15/07/2014 09:39:39

Hereford United Football Club
Statement from Herefordshire Council:

We can confirm that HUFC matches at Edgar Street will be postponed until further notice following safety certification talks.

The council and emergency services, acting in a Safety Advisory Group capacity, have held two emergency meetings with club representatives this week to discuss the club’s general safety certificate, which is issued by the council to ensure spectator safety at the ground. The meetings were primarily to discuss the arrangements in place to ensure compliance with the safety certificate, in light of recent staff and ownership changes.

Unfortunately, the council is not fully satisfied that the club can currently meet the requirements of the safety certificate and has therefore advised that no football matches are to be held in front of spectators at Edgar Street until this has been properly addressed.

The council has agreed with HUFC that the Help for Heroes match on Sunday 6 July and the friendly match with Cardiff City Football Club on Saturday 12 July will be postponed.

The Safety Advisory Group is working with the club to ensure that they can fully meet the requirements of their safety certificate to allow these fixtures to be reschedule as soon as possible.

The council hopes to meet club representatives again next week along with colleagues from the emergency services to review the situation.

Posted : 04/07/2014 15:38:13

Herefordshire wins largest national award from government pothole fund
Herefordshire Council’s bid to the National Pothole Fund succeeded in winning an extra £2.573 million for road repairs. This is great news and is the highest allocation in the country.

As a percentage of the 2014/15 maintenance grant allocation (which is calculated on the length and classification of roads for which each authority is responsible) for the County, the £2.573 million that Herefordshire bid has achieved is 30.76%. This is the highest percentage in the country; the national average is 19.17%.

This year Herefordshire has seen a significant increase in central government funding to help fix our roads. Along with Severe Weather Funding which was awarded earlier this year, Herefordshire will receive additional government funding for road maintenance exceeding £6 million for this year. This almost doubles the usual level of grant funding.

The council has developed a clear approach to fixing roads and has already committed to additional investment of £20million to improve road conditions with resurfacing schemes underway across the county. In awarding this additional grant funding, government has recognised our professional approach to asset management and responded to the need to fix roads in Herefordshire.

Cllr Paul Rone, cabinet member highways and transport said, “We are delighted with the news that Herefordshire will receive this extra funding to tackle potholes. Quite frankly, potholes are one of the biggest annoyances our residents have when travelling around the county.

The award not only takes into account the county’s road length but also the approach to the long term management of the county’s highways. The extra £20 Million pounds we will be investing in 2014/15 in the county’s roads will have stood us in good stead to gain the extra funding allocation.

We will see record amounts of work on the roads over the next year and this will make a visible difference to all who travel around the county.”

Posted : 20/06/2014 15:38:55

Hereford United Football Club
Herefordshire Council today (Monday 16 June 2014) met with the new owner of Hereford United Football Club to discuss the future of the club.

The meeting was specifically to gather information about the owner’s plans and timescales, which may require subsequent consideration by the council’s legal team and councillors.

The leader of the council, Councillor Tony Johnson will be meeting with all political group leaders as appropriate to ensure full involvement.

Posted : 16/06/2014 20:39:53

Hereford United Football Club
The current tenancy arrangements between Herefordshire Council and Hereford United Football Club (HUFC) remain unchanged. It must also be stressed that whilst the council is the landlord of the Edgar Street ground, it does not own or have any direct control or involvement in the club and its decisions.

HUFC currently owes the council in the region of £65,000 in rent arrears, business rates and legal fees and the council has been assured by the new owners that all outstanding monies will be fully re-paid. We have asked for this assurance in writing and the owners have agreed to make a written undertaking to this effect.

The leader of the council, Councillor Tony Johnson is due to meet the new owners on Monday to seek further reassurances.

The new owners have also asked the council to consider assigning the two stand leases to a company within their ownership. The council’s legal team is currently assessing the request and would go through a process of robust due diligence, which would include the new owners proving their financial standing, prior to any assignment being considered.

Posted : 12/06/2014 17:50:52

Are you interested in becoming a Volunteer Driver?
Community Wheels provides a transport service for North and Central Herefordshire. The purpose of the service is to provide door-to-door transport for people who do not have access to a car and are unable to use public transport due to mobility difficulties or because of the non-availability of the service.

Now into its 30th year, Community Wheels supports a customer base across the county and due to it’s on-going success, we are now in need of new volunteer drivers!

Our drivers use their own cars and hours are completely flexible – you give as little or as much time as you would like and we will reimburse you to help cover the running cost of your vehicle.

The basic requirements are that you are over 25 years of age and have held a full driving licence for more than 2 years. We expect your vehicle to hold a current MOT, insurance and road tax and ask that it is clean and tidy inside.

If you enjoy driving and meeting people please ring Wendy on 01568 617722 to discuss becoming a volunteer driver, joining the Community Wheels team and helping to make a difference to people within your local community.

Posted : 11/06/2014 14:20:19

Join in with Bike Week in Herefordshire this summer
Bike Week is the biggest annual nationwide cycling event in the UK, encouraging everyday cycling for everyone. This year it takes place from Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 June.

To celebrate Bike Week, Herefordshire Council’s Choose how you Move team, Cycle Hereford and the Hereford Wheelers will be hosting a number of cycling events.

Included in the programme will be two led rides suitable for all including beginners and families, two Shirley’s Wheels rides (cycling for women), a tour of Hereford’s historic ‘blue plaque’ sites and a time trial. There will also be Learn to Ride sessions for children and Cycle Hereford’s annual big ride to Yarpole will take place at the end of the week.

For full information about the programme of events visit www.herefordmove.org and follow the links to the Bike Week page.

Posted : 10/06/2014 09:54:38

Household general rubbish service to move to alternate weekly collections
Herefordshire residents will see a change to their general rubbish collection service from November 2014. The service will move to alternative weekly collections, meaning that recycling will be collected one week and general rubbish will be collected on the other week.

The decision has been taken in order to reduce costs as council budgets reduce and to increase recycling rates to come into line with Government targets.

Householders will be allocated a black bin which can be used to safely and hygienically store general rubbish between collections. Bins will be delivered from August 2014 and residents will receive instructions and a collection calendar ahead of the go-live date of November 2014.

Cllr Bramer, Cabinet Member for Contracts and Assets said “This change to alternate weekly collections will save Herefordshire Council in the region of £0.5m per annum. The council is continually looking for ways to deliver more cost effective and efficient services. This enables us to focus on our key priorities of investing in services designed to make sure that children and adults live healthy and happy lives and that we provide more employment and housing in the county.

Alternate weekly collections is a widely used approach to waste and recycling collection and has been used successfully in Shropshire and most of Worcestershire for many years.

Recycling rates in Herefordshire are under the level expected by Government in the future and this move has been shown to increase recycling rates in other areas in the UK.”

More information can be found at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/bincollection

Posted : 03/06/2014 14:46:53

New approach to helping people live at home for longer
Herefordshire Council is pleased to announce that it has appointed Independence Trust, part of the Herefordshire Housing Group, to run independent living reablement services across the county.

Beginning in July 2014, Independence Trust will introduce a new approach in Herefordshire that will focus on providing tailored support to help people stay at home for longer.

Reablement services help people who are at risk of going into hospital or residential care; or who are ready to come home from hospital or a residential care facility, by providing short-term intensive support. It aims to help an adult regain or maintain skills so that they can carry on living independently in the community.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We need to help support people to live at home for longer. Rather than providing services that people are invited to access, we need to work with every individual to make sure that we do all we can to provide them with the skills they need to live at home. We’re changing our approach to tailored support rather than universal services so that our resources work better to achieve better outcomes for residents.

“I am delighted that Independence Trust, a local organisation, has successfully bid for this contract. Helping people live safe, healthy and independent lives is a priority for the council and we will work with Independence Trust and other providers of home care support, to achieve this.”

Peter Steel, managing director for the Herefordshire Housing Group, added: “This is a great opportunity to support individuals to achieve their potential for sustainable wellbeing and independence.

“Providing total wellbeing services is the core of what we deliver, improving the day to day living that individuals and communities experience. The independent living reablement service will provide vital support to the people of Herefordshire for a better future.”

Posted : 30/05/2014 17:29:24

Helping people with autism live safe independent lives
Local council and health professionals are joining forces to look at ways of helping people with autism live safe independent lives.

Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group have published a joint strategy that outlines how, working with partner organisations in health and the voluntary and community sectors, they will develop and improve services for adults and children with autism across the county.

The strategy highlights the need for improved diagnosis for people with autism. It identifies a need for improved training for those who come into contact with people who have the condition and better support for families and carers. The strategy also considers how people with autism can be helped to find employment, legal advice and suitable housing.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that while people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. It is estimated that nationally approximately one percent of the adult population has some form of autism. In Herefordshire the number on the autism spectrum is estimated at just over 2,000 people.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We want people living with autism to remain active in their communities and live as safely and independently as possible. This joint strategy looks at how we can achieve this by supporting families and carers as well as helping people who have the condition access employment opportunities.

“We’ve already begun to address some of the aims in the strategy: we’re working very closely with people who live with autism, their carers and all partner organisations to see how we can bring about some of the improvements we know are required.”

Posted : 28/05/2014 13:27:45

Ofsted inspection of services for children in need of help and protection
Herefordshire Council can confirm that Ofsted, the body that inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people, have now concluded the on-site stage of an inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers.

The purpose of the inspection was to assess the extent to which the help, care and protection given to children and young people in Herefordshire does protect them, does support their families and does improve the quality of their lives and futures.

Herefordshire Council has today received provisional feedback from Ofsted on the evidence of progress made since the last inspection and areas that need further work.

The findings of the inspection will now be subject to moderation and Ofsted is on course to publish their final report on 30 June 2014.

Further details of the Ofsted inspection process can be found on the Ofsted website: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/how-ofsted-inspects

Posted : 22/05/2014 11:21:25

Leominster Museum’s Rifles and Spades project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support
Leominster Museum Trust has just received £8,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, Rifles & Spades – Leominster in the Great War, which over the course of the coming year will explore in several different ways what the town was like in 1914, and how the effects of the First World War changed it forever. Research in historic sources by volunteers and school students, and material brought in by the public at three Open Days at the Museum, will lead to the development of a temporary exhibition to tour Leominster and its surrounding villages, which will complement Herefordshire Council’s own touring display. Historical and family history talks will be staged, and a major community commemoration event incorporating readings, music and images will take place at Leominster Priory in the evening of Saturday 6th September.

The first of the three Open Days takes place on Saturday 7th June to coincide with the Leominster Festival, and aims to draw on Leominster families’ stories and memorabilia to complement the Museum’s existing First World War exhibits. One of these, a commemorative booklet Leominster in the Great War, originally published in 1919 and being reissued by the Museum in conjunction with Leominster History Study Group, will serve as a starting point for research by history students at Earl Mortimer College, Leominster. Along with other Museum volunteers they will be seeking to uncover more about the impact of the war on the town and its people.

William Bevan, first employed by Sir John Arkwright at Hampton Court, and later at Kinsham Court where Bevan became head gardener, fought in France during the War and wrote a number of letters to Sir John from the front. These contain a fascinating mix of descriptions of life in the trenches and concern for the care and development of the garden. One of those letters from the autumn of 1918 gave rise to the Rifles & Spades title of the project: Bevan wrote “I think things are looking as black as can be for Fritz so it may not be a great long while until we shall be able to lay down the Rifle and take up the spade again”.

Commenting on the award, Deborah Jarman, Leominster Museum’s Voluntary Education and Outreach Officer, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Leominster’s commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War. We want to encourage as many people as possible, young and old, to join in our voyage of discovery. Among others the Leominster Town Cadets are already buzzing with ideas which we the grant will allow us to build on.”

Posted : 21/05/2014 14:57:53

Exciting new book events coming up from Herefordshire Libraries
In June more than 200 school children in Herefordshire will be taking part in two exciting new book events at Hereford's Shirehall.

The council's Herefordshire Libraries service is organising the events and are hoping to inspire young people to enjoy reading for pleasure. The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway prizes are judged by the nation's librarians and are the oldest and most prestigious children's book awards in the UK.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children and The Kate Greenaway Medal for the best illustration in a book for children.

Primary school children will be looking at the picture books, talking about them, creating art inspired by them and voting on their favourite one. Students from Hereford College of Arts will be helping the children with their art works, which will then go on display at Hereford Library later this summer.

Secondary school children will read the eight shortlisted books which include: Blood Family by Anne Fine, Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper and The Wall by William Sutcliffe. Each school will do a short performance about their chosen book and there will be an inter-school debate about which book should win. Once the young people have voted for their favourite the best-selling author, Jasper Fforde, will entertain them with a talk about his life as an author of both adult and children’s fiction. Jasper Fforde is author of the Dragonslayer books set in a fictional version of Hereford.

Anne-Marie Dossett, Herefordshire Council librarian, has said: “We are really excited about this event, there are so many fantastic new children's books out there and we can’t wait to find out which one the children in Herefordshire vote for. We are also very pleased that Jasper Fforde will be performing, he is a funny and talented writer, it will be a great opportunity for the young people to find out more about becoming a writer.”

To keep up to date with events taking place at Herefordshire Libraries visit the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/herefordshirelibraries

Posted : 21/05/2014 13:28:23

Grass cutting - Service changes
Grass cutting frequencies will be reduce from seven times per year to three as Herefordshire Council delivers £33milion pounds of savings while ensuring it can maintain its priority services.

The Annual Plan delivered by Balfour Beatty Living Places, outlines how services will be delivered over the coming year and identifies how the council will make savings within the Public Realm revenue budget. Grass cutting and litter picking will cost Herefordshire almost £2million this year. This is a significant element of the annual expenditure on highways services.

Cllr Price said, “We’ve had to tailor the resource levels to meet the budget but we will continue to keep the highway safe by cutting the visibility splays, carrying out weed spraying and maintaining the trees. We have improved the efficiency of the remaining resources through better deployment and scheduling, and by setting clear, productive targets. Despite this we need to reduce all grass cutting frequencies from the current seven times a year to three times a year, although rural verge cutting will remain the same. We will also look to develop community grass cutting schemes so that communities can set their own priorities.

On the positive side, we will see the largest single investment into Herefordshire’s highway network for many years. The capital budget for 2014/15 has been increased by £24.9m from £10.4m to £34.26m and this extra money will be used to improve the overall standard of the network through a programme of drainage and re-surfacing works. This will make a significant difference to the state of the counties roads.”

Balfour Beatty’s Annual Plan will be considered by Cllr Price, cabinet member infrastructure for adoption next week and will be published to the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 07/05/2014 18:08:39

Herefordshire Council encouraging residents to reduce their food waste
We currently waste 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year in the UK. The carbon associated with this avoidable food waste is equivalent to taking one in five cars off UK roads for a year. By reducing their food waste the average family with children could save almost £60 per month

In order to address the problem of food waste locally, Herefordshire Council and Worcestershire County Council work together to encourage residents to reduce the food waste they produce by promoting the Love Food and Hate Waste campaign. This involves asking residents to plan their shopping and meals in advance, knowing what food is stored in the fridge / cupboard and when it expires, storing food correctly (e.g. keeping bread in a bread bin and not in the fridge) and not cooking too much food when preparing meals.

Complementing the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, Herefordshire Council and Worcestershire County Council are continuing to support their subsidised compost bin scheme for another year and this year includes waste digesters. Once food waste has been minimised, home composting is a great way of dealing with what's left and is also an excellent way of nourishing your garden for free.

Councillor Harry Bramer, Cabinet Member for Contracts and Assets in Herefordshire said: "Protecting the environment is an important priority to Herefordshire. The Love food Hate Waste campaign and home compost scheme has been so successful since it began several years ago, it's estimated that residents have diverted over 100,000 tonnes of garden and food waste from landfill."

Alongside traditional compost bins which are designed to compost uncooked food and garden waste only, residents from across the county can now also take advantage of various discounted waste digesters and wormeries including the Hotbin, Green Cone, Green Johanna and Bokashi. These are designed specifically to accept cooked and uncooked food waste.

To find out more about home composting and waste digesters please visit www.letswasteless.com or to learn more about the Love Food Haste Waste campaign please visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Posted : 14/04/2014 11:00:14

A scheme to keep Herefordshire Warm returns
Herefordshire Council and Marches Energy Agency (MEA) are pleased to announce the return of the popular Keep Herefordshire Warm (KHW) scheme.

The scheme aims to provide advice and support to people hoping to improve the energy efficiency of their home and at the same time reduce their energy bills. The scheme also offers advice on renewable technologies as well as grants and subsidies available.

A government consultation on changes to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) ends on Wednesday 16 April, after which it is anticipated that new grants for loft and cavity wall insulation will mean either free or heavily discounted insulation measures for everyone regardless of income or age.

Some installers are already cold calling local residents and promising free insulation to get householders to sign on the dotted line, but it is always difficult to know who to trust, where to get unbiased information about offers and which installers to use.

Once the changes to ECO are officially announced, the Keep Herefordshire Warm scheme will assess the best installers and deals in the local area and is urging residents to call them and register their interest now with no obligation. Once the offers are confirmed, KHW will contact householders with a recommended installer and advise them of the best way forward.

Householders can save up to £150 a year on their heating bills through loft insulation and £145 with cavity wall insulation and with warmer weather on the way it can also keep a house cooler on hot days.

For more information on the Keep Herefordshire Warm scheme, please call 0800 677 1432 or text 07583 740914 or e-mail khw@mea.org.uk

Posted : 04/04/2014 12:47:16

Have a say on community concerns
Your safer neighbourhoods team is working with partners to tackle the issues causing the most concern in your neighbourhood and will soon be holding weekly PACT surgeries to meet people and talk about issues affecting them.

PACT stands for Partners and Communities Together. It gives you the chance to tell your safer neighbourhood team, local authority and other partner agencies about the issues causing concern within your community and which ones you want us to deal with as a priority.

Sergeant Colin Smith, West Mercia Police said: "This is a great way for people to have a say on issues important to them and share how it impacts their local community. It’s a chance for people to meet the local partners and ask questions or raise concerns. We encourage everyone to come along and have a chat with us in a friendly atmosphere."

The issues raised can vary significantly, and aren't always for the police to deal with, but common examples include:
• Graffiti
• Vandalism
• Speeding
• Dog fouling
• Young people gathering
• Anti-social behaviour
• Drinking in the street

The PACT surgery will be held every Monday at the Leominster Library, The Buttercross, Leominster from 2.30pm-3.30pm. Everyone welcome. For more information contact the safer neighbourhoods team on Leominster.snt@westmercia.pnn.police.uk

Posted : 02/04/2014 16:54:13

Spring has sprung at Queenswood Country Park!
It’s been a long wait, but spring is finally here and how better to celebrate than with a visit to Queenswood Country Park.

Herefordshire Council’s countryside rangers have planned a range of different events to enable you to appreciate and find out more about the flora and wildlife on our doorstep.

Throughout the Easter holidays (Friday 11 April to Sunday 27 April) you can take part in the Extraordinary Egg Trail, where you will find out about all sorts of creatures and the eggs they lay. The forms cost £2 and will be available from the Queenswood National Trust shop.

On Saturday 12 April you can join a photography workshop from 10am to 12pm with head ranger Trevor Hulme, who is also a professionally qualified photographer, who will be offering some photographic tips and techniques at a time when the early spring flowers should be at their most colourful. The workshop costs £4 and is bookable by contacting Trevor on 01432 260238 or thulme@herefordshire.gov.uk.

On Sunday 4 May and Sunday 1 June, there will be wild flower forays between 11am and 12pm. Although Queenswood is known for its exotic trees, it also has a stunning display of wildflowers and countryside ranger Paul Ratcliffe will be on hand to point out some great displays of Primrose and Wood Anemone, whilst helping you to discover some of the country park’s rarer and more secretive jewels. The forays are free with no need to book and will start promptly at 11am behind the National Trust shop.

You can also find out about the great variety of feathered friends at Queenswood by joining Trevor on his Queenswood birds guided walk on Sunday 11 May from 9am to 11am. The walk is free but booking is essential to help manage numbers, so please contact Trevor on 01432 260238 or thulme@herefordshire.gov.uk to reserve your place.

To find out more about the spring events, please visit www.facebook.com/QueenswoodCountryPark or www.herefordshire.gov.uk/queenswood

Posted : 01/04/2014 12:20:59

Council considers proposals for Shared Lives and Homeshare
Herefordshire Council has published a contract award notice proposing a new provider for its Shared Lives scheme (previously known as Adult Placements).

The council currently manages the Shared Lives scheme which has 58 carers who provide care and support for people with learning disabilities in the carer’s home.

Last year, the council announced it planned to change the way adult social care is provided in order to encourage and support people to live independently and stay healthy for as long as possible. The council said it wanted to see more people taking control of choosing and purchasing their own services under the nationalisation agenda and pledged to look at alternative ways of providing these services.

In July 2013 the council’s Cabinet agreed to outsource the management of Shared Lives and to include homecare in the tendering process which involves supporting people to live in their own home. Since then, carers and service users have been kept informed of progress and the council is now in a position to propose the contract be issued to Ategi.

Ategi is a registered charity and has extensive experience of supporting adults who are vulnerable because of their disability. The charity has submitted proposals that involve expanding the service from 58 to 80 carers, plus the development of a respite break and homeshare pilot scheme.

The decision to award the contract lies with the cabinet member for health and wellbeing and will be made on 31 March 2014. If the proposals are approved, Ategi will take over the management of Shared Lives in June 2014.

Posted : 25/03/2014 11:28:05

Morris Dancers go the extra mile for sport relief
Jenny Pipes Morris Dancers , based in Leominster are planning a unique feat. The women (and one man) were inspired by the plea ‘you don’t have to run it, you could walk, hop, skip… it’s entirely up to you.’

Karen Sutton, publicity Officer and ‘Fool’ for the Leominster based Morris team said ‘Last time I ran the 3 mile event for Sport relief dressed in my full Morris dancing kit. The rest of the Jenny Pipes’ dancers were so impressed that we decided that this time we would take it to the next level- and dance all the way!’

You will be able to see the Jenny Pipes Morris dancers in full kit, dancing their way round the Sport Relief mile at Leominster on March 23rd. This will be a very special occasion, as the Morris side have never danced a full mile before. They will be attired in their full dancing kit, complete with bells and hankies so they expect to attract an audience!

Karen said ‘We hope to have a bit of a dance before the event starts, to warm up for our challenge, and we may be looking for volunteers from the public to take part in a special Leominster Stick Dance to mark the occasion. Sport relief is such an important charity and do so much good in our local area through funding smaller community projects, we thought it was the least we could do.’

To sponsor the Jenny Pipes Morris Dance – a-mile you can visit their page at http://my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/jenny-pipes-mile

Posted : 10/03/2014 21:24:57

Council delighted with announced Royal visit
Herefordshire Council is delighted with the announced visit by The Princess Royal on Wednesday 15 January.

The Princess Royal will be officially opening The Livestock Market on Roman Road in Hereford, as part of her visit to the county.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for corporate services, said: “We are delighted to welcome The Princess Royal to Herefordshire and are pleased that she will be officially opening The Livestock Market.

“The council took the decision a number of years ago to create a new livestock market on the outskirts of Hereford, not only to allow the development of a retail quarter within the city centre but also to create a modern custom-built livestock facility which allows for increased business and improved animal welfare.

“The new livestock market, which opened in 2011, is more than double the size of the old site and has gone from strength to strength in the past two and a half years, with increased visitors and sales and is certainly one of the top markets in the country. Sales have increased by approximately 15 per cent with one auction in October 2013 completely filling the market with 12,300 sheep for sale. This is fantastic news for the county’s valuable livestock sector.”

Posted : 13/01/2014 09:59:25

Council CCTV successfully bids for funding
Herefordshire Council is delighted to have been successful in bidding for funding to continue its CCTV service across the county.

The funding has been awarded by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore, after the council submitted an application in October. The council will receive £84,000 in each of the next three financial years.

Additional funding of £20,000 has also been secured for the current financial year.

Shane Hancock, Herefordshire Council’s service manager parking and CCTV, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded such a substantial amount of funding from the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner. This will allow the council to not only secure a new three year monitoring contract, but also to continue real time proactive monitoring of our 40 cameras across the county.

“It is a clear indication that the commissioner values the CCTV service provided for residents and partner organisations, such as West Mercia Police.”

Posted : 20/12/2013 11:54:28

Christmas Recycling and Waste Collections
There will be no recycling and waste collections on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day.

Refuse and/or recycling collections due on these days will now take place on:

Collection date - Wednesday 25 December 2013 - Refuse and recycling
Will now be collected on Saturday 28 December 2013

Collection date - Thursday 26 December 2013 - Refuse
Will now be collected on Thursday 2 January 2014

Collections date - Thursday 26 December 2013 - Recycling
Will now be collected on Thursday 9 January 2014

Collection date - Wednesday 1 January 2014 - Refuse and recycling
Will now be collected on Saturday 4 January 2014

Normal collections will take place on and from Monday 6 January 2014

Posted : 19/12/2013 10:35:49

Changes to education transport to be considered by cabinet
Herefordshire Council's cabinet will be considering changes to the education transport policy when it meets on Thursday 19 December.

The policy changes have been recommended following a six week public consultation in September and October which received over 500 individual responses and petition signatories from across the county.

In terms of compulsory education, the council currently provides free transport for pupils in year 11 and below to either their nearest school or a school in their catchment area. It is proposed to change this to the statutory requirement of providing free transport to the nearest school only. The change would be implemented in September 2014, but would not affect those GCSE students entering years 10 and 11 at that time. This is an amendment to the original proposal in light of the consultation responses received.

For those families bordering Wales, the council will also provide transport for children to attend their nearest school, whether it is in England or Wales, giving parents more choice.

The council is also developing a new online facility which will allow parents to enter their postcode and automatically find the location of their five nearest primary and secondary schools. This will be available on the council's website shortly.

As for post 16 education, the council currently provides free transport for young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN), attending an appropriate education or training placement. It is now proposed that SEN students would pay the same amount as all other students. This would not be full cost recovery, in recognition of the additional cost of adapted transport.

A number of local authorities have already implemented charges for post 16 SEN transport, including neighbouring Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

The Department for Education offers a 16 to 19 Bursary Fund to help young people attend a post 16 education or training placement. To find out more visit: www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/youngpeople/studentsupport/a00203061/16-19-bursaries.

The changes would be implemented in April 2014 and would be monitored and reviewed for potential impact on SEN students on a monthly basis.

Councillor Jeremy Millar, cabinet member for young people and children's wellbeing, said: “The council currently offers more than it is legally required to in terms of education transport and at a time when it needs to save £33million over the next three years due to decreasing government budgets, it is imperative that savings across all services are considered.

“From the 3,600 students who receive free transport, 850 of those receive a service which is more than the council is legally required to provide. We simply cannot continue to provide this additional service in light of the massive savings the council needs to make. It is a fact that every taxpayer in Herefordshire is subsidising education transport and for those parents who currently pay for their children's transport, they are actually paying twice. This is not equitable or the best use of taxpayers' money.

“It must be stressed that the council will still be providing school transport, albeit at the statutory level to the nearest school only, which could mean a parental contribution is required.

“We appreciate that the changes will not be welcomed by all residents; however we have tried to lessen the impact where possible. As a result of the consultation, the council has decided not to implement an immediate full cost recovery plan; the changes will now be gradually phased in and kept under review. The changes will also not affect those students undertaking GCSEs in September 2014.

“The council is also considering implementing schemes to assist larger families and making the payment system easier and more flexible. We are also willing to work with individual schools to help them with their transport arrangements to ensure that school numbers remain unaffected.”

Posted : 18/12/2013 14:57:32

Earl Mortimer College and Sixth Form Centre is now officially rated Good by Ofsted!
Julian Wharam, Assistant Principal commented:

'Quite simply, no other high school in the whole of Herefordshire has moved up a grade on the new Ofsted scale until now. Since the launch of their new ratings system in January 2013, every high school that has been inspected in our county has either been moved down a grade or held steady. That makes us unique.

The news gets better: not only has Earl Mortimer College gone up a grade to Good, it is the first time that any Leominster high school has been rated at anything better than “satisfactory” by Ofsted, ever!

In essence we feel this story is more than just a high school success story; it is a story of community renewal. When Earl Mortimer College and Sixth Form Centre opened back in September 2010 on the back of a £22million new build project, we knew that something special was unfolding. Examination results have risen every year since launch, bucking the national downward trend that we hear about so often. We have fulfilled the promise that we started on three years ago when EMC opened. We have put clear blue waters between ourselves and the past. We doubt there is any school nationally that has done it, let alone locally.

At a time when schools have gone into academy chains and been sponsored, we have done it on our own. This flies in the face of free schools and academies; EMC remains a Community School.'

Posted : 18/12/2013 14:54:36

National Adoption Week November 4-10 2013
Herefordshire children are being placed with their adoptive families faster than in many other counties in England.

Herefordshire has bucked the national trend by shortening the time it takes from a child entering care to moving in with their adopters by more than two weeks since last year. Nationally, the time has increased by 11 days.

Nationally there are three children waiting for every family approved to adopt. More adopters are needed in Herefordshire and in neighbouring counties to provide loving homes for children.

As part of National Adoption Week 2013, Herefordshire Council’s adoption service is holding an information event for those interested in finding out more about adoption. Social workers and adopters will be on hand from 5.30pm to 8.30pm at Moor House in Hereford on Wednesday, November 6th to answer questions and share their experiences.

Hilary Hale, adoption service manager said: “We have babies and children of all ages including brothers and sisters, who need new families. If you live in Herefordshire or the surrounding counties and have ever thought about adopting, this event is for you.

“People are often surprised to learn that adopters come from a wide range of backgrounds –age, sexuality, race, religion, single or in a stable relationship, with children already. You don’t need to own your own home or be in paid employment, but you will need lots of energy and patience.

“The event is informal and there’s no commitment required, simply register to attend or just turn up on the night and meet our team and talk to other adopters. We’d love to meet you if you’ve ever considered adoption.”

For more information about adoption services visit the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/adoption

Registration is optional, but if you’d like to register it will help us arrange enough space to accommodate everyone. Follow this link to register: http://hfdsadopteventnov13-eac2.eventbrite.co.uk/

Posted : 28/10/2013 18:35:04

New waste permit scheme introduced
Permits to take rubbish and recycling to the county's household recycling centres in a commercial vehicle or trailer have changed.

The new Commercial Vehicle and Trailer (CVT) permits are available free of charge to residents of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, with each household able to apply for up to 12 permits per year (April to March). The permits will be issued on a pro rata basis of one permit per calendar month, however how they are used is up to the permit holder, as they are not restricted to one visit per month. The permits will be retained by staff upon entry to a household recycling centre.

Residents can make as many visits as they like to their household recycling centre, providing it is in a private car, car with a small trailer (up to 1.3m in length with a single axle), caravanette, people carrier or minibus. The CVT permits are only needed for vans or pickups, crew cab pickups, commercial type vehicles and trailers over 1.3m in length.

For vehicles over 3.5 tonnes or with a double axle trailer, they will not be permitted to enter a household recycling centre.

The waste permit scheme has been used for a number of years to ensure that only household waste and no commercial or business waste ends up in the recycling centres, as this not only puts extra pressure on the centres by causing congestion but also adds to the cost for the council and taxpayer.

Councillor Harry Bramer, cabinet member for major contracts, said: "The majority of people using our household recycling centres will not be affected by the new permits, as they are only for those using certain types of vehicles such as vans, pickups and commercial vehicles and trailers over 1.3m in length.

“The permits are designed to tackle the illegal disposal of trade waste at our recycling centres, which ultimately costs the council and taxpayers."

The new permits were introduced on 1 October and to request a CVT permit application form, please visit www.letswasteless.com or collect a form from your local info centre.

Commercial waste can be disposed of at a number of private disposal sites in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, although a fee is normally charged. For details of local sites, please visit www.wastedirectory.org.uk

Posted : 04/10/2013 10:15:44

Electoral registration annual canvass
It’s that time of year again when the council’s electoral services will be contacting every household in Herefordshire to ensure the Register of Electors is up to date.

For those included on the register, it not only entitles you to vote but also makes it easier to obtain credit, as the electoral register is checked by organisations such as credit reference companies, banks and building societies, before approving credit applications.

This year’s annual canvass starts today 1 October 2013 with an eCanvass. There will be over 12,000 households across the county receiving an e-mail to ask if there have been any changes to their registration details. The eCanvass was introduced last year with only 2,000 registered households, so such a large increase in e-mail registered residents will generate savings on paper, printing and postage.

Don’t worry if you don’t receive an e-mail as a paper canvass form will be sent out at the beginning of November. There are a number of ways to respond to the form alongside returning it in the pre-paid post envelope. There is a Freephone telephone service on 0808 284 1448, an SMS text message service on 07786 209 348 or online at www.elecreg.co.uk/hfds, which will be available from 1 November.

The new register will be published in February 2014, in advance of the European Parliamentary elections on 22 May 2014, so a swift response is required.

To find out more about electoral registering or forthcoming elections, please contact electoral services on 0844 939 6107 or elections@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 01/10/2013 11:51:19

Rare maps return to the county
A rare volume of maps which depict the county’s Hampton Court estate during the 17th and 18th centuries is returning to Herefordshire.

Herefordshire Council’s archive service will be displaying the recently acquired treasure at Hampton Court Castle on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September, during an exciting event which marks a significant period in the castle’s history.

The 15 parchment and paper maps, which date from 1698 to 1773, were commissioned by Thomas Coningsby, 1st Earl of Coningsby (1657 - 1729) and show the full extent of the politician’s Herefordshire estates in intricate detail. The two earliest maps in the volume are beautifully coloured and depict a typical English country house with formal gardens, along with delightfully energetic drawings of horsemen in hot pursuit of deer.

The volume was initially sold to an overseas institution; however the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries imposed an export licence ban on the sale in light of the item’s great historical value. The council’s archive service purchased the volume with support from the Friends of the National Libraries, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s purchase grant fund and the Friends of Herefordshire Record Office.

Rhys Griffith, Herefordshire Council’s senior archivist, said: “We are delighted to be able to exhibit this incredibly special volume at the exact location where it was first treasured so long ago. It’s a fabulous source of information for local historians and also shows how a leading politician of the late seventeenth century promoted his landed wealth in order to advance his political career. It is also a beautifully executed piece of work.”

The event will also feature a number of other archives from a collection which tells the story of the Coningsby family, who occupied Hampton Court Castle for three centuries from 1510.

To find out more about the county’s archives, please visit: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/archives

Posted : 18/09/2013 16:04:45

Council backs annual Stoptober campaign
Herefordshire Council is backing the national Stoptober campaign to help residents stop smoking.

Stoptober is a 28 day national stop smoking challenge, which ran for the first time in 2012 when over 160,000 participants stopped smoking. It is suggested that if you stop smoking for 28 days, you are five times more likely to stop for good and there is support available across Herefordshire to help those who choose to quit.

In Herefordshire, 20 per cent or one in five adults still smoke and it remains the nation’s biggest cause of premature death before the age of 75.

Elizabeth Shassere, Herefordshire Council’s director of public health, said: “It is an unfortunate fact that over 100,000 people die prematurely in the UK each year from smoking related diseases, which cost the NHS approximately £2.7 billion every year.

“There are many services across Herefordshire that provide trained stop smoking advisors to help you stop smoking. They will give you free personalised help and support throughout your journey, all you need to do is visit your local pharmacy, GP surgery or Halo leisure centre to find out more.

“When you join the challenge via the smoke free website, you’ll be able to request a free information and resource pack, download a mobile phone app and sign up for text messages for regular motivational pick me ups, along with picking up handy tips for coping with stopping smoking. Why not make this October your Stoptober?”

To find out more and join the Stoptober challenge visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober

Posted : 13/09/2013 17:08:24

Fantastic fungi fun at Queenswood Country Park
Do you know your Common Puffball from your Turkey Tail? Come along to Queenswood Country Park to find out more!

The Herefordshire Fungus Survey Group will be celebrating the UKs first ever Fungus Day with a range of fungus themed fun for all the family. The event takes place on Saturday 12 October from 10:00am to 3:30pm and everyone is invited to come along and be inspired by the fascinating world of fungi.

There will be fungi talks, displays, walks, games and competitions and if you have a specimen you wish to be identified, there’ll be experts on hand to help you out.

In the afternoon, the council’s countryside ranger Hannah Dalton, will be creating a forest of clay fungus friends and foes in the fairy ring and everyone is welcome to join in.

Dr Roger Evans from the Herefordshire Fungus Survey Group, said: “Although they are often forgotten, fungi are massively important to us all, as they enable the existence of life on Earth. Come along and help put Herefordshire on the map with our Fungus Day celebrations!”

To find out about other events taking place across Herefordshire, please visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/parks-and-countryside or www.facebook.com/QueenswoodCountryPark

Posted : 13/09/2013 17:01:54

Stray dog collection services to change 1 September
From 1 September 2013 Herefordshire Council is changing its stray dog collection service and will no longer operate an out-of-hours stray dog collection service in the county on weekends or after 5pm weekdays.

A person who takes possession of a dog as a stray will be advised of the contact number of the council’s reception centre (kennels) and asked to take the dog there.

This can be done by appointment with the kennels between the hours of 08.00 and 21.00 seven days a week. Where someone is unable to take the dog to the kennels they will be contacted by the council’s dog collection service during office hours, 09.00-17.00hrs Mon-Fri., and arrangements will be made to collect the dog from them.

This change is part of the council’s overall plan to reduce budgets and will save the council £12,000 a year.

For more information please see dog warden services section on the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 02/09/2013 17:56:46

Find out what lies beneath Queenswood Country Park
For those intrigued by the history of Queenswood Country Park, a planned archaeology walk on Saturday 7 September will help explain the hill top’s distant past.

Jim Key, Herefordshire Council’s countryside service ranger will be joined by archaeologist Tim Hoverd for an archaeology themed walk through the country park, continuing to the other side of the hill as featured on Channel 4’s Time Team.

Jim Key, countryside service ranger, said: “The council’s archaeologist Tim Hoverd will be on hand to provide all sorts of wonderful insights into Queenswood’s lumps and bumps, from the woodland’s industrial past back to the hill’s significance during the Bronze Age. This will be a really interesting couple of hours and I’m looking forward to finding out more myself.”

The walk will take place between 10:00am and 12:30pm and is free of charge, although booking is essential to help manage the numbers. For details and to book a place, call the Queenswood National Trust shop on 01568 797853.

To find out about other events taking place across Herefordshire, please visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/parks-and-countryside or www.facebook.com/QueenswoodCountryPark

Posted : 27/08/2013 16:34:48

Bookstart fairy tale fun at Queenswood Country Park
This September enjoy a trip to Queenswood Country Park and introduce your children to the magic of fairy tales.

Herefordshire Council’s libraries and countryside service have joined forces with the Queenswood National Trust shop to provide fairy tale fun for pre-school children aged 18 months to four years old.

From Monday 2 to Monday 30 September, the Bookstart fairy tale trail will be available at Queenswood, along with a selection of fairy tale books which can be borrowed free of charge to read whilst enjoying a picnic at the site.

The trail is free to enjoy and forms are available from the National Trust shop or can be downloaded from www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries.

There will also be a fantastic fairy tale story time on Tuesday 24 September from 10am to 11am. The event is free of charge but booking is essential to help manage the numbers. For details and to book a place, call the Queenswood National Trust shop on 01568 797853. Please note the event will be cancelled in wet or windy weather.

Julie Goodwin, Herefordshire Libraries early years officer, said: “The fairy tale themed events promise to be exciting, so why not come along and hunt for your favourite fairy tale characters along Queenwood’s badger trail, but watch out for Mr Wolf!”

She added: “To further enjoy story time, why not bring along a picnic, dress as your favourite character or bring your favourite toy and experience our special story time in the woods.”

To find out about other events taking place across Herefordshire, please visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/parks-and-countryside or www.facebook.com/QueenswoodCountryPark

Posted : 27/08/2013 16:34:08

Students celebrate exam results
This morning hundreds of Herefordshire students nervously opened their A-level exam results.

The results, which are provisional at this stage and won’t be confirmed until October, indicate that many students have surpassed the performance of previous years, while a number of individual successes have been celebrated.

The provisional results returned from council maintained schools and academies show a promising picture of performance across the county. Herefordshire students have so far achieved an A level pass rate of 98.7 per cent compared with the provisional national figure of 98.1 per cent.

Nationally the percentage of exam entries given the top grades of A / A* has fallen marginally this year to 26.3 per cent, with the county’s students so far achieving a similar result.

Councillor Jeremy Millar, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The county had a high number of students taking A-levels and their equivalents this year and I am delighted with the provisional results.”

“I congratulate the students, parents and schools for all their hard work, which has clearly paid off. I wish our students the best of luck for the future and the choices they make.”

Posted : 16/08/2013 10:46:03

Coffee#1: A New Coffee House in Leominster
Coffee#1 is opening a brand new coffee house on Corn Square, Leominster on Friday 16th August 2013.

You might know us already... we’ve spent the last twelve years making a name for ourselves, serving up the finest ethical, gourmet coffee around South Wales and the South West.

We’ve picked up two BSA awards along the way and won the title ‘Best UK Coffee Chain’ the past five years in a row!

We’ve struck upon a perfect recipe of carefully crafted Grade 1 Arabica coffee and sumptuous snacks served up in cosy coffee houses with lashings of character and cheer.

We’ve started work transforming the former Three Horseshoes pub, into a charming coffee house with comfy leather armchairs, reclaimed furniture and friendly baristas.

The interior will be designed to be warm and vibrant for rainy days too. It will have a living-room feel, with carefully chosen artwork, shelves packed with vintage books and a log-stocked fireplace. The perfect place for meeting friends and sharing all the local gossip!

Managing Director Philip Lay is thrilled to open a store in Leominster “We’re proud to be opening a store in Leominster, it’s a bustling market town full of character and a warm community feel. We’re looking forward to getting to know our new neighbours and some friendly local faces too!”

“The more locally renowned we become, the more we are inundated with requests to open stores in other areas. It just shows how much demand there is for quality coffee in quality surroundings. So long as people love what we’re about, we’ll do our best to serve Wales and the West of England!”

We’re currently recruiting a team of 8+ to run the new store. We provide intensive professional barista training, so the team will be ready to blow the Leominster folk away with their skills on opening day! Visit jobs.coffee1.co.uk for more details.

You’ll find buttery teacakes or a wholesome bowl of porridge to accompany your morning coffee. You can protect, boost and cleanse your body with our freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable ‘Super Juices’ and we have a fine selection of toasties, baps, sandwiches, salads and panini for lunch, and the most marvellous array of tea and cakes for the afternoon.

We look forward to meeting our new friends and neighbours very soon!

Coffee#1 Ltd. Corn Square, Leominster, HR6 8LR
Mon – Sat: 8am – 6pm, Sun: 9am – 5pm

Posted : 15/08/2013 15:12:01

Council run training for interpreters
Herefordshire Council’s innovative language service is offering more training for interpreters in the coming months and places are still available.

Since 2009, the council has trained over 100 people in interpreting and translation skills, which allows them to work for the Herefordshire Language Network.

In September, a two day free unaccredited introduction to interpreting techniques course will take place, while a Level 3 accredited course in community interpreting will run from February to May 2014.

Harriet Yellin, Herefordshire Council’s senior equality, integration and partnership officer, said: “These courses will help us boost the number of local linguists on the Herefordshire Language Network, which currently provides language services to organisations throughout the county and beyond.”

“They provide a fantastic opportunity for anyone who would like to work as an interpreter, who loves using their language skills and who wants to develop as an individual. They are of particular significance, because no similar courses are offered outside large cities such as London and Birmingham.”

The deadline for applications is Friday 23 August for September’s unaccredited course and Friday 18 October for next year’s accredited course. To find out more and to download an application form, please visit: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/language

Posted : 14/08/2013 17:25:55

Free NHS health checks can save up to 650 lives a year
Herefordshire Council is encouraging residents aged between 40 and 70 to have a free NHS health check.

All residents aged between 40 and 70 will automatically be invited for an NHS health check every five years and the council’s public health team is urging everyone to accept the offer and make an appointment with their doctor.

4,075 residents across Herefordshire have been invited for an NHS health check this year, however only 1,659 or 40 per cent have actually accepted the offer.

Elizabeth Shassere, Herefordshire Council’s director of public health, said: “We all have some risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and certain forms of dementia, which is why we are encouraging residents to have an NHS health check. It’s a straight forward process which only takes 20 to 30 minutes, but it can help you understand your risk of developing these common, but preventable diseases, by detecting any signs in the early stages.”

“The health checks will be targeting the top seven causes of preventable death, which are high blood pressure, cholesterol, poor diet, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption. If you are invited for a free health check, please accept it as it can help you to take action to improve your health and reduce your risk.”

To find out more about NHS health checks, please visit the NHS Choices website at: www.nhs.uk/Planners/NHSHealthCheck/Pages/NHSHealthCheck.aspx

Posted : 14/08/2013 17:25:15

Council responds to fracking speculation
Herefordshire Council is aware that there has been much speculation in the media over the past few weeks, concerning possible fracking sites in the county.

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth and the government has identified various areas in Herefordshire as possible prospecting sites, including Eastnor, Fownhope and Much Marcle.

Councillor Russell B Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “Due to the depths required to prospect for natural shale gas, full planning permission would need to be obtained from the council and I can confirm that to date no such applications have been received.”

“Whilst we cannot rule out receiving any fracking applications in the future, the available geological maps suggest there are many more lucrative sites identified elsewhere in Britain, which are likely to be explored first.”

Posted : 14/08/2013 17:24:43

Enjoy Heritage Open Days across the county
Herefordshire Council’s popular annual Heritage Open Days is returning again this year.

This year’s open days will take place in locations across the county from Thursday 12 September to Sunday 15 September and provide the perfect opportunity to discover culture, heritage and new places to visit in Herefordshire, absolutely free.

The open days will allow you to access places not generally open to the public such as Homme House near Ledbury, Garnons near Byford, St Katherine’s in Ledbury and Holme Lacy House Hotel. There will also be the opportunity to visit fabulous places which normally charge, for free, such as National Trust sites.

There will be specially commissioned walks with an urban archaeologist or a member of the Guild of Guides in Hereford and with History with a Twist historian, Mary Sinclair Powell in Ross-on-Wye.

There is a chance to listen to specially prepared talks at Longworth Roman Catholic Chapel in Bartestree and St Peter and St Paul Church in Weobley, while discovering the many other splendid churches around the county.

There are numerous Herefordshire venues to visit this year and to make sure you don’t miss anything, a Heritage Open Day guide is available from local libraries, Tourist Information Centres and some participating sites. A copy can also be requested from Sue Knox, museum development officer by e-mailing sknox@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 14/08/2013 09:28:30

Plans to tackle UK rural mobile black spots
Herefordshire announced as one of the first areas to benefit from plans to tackle UK rural mobile black spots

The government has announced that Herefordshire is in phase one of its plans to improve mobile black spots in the county.

The £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), run by Broadband Delivery UK, will see Arqiva, who are delivering the project, erecting new masts across the country which can then be used by network operators Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three to extend mobile coverage into remote areas.

The project will be delivered in five phases, with Herefordshire being in phase one. Work is underway, starting with surveying suitable mast location sites to assess the coverage that a new mast would provide. This data will then be shared with the mobile network operators to see if the sites are viable for on-going maintenance investment once a mast is in place. If this is agreed the site will receive funding approval and the necessary works started to improve coverage.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for Herefordshire Council, said: “I am delighted that Herefordshire is going to be one of the areas that will be the first to benefit from the project.

“In an age where mobile phone coverage is taken for granted it can be a real struggle in some rural areas without it. Herefordshire is a very rural county so not only does it affect general day to day life but it can also be vital in an emergency.”

Richard Baker is a First Responder in the west of Herefordshire and is often left with no mobile phone signal which can mean the difference between life and death.

When First Responders are called out they are given an address and postcode of the patient. However, as useful as satellite navigation units are, sometimes they only get you to the correct area and not necessarily the house itself. Without a mobile phone signal they are unable to call control to ask for further directions if they need it, update their status or even alert control if they break down. They are effectively working blind.

Richard said: “I have been called out many times in the early hours of the morning, driving up and down country lanes looking for remote houses that are sometimes hidden up long drives. It’s a nightmare and of course delays me getting to a patient when they vitally need my help.”

The MIP is also being supported by the Fastershire broadband project as it will complement the on-going roll out of faster broadband in the county.

Posted : 09/08/2013 09:47:41

Go wild in the woods this summer at Queenswood Country Park
If you or the kids are stuck for something to do this summer try summer holiday fun at Queenswood Country Park - whether the heat wave continues…or not!

Throughout the holidays visitors to Queenswood can follow the Bees in the Trees Trail - help Bizzie Bee to pollinate the woodland flowers and learn more about just how amazing bees really are with this new fun interactive trail. Get your trail answer sheet and a bee mask from the National Trust Shop and Information Centre at Queenswood for £2 per child.

If you fancy being creative you can join a countryside ranger for ‘Summer Makes in the Woods’ every Thursday afternoon 2pm to 4pm throughout August.

Hannah Dalton, countryside ranger said: “Anyone can come along and make an amazing creation to take home! Activities will include kite making, natural mobiles, lanterns and light catchers, wizards hats and wizard staffs/magic wands. There is a suggested donation of £1 per child for this event but no need to book, just come and find me in the picnic area and join in!”

If you and your child are more of an intrepid explorer then book your place on the Queenswood Wildlife Safari on Sunday 11 August. Arrive at 10.30am and join the Rangers to hunt for some of the hidden summer inhabitants from larger creatures to mini-beasts. This event is free but booking is a must for this popular event. Please contact the Information Centre and National Trust shop at Queenswood Tel: 01568 797853.

Queenswood also has a regular kids club that meet once a month on a Saturday morning 10am – 12noon. Queenswood Adventure Club is for 7 to 13 year olds without their parents and sessions cost £6 per child.

Hannah added: ”If your children like exploring, trying new things and playing in the woods I highly recommend the Queenswood Adventure Club. The new dates are 17 August, 14 September, 12 October and 9 November. Get in touch if you would like more information Tel: 01432 260240.”

For details of all the events taking place this year visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/queenswood and don’t forget you can also now ‘like’ us on Facebook to keep up to date with everything that is happening. www.facebook.com/QueenswoodCountryPark

Posted : 25/07/2013 15:35:08

Cabinet to consider changes to adult social care
Herefordshire Council’s cabinet is to consider progress and approve recommendations that aim to give local residents better, more personalised adult social care services.

In Herefordshire, the majority of adult social care support services are provided by the independent and voluntary sector. At the moment, the council commissions Wye Valley NHS Trust and 2gether Foundation Trust to manage and provide a range of adult social care services on its behalf. These arrangements are coming to an end and the council has been reviewing how these, and possible additional services are provided in the future.

Proposals involve the council taking direct responsibility for the social care aspects of the service such as assessment, safeguarding and welfare rights, and working with a wide range of service providers to deliver services in the following areas:

Community equipment services
Adult placement scheme
Norfolk House sheltered accommodation
Reablement services and support for people with sensory impairment
Day opportunities

During the last few months, nearly 500 service users, their families and carers have been involved in discussions about the need for change and the best way to bring that change about. When cabinet meets on 25 July, it will receive feedback from these meetings and learn about the next stage which involves looking at existing services and exploring how they can be changed to meet needs better in the future. Reference groups consisting of service user representatives, carers and some staff have been set up to get involved in this work.

Cabinet will be asked to approve many of the changes consulted on, and to change the timescale on others to allow further discussions with service users to take place.

Jo Davidson, director for people’s services, said: “These are difficult times, but we have to modernise and give people more choice and control over how they spend their personal budgets.

“We really appreciate the way people have responded to this need for change and become involved in helping us understand what is important to them. We have made it very clear that we will have a smooth transition for service users as new arrangements are put in place. We will make sure service users, carers, staff and providers continue to be involved in shaping the future of adult social care services.”

Posted : 24/07/2013 10:19:36

Asbestos disposal at household recycling centres to change
Herefordshire Council is advising residents that criteria for the acceptance of asbestos at household recycling centres in Herefordshire and Worcestershire is changing.

From 1 August 2013 asbestos will only be accepted on site if it is double bagged or wrapped in plastic sheeting and sealed.

All details and guidance to residents is available on various pages on our website:

http://www.letswasteless.com/cms/recycling-centres.aspx

Posted : 24/07/2013 10:14:53

Pupils and teachers break ground for new school
Pupils at Leominster Infants School and Leominster Junior School were the first to dig in and break ground for their new school during a special ceremony attended by school officials and main contractor Kier Construction.

Herefordshire Council has been working with the two schools to bring them together by providing a new single, three-form entry primary school for Leominster.

Jeremy Millar, cabinet member for children’s services said: “We are delighted to be able to start work on the new school. The building will have large, light classrooms, solar panels and plenty of outdoor play and sports facilities, which will provide a fantastic learning environment for pupils. The school will also be an asset to the local community.”

Jo Davidson, director for people’s services at Herefordshire Council, said: “This is a major step forward for primary education in Leominster and will ensure we have a wonderful new fit for purpose educational facility for pupils, which will enhance their learning environment.”

The council committed to building a new school for the town when the previous government’s Primary Strategy for Change programme provided capital funding for local schools. The new building will cost £11.23million, £8million of which has come from the Primary Strategy for Change programme, while the remaining balance will be covered by the council’s capital programme.

The plans to build the new Leominster Primary School were approved last month and the two separate schools are on schedule to become one from September 2014.

Posted : 16/07/2013 16:33:23

Grange Court is handed over to the LARC Development Trust
After more than eight years of planning, Herefordshire Council’s major revamp of Leominster’s Grange Court is over as the building is officially handed over to the LARC Development Trust for £1.

As part of the “Grange Court: building on the past for the future” project, Herefordshire Council has transferred the freehold of the completed building to LARC Development Trust (Leominster Area Regeneration Company).

A ceremony at which Bill Jackson, the LARC Chair paid the £1 to the chairman of Herefordshire Council, Mrs Olwyn Barnett was witnessed by Herefordshire councillors, members of the LARC Board and Leominster Town councillors. The event was also attended by officers from Herefordshire Council and LARC and the contractors who helped restore the Jacobean building and turn it into a bright modern, beautifully restored and rejuvenated building.

The scheme, made possible by grants from the Big Lottery Community Assets Programme, Advantage West Midlands RDPE Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and the Social Investment Business Community Builders Fund has seen the historic former market house turned into a Community, Heritage and Enterprise Hub. As a venue for the recent Leominster Festival, it has already welcomed over 500 residents through its doors, and strong interest in its office space is already been shown by local entrepreneurs as well as long-established charities.

Bill Jackson, chairman of LARC, said: “This outstanding project, which incorporates the iconic former market hall, has been refurbished to an excellent standard and is something for Leominster residents and businesses to be proud of.

We’ve also already had visitors from further afield including the USA, Holland and France, eager to take a look at such a marvellous example of our local heritage, we are confident that this will be a draw for residents and become a major attraction for tourists to visit”.

Cllr Roger Phillips, cabinet member for enterprise and culture said: “This project has been a real testimony to partnership working and I’m delighted that we have reached the point where we are able to hand over Grange Court to LARC, as custodians on behalf of the Leominster community.

The services and space offered by LARC here will be vital for the local community and we are delighted to have been able to support the project and ensure its completion.”

Grange Court is open for business, including office rental, weddings, conferences, as well as a heritage visitor centre. To find out more please contact Dick Ellison, Grange Court Manager on 01568 737980 or via email: info@grangecourt.org or visit www.grangecourt.org

Posted : 20/06/2013 15:07:04

Council supports smokefree homes and cars campaign
A recently launched nationwide smokefree homes and cars campaign is receiving local support from Herefordshire Council.

The Department of Health has launched its smokefree homes and cars campaign in a bid to raise awareness to the dangers of smoking in enclosed spaces, such as homes and cars and the damage secondhand cigarette smoke can cause.

More than 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and odourless and despite parents’ good intentions they are still exposing their children to harmful toxins and poisons through secondhand smoke.

Elizabeth Shassere, director of Herefordshire Council’s public health team, said: “Wherever people smoke, secondhand smoke is present in the air and although you probably don’t notice it, it is there and contains dangerous chemicals, which can cause a range of serious health problems for children and adults.

“We want to reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, which can lead to a range of health problems from burning eyes and scratchy throats to increased hospital admissions for breathing complications such as asthma. Not only does smoking in front of children directly impact their health, but we also know from research that children of smokers are highly likely to become smokers themselves.

“As children’s lungs are still developing, they are more vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke and the harmful cancer causing toxins and poisons it contains. So it is vital that we do everything we can to raise awareness and reduce the risks.”

For residents wishing to quit smoking, there is excellent advice and support available across Herefordshire. To access services in your area, please contact your local Halo leisure centre, GP or pharmacy.

To find out more about the dangers of secondhand smoke, visit: http://smokefree.nhs.uk/advice-and-information/behind-the-campaign

Posted : 12/06/2013 10:04:05

Energy Workshop for Schools
Pupils from Leominster Junior and Weobley primary schools learnt about energy and ways to become more energy efficient at school and home at a recent energy workshop held at Leominster Junior School.

The workshop was organised by Herefordshire Council’s sustainability team and enabled pupils to learn in a fun way with various games and activities. They were also encouraged to share ideas, good practise and offer mutual support.

Jane Denny, Herefordshire Council sustainability officer said: “The council is working with schools across Herefordshire through their Schools Energy programme as part of our commitment to demonstrating community leadership and becoming a low carbon county.

“Schools account for a third of the authority’s carbon emissions, energy costs are rising, fossil fuels are depleting and emissions are contributing to global warming and climate change. More importantly, the programme is helping to educate young people in living more sustainably by demonstrating good practise and giving them the skills to manage resources more efficiently.”  

“The pester power of pupils at home is an added bonus to this programme as anecdotal evidence indicates that families are being nagged to save energy at home as well!”

Schools are supported in reducing their energy usage to create a greater resilience to rising energy costs and fuel shortages. Money saved though energy efficiency can then be used for other essentials such as resources and staff. 

 Pupils are empowered to lead the project in their schools by encouraging everyone to turn off lights, computers and IT equipment, close windows and doors, wear warmer clothing so the heating can be turned down and the heating times reduced. 

Pilot schools reduced their consumption of electricity by an average of 11.36 per cent over a short time span of four months through behaviour change alone. Energy audits have been carried out in schools highlighting energy saving measures that schools may want to consider investing in as invest to save projects in order to achieve up to 20 per cent in energy savings.

Posted : 04/04/2013 07:16:18

Racing fixtures confirmed for Hereford
Herefordshire Council welcomes the announcement today by the Arabian Racing Organisation that five of its 2013 fixtures will be held at the Hereford Racecourse.

Council Leader John Jarvis said: “We’re delighted to hear that there will be racing in Hereford this year and that Arena Racing has been able to find a way for the facilities at Hereford to be used.

“We are committed to keeping racing in Hereford and continue to work with them to ensure racing can return to Hereford in 2014”.

Five fixtures will be held at Hereford Racecourse under an agreement with Arena Racing Company (ARC). The first four fixtures will take place on the first Sunday of the month from May through until August with the fifth fixture being the Arabian Racing Season Finale taking place on Saturday, 28 September.

Posted : 14/03/2013 09:05:42

Customer Service/Sales Administrator role
A vacancy for a Customer Service/Sales Administrator in Leominster has just been added to the Leominster Jobs website.

This is a full-time vacancy for a customer service/sales administrator to work within a vehicle auctions department in Leominster

For details visit Leominster Jobs

Posted : 20/02/2013 09:55:07

Trading Standards Warning Over New Green Deal Scamming Rogues
Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service is warning householders to be wary of cold calling salesmen trying to exploit the new government’s ‘Green Deal energy saving initiative’.

The Green Deal encourages householders and businesses to make energy efficiency improvements with some or all of the cost paid for from the savings on their energy bills - https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/helping-households-to-cut-their-energy-bills

A Herefordshire couple in their 70s were cold called last week and misled into paying an unnecessary £249 just for an energy saving assessment by a firm from Cardiff, even though they already had sufficient loft and cavity wall insulation anyway.

Only approved Green Deal assessors can legitimately carry out and produce a Green Deal report on your property. Once you have your report you can obtain quotes from Green Deal providers who will sort out the installation and payment details. Prospective participants should be aware that assessors may well be on commission to recommend certain providers and installers. All Green Deal organisations will use the quality mark which has the words ‘Green Deal Approved’ with a tick- all in green of course.

Head of consumer and business protection, Mike Pigrem, said: “Although we have managed to cancel this particular contract within the statutory seven day period for doorstep sales and therefore protect this couple, others may not be so fortunate. This is a really good scheme for people to get involved in, but I would strongly advise consumers to only seek approved assessors. In addition, we would always advise that people shop around for quotes when it comes to having work done and not to deal with cold callers.”

Herefordshire Council’s private sector housing team recently led a joint bid of the Marches LEP area local authorities; Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire. The successful application to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Green Deal Pioneer Places Fund has resulted in £450,639 being provided to kick start local and genuine activity in the exciting new Green Deal Market across the Marches area.

It is anticipated that Green Deal assessments in domestic properties will cost between £50-£150 but could result in hundreds of pounds a year being saved as a result of more energy efficient homes.

For impartial advice and information regarding the Green Deal, residents can contact the National Energy Saving Advice Service: 0300 123 1234 and to locate accredited Green Deal assessors and providers further details can be found on www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures

The Office of Fair Trading has recently published a report on the Energy Efficiency Industry and further information and guidance for consumers and businesses can be found on their website www.oft.gov.uk/

Posted : 28/01/2013 12:07:49

Council offers advice for dealing with waste collections in bad weather
The recent bad weather experienced across Herefordshire, has unfortunately meant some disruption to services across the county.

One of the services to have been affected is the refuse and recycling collection, especially in areas of the county which has seen heavy snow and ice.

Councillor Harry Bramer, cabinet member for major contracts, said: “We apologise for any disruption the snow and ice has brought to refuse and recycling collections across Herefordshire. However, at some points during the week, it simply hasn’t been safe enough to deploy waste vehicles into certain areas, which has meant unavoidable delays.”

“The decision to start collections on any given day is jointly made between the council and its waste contractor FCC Environment. Collection crews are instructed to collect as normal unless the areas they are visiting are unsafe due to icy road conditions or obstructions, which would put them, residents or property at undue risk.”

“Although we will always endeavour to continue our collections, even in bad weather, there is no guarantee that they will all take place, especially if conditions change during the day. We are working hard to minimise any disruption and catch up with missed collections where possible.”

The advice for residents is to put waste and recycling out as normal and if it’s not collected within 24 hours to take it back in until the normal collection day the following week or in two weeks for recycling. If FCC Environment can return to an area later that day or the following day, they will attempt to do so, but if this is not possible, they will return on the next scheduled refuse and recycling date.

To keep up to date with refuse and recycling collections, visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/recycling or https://twitter.com/HfdsWaste

Posted : 24/01/2013 16:27:03

Do you fancy a kickabout with your mates?
The Herefordshire FA are KICKSTARTING sessions in Leominster at Bridge Street Sports Park starting on Wednesday 31st January from 7pm – 8pm for males aged 16+.

The Kickabout Sessions are informal sessions which are co-ordinated by a Coach but the content of the session is entirely up to those that attend, in the past this has been;

Small Sided Games
Knock Out Wembley
3 and In
Skills Session
Headers and Volleys
Crossbar Challenge
Goalkeeping

The list is endless and entirely flexible to change from session to session based on the demands of those attending.

If you would like to attend then please contact me at alexis.lunn@herefordshirefa.com or you can TWEET @HerefordshireFA and use Leominster Kickabout in the text OR YOU CAN JUST TURN UP ON THE NIGHT!

The first 2 weeks are free and then it is £2 per week.

Posted : 22/01/2013 14:25:48

Council warns of icy conditions
Herefordshire Council is warning residents of possible icy conditions over the weekend, as a result of today’s snow.

It is predicted that temperatures won’t rise above freezing over the weekend, which means today’s snow will freeze and unfortunately turn into ice. This is a concern, as ice is often something you can’t see as clearly as the snow itself, especially on minor roads and pavements.

We would like to ask all road users and pedestrians to be aware of possible ice if they are out and about over the weekend and take appropriate care where necessary.

During Thursday and Friday, the council used 861 tonnes of salt to help keep our roads moving as much as possible and we are prepared for any more snow which may fall in the coming days.

To keep up to date with road and service closures over the weekend, please visit the customer alerts box on the council website: www.herefordshire.gov.uk or our Twitter: http://twitter.com/HfdsCouncil and Facebook: www.facebook.com/hfdscouncil pages.

Posted : 18/01/2013 16:37:05

Paul Bates appointed as chair of Healthwatch Herefordshire
Paul Bates has been appointed interim chair of Healthwatch Herefordshire for six months commencing 1 January 2013.

Healthwatch is the new independent consumer champion for health and social care in England. It runs both as a national and local organisation. At a national level Healthwatch England, which was established on 1 October 2012, is a statutory committee of the Care Quality Commission. Locally it will operate as Healthwatch Herefordshire and will be established on 1 April 2013.

Healthwatch England gathers and provides a voice for the views of patients, service users and the public. It will influence national policy and will provide advice to the Secretary of State, the NHS Commissioning Board, Monitor and English local authorities. It will also provide leadership and support to local Healthwatch organisations.

Paul Bates said: “It is a privilege to be appointed to lead the establishment of Healthwatch Herefordshire, which will play a vital role in providing advice to individual members of the public who need information about local services or help in accessing them. It will gather the views of local people and ensure these are taken into account by health and social care organisations in Herefordshire when they are arranging their services.”

“Healthwatch Herefordshire must have a clear picture of the range of services being provided currently and put in place arrangements to make sure that individuals and organisations can voice any concerns they may have about them. Healthwatch Herefordshire will inherit a legacy of the excellent work undertaken by the Local Involvement Network (LINk) and I hope that some of its members will want to play an important part in ensuring the success of Healthwatch.”

Dean Taylor, acting chief executive for Herefordshire Council, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to appoint Paul Bates as the interim chair of Healthwatch Herefordshire. He is a local man with an extensive knowledge of the county and his fellow Herefordians.”

“Paul has recently retired following over 30 years as a chief executive in the NHS including a period of six years as chief executive of Herefordshire Primary Care Trust. His detailed knowledge of the health and social care system in Herefordshire, the challenges it faces and the concerns of local people will be invaluable in getting Healthwatch Herefordshire off to a good start. He is determined that Healthwatch will exercise its independence in a constructive but forceful way to help improve local services, building on the work of the LINk in recent years.”

Councillor Patricia Morgan, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board said: “I welcome the appointment of Paul Bates, who will also become a member of the Health and Wellbeing Board. During his career Paul demonstrated his skill at engaging local communities and his willingness to hear their views and take their advice. I have no doubt that he will bring to the post the necessary independence that is required of Healthwatch. I look forward to working with him to ensure that local people have a stronger voice and greater influence and that by sharing their experiences they drive improvements in standards of care.”

Posted : 14/01/2013 16:21:33

New funding formula for schools approved
Schools in Herefordshire are to be funded under a new National Schools Funding Formula (NSFF).

The money schools receive each year is currently based on a formula involving 37 different factors. The NSFF that comes into effect from April 2013 has 12 factors (of which only 10 apply in Herefordshire). There is a national concern that NSFF will penalise rural counties like Herefordshire that have a disproportionate number of primary schools compared to the rest of the country.

The NSFF allocates each school, irrespective of whether primary or secondary, a lump sum and a per pupil amount. There are other allocations but these two factors are critical to the funding received by each school. Schools across Herefordshire will receive a funding allocation for 2013 which is different from their current funding amount: some will gain and some will lose. The local authority is particularly concerned at the long term impact on some of its small rural schools.

To minimise the impact of the new funding, the government will, for at least the next two financial years, limit the reduction in funding any school can receive to 1.5 per cent under a minimum funding guarantee.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for education and infrastructure, said: “We are concerned about the long term impact the government’s plans are likely to have on our schools. In a rural county like ours, it isn’t appropriate to have children spending hours a day being transported around the county on buses, which is why we have so many small schools compared with other areas.

“We are working with schools to make sure they understand the new funding formula, the implications for specific schools and also to encourage collaborative working arrangements that will help to secure financial sustainability. In the meantime, we shall continue to lobby the government for fairer funding for rural schools.”

Posted : 14/11/2012 18:39:50

Summary Care Record: helping patients who need emergency care
Thousands of people in Herefordshire will soon have some of their medical information put on to a national electronic system which can be used in the event of an emergency to help treat them better. It could even save their life.

So far about 70,000 people in Herefordshire have received letters explaining more about the national initiative, the Summary Care Record, and telling them what to do if they don’t want a record creating for them. This week, a further 50,000 residents will begin receiving letters as the next phase of the programme begins.

The NHS in England wishes to make it easier for health professionals across the country to access important medical information about people during emergencies. For the 15 million patients in the UK with a long term condition, it can be a real struggle communicating their needs, especially in an emergency. For example, asthma patients being asked to repeat their medical history when they can’t breathe or the patient with lung disease carrying around a wash bag with “Please make sure I take this medication” written on it.

This is a relatively new national, electronic record containing basic information about medications, allergies and bad reactions to drugs. It could be used by A&E clinicians or by out of hours GPs, to provide safer care where no other information is available.

Paul Edwards, at NHS Herefordshire, said: “Health professionals knowing about any medicines patients are taking, allergies they suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines, could literally save lives by making sure that those caring for patients have enough information to provide treatment safely.

“Patients are in the driving seat and can opt out of having a record but we hope people will choose not to do this. We are phasing the summary care record system in across the county, allowing time for patients to ask questions and make an informed choice.

“The introduction of this system nationwide means we can improve people’s life chances and recovery rates during emergencies by having immediate access to crucial information.”

Posted : 14/11/2012 17:25:32

Herefordshire Maps for Sale
Map collectors might want to stop by the county records office in Hereford on Saturday to peruse a selection of surplus Ordinance Survey maps dating from 1907-1925 that will be for sale.

Herefordshire Council’s archive service is to hold the sale at the record office in Harold, Hereford Street from 1pm – 4pm on Saturday 17 November.

The maps are on the old scale 25” to the mile, each locality having its own sheet. Prices will be up to £10 per sheet, depending on condition. A wide range of second hand books on local and general history will also be on sale.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to contribute to a purchase fund for a rare atlas of historical maps depicting the Hampton Court Estate.

Rhys Griffith, Senior Archivist said: “It’s quite fitting that this year’s sale will help in our bid to save an enormously important document for Herefordshire. We hope that the event will prove to be as popular as ever.”

A list of the maps for sale is available on the Archive Service web pages at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/archives

Posted : 14/11/2012 17:18:01

Herefordshire residents ‘LED’ towards new lighting technology
As nights draw in now that the clocks have gone back, residents will notice many streetlights in the county sporting new state-of-the-art Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.

On behalf of Herefordshire Council, Amey are currently replacing selected street lights and traffic signals across the County with LED lighting to cut carbon emissions, reduce costs and maintain community safety.

So far this year, more than 2,000 old lighting units and 900 traffic signals have been upgraded which will result in an estimated annual saving of £62,000 and 325 tonnes of CO2.

The street lights that have been selected for replacement so far are reaching the end of their useable life. Once installed, residents and road users will benefit from clearer light that also reduces overspill into people’s homes and a reduction in sky glow.

The new lights allow a wider spectrum of colours to be seen and facial features to be distinguished. As a result, many people feel safer where there is new lighting. This is not achievable with traditional lighting, which can create an orange glow and make colours indistinguishable.

Councillor Russell B. Hamilton, Cabinet Member for environment, housing and planning joined Amey staff in Ledbury to see for himself how installations were making a difference. He said: “We have had positive feedback from residents following the first phase of this scheme.

Installation of the new LED lights will benefit the county as a whole by reducing our costs on lighting in public places and helping us to become a low carbon county. The cost savings are estimated to be approximately 60 per cent from the reduction in electricity and maintenance requirements."

He added: "Following the impressive results I’m pleased to announce that the second phase of the project will see all traffic bollards, signs and signal heads in addition to a further 1,500 street lights replaced across Herefordshire by Christmas. This is expected to reduce our impact on the environment by approximately 11,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next 20 years.

“Beyond our current commitment to replacing about a third of lighting in public places with LED technology we have now set a new target. I am delighted to be able to announce a third and significant phase of the project to coincide with the end of another successful year for h.Energy by increasing this to all public lighting. This will see the replacement of all remaining public lighting with LED technology.

“This is a scheme that really does make a difference for everyone who lives in Herefordshire and the improvements in lighting mean that we are not wasting money lighting the sky making Herefordshire a place where you can see the stars. The savings from this will help to reduce the increasing pressure on key services such as adult social care."

Posted : 07/11/2012 08:26:21

Made in the Middle
On 10 November 2012, Craftspace’s contemporary craft exhibition ‘Made in the Middle’ opens at Hereford museum and gallery, Broad Street, Hereford. The seventh in its series, ‘Made in the Middle’ is the Midland’s principal selling exhibition and takes place every three years. For the first time in its history-‘east meets west’ as makers based in or affiliated to the East Midlands will contribute to the exhibition alongside their West Midlands counterparts. This exhibition series promotes the best of recent craft from makers of all disciplines.

35 makers have been especially selected by a panel of curators and craft sector specialists. The makers offer an insight into the skill, creativity and innovative practice within the region. The range of disciplines include ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery, textiles, woodwork and mixed media from recent graduates to makers with over 30 years’ experience. ‘Pathways to craft’ careers represented include apprenticeships, traditional university routes and evening courses and provide inspiration for people looking to change career path.

Emma Daker, exhibition organiser says: “In light of the current economic climate and university course closures within the arts, we are interested in exploring ‘Pathways to Craft’ through the exhibition. In addition to the makers who have accessed the industry through higher education, we will also be featuring those exhibitors who have adopted alternative routes into craft.”

Selected exhibitors include pioneering textile artist Amy Twigger Holroyd who is developing a technique called ‘stitch hacking’ while Janette Matthews explores the potential of laser cutting in developing 3D textiles. Stunning ceramic pieces by James and Tilla Waters will be available for sale alongside work by Anna Collette Hunt. Beautiful vessels by Kevin Grey and Imogen Luddy’s stainless steel laser cut furniture will demonstrate the possibilities available to makers working in metal.

The exhibition will continue its 18-month tour to major galleries across the Midlands until July 2013 and will raise the profile of regional makers and give them the opportunity to sell their work to Regional and National collectors. Visitors are encouraged to consider commissioning new work from local makers and a range of more affordable work will be available to buy whether your budget is a few pounds or a thousand pounds.

‘Made in the Middle’ is a partnership between Craftspace and mac birmingham in collaboration with The National Centre for Craft and Design.

Posted : 31/10/2012 09:27:19

Solar Project for Herefordshire
Residents will be offered an exciting opportunity to invest in and use renewable energy following the announcement that the council will be rolling out solar panels across public buildings.

Last week at Greenearth Energy's 10th Anniversary Party at Treago Castle, the council committed to rolling out solar photovoltaic systems across its estate and will be inviting residents to jointly invest in this exciting project though the development of community owned energy co-operatives.

This proposal will develop a two way approach over the coming months to replicate recent successes at both Hereford Crematorium and the Leominster Community Solar Co-operative which deliver strong financial returns, reduce carbon emissions and improve local energy security.

Councillor Russell B. Hamilton, Cabinet Member for environment, housing and planning said, “I was delighted to be able to make an announcement about this project at Treago Castle in St Weonards as part of h.Energy week. We have made a commitment to what will represent a massive project to install solar panels on public buildings that will not only reduce our energy costs and generate an income from the feed in tariff but to reduce carbon emissions in line with our objective to be a low carbon county, the impact of which will be significant.

“I am keen that those who live in the county should have the opportunity to benefit from this project and as a consequence of this we aim to offer residents the opportunity to buy shares in one of the worlds' fastest growing markets which offers investment levels several times that of any bank.

He commended the Leominster Project that offered a 6 per cent per annum return plus the initial stake returned after 25 years.

He added: “We hope to create the framework through which others will be able to join in and to benefit thereby extending the project far beyond council owned buildings. We aim to encourage others whether they be in the public or private sector or individuals to get involved and will invite them to join our procurement process in order to maximise the potential benefits across the county and to put Herefordshire at the forefront in this regard.”

This is a key part of the council's carbon management plan's 30 per cent reduction target by 2015 and our strong commitment to become a low carbon county.

Posted : 23/10/2012 16:33:20

Only days left to secure your vote
Voters in Herefordshire have only a few days left to secure their ability to vote at the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner elections on 15 November 2012.

The deadline to make sure you are on the electoral register is Wednesday 31 October 2012, which is also the last day you can apply for a postal vote.

The Local Returning Officer for the West Mercia area, Claire Porter, said: “If your name is not already on the electoral register, you only have a few days to register to vote. If you aren’t registered, you won’t be able to vote.

“It’s also very straightforward to register and to apply for a postal vote if you want to take that option. Just get in touch with the council or use the Electoral Commission’s website.”

People who live in Herefordshire can call the customer service centre on 0844 9396107 or email elections@herefordshire.gov.uk.

You can also go to the Electoral Commission’s website at About my Vote to register.

Police and Crime Commissioners will be elected by the public to oversee how crime is tackled in their area to make sure the police are providing a good service. The role will include:

- Meeting the public regularly to listen to their views on policing.
- Producing a police and crime plan setting out local policing priorities.
- Deciding how the budget will be spent.
- Appointing Chief Constables and dismissing them if needed.

There is more information about the elections at Choose my PCC and printed information can be obtained by calling 0800 1 07 07 08.

Posted : 23/10/2012 16:25:35

Council looks to protect and streamline services
The first of a number of radical decisions to reshape local services and reduce costs has been made by Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet.

Over the last few years, the council has faced unprecedented cuts in the grants it receives from central government and as a direct response to this is currently undertaking an 18 month ‘Root and Branch Review’ programme.

The programme involves a fundamental review of services alongside a re-organisation of the council to not only cut costs but also protect services to vulnerable people. The aim is to redefine the role of Herefordshire Council and other public services while setting out the priorities for the next decade and rebuilding budgets with clear links between spend and results.

The first phase of reviews are proposing to save in the region of £7 million, through early information and guidance for older people to delay or prevent the use of high cost care and support, the promotion of a self-service culture for our customers, changing the way housing support works so vulnerable residents get the help they need and ensuring better value for money by re-letting major contracts such as highways.

Councillor John Jarvis, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “This is a time of significant change for the council and as such we’re taking the opportunity to look at what we do, how we do it and if it can be done better or differently.”

“As any future changes will impact on residents, we have ensured we’ve listened to their views by visiting a number of locations across the county with the ‘Your community – your say’ process. This has resulted in a rich two way dialogue with local communities and alongside this year’s Quality of Life survey will be fed into the Root and Branch Review programme to help develop the council’s vision for the future.”

To find out about the Root and Branch Review programme and the recommendations from the first phase of reviews, please visit our website at: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/yourcommunityyoursay

Posted : 17/10/2012 14:25:18

Consultation meeting - Supermarket in Southern Avenue
We have been informed that proposals for a supermarket on Southern Avenue will be on display at the Council offices in West Street on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th October - between 10am and 7pm.

We are told that Morbaine, a consultancy firm, has proposed putting in planning permission on behalf of one of the major supermarkets for a
position in Southern Avenue.

Posted : 08/10/2012 14:13:54

Get the jab, get flu safe
As the autumn sets in and winter approaches, it’s time for those at greatest risk from flu to protect themselves and their families and get flu safe with a free flu jab.

Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness for some. Those at greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.

From this week, those people at most risk will be encouraged to get flu safe with a free flu jab from their GP. The NHS in England is launching the new Flu Safe campaign to remind people that they should get the flu jab which is being backed by NHS Herefordshire. Flu Safe is a national message to highlight the importance of getting the jab, and carries facts about flu to dispel common misconceptions.

Arif Mahmood, consultant in public health medicine, said: “Flu is not like a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people.

Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. It can knock you off your feet and make it heard to look after the kids or go to work. In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital – it can even be a killer.”

“If you’re pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes, then you should also get a free flu jab from your GP and protect yourself. The flu jab is completely safe, it can’t give you flu but it can protect you and your family in a matter of minutes.”

NHS Herefordshire is encouraging everyone in Herefordshire who knows anyone who may be at risk from flu to tell them how important it is that they get protected. People who are carers and frontline health and social care staff are also encourage to get a free jab to protect themselves and those around them.

The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it’s good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter. Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appoint and get your jab. Visit www.nhs.uk/flu for more information.

Posted : 01/10/2012 11:36:47

Council awarded funding to keep the air clean
Herefordshire Council has been awarded nearly £60,000 to help improve the air quality across the city.

The funding has been awarded by Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, after the council’s transportation team successfully applied for an air quality grant. The plan is to reduce CO2 emissions and oxides of nitrogen in the city centre by encouraging people to leave their cars at home and explore alternative means of travel.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for education and infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to have received this money from Defra, which will really help us to develop a number of initiatives to help lower congestion, reduce emissions and encourage alternative travel such as walking, car sharing and using public transport.”

“The funding has come at an opportune time, as we’re in the process of developing high quality ‘park and cycle’ sites on the outskirts of Hereford. Park and cycle is a simple initiative which encourages car users to drive to the city limits, before parking their vehicle at a safe designated site and continuing their journey by bike.”

“We hope the introduction of park and cycle sites will reduce commuter vehicle trips through Hereford city centre and help us to achieve our aim to reduce emissions, lower congestion and improve our air quality.”

To find out more about sustainable travel in Herefordshire, please visit: www.herefordmove.org

Posted : 28/09/2012 11:28:05

Become an ‘Adventure Tot’ at Belmont Meadows
If you have a little one who is raring to explore the great outdoors but you aren’t sure what to do or where to start then come along to Adventure Tots at Belmont Meadows.

The new Adventure Tots group, which is organised by the council’s parks, countryside and leisure development service in partnership with Small Woods and Forest Schools, is aimed at 2+ year olds and their parents and will be meeting on the meadows on Tuesday 2nd October, 16th October and 30th October from 10.30 am to 12noon.

The sessions, which will be led by Forest Schools qualified Kate Lawes and Hannah Dalton, aim to give young children an excellent chance to get messy, make new friends, improve co-ordination, gain confidence and have fun, while safely exploring their natural environment.

Hannah Dalton, Countryside Ranger said “We are really excited about Belmont Adventure Tots - come along and explore autumn sights and sounds in the meadows - we will be playing lots of games, hunting for bugs and other minibeasts, telling stories and making things too so parents will pick up lots of tips and ideas for outdoor fun along the way.”

“Adventure Tots is the younger branch of Queenswood Adventure Club – our new kids club at Queenswood Country Park. Adventure Tots will be meeting at Queenswood, but we wanted to take it further afield to Belmont Meadows so even more children and their parents could take part.”

Sessions cost just £3.50 and younger siblings are welcome free of charge. Places are limited for this group so booking is essential - contact Hannah Tel:01432 260240 or email:hdalton@herefordshire.gov.uk (details of where to meet on Belmont Meadows will be given on booking.)

Posted : 20/09/2012 12:56:08

Arkwright anniversary puts spotlight on archives
It is exactly a hundred years since the Arkwrights, perhaps Victorian Herefordshire’s leading family, left the palatial house and extensive grounds at Hampton Court Castle.

An anniversary event is being held there later this month and the council’s archive service will be on hand with a wide range of documents, including photographs, maps and letters that record the family’s time in charge of the estate.

Among these will be a painted hunting scene featuring the Arkwrights that has been painstakingly restored by the archive service’s conservation team.

Senior Archivist Rhys Griffith said: ‘The Arkwrights were a remarkable family whose success was self made in the heat of the Industrial Revolution. They brought new techniques and prosperity to the area and were much respected by their tenants. The archives we will be displaying tell the family’s story from its heyday to its decline very vividly.’

In addition to the exhibition itself, there will be activities for children based on the archives and a guided walk to hidden parts of the grounds.

You can catch the exhibition of archives at Hampton Court from 10.30am – 5.00pm on 29 and 30 September. Standard entry charges will apply.

Posted : 20/09/2012 12:54:43

The future of Hereford Racecourse – A positive start but a long race to run
Representatives of Herefordshire Council and Arena Racing Company met today to discuss the future of Herefordshire Racecourse.

Positive and constructive discussions took place and it was agreed to continue these discussions to establish whether a solution can be found which will enable the continuation of racing at Hereford.

Cllr John Jarvis, leader of Herefordshire Council said: “I am pleased that our discussions will be continuing and the council remains committed to the continuation of racing at Hereford. I believe that all parties share in this objective.”

Tony Kelly, Managing Director of Arena Racing Company said: “We have had a positive meeting with Herefordshire Council, who have offered to explore a longer term lease. We will work with the council throughout the remainder of 2012 and into next year to explore whether this is a viable option for the racecourse.”

Posted : 07/09/2012 14:42:46

Changes to council tax benefit – Herefordshire residents urged to have their say
Herefordshire citizens are being urged to have their say on how council tax support should be provided from April 2013.

Currently central government fully funds a national council tax benefit scheme, which supports residents on low incomes who need help to pay their council tax.

But that funding will be cut by 10 per cent from next April, which means Herefordshire Council will face an estimated £1.3M shortfall in meeting demands to pay benefits to residents in 2013-14.

The council is seeking views from residents on the best way to achieve an affordable scheme that will continue to support the most vulnerable members of the community, but will also provide value-for-money and protect other services for all residents.

Councillor Phillip Price, cabinet member for corporate services said: “The cuts to funding mean we have some tough decisions ahead, so we are urging residents to have their say and take part in the consultation.

“It’s vital to work out what is best for Herefordshire, and to minimise the impact of these changes on our most vulnerable residents.”

These changes are part of the broader overhaul of the benefits system that the Government is carrying out.

The public consultation runs from August 30, 2012 until October 26, 2012, and can be found along with full details on Herefordshire Council’s website: www.herefordshire.gov.uk

For more information, visit the website above, email benexsupport@herefordshire.gov.uk or call 01432 261546/547

These changes are part of the broader overhaul of the benefits system that the Government is carrying out.

Posted : 30/08/2012 11:13:57

Council looks for fairest way to allocate affordable housing
Should people from outside the county be put on the waiting list for affordable housing and are there certain groups who should be given priority? These are some of the questions Herefordshire Council is asking tenants, both prospective and existing, as it reviews the way affordable housing is allocated.

At the moment, anyone can apply for affordable housing in Herefordshire, but there are nearly 5,000 people on the waiting list and only about 19 properties becoming available each week. The waiting list continues to grow and the council has to decide how to prioritise who can access affordable housing in a way that is fair to everyone.

The council issued a short questionnaire earlier this summer to find out what Herefordshire people think is important when allocating housing, and who should get priority. This is available on the council’s website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/housing. The council has also organised a couple of public meetings where people can talk to housing officers, ask questions and give their views. These take place on:

Wednesday, 5th September, 7-9pm at Earl Mortimer College in Leominster
Monday, 10th September, 1-3pm at The Kindle Centre, ASDA, Hereford

Anyone interested in attending the meetings is advised to contact the housing team in advance if they can on 01432 260641 so they have an idea of numbers to plan for.

Councillor Russell B. Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “Housing is a real issue in Herefordshire. This is a subject that affects all of us in one way or another. Although investments are being made to boost the number of affordable homes available for rent, these developments can’t keep up with demand.

“We need to protect the most vulnerable members of our society and to ensure that the way we allocate resources is done in the fairest way possible for the benefit of everyone in Herefordshire. The simple fact is that like any business or household we have a finite level of resources and need to make the most from them.

“I know that people often say that the council does not listen to them but we can only work with the feedback we get. Like any policy review it is important that we get as many views as possible – they will all be taken into consideration before any recommendations for change are made to the council’s cabinet for consideration.

“I am therefore keen to encourage anyone who has any views to get in touch with the council to express them during this consultation."

Posted : 24/08/2012 16:52:19

Herefordshire A-Levels
Students across Herefordshire were nervously opening envelopes yesterday to find out the results of their A-level/Level 3 exams.

The results are still provisional and won’t be confirmed until October but early indications are that many students receiving results today have surpassed performance from previous years and there are many individual successes to be celebrated.

Provisional results from the first LA maintained schools and academies to be returned present a promising picture of performance across the county. Herefordshire students have thus far achieved a pass rate of 99.1 per cent compared with the provisional national figure of 97.8 per cent. Nationally the percentage of students achieving the top grades of A/A* has fallen this year to 26.6 per cent but Herefordshire students have so far achieved a pleasing 28.1 per cent grade A/A* or equivalent.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for education and infrastructure, said: “With more students entering for A-levels and their equivalents than ever before, this is a fantastic result.

“Schools, parents and students are to be congratulated for all their hard work which has clearly paid off. Whether their choice to go into the world of work or to study at university, we wish all our students the very best for the future.”

Posted : 17/08/2012 16:09:19

Choose your own adventure during the summer holidays at Queenswood Country Park!
If you enjoy being outdoors, getting dirty, exploring wild places and discovering wildlife then why not join the Queenswood Adventure Club for a fun filled summer…whatever the weather!

This new club aimed at 8-13 year olds is organised by Herefordshire Council’s countryside team and will be meeting at Queenswood Country Park during the summer holidays on Wednesday, 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd August 2012 from 10.00am to 1.00pm.

The Queenswood Adventure club is being run by Sam Goddard, a Forest Schools qualified leader along with countryside team’s new ranger Hannah Dalton and the sessions will include building dens and shelters, making tree spirits and sculptures, hunting for bugs and other mini-beasts, telling stories, making wild woodland art and exploring traditional country crafts.

Hannah Dalton, Countryside Ranger said “We are really excited about the new club – it means that 8-13 year olds can come along without their parents and get the chance to discover the natural environment through some fantastic games and activities.”

“The sessions will take place whatever the weather – we will be taking the group to a quieter part of the woods and will find shelter if it rains, but please come dressed for the weather, ” she added.

The three hour sessions will cost just £7.50 per child and how many of the sessions you attend is up to you, however places are limited so book your child’s place now to avoid disappointment by contacting Hannah Dalton, Countryside Ranger Tel: 01432 260240 or email: hdalton@herefordshire.gov.uk

If the Queenswood Adventure Club is popular in the holidays then the plan is to meet up on a weekend once a month from September.

Details of other activities and family events taking place at Queenswood this summer can be found by visiting www.herefordshire.gov.uk/queenswood and clicking on events.

Queenswood, managed by Herefordshire Council, is Herefordshire’s only Country Park and has free car parking, toilets and the Queenswood Café. There are three way-marked trails and easy access paths so that everyone can enjoy the park as well as a picnic and barbecue area, a popular adventure play area and a free ‘seaside style’ telescope at the view-point.

Queenswood Country Park is on the A49 between Hereford and Leominster – follow the brown signs at the top of Dinmore Hill. Alternatively the 492 bus service departs Hereford and Leominster at regular intervals throughout the day.

Posted : 01/08/2012 10:04:58

Herefordshire Council Group Leaders call on Northern Racing to take their responsibilities seriously
There was a meeting of Herefordshire Council Group Leaders today attended by Councillor John Jarvis: Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Bob Matthews: Leader of the Independent Group and Councillor Terry James: Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group

Following that meeting, the Group Leaders issued the following joint statement.

“In response to the surprising and un-announced decision of Northern Racing to cease operating Hereford Racecourse at the end of the year we call upon Northern Racing to come to the table with the Council’s representatives and help us find a solution.

“They must take their responsibilities to Herefordshire and to racing seriously.

“If Northern Racing are unable or unwilling to operate the course. We and our groups will jointly seek an alternative operator to continue racing at the racecourse.

The latest position on the racecourse is available here.

http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/council_gov_democracy/news/61498.asp

Posted : 31/07/2012 17:34:27

Herefordshire Council wants horse racing to continue at Hereford Racecourse
The leader of Herefordshire Council has pledged that the council will do everything it can to ensure that racing stays in Hereford.

The council found out on Friday that the current operators who have a 17 year lease on the venue intend to cease operations at the end of the year.

Cllr John Jarvis, leader of the Council, said:

“I was shocked by the news. Horseracing is an important part of Herefordshire’s culture and the local economy.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that that the racecourse continues to operate.

“The council is currently in discussion with the leaseholder of the racecourse about how we can secure along term future for the racecourse.

“I have been heartened by the response from race goers and local people who love the racecourse.

“I want to work with those people to see what we can do to keep racing in the County, which is such an important part of Herefordshire life.

Posted : 31/07/2012 17:33:51

Cathedral exhibition attracts thousands
A new display featuring Hereford Cathedral’s 1217 Magna Carta is proving hugely popular with more than 2,000 visitors passing through the doors this month.

Visitors have been flocking to see the perfect example of this historic charter that dates from 1217 and the Dean and Chapter are delighted with this recent interest.

Unfortunately, a printing error in the current edition of Herefordshire Matters states that entry to the exhibition is free. This is wrong – the actual cost to enter the exhibition is £6 for an adult, £5 concessions. Family tickets are also available at £10 and £14.

While Herefordshire Council apologises for the error and any inconvenience this may cause visitors, it advises that there are number of free sessions taking place at the cathedral:

Hereford Cathedral Family Fun Days (Thursdays 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th August: 11am – 3.30pm)
Activities include brass rubbing, craft tables for children of all ages, guided trails for families and children and Cathedral Tours. Refreshments and Cathedral Shop plus tickets available for Tower Tours, and Mappa Mundi

Jubilee Jazz in the Chapter House Garden (Friday 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st)
Fun continues from 1.15pm on Fridays in August (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st) when Jazz in the Chapter House Garden returns with five free, open-air, lunchtime concerts showcasing a great selection of traditional jazz and popular favourites from a host of local and regional talent. Summer refreshments will be available.

Posted : 26/07/2012 18:48:05

Travel survey rewards local residents
Four residents, one from Leominster and three from Hereford, were the lucky recipients of a new Apple iPad, after participating in Herefordshire Council’s recent household travel survey.

The survey, which was carried out in conjunction with the council’s service delivery partner Amey, ran throughout May and June and asked residents in Hereford and Leominster to describe their journeys on a typical weekday.

The survey will help to identify residents travel patterns across the county, particularly in Hereford, where approximately 10,000 car journeys start and end in the city every morning and evening, which are less than three miles long.

Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for education and infrastructure, said: “Herefordshire Council is keen to establish how and why people travel within the county on a daily basis. The survey information allows us to understand the travel complexities of a rural county and how we can encourage and support increased sustainable travel, including walking, cycling, car sharing and public transport.”

“We are pleased with the number of survey responses we received and were delighted to present four lucky participants, whose completed survey was drawn at random, with a new Apple iPad. The prizes were funded through the Destination Hereford project.”

“We are currently working towards a new Local Transport Plan for the county, which includes measures designed to reduce congestion, lower CO2 emissions and encourage more people to use sustainable transport.”

To find out more about alternative means of travel in Herefordshire, please visit: www.herefordmove.org.

Notes:

The lucky winners were Carol Smith, Margaret Forbes and Tony Isaac from Hereford and David Wynn from Leominster.

Posted : 25/07/2012 21:59:12

Top nosh: Trust gets top marks for its food
It may not be as illustrious as receiving a Michelin star, but all five Wye Valley NHS Trust sites have been awarded top marks for their food as part of an NHS assessment.

Patient meals have been branded ‘excellent’ scoring 5 out of 5 at the County Hospital, Bromyard, Leominster and Ross community hospitals and the Hillside Centre.

All the sites were also assessed for privacy and dignity, cleanliness, infection control and patient environment – for example bathrooms and patient areas. They all achieved ‘good’ (4) or excellent (5).

Michelle Clarke, director of nursing and transformation said: “While we are pleased that patient food has been rated ‘excellent’ there is no room for complacency. Next year, the assessment will change and will be entirely led by patients and we must ensure that we continue to strive for excellence.”

Posted : 24/07/2012 09:43:30

Tracing Relatives
Angela Hurd daughter of Evelyn (nee Morgan daughter of Edith Phillips and Harry Morgan) is searching for relatives who may have old family photos / anecdotes after a devastating theft. Particularly looking for the Phillips family, Lesley and Paddy - children of George and Lizzie of the Bar Gates Leominster and any other family connection - Foster and Morgan of Leominster and surrounding areas.

Please contact Angela on 01789 774002 or e mail paul.turner9@virgin.net

Posted : 11/07/2012 11:42:35

Aerospace announcement could herald hundreds of new county jobs
Herefordshire could be set for more than 500 new jobs following the announcement that two eastern European aerospace companies are considering setting up development and manufacturing units in the county.

For several months negotiations have been on-going with the Seattle-based Get It Group, which puts international businesses looking for locations to expand their operation in touch with landowners globally.

The move signals a major step forward in the creation of the Enterprise Zone at Rotherwas with the potential to create hundreds of new jobs focused around advanced aerospace development and manufacturing.

As well as a ten-hectare site at Rotherwas, initial proposals also include a second site at Ross-on-Wye’s Model Farm business park, which is owned by Herefordshire council, and could also bring with it hundreds of new jobs.

At lunchtime tomorrow, Wednesday, July 11, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles will meet Enterprise Zone Board chairman Cllr Roger Phillips, the Governor of the State of Washington, Christine Gregoire, and representatives from the Get It Group and the aerospace companies in Westminster. They will be joined by Herefordshire Council leader Cllr John Jarvis, Hereford MP Jesse Norman and Euro MP Anthea McIntyre.

They will sign an agreement which commits all parties to work together, for a period of six months for the Enterprise Zone and a year for Model Farm, to see if detailed proposals fit with the plans and aspirations of both locations.

“This is potentially great news for Herefordshire,” said Cllr Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, as he welcomed the news.

“This is exactly the kind of company we want to see on the site as it will have benefits to the local economy, and the company will also benefit from the relatively close links with the aerospace industry in Bristol.

“We’ve been in discussion with the Get It Group for a number of months and I’d like to thank Ray Stone and council officers who have led on these negotiations.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "This agreement shows that our low tax, light-touch regulation Enterprise Zones and Herefordshire’s ‘can do’ ambitions are a great combination that business are eager to take advantage of – Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing and Market-Mats will bring new jobs to the area and energise the local economy.”

Cllr John Jarvis, leader of Herefordshire Council, added: “Now the hard work begins – to convert this interest into jobs for local people.

“The Enterprise Zone is stirring up interest in a number of quarters and it’s exciting to see the benefits of the Zone spilling over and bringing benefits to other parts of the county. This is especially good news for the people of ross-on-Wye.

“This is also a great example of a private-public sector partnership working for the benefit of local people, and I’d like to thank the council’s economic development team, led by Nick Webster, for their foresight and enthusiasm which has brought us to this point.”

Posted : 11/07/2012 11:38:09

“Prepare for severe weather” – Herefordshire Council
Herefordshire Council is urging residents, particularly those who may have experienced flooding in the past, to make preparations following a weather warning from the Met Office.

Although there is medium risk of flooding from rivers or surface water across central England and north east Wales on Friday, the council has issued the warning as some families are still clearing up following flash flooding caused by the heavy storms which struck the county last week.

“We’ve received a Flood Guidance Statement from the Flood Forecasting Centre detailing that the river and surface water flood risk is MEDIUM (significant disruption) for eastern, central and northern England and northeast Wales tomorrow (Fri) and Saturday,” said the chairman of Herefordshire Council’s severe weather group, Clive Hall.

“The council has an arrangement with some parish councils to hold stocks of sandbags for local use in areas where there is a known risk of flooding.

“In rural areas, residents’ first point of contact for assistance with sandbags should be their local parish council. This service is provided free of charge - for details of your local parish council visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk and search for parish councils.

“Alternatively, we hold a limited stock of filled sandbags for the public to collect at times of emergency from the following depots,” added Clive.

Rotherwas Depot, Unit 3, Thorn Business Park, Rotherwas, Hereford, HR2 6JT
Kingsland Depot, Street Lane, Kingsland, HR6 9RG
Bromyard Depot, Hereford Road, Bromyard, HR7 4ET
Ross-on-Wye Depot, Ashburton Industrial Estate, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 7BW

The council’s switchboard is open to deal with any enquiries regarding flooding and the number to call is 01432 260000.

To ensure the council’s resilience team has a complete picture of how the county is being affected by floods, the team is asking that residents report any flooding either via the council’s switchboard or via the form on the council website - www.herefordshire.gov.uk/floods.

If floods do occur in the county, Herefordshire Council has the following advice:

School closures
Parents are advised to keep an eye on the council’s website for updates on school closures – www.herefordshire.gov.uk

Advice to motorists
Herefordshire Council urges motorists to take extra care when travelling around the county, as many roads are affected by excess surface water and conditions are liable to change at short notice. Motorists are advised to:

• Listen to the local and national radio for travel information
• Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive
• Remember that in wet weather stopping distances are at least double those required for stopping on dry roads
• Keep well back from the vehicle in front, so you have the time and distance to break safely
• If steering becomes unresponsive it probably means the water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually
• Remember the rain and spray from vehicles makes it difficult to see and be seen, so adjust your speed and drive more slowly and use your headlights
• Do not enter floodwater, as there is no way of telling how deep it may be. This applies if you are on foot as well as in a vehicle - manhole covers may have been loosened or removed so there could be extremely dangerous hidden hazards in floodwater.
• Please respect road closure signs - they are there for your safety and mean the road is impassable.
• If you have to attend a medical appointment, please leave extra time
• Avoid any non-essential journeys

Posted : 05/07/2012 18:52:25

Appeal for people affected by flash flooding to contact the council
The heavy storms which crossed Herefordshire last week caused flash flooding to a number of properties and left a number of roads impassable.

Herefordshire Council’s Resilience Team (which undertakes emergency planning) is aware of some of the areas affected - additionally the council’s contractors, Amey, had many workmen out helping in those parts of the county affected by flooding.

“But we’re sure there are other people who were affected that we don’t know about,” said Resilience Team member Alex Bartoszewicz.

“We’re asking people who experienced flooding in their properties to contact the council so that we can work together with the Environment Agency to help plan for the future and see if there is any assistance we can give now.

“We’re continuously updating our plans and the way we respond to incidents in consultation with the Environment Agency and there may be things we can learn by the way the flash floods developed,” he added.

People affected by flooding can contact the council on 01432 260000 or by filling out a flood incident reporting form at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/floods

Posted : 03/07/2012 15:27:56

On the road to better customer feedback
The public’s views on Herefordshire’s highways and transport services will soon be compared with others across England thanks to the national Highways and Transport Public Satisfaction survey.

Herefordshire is one of 75 local authorities to sign up to a standardised national survey that will ask members of the public exactly the same questions, whether they live in Hampshire, Herefordshire or Hertfordshire.

The survey, which is being run for the fifth year, is the result of months of hard work between the National Highways and Transport Network (NHT) and a regional Highways Service Improvement Group. It enables local authorities to compare results, share best practice and identify opportunities to work together in the future.

The questionnaire will be sent to a random sample of 5000 Herefordshire residents in July with local and national results expected to be published later in the summer/early autumn. Since the survey is based on a sample, residents who receive a copy are being urged to take part.

Clive Hall, head of highways and community services at Herefordshire Council, said: “There are clear benefits to conducting a public survey in this way.

“As well as providing excellent value for money, it also enables everyone involved to identify areas of best practice and spot national, regional and local trends. The results will tell us what people in Herefordshire think about these important services and help us determine which services we need to prioritise and improve.

“This is not about producing a league table to champion one geographical area over another; it is about understanding customer views better and working together to deliver the best possible outcomes for local residents.”

“I would urge anyone contacted to take part in this survey to ensure they have their say so the views of Herefordshire residents can be heard and responded to.”

Posted : 27/06/2012 17:15:50

Council-provided black waste sacks to be phased out in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council has reluctantly taken the decision to stop supplying black refuse sacks to residents this autumn.

The move will save the authority, being squeezed by severe cutbacks in government funding, £200,000 a year; it will cost households less than the price of a pint of beer to buy 52 black sacks to last 12 months.

The decision also means the council can continue to provide weekly refuse collection to residents across the county.

“We’ve found that due to the high levels of recycling in Herefordshire, residents were often only leaving out half-filled black sacks each week,” said council leader, Councillor John Jarvis.

“By the time you take into account the cost of buying the black sacks, advertising in the local media and having them delivered, the cost was more than £3 per property,” he added.

“Residents buying their own black sacks can now decide how many they need depending on how much waste they produce and people can buy a year’s supply of 52 black sacks from local supermarkets for as little as £1.69”.

It will also mean a greener county – delivery vans distributing the black sacks travel around 22,400 miles, which is nearly the circumference of the earth at the equator, and pump out an estimated ten tonnes of carbon.

Herefordshire Council now falls into line with the majority of councils locally and nationally which require residents to buy their own black waste sacks.

Posted : 22/06/2012 23:12:07

The Blandford fly returns to the county
NHS Herefordshire is urging people to cover up and use insect repellant when out and about near watercourses as the Blandford fly returns to the county. April to June is the usual season for the biting larvae, but calls from members of the public suggest there has been an increase in activity following the current warm weather.

The Blandford fly is a 2-3mm bloodsucking black fly which lives near watercourses and gives a particularly nasty painful bite, usually to the legs as it flies low to the ground.
Although it is named after the Blandford area, it is also found in other areas including Norwich, Oxfordshire and Herefordshire.

Dr Arif Mahmood, consultant in public health, said: “People can reduce the risk of getting bitten by covering up and using insect repellent – the same precautions they’d take if they wanted to avoid a mosquito bite”.

“The fly lives near rivers and streams, so our advice is to either avoid these areas or take precautions.”

“If you’ve been bitten by one of these flies it can feel very uncomfortable, causing swelling, blistering, joint pain and sometimes a high temperature. However, there will generally be no need to visit a GP.

“If you have any concerns such as a high temperature or are feeling generally unwell following a bite, please ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647. They will be able to advise if a trip to you local GP is necessary. In addition, local pharmacies can provide advice on how to ease your discomfort.

“In some cases the bites can become infected and antibiotics are needed, however these are the exception rather than the rule. For the majority of people, the symptoms last a few days and then clear up.”

Posted : 07/06/2012 10:27:42

New lung cancer campaign in Herefordshire to save lives
NHS Herefordshire is supporting a new national campaign to make people more aware of the key symptoms of lung cancer and improve earlier diagnosis in Herefordshire.

A cough that lasts for three weeks is the focus of the campaign which is also backed by Ricky Gervais and Lyunda Bellingham.

New data reveals that only one in 10 people know that a persistent cough for three weeks or more could be a symptom of lung cancer and if dealt with early could save their life.

Despite the disease killing more people than any other form of cancer in Herefordshire, this symptom fares worse in public awareness compared to knowledge of other cancer signs such as looking out for a lump (breast or testicular cancer) or getting a changed appearance of a mole checked out (skin cancer). As a result, around 80 per cent of patients with lung cancer have fairly advance stage cancer when diagnosed.

Lung cancer affects 33,000 people in England each year with 114 cases reported in Herefordshire in 2009. The majority of cases occur in people over the age of 55. When diagnosed at its earliest stage, as many as 80 per cent of people are alive five years after diagnosis compared with only seven per cent diagnosed at a late stage.

The Be Clear on Cancer national campaign follows successful pilots in the East and West Midlands for five weeks in October and November 2011. In those areas, GPs saw the number of people presenting with the relevant symptoms increase by 23 per cent.

Dr Sarah Aitken, interim director of public health, NHS Herefordshire, said: “With lung cancer claiming around 90 lives in the county every year, it’s important that the public is more aware of the symptoms and, if someone has the key symptoms, they visit their GP straight away.

She added “Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in this county. Earlier diagnosis of lung cancer could save many more lives, but worryingly many people don’t know the signs and symptoms.

“If you’ve had a cough for three weeks or more, make an appointment to see your doctor today. It may be nothing serious, but it is better to have it checked out early to be sure.”

The cough for three weeks or more is the main symptom, but other symptoms are:

• A cough that has got worse or changes
• Repeated chest infections
• Coughing up blood
• Breathlessness
• Feeling more tired than usual for some time
• Losing weight for no obvious reason
• An ache or pain in your chest or shoulder that has lasted some time

Posted : 31/05/2012 16:32:55

Herefordshire libraries celebrate 20 years of Bookstart
Herefordshire Council’s library service is celebrating 20 years of National Bookstart by encouraging all babies and toddlers to become library members.

Bookstart is a national gifting scheme which promotes the love of books and book sharing with all families.

Every child who joins the library for the first time between June 11 and June 16 will be given a small Bookstart teddy bear as a free gift.

Julie Goodwin, Herefordshire Council’s early years officer, said: “Libraries love babies and toddlers, and young children will be given a great welcome. The library offers the best choice of wonderful books and they can be borrowed for free.

“Most libraries have special story and rhyme times for young children, and library staff can offer help with choosing books and DVDs.

“By joining the library, children will develop early learning and social skills – and it’s a warm and friendly place for families to visit together. There’s free internet and books for grown-ups too, and you’re welcome to breastfeed in a library.

“Babies and toddlers can be lively and noisy at times - but that doesn’t matter in libraries any more. Children under the age of five won’t be charged for damaged books or bringing books back late either,” she added.

To join the library, either go into your local branch or use the online form by logging onto http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/36849.asp

Posted : 30/05/2012 13:28:56

Council consults on adult social care charges
The way adult services are charged for comes under the spotlight this month as Herefordshire Council launches a consultation into how adult care services should be paid for in the future.

In June last year the council agreed a number of charging principles, one of which was to recover the full cost of services wherever possible. The adult care services consultation embraces this principle and is likely to affect around 2,000 people. Residential care is not included in the consultation.

There are a wide range of services available to help adults in Herefordshire: these include community meals, day care, supported employment and personal or home care. In addition, there are services available to help carers such as short breaks and sitting services.

More adults are receiving personal budgets to help them decide how their needs should be met. The council needs to be clear about the full cost of services, and in line with council policy, charge the full cost of these services unless there is a clear reason not to do so.

As a result, the council is proposing to reduce subsidies and charge the full cost of services, however, those services are provided. In putting together proposals, the council’s priorities have been to make sure that the proposed changes are fair and equitable. Under the proposals, everyone will be offered a financial assessment and those who cannot afford to pay will receive assistance.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We need to encourage independent living as much as possible and to make sure those who are vulnerable and cannot afford to pay are protected. Reductions in budgets mean we have to prioritise how we spend our money, but the proposed changes will only affect those who can afford to pay.

“We are keen to hear from all the people who currently use these services and have written to them personally. We want to know what they think about our planned changes, and, more importantly, how it will affect them.

“But we also want to hear from carers, families and other members of the community and are encouraging them to have a look at our proposals and let us know what they think.”

The consultation documents will be available from Friday 25 May at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/adultcare

Deadline for responses is 20 August 2012. The responses will be gathered and referred to the council’s cabinet for consideration.

Posted : 25/05/2012 16:57:57

There's just time to go and see the Olympic Flame Relay pass through Leominster
The Olympic Flame Relay is just minutes away from passing through Leominster.

The torch bearers are:

Bryan White
Christine Hood
Jordan Baxter
Susan Wilde

The relay is due to start at Hereford Road at 13:19. It will pass through West Street and Broad Street before finishing on Mill Street.

The relay will then travel on to Ludlow.

Posted : 24/05/2012 12:55:51

Council agrees new taxi licensing fees
Herefordshire Council’s Regulatory Committee has agreed to increase taxi licence fees with immediate effect, in order to make sure the costs of providing the licensing service are recovered.

Following a meeting of the Regulatory Committee in April, members met again today (May 22) to consider the outcome of detailed discussions between the trade and the council on the fee increases proposed.

In June last year the council agreed to charge the full cost of providing a number of services wherever it was feasible to do so. This included the cost of providing a taxi licensing service.

At the meeting today, members heard that the service - which ensures the safety of taxi drivers and passengers through the tight licensing of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles – was predicted to cost around £28,000 over and above the fees and charges expected to be collected from taxi drivers and operators during the coming year.

These extra costs would normally be picked up by local council taxpayers, rather than the taxi trade.

At last month’s meeting members agreed the principle that taxi drivers should cover the costs of this service through an increase in fees and charges. At the meeting today they agreed the fee structure required to deliver this.

The new fees, which will cover costs, were derived from estimating future activity based on applications received for taxi licences last financial year. The committee were questioned about these estimated figures by John Jones on behalf of the Herefordshire Taxi Association. Although sympathetic to the views of the trade, members voted to accept the new fees as proposed. However, to reassure taxi drivers, they also agreed to review the accounts after eight months to make sure the new fees were covering the costs of the service and that the council wasn’t making profits from this activity.

Marc Willimont, acting head of service, said: “We have estimated the cost of providing a taxi licensing service for a year based on current activity. The costs of providing the service need to be covered, even though we have already made significant reductions in overhead and management costs. We need to make sure the revised fees achieve this.

“The new fees, although increased, bring Herefordshire in line with many other local authorities.

“The council continues to support local traders and has therefore pledged to review the fees in eight months time to make sure the estimated cost recovery is on track.”

Posted : 22/05/2012 17:01:43

Olympic Torch arrives in Herefordshire this week. Be prepared…
With the Olympic Torch arriving in Herefordshire in a matter of days Herefordshire Council is asking people to think about their plans for the day and ensure their own safety throughout this memorable event.

Herefordshire Council has issued the following advice:

• Safety of yourself and your family is your responsibility
• Try and watch the relay as near to your home, school or place of work as possible to avoid unnecessary journeys
• DO NOT run out in front of or alongside the Torch
• No parking on the Torch route
• There will be two convoys that will pass on the day – the first will be the activation convoy which will give out freebees by sponsors and shortly thereafter the Torch convoy with the Torchbearer carrying the Olympic Torch
• Where it is safe to do so, view from the pavement which is on the passenger door side of the convoy
• Freebies will be given out by sponsors on the passenger door side of the convoy during the activation stage, so stay there to stay safe and potentially receive a gift
• The weather forecast is for warm temperatures, make sure you plan to take along warm weather essentials like sunscreen, hats, and water to drink
• On the day tune in to local radio and follow to enjoy the Torch Relay and stay safe!

Residents are reminded that there is likely to be increased traffic on the road which might be moving at a slower speed, so allow plenty of time for any journey, park sensibly and legally, use public transport where possible and listen to local radio for regular updates.

For more information on the route and road closures visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk

The streets along the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay can be viewed in full at: www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay, this website gives street-by-street details and proposed start times for when the Olympic Flame will travel through Herefordshire.

Posted : 21/05/2012 17:11:17

Herefordshire Diamond Day offers unique chance to “talk to The Queen”
An ambitious plan to allow everyone at Herefordshire Diamond Day speak to The Queen at the same time is being drawn up by a local poet and organisers of the event.

In what will be a unique and original piece of theatre, Herefordians are being invited to come up with words or phrases which reflects The Queen’s 60 year reign.

Local poet Elizabeth Darcy Jones, from Bromyard, will then go through those that are submitted and draw out special words which sum up the special qualities shown by The Queen which will be put into a specially created poem.

“The poem, containing elements of poems submitted by local people, will be presented as a 60-second salute which will be choreographed for a simultaneous display by youth organisations,” said Chris Barltrop, from the Herefordshire Diamond Day organising committee, who has responsibility for organising the entertainment during the day.

“What’s so special is that all those on the King George V playing fields on Herefordshire Diamond Day will be encouraged to join in with the poem, so we’ll have thousands of voices taking part in a celebratory mass countdown of The Queen’s reign, with everyone there speaking directly to The Queen at the same time,” added Chris.

The idea for the poem was put forward by county poet Elizabeth Darcy Jones, and has received the backing of Lady Darnley, the Lord-Lieutenant for Herefordshire.

“Herefordshire Diamond Day is about everyone in our marvellous county,” said Lady Darnley, “and this special poem gives everyone a chance to join us in celebrating the wonderful occasion of the diamond jubilee and The Queen’s visit.

“This will be an event for everyone, and the collective poem gives everyone a chance to join in beforehand as well as on the day.”

Poet Darcy Jones said she was “thrilled’ that her idea had been adopted,” and added: “It’s poetry for the people, by the people!”

Contributions of words which people feel sum up the special qualities shown by The Queen during the last 60 years should be sent to info@herefordshirediamondday.co.uk, or posted to: Herefordshire Diamond Day, Brockington, 35 Hafod Road, Hereford HR1 1SH.

To find out more about the event, visit www.herefordshirediamondday.co.uk

Posted : 17/05/2012 15:05:03

Herefordshire Council supports TV personality Mary Portas
The Love your local market initiative, which has been inspired by TV personality Mary Portas through her recent review of “The High Street,” is being supported by Herefordshire Council through its markets & fairs team.

The council is delighted to encourage local entrepreneurs to get involved in the vibrant local street scene in a unique opportunity which allows them to try their hand at market trading.

The council is offering free pitches at selected council-organised Retail Markets across the county.

The event will run during the national Love Your Market fortnight, which runs from Saturday, June 23 to Sunday, July 8, and includes the following locations:

* Hereford – Saturday, June 23
* Ross – Saturday, June 30
* Kington – Tuesday, July 3
* Leominster – Friday, July 6

The markets and fairs team is looking for enterprising people new to the concept of street markets, especially those seeking to become a fully fledged trader in their own right.

All items offered for sale must be new and the stall should have a particular theme or product range.

Anyone who thinks they have what it takes should ring 01432 261935 in the first instance, or call in at the custodians office in The Buttermarket, in High Town, Hereford, and complete an application form.

“Small local businesses contribute a huge amount to the county’s economy and I’m delighted that we’re able to offer this fantastic opportunity to local entrepreneurs,” said Cllr Adrian Blackshaw, cabinet member for highways and transportation.

“I hope there is a good take up of this exciting opportunity so that they can dip their toes into the water and try their hand at market trading. It may not only be a new experience for them, but it will hopefully give them a lot of new customers and give their products exposure to new markets.

“I love the markets we have in Herefordshire and I’m looking forward to seeing some of these new traders rubbing shoulders with our regulars,” he added.

Completed forms should be sent to Herefordshire Council, Markets and Fairs, County Offices, PO Box 233, Bath Street, Hereford, HR1 2ZF, by Friday, June 8

Posted : 11/05/2012 10:48:45

Young people needed to stand for Youth Parliament
Herefordshire Council is on the search for 11-18 year olds who could represent the county’s young people at the UK Youth Parliament.

On Saturday 12th May, the council’s participation team will be hosting an event to help prospective candidates stand for election. The candidates will learn all about what’s involved in becoming a member of the UK Youth Parliament, and put together a manifesto to present to all the other candidates.

The UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) is a national organisation which helps young people to use their energy and passion to change the world for the better. Run by young people for young people, UKYP gives a voice to the young people of the UK which is heard and listened to by local and national government, providers of services for young people and other agencies who have an interest in the views and needs of young people.

Herefordshire has been successfully involved with the UK Youth Parliament for the past five years and this year will be electing two young people from the county to represent Herefordshire at local meetings, regional conventions and nationally at the annual sitting and the famous annual House of Commons debates.

The election day will be held on Saturday the 12th May at Centre 18 in Hereford from 10am-4pm. Anyone interested in standing for election is invited to come along, learn about the work of the Youth Parliament, then get involved in electing two new members for 2012/2013.

To be involved, young people need to be aged between 11-18, live in Herefordshire, be available to attend some or all events held by UKYP and have some enthusiasm and passion for providing a voice for the county’s young people.

For more information contact Charlotte Webb on 0779 881328/ cwebb1@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 02/05/2012 11:54:38

Herefordshire businesses to make the most of broadband
Herefordshire businesses are to get extra support to help them make the most of the internet.

A new toolkit is being developed by Herefordshire Council and the UK Information Technology Association (UKITA), to help businesses understand how high-speed broadband can make them more efficient, save them money and help them grow faster.

The county is set to get faster internet services over the coming years. Herefordshire Council is a partner in the Borders Broadband project, a government and local authority-funded initiative to bring high-speed broadband to rural Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

Faster broadband can save firms time and money with online communications. It can speed up business by being able to quickly send and receive large files, and it offers more flexible working and reduced travel costs.

As well as producing the new business toolkit, UKITA is running a series of events (see below for details) to highlight the potential benefits of using internet services over faster broadband, using case studies and demonstrating how the internet can be used.

Andrew Corbett, membership development director of the UK IT Association said "Herefordshire is really taking the lead here. This is the first time in the UK that we have seen an initiative to carry the message of business transformation through next generation access broadband to even the most rural businesses.

“The challenge is to create not just the technical infrastructure but also the ambition through meaningful case-studies to enable business transformation and world-competitiveness."

Councillor Graham Powell, Herefordshire Council’s broadband champion said: “We are working hard to bring faster broadband to Herefordshire, but our businesses need to recognise that as well as providing opportunities for them to become more efficient, it will also offer their customers better access to a wider range of possible providers and may put their order books under pressure.

“In our recent survey almost all businesses recognised the importance of faster internet, but they will need to make the most of it to keep, and expand, their market share. This is an ideal opportunity for them to think about what they need to do to keep ahead of the competition.”


The UKITA events are FREE and will run from 5-7pm, with light refreshments provided, on:

March 29th - The Talbot Hotel, Leominster
• April 2nd - The Peterchurch Centre, Peterchurch
• April 4th - The Falcon Hotel, Bromyard
• April 18th - The Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Hereford
• April 19th - The Feathers Hotel, Ledbury
• April 24th - The Burton Hotel, Kington
• April 26th - The Chase Hotel, Ross on Wye

Places are limited so businesses are required to book a place by contacting Nadine Kinsey on 01432 260706 or Elaine James on 01432 260609. Alternatively email bordersbroadband@herefordshire.gov.uk and put ORB Project in the subject box.

Posted : 27/03/2012 11:44:54

Proposal to reduce number of councillors agreed
A proposal to reduce the number of Herefordshire Council councillors by four to give electors a fairer representation has been agreed by Herefordshire Council.

In May last year the Local Government Boundary Commission for England announced it would undertake a formal electoral view of Herefordshire starting this Spring.

Members at today’s meeting of council (Friday, March 2) heard that the purpose of the review was to ensure “electoral equality” as far as possible - meaning that councillors should represent similar numbers of electors right across the county, whether they represent a rural or an urban ward.

Currently, the council has 58 councillors. But the number of electors for councillors in wards varies by more than ten per cent in a third of them.

For example, the Hollington ward has 1/3 less voters per councillor than it should have when compared with other wards in Herefordshire.

The proposal will now go to the Local Government Boundary Commission where it will be considered later this month.

If approved, the commission will begin a consultation on the proposals at the end of March.

Importantly, this consultation will solely concern itself with the proposal to reduce the number of councillors from 58 to 54.

No recommendations have been made as to the size or shape of any new wards - this level of detail has not been considered at this stage - it will, however, become the subject of further consultation later this year.

It is anticipated that the changes will be agreed later next year and will come in to effect for the local elections in May 2015.

Posted : 02/03/2012 16:46:25

Herefordshire Council freezes council tax for second year
Herefordshire Council has approved a council tax freeze for 2012/13 which means council tax levels will remain frozen for the second year running.

Earlier this year council approved a budget based on the authority taking government funding being made available to councils willing to hold down levels of council tax.

At today’s meeting of council - Friday, March 2 - councillors set a council tax that includes taking advantage of this one-off government grant offered to councils willing to freeze council tax in 2012/13.

For Herefordshire this means accepting government funding totalling £2.16m.

As a result, a band D property owner will pay £1,205.09 in council tax this year – the same as during the last two years.

“This is good news for local people,” said Cllr John Jarvis, leader of the council. “We know that many families in the county are struggling to make ends meet and, just like them, we’re having to reduce our spending and work more efficiently to continue to provide the quality services people in the county expect from us.”

Council members heard that, by using the government grant wisely, the authority will be able to secure savings year on year.

This will be over and above the more than £20 million savings Herefordshire Council has made during the last two years which kept it within the government’s funding requirements and allowed council tax levels to stay at 2010/11 levels for the second consecutive year.

The agreed budget includes an extra £1.4 million from central government be put into the adult services budget for the next financial year, which will be in addition to £2.2 million from the NHS to support care activity. This means that overall there will be extra funding for care services.

However the scale of the challenge arising from the government’s deficit reduction programme means that all parts of the council will have to make contributions to meeting the savings requirements.

Posted : 02/03/2012 16:44:37

Sport Relief is back and it’s coming to LEOMINSTER!
The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile is back – and it’s coming to Leominster! The town is set to host its second Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile on Sunday 25th March, and needs local people to come together and show their support by entering now at www.sportrelief.com. As one of the UK’s biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active, raise cash and change lives – so it’s time to dust off those trainers and enter right now.

Setting off from Earl Mortimer College the Leominster Mile will take in the sights of the Sports Field and Nature Reserve and is set to be an incredible event. Entrants don’t have to be sporty to take part, but can choose to complete 1, 3 or 6 miles knowing that all the money raised will help to change the lives of people living unimaginably tough lives right here on our doorstep, across the rest of the UK and in some the world’s poorest countries.

Organiser, Naomi Andersson said: “The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile in Leominster is back and it’s your time to shine. From teeny-tots with their mums and dads, to super sprinters up against the clock there’s something for everyone on the big day. Last year, the Leominster Mile had over 100 participants and raised a staggering £5,254! This year we want to make the day even bigger and better – but we need your help to do that. So come on Leominster, pull up your Sport Relief socks, enter the Mile and do something amazing!”

Sport Relief has a unique history of dedicated people doing extraordinary things to rise to the challenge. Last September, David Walliams started Sport Relief off with an epic splash when he completed The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Walliams vs The Thames. Despite battling a nasty bacterial bug and bitingly cold water, David swam a staggering 140 miles and has so far raised over £1million for Sport Relief. And that’s not all; there will be even more amazing celebrity challenges to get the whole nation geared up for the Sport Relief weekend!

The Sport Relief Weekend kicks off on Friday 23rd March when everyone gets active, has fun and raises cash at home, at work or at school; before settling down to watch a night of top Sport Relief TV on BBC One. There will be even more BBC radio, online and TV coverage throughout the weekend to keep you entertained. By the end of the weekend everyone will be raring to go, when the whole nation comes together to take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile on Sunday 25th March.

To enter the Leominster Mile visit http://my.sportrelief.com/search/event/result?id=734&location=leominster

Posted : 03/02/2012 10:49:52

Time to care for yourself - get the jab that could save your life
As a carer for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own health and wellbeing. The NHS in Herefordshire is making sure all pregnant women, over 65 year olds and people with clinical conditions which put them more at risk, are given the flu jab. At the same time, carers* are being reminded that flu is a risk and that they are important too.

Dr Sarah Aitken, interim director of public health in Herefordshire said: “As a carer you want to do what you can to help and protect your loved ones. However, many carers last winter did not take the opportunity to have a free flu jab, despite making arrangements for their loved ones to have theirs”.

“It’s not just about protecting the carer from getting flu, but also preventing them from passing the virus onto the vulnerable person they are caring for. Getting flu when you already have a long term condition can lead to serious complications and tragically in some cases death, but these can be prevented by having the free vaccine. “

“Unlike other medication for long term conditions, the flu jab is an annual one-off vaccine. There is no live virus in the flu vaccine and it cannot give you the flu. It is a new vaccine each year to fight this year’s flu virus. So please take the time to look after yourself as well as your loved one, get the free jab at your local GP surgery and help protect yourself.”

There are additional ways people can protect themselves and those around them. Good hand hygiene - the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ technique – reduces the spread of germs. This means carrying tissues, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, disposing of the tissue after one use, and cleaning hands as soon as possible with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel.

Posted : 08/11/2011 16:36:24

Your chance to make a difference to broadband
Thousands of questionnaires have been completed to make the case for broadband in the county, but more are needed.

Herefordshire along with Gloucestershire are in the running for having major investment in the broadband network, with national Government money having been allocated to improve speeds and access in rural areas.

This will have a positive impact on the prospects of local businesses and residents being able to access a range of services.

However, to make the most of this investment people in the two counties are being asked to complete a questionnaire to demonstrate demand and need.

The results will be used to show potential suppliers there is a market for broadband in the area and therefore worth contributing their own finance to get the best access and speeds possible.

Questionnaires have been distributed to every house in Herefordshire or can be completed online at www.fastbroadband4herefordshire.org.uk

Posted : 08/11/2011 15:26:36

Herefordshire maps for sale
Herefordshire Council’s Archive Service is to hold a pre Christmas sale of surplus original Ordnance Survey maps dating from 1904 to 1925. The sale will take place at the Record Office in Harold Street, Hereford from 1pm to 4pm on Saturday, November 19.

The maps are on the old scale 25” to the mile, each locality having its own sheet. Prices will be up to £10 per sheet, depending on condition. A wide range of second-hand books on local and general history will also be on sale.

Rhys Griffith, Herefordshire Council’s senior archivist, said: “Our sale is becoming a bit of an annual event and is always really popular. It goes to show how interested people are in local history and in how their communities have changed over time.”

A list of the maps for sale is available on the Archive Service web pages at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/archives.

Posted : 08/11/2011 15:24:41

Children’s services are doing well in Herefordshire
Children and young people in Herefordshire are doing well and the services they receive are continuing to improve. That’s according to Ofsted inspectors who have judged children’s services to be good or better in a report published this week.

The report states that helping our children learn well and stay safe, including getting support through social care, education and family support, have all improved since the last inspection. Inspectors reported that a particular strength is the highly effective arrangements that are in place to support families and cases not requiring intervention. The council has worked with health professionals and other agencies to provide support and help to families before intervention is needed.

The inspectors also looked at how the county’s schools help children and young people with their learning. Most of the early years settings and local authority controlled schools have been judged by Ofsted to be good or better and as a result, our children continue to perform above average at primary school and at GCSE level.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are delighted that Ofsted have recognised the significant improvements made to children’s services in Herefordshire over the last twelve months.

“Herefordshire children and young people have access to some of the country’s finest schools and early years settings and performance continues to improve every year. It is important that we are able to continue supporting schools with the services they need to make sure that every individual child’s potential is realised to the full. This includes supporting families to help them with some of the more difficult issues they face early on. Working in partnership with other organisations is bringing lasting benefits to families and children and we are pleased that Ofsted has recognised this.”

Posted : 08/11/2011 15:21:41

Prince of Wales backs Herefordshire’s bid to put county on food map
His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, has given his backing to a new food strategy for Herefordshire which aims to put the county on the food map.

“From field to table” is a sustainable food and drink strategy for Herefordshire which has been produced by the Herefordshire Food Partnership (HFP) and the Bulmer Foundation.

In his foreword, Prince Charles says the report is “an excellent example of a local community developing the ideas that will support a truly sustainable future.”

This new strategy brings together organisations and people with an interest in Herefordshire’s burgeoning food and drink industry such as the NFU, County Land and Business Association, Duchy of Cornwall, the Bulmer Foundation and others.

A two-year process of public consultation and workshops has led to the 44-page “A Sustainable Food and Drink Strategy for Herefordshire”, which provides a snapshot of all the different food and drink initiatives in the county and is hoped to be a blueprint for future growth and prosperity for the sector.

“This is a chance for us to all work together to improve the opportunities and support for farmers and food producers, I look forward to seeing the plans and programmes bearing fruit,” said Herefordshire NFU chairman Lesley Whistance.

Food Partnership chairman, Adrian Blackshaw, said: “Through the strategy we want to support and promote local producers and encourage the use of local food, throughout the county. I would like to thank all the partners who were involved with the production of this Strategy. The work starts now to deliver the Action Plan.”

Posted : 08/11/2011 15:15:47

London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Route
Herefordshire to be on London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Route

On 27 July, 2012, the eyes of the world will be on London for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games as the Olympic Flame arrives at the Olympic Stadium for the lighting of the cauldron to signify the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In the build up to the start of the event, the Olympic Flame will make its journey from Greece and arrive in the UK on 18 May 2012, ready for the Olympic Torch Relay to begin the following day.

LOCOG are proud to confirm that on May 24 and 25 2012, the Olympic Flame will reach Herefordshire.

Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame through Ledbury, Bartestree, Lugwardine, Hereford and Leominster on May 24 and Ross on May 25, with all communities hosting a welcome on behalf of their surrounding communities.

Representing peace, unity and friendship, the Flame will be carried around the UK towards the stadium carried by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, said: “I am delighted we will be welcoming the Olympic Torch to the county. The Olympic Torch Relay will shine a spotlight on the people and places of Herefordshire and demonstrate that the Olympic spirit is alive and well in the county.

“The chosen route for the Torch means the Flame will be within 10 miles of more than 95 per cent of the UK population and sites on the route will become hubs of activity where people can share in the celebration and excitement together.

“Full details of the Relay will be announced closer to the time, inviting people from across the area to welcome the Olympic Flame in these locations,” he added.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: “This is the UK’s moment to shine and I want to encourage people across Herefordshire to start planning how they can be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational Torchbearers chosen to carry the Olympic Flame as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games.”

Posted : 08/11/2011 15:08:52

Get into the groove with popular storyteller
Herefordshire Council’s library service is offering youngsters a chance to get in the groove with a special storytime session being held at Leominster Library.

The event is on Wednesday, November 9 from 10.30am to 11am, and will be a high energy session for every high energy toddler.

Popular storyteller and musician Sally Tonge will combine telling a traditional story with actions and joining in to the rocking strains of Bon Jovi and ELO.

Youngsters should expect some jazzy twists and the chance to shake their tail feathers in this exciting new approach to sharing stories with Leominster Library youngest borrowers. A visit to the library has never been more exciting or groovy.

Sally Tonge is a well loved creative spinner of stories for under fives nationally and a frequent visitor to under fives settings in Herefordshire.

Posted : 02/11/2011 17:34:21

Waste-busting website attracts 50,000 visitors
The dedicated one-stop shop website offering Herefordshire residents advice on how they can start throwing less in bins and keeping more money in their pockets has attracted 50,000 visitors in its first year.

www.letswasteless.com was designed and set up by Herefordshire Council, in partnership with Worcestershire County Council, to give people of all ages the chance to find out about the many simple ways they can start reducing what they throw out and actually make their waste work for them.

It's packed with useful information on a host of topics including how to start home composting, what residents can pop into their recycling bins, addresses of all household recycling centres across the two counties and what's accepted at them.

In addition it features details of local reuse organisations, how to organise Swap Shops or Swishing events, real life stories of how people have made small changes that can make big differences and much, much more.

The website reached the 50,000 visitors landmark as it celebrated its first anniversary and the council's waste prevention team behind it are as keen as ever to hear from anyone who has a top tip on cutting waste. To share your advice either email letswasteless@worcestershire.gov.uk (including pictures) or telephone 01905 766883.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways, transportation and waste, said: “This website contains a wealth of hints and tips which can help people throw away less and keep more money in their pockets.

“I am delighted that 50,000 visitors have logged onto the website in its first year of operation and I would encourage anyone who hasn't yet visited to take a look at www.letswasteless.com next time they are surfing the internet or browsing the web on their mobile devices.

"For those who have visited the website I'm sure there are many gems still to be found as it updated regularly. If you've got some of your own why not let us know so we can share them online?"

For more information visit www.letswasteless.com or call 01905 766883.

Posted : 02/11/2011 17:27:37

Award-winning museum returns to county
The award-winning Museum on the Move returns to Herefordshire on November 2 for its winter tour. The exhibition on board has been hugely popular, enabling people to discover the story of survival from dinosaurs to dormice.

This bright, interactive and highly absorbing museum experience is unique in that it travels out to venues across Herefordshire and people can see the Museum on the Move at the following:

Saturday, November 5: Leominster Library car park, all day

Saturday, November 5: Hereford Racecourse fireworks celebration, 5.30pm to 8.30pm

Wednesday, November 23: High Town Hereford late night shopping, 5pm to 8pm

Wednesday, November 30: High Town, Hereford late night shopping, 5pm to 8pm

Friday, December 2: High Town, Hereford, 5pm to 8pm

Monday, December 19: High Town, Hereford - all day

Friday, December 23: High Town, Hereford - all day

Even if the day is cold, the Museum on the Move bus will be warm!

For more information, or to book MoM yourself, contact wmeaford@herefordshire.gov.uk or phone 01432 383595

Posted : 02/11/2011 17:25:19

Rural high-speed broadband campaign steps up
Herefordshire’s villages and market towns are a big step closer to getting high-speed broadband, with the launch of a major survey into the demand for improved broadband services.

Survey questionnaires will be delivered to thousands of homes throughout the county to gather evidence on demand for high-speed broadband. An online version of the survey is also available at www.fastbroadband4herefordshire.org.uk. There is also a separate survey for businesses - if you run a local business and live in Herefordshire, you can complete both residential and business surveys.

Herefordshire Council’s broadband champion Cllr Graham Powell said: “These questionnaires are crucial to the process of bringing better broadband access and speeds to Herefordshire. We urge every household and business to complete and return them.

“This survey will provide the hard evidence that there is real demand for superfast broadband in Herefordshire and this is vital if we are to persuade suppliers to invest in our most rural, hard-to-reach areas.”

Parish, town and district councillors are throwing their weight behind the Borders Broadband project – a multi-million pound initiative to secure private investment in a new fast broadband infrastructure for the county’s rural communities.

Borders Broadband, which covers Herefordshire and < ahref="http://www.thesite.coo.uk/england/gloucestershire" title="Gloucestershire" target="_blank">Gloucestershire, has been awarded £14.4 million, making this one of the first parts of the UK to share Government funding for better rural broadband.

Major private sector investment is vital to the project’s success. Public funding is being used to attract a commercial telecoms supplier and persuade them there is significant demand for fast broadband in rural Herefordshire. The results from a survey of households and businesses are essential to help demonstrate that demand.

Telecoms companies are already involved in a complex tendering process to provide the new broadband infrastructure. A contract is expected to be awarded in late spring 2012 with work due to begin soon afterwards.

Meetings have taken place with parish and town councils throughout the county, and a volunteer force of ‘Broadband Champions’ is being recruited to link local communities to the project and help to highlight the benefits of fast broadband. For more details about the Borders Broadband project see www.herefordshire.gov.uk/broadband

Posted : 02/11/2011 17:23:06

Electric Blanket Testing
People living in Leominster will be able to check the safety of their electric blankets at a testing session which is taking place on Wednesday 2 November.

The event, which runs from 10am to 3.30pm, will be held at Leominster Fire Station and will involve Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (H&WFRS) as well as representatives from Age UK, Trading Standards, Local Policing Teams from West Mercia Police and Signposting at Herefordshire Council.

Those attending can take their electric blankets along to be tested and can also get advice on home security, health care and energy efficiency, and other services for older people.

To book your FREE blanket test please make an appointment by calling 01432 347 030. Alternatively, a drop in facility will be available on the day for those who are prepared to wait / collect later.

Posted : 27/10/2011 10:29:24

Take a walk in the ‘Animals of the Forest’ park
A number of carved wooden sculptures have been installed at Herefordshire Council’s Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum and an official launch is being held on Monday, October 17, at 11am.

Elizabeth Banks, in her role as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, will be unveiling one of the sculptures. Elizabeth is also a past chairman of the Queenswood Coronation Fund, the charity associated with Queenswood who raise money for and provide advice on the management of the arboretum. Children from Wellington School will be in attendance.

A tour of the “Animals of the Forest” sculpture trail will then be led by staff from Herefordshire Council’s Countryside Service. The two carvers, Steve Elsby and Harry Thomas, who have produced the sculptures will also be carving on site during the day.

The seven sculptures consist of a range of animals and birds, native and exotic and are located in appropriate areas of the arboretum that reflect the type of habitat they would live in. The trail (a trail guide will be available from the shop at Queenswood and on the council’s web site) will lead visitors through the arboretum providing opportunity for fun and learning as well as appreciation of the sculptures for all ages of visitor to Queenswood.

Funding for the sculptures has come from the government’s Playbuilders scheme. The idea for using the funding for an animal-themed sculpture trail followed the interest shown when Steve Elsby carved a crocodile at Queenswood in the autumn of 2010.

A number of carved wooden sculptures have been installed at Herefordshire Council’s Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum and an official launch is being held on Monday, October 17, at 11am.

Elizabeth Banks, in her role as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, will be unveiling one of the sculptures. Elizabeth is also a past chairman of the Queenswood Coronation Fund, the charity associated with Queenswood who raise money for and provide advice on the management of the arboretum. Children from Wellington School will be in attendance.

A tour of the “Animals of the Forest” sculpture trail will then be led by staff from Herefordshire Council’s Countryside Service. The two carvers, Steve Elsby and Harry Thomas, who have produced the sculptures will also be carving on site during the day.

The seven sculptures consist of a range of animals and birds, native and exotic and are located in appropriate areas of the arboretum that reflect the type of habitat they would live in. The trail (a trail guide will be available from the shop at Queenswood and on the council’s web site) will lead visitors through the arboretum providing opportunity for fun and learning as well as appreciation of the sculptures for all ages of visitor to Queenswood.

Funding for the sculptures has come from the government’s Playbuilders scheme. The idea for using the funding for an animal-themed sculpture trail followed the interest shown when Steve Elsby carved a crocodile at Queenswood in the autumn of 2010.

Posted : 11/10/2011 12:27:44

Open day to showcase future of Grange Court
As part of Herefordshire Council’s project to turn historic Grange Court into a hub for the community, an open day is being held on Tuesday, October 25.

When completed the building will be taken over by the Leominster Area Regeneration Trust and will have an interpretation centre to explain the history of Grange Court and its importance to the town.

LARC has appointed internationally recognised consultancy Imagemakers to create and design this interpretation centre and a series of workshops were held with people from local organisations and groups last month.

The appointment has been made possible because of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Now Imagemakers wants to share their ideas with the wider public and are holding this open day for everyone to see mock-ups of what could be done.

The event in Leominster’s Corn Square runs from 9.30am to 2.30pm and there will be fun for all the family as well with a chance for children to get their faces painted.

Posted : 11/10/2011 12:12:30

Little Bo Peep puppet show at Leominster Library
Herefordshire Council's library service is offering youngsters the chance to have fun this half term at Leominster Library with Sea Legs Puppet Theatre and their new show Little Bo Peep.

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them. Her companion Little Boy Blue is doing his best to help find the woolly runaways but he keeps falling asleep.

Meanwhile, The Nursery Rhyme Man is in his kitchen baking a surprise cake for Little Bo Peep's birthday. As he works a naughty mouse keeps stealing the ingredients.

The show offers youngsters a chance to sing along to their favourite nursery rhymes such as Ten Green Bottles, Hickory Dickory Dock, The Grand Old Duke of York and many, many more.

Mick Ligema, Herefordshire Council's cultural services manager, said: “We try to put on as many events of this kind as we can during school holidays as it not only offers parents a way to keep their youngsters entertained but also shows libraries are fun places to be.

“We have already nearly doubled the number of under fives who come to our libraries and hopefully this show will encourage even more to join and start developing a love for books,” he added.

This is Sea Legs Puppet Theatre's tenth anniversary show and will feature magnificent puppets, fantastic scenery and of course lots of music and singing in a show especially created for children ages two to seven.

Both performances are on October 24. The first performance is from 11am to noon with another showing at 2pm to 3pm Both shows include a 15 minute 'meet the puppets' session at the end. Tickets at £3 each must be purchased in advance as spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

Call Leominster Library on 01432 383290 to make bookings.

Posted : 11/10/2011 12:11:53

Number of under fives using libraries soars
Herefordshire Council’s library service has seen a massive upsurge in the number of children under five using the county’s libraries.

Figures just released show there were 6,550 issues of either books or CD to this age group compared to 3,561 in the same month in 2010.

The upsurge follows a concerted campaign focused on developing strong partnership working in the county.

Mick Ligema, Herefordshire Council’s cultural services manager, said: “The combination of staging extra events at libraries for under fives, promotions and competitions, partly funded by the Every Child a Talker project, has seen this impressive increase in the number of young children using our libraries.

“Books are a vital way to boost a child’s development by learning words and sounds and starting young can also foster a lifelong love of books which will provide much pleasure for many years to come. Our libraries also run popular Bounce and Rhyme sessions which encourage them to learn rhymes and also get used to seeing libraries as fun places to be.

“I would like to thank library staff, health visitors, Home Start, children’s centres, childcare providers and Wye Valley NHS Trust who have all helped to bring more under fives into libraries,” he added.

Posted : 11/10/2011 12:04:39

Calling all county carers
From teenagers to pensioners, from neighbours to friends, there are an estimated 19,000 carers in Herefordshire – but only around 3,000 are registered and receive support themselves.

The startling figures mean there are many teenagers who balance a day in the classroom with caring for a parent or sibling when they get home, yet they may not receive any help or support.

Similarly, many carers are older people that care for their relatives but do not approach the council for support and assistance.

“This is very concerning as there are huge resources these carers can call upon,” said Cllr Patricia Morgan, the council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing.

“Herefordshire Carers Support plays a huge role in supporting those carers it knows about – around 3,000 of them – but we know that in a county of our size there will be around 19,000 carers altogether.

“This is a real concern as there are many out there who could benefit by us supporting them through the provision of services such as respite care, transport and adaptions to homes to make life easier,” added Cllr Morgan.

To try and ensure services provided for carers meet their needs, a programme to engage with them and seek their views is underway – but the council and PCT wants to hear particularly from those who are not registered.

“We hear many tales of youngsters who are at school during the day but spend the rest of the time looking after their parents, brothers or sisters. They need to recognise that they are carers and qualify for a wide variety of support which could improve the quality of their lives and the lives of those they are caring for.

“We know there are those who look after their husband or wife who don’t realise they’re classed as carers. If we know about them, we can support them in so many different ways it will make a huge difference.”

The consultation is being run by Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire in collaboration with Herefordshire Carers Support to seek the views of those who have registered, but the invitation is to all carers in the county to have their say so they can shape the kind of services which are provided to meet their needs.

The major awareness campaign begins this week with a questionnaire which is being distributed to all known carers and will be made available at council and NHS Herefordshire buildings.

It can also be competed on line by visiting http://consult.herefordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/carersstrategy/consultationHome

“Carers come from all walks of life and can be young or old. They carry out a vital service in the county and we just want to make sure we can support them in the best way.

“If you’re a registered carer, please let us know your views, and if you’ve never realised you are a carer, please get in touch to find out what support is available, and tell us what support you need.”

Posted : 11/10/2011 11:59:49

Last gasp for cigarette vending machines in Herefo
This week, the sale of tobacco from vending machines became prohibited across England. The ban has been introduced to prevent under-age sales to children and to support adults who are trying to quit.

Nearly all of adult smokers started smoking before they turned 18 and every year over 300,000 children try smoking for the first time. Of the children who regularly smoke 11 per cent buy their cigarettes from vending machines.

Cigarette vending machines are often unsupervised, making it easy for children to buy cigarettes from them. It is estimated that 35 million cigarettes are sold illegally through vending machines to children every year.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, said: “Smoking is one of the biggest and most stubborn challenges in public health. Over eight million people in England still smoke and it causes more than 80,000 deaths each year.
“Cigarette vending machines are often unsupervised, making it easy for children to purchase cigarettes from them. The ban on cigarette sales from vending machines will protect children by making cigarettes less accessible to them - we want to do everything we can to encourage young people not to start smoking in the first place.”

Dr Sarah Aitken, interim director of public health for Herefordshire, said: “This is great news as a person’s lifetime smoking or non-smoking behaviour is heavily influenced by their decisions in adolescence. Banning the sale of tobacco from vending machines will go a long way towards protecting children and young people from the harmful effects of smoking.

“Tobacco legislation is an important part of public health protection and promotion and our enforcement team will be checking for compliance during their routine inspections.”

The cigarette sales from vending machines is part of Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England that the Government announced on 9 March. It sets out the Department of Health’s aims to reduce smoking rates in England by the end of 2015:

• from 21 per cent to 18.5 per cent or less among adults;
• from 15 per cent to 12 per cent or less among 15 year olds; and
• from 14 per cent to 11 per cent or less among pregnant mothers.

From this week, anyone caught selling cigarettes from a vending machine may be fined up to £2,500. Any person found guilty of displaying cigarette adverts on a vending machine could face imprisonment for up to six months, or a fine of £5,000, or both.
Members of the public are urged to report any vending machines still in use to Herefordshire Council on 01432 261761. For help to quit, call the NHS Smokefree Helpline on 0800 022 4 332 or visit the Smokefree website at www.nhs.uk/smokefree

Posted : 11/10/2011 11:58:04

Harvest time celebrations for Year in the Orchard
As apple harvest begins, Herefordshire Year in the Orchard celebrations reach their height as a busy autumn season of events to celebrate the county’s orchard heritage swing in to action.

October 8th and 9th The Big Apple in Much Marcle; a unique blend of activities in and around orchards combined with traditional cider and perry making

October 8th and 9th Roots and Fruit celebrating 200 years of apple innovation and Church schools on Kingsland’s Millennium Green whose orchard was a shortlisted finalist in the first RHS Pomona Awards.

Over the weekend of Saturday, October 15th and Sunday, October 16th, there are a wealth of events in the county to celebrate orchards, apples, pears and cider making.

Elizabeth Banks, president of the Royal Horticultural Society and patron of Year in the Orchard, is hosting A Celebration of Apples 15th and 16th October at Hergest Croft Gardens Kington, where The Royal Horticultural Society will be bringing its collection of apples to display them alongside the collections of Frank P. Matthews of Tenbury and the Marcher Apple Network. At over 400 varieties it will be one of the largest displays of orchard fruit in the Country this autumn.

Jim Arbury Head of Fruit Cultivation at Wisley will also be on hand to answer questions and identify your apples and pears, and is hoping to encounter more rare varieties such as the Marguerite Marillat pear served in a fruit pie on his last visit!

On Sunday 16th the weekend of family activities, food and plant stalls will climax as the winners of the first Royal Horticultural Society Pomona Awards for Orchards will be announced.

Hereford Cathedral is also holding a major celebration of apples on Saturday, October 15th, starting at 10.30am. The Apple Tree Fair aims to celebrate the Apple Tree pavement mosaic and newly refurbished Cathedral Close, and there will be a wide variety of stalls, music, dancing and family activities.

Leominster’s Apple Fair on Saturday, October 15th, 10am, at the Priory Church will have its usual large display of apples, cider, perry, apple juices, stalls, craft displays and demonstrations.

For those wanting to know more about cider making, the Hereford Cider Museum is holding a cider making festival on Saturday, October 15th , and Sunday, October 16th , with demonstrations of cider making, blacksmithing, beekeeping, apples, pears and children’s activities.

Don’t forget The Hereford Food Festival on 22nd and 23rd October at Hereford Racecourse, where the winners of the Pomona food awards will be announced alongside the usual Flavours prize winners.

Other events coming up are:

Wednesday 25th October: 11am – 3pm The Big Pomona Big Draw event for families at the Museum and Learning Resource Centre, Friar Street Hereford.

Thursday, October 27: Half-term activities for children, Dragon Orchard, Putley, near Ledbury.

Saturday, November 5: Cider-making Day, Dragon Orchard, Putley, near Ledbury.

Tuesday, November 15, 2pm: A walk through Westons Orchards at harvest time with advice on orchard management from Chris Fairs (Bulmers), Tim Dixon (Colwall Orchard Group), Geoff Newman (Natural England) and Janet Lomas (FWAG).

Pommunity Herefordiensis – a range of community organisations fruit tree plantings in late November and through December around the County marking ‘A Year in the Orchard’ from an initiative funded by Herefordshire’s Orchard Topic Group through Herefordshire Council

Sunday, December 4, 11am: Christmas Fair at the Cider Museum, Hereford, with a chance to buy some imaginative gifts with an orchardy flavour and enjoy festive entertainment.

Sunday, December 10: Christmas Decorations from the orchard, Dragon Orchard, Putley, near Ledbury.

Posted : 11/10/2011 11:57:06

How to stop paying through roof for energy bills
Herefordshire Council is supporting an initiative to help businesses benefit from the drive to make homes more energy efficient.

An officer from the council’s private sector housing team will be speaking at an event at Holme Lacy Campus, Herefordshire College of Technology, on Friday, October 21 from 3pm to 5pm to talk about making the county’s homes warm and energy efficient.

He will be joined at the event by Andy Simmonds, Hereford-based Partner of Simmonds.Mills Architects who has just received the first Passivhaus ‘EnerPHit’ certification in the UK for refurbishment and extension works he has carried out on his home in Portfield Street, Hereford.

Simmonds.Mills carried out this ambitious scheme which involved a wide range of energy efficiency measures such as extensive insulation and a 100 per cent draught free construction. These changes have reduced the house’s gas consumption by a massive 80 per cent together with 45 per cent less electricity use.

A builder from Mike Whitfield Construction Ltd, who has experience of installing energy efficiency measures will also be attending this event, which is being staged as part of h.Energy Week.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “I was able to attend the unveiling of the EnerPhit plaque at Andy’s home Grove Cottage and was also fascinated to learn more about the technologies he has used to achieve such a massive reduction in energy costs.

“These measures not only help households to reduce their bills but also offer a great opportunity for businesses in the county to develop skills to carry out similar schemes.

“The Government’s Green Deal will establish a framework to enable private companies to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost, and recoup payments through a charge in instalments on the building’s energy bill. It would be great if local contractors has the skills to carry out this work.

“This event will offer a chance to find out more about improving energy efficiency in all building projects and I would urge anyone interested to make sure they book to attend,” he added.

Bookings can be made by calling 01497 831194 or sending an email to dave@herefordshirenewleaf.org.uk

Posted : 11/10/2011 11:54:22

Chance to try something new - Older People's Day
Herefordshire Council’s sports development team has teamed up with halo leisure, the British Red Cross and Visit Herefordshire, to provide a series of taster sessions and fun activities aimed at encouraging people to be more active.

The UK Older People’s Day is in its fifth year in October this year and to celebrate in Herefordshire there will be a tea dance, historical walk, sing-along sessions as well as a chance to try out a series of free taster sessions at halo leisure centres, including zumba, spinning, body pump, yoga and fitball.

There is also a chance to try a snorkelling session at Leominster leisure pool while Hereford leisure pool is offering free health MOTs.

Shirley Goodwin-Jones, Herefordshire Council’s specialist physical activity development officer, said: “These events are aimed to show people that whatever their age there is an activity suitable for them and by taking exercise they can vastly improve their health and well being.

“Many of the activities also include a chance to socialise as this is also very important for people’s mental health, especially if they are alone.

“National UK Older People’s Day is aimed at anyone over the age of 45 and this is why we have also, thanks to our leisure partner halo, been able to include some activities that will appeal to the more young at heart and active such as spinning, zumba and snorkelling, and offer them a chance to try something new,” she added.

Events start with a Singalong with Karen on Friday, September 30 at Cleveham Court, Colwall, with songs from the 1930s to 1960s with a chance to dance along as well as try out some percussion instruments. This event runs from 5pm to 7pm and the fee of £4.50 includes refreshments. The British Red Cross has organised this event and can also provide transport by calling 01432 373039.

Then there is a free guided historical walk of Hereford on Sunday, October 2 at 11am, meeting at the Discover Herefordshire Centre. This is being led by Liz Hill and provided by Visit Herefordshire.

There will also be a tea dance on the same day from 2pm to 4.30pm at All Seasons School of Dance which will include a mixture of ballroom, Latin and sequence dance together with a cream tea and live music. The dance costs £2 and transport can be arranged by contacting the British Red Cross on 01432 373020.

Free halo taster sessions are running throughout Saturday, October 1, and are:

Leominster Leisure Centre 0845 24 12 540

Aqua Zumba Class (11am-11.45am); Snorkelling Session (11.45am-12.15pm); Swimming Stroke Development/Non Swimming Coaching Session (12.15pm-12.45pm); tea/coffee and cake – an opportunity to discuss exercise with halo’s team of fitness instructors (1pm-1.30pm); Introduction to Spin (indoor cycling group exercise class, 1.30pm-2pm); Introduction to Body Pump Class (full body conditioning, weight bearing workout using bar bells – suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, 2.15pm-2.45pm).

Hereford Leisure Pool – 0845 24 12 562 – please call the Centre for details of timings or visit www.haloleisure.org.uk

Dance Mat Workouts (similar to the Wii exercises your children and grandchildren enjoy); free health MOTs (Fitness Mapping, Body Statistic Analysis, Blood Pressure Monitoring), Aqua Fit Group Exercise Class (30-minute class running throughout the day); Green Workout (Fitness Instructor led Power Walk around the meadows by the Leisure Pool)

Hereford Leisure Centre – 0845 24 10 978
Fitball (fun group exercise class using stability balls to focus on core strength and stability and all round conditioning, 9.45am-10.15am); Gentle Mobility Circuit (10.30am-11am); Yoga (11.30am to noon); Zumba Dance Workout (9am-9.30pm)

Ross Swimming Pool - 0845 24 12 570 - please call the Centre for details of timings or visit www.haloleisure.org.uk

Introduction to safe and fun Weight Lifting Workouts (suitable for all ages and abilities); Swimming session

Ledbury Swimming Pool - 0845 24 12 579 - please call the Centre for details of timings or visit www.haloleisure.org.uk

Introduction to safe and fun Weight Lifting Workouts (suitable for all ages and abilities); Swimming Session

Bromyard Centre – 0845 24 10 980

10.00 am Strength Training for health

11.00 am Body Balance (a mix of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates)

11.00 am Zumba (fun dance moves for fitness)

12.15 pm Circuits for tone and fitness

There will also be archery (11 – 12), Short Mat Bowls (11- 12) and the opportunity to play Badminton from 9.00am through to 1.00 pm. Personal trainers will be available from 9 – 1 to do health checks, give lifestyle advice and give you a taster of the gym.

For more information about any of the events log onto www.herefordshire.gov.uk and www.haloleisure.co.uk

Posted : 26/09/2011 12:37:19

NHS prepares for flu vaccination programme
NHS Herefordshire is urging residents to get their flu jabs before the seasonal flu virus takes hold later in the autumn.

The vaccine, which includes an inoculation against the H1N1 virus, is due to arrive in the county and will be distributed to GP practices and the Wye Valley NHS Trust over the next few weeks.

The vaccine is offered free to those who are at risk of developing complications if they contract flu which includes: pregnant women, individuals aged 65 years, carers of vulnerable adults and those in the at risk groups under the age of 65 years*.

Dr Sarah Aitken, interim director of public health, said: “This year’s seasonal flu vaccine will protect against the H1N1 virus strain (swine flu). The H1N1 virus can cause serious respiratory complications in pregnant women and individuals with underlying medical conditions, so we are very keen to make sure that these groups in particular, take up the offer of a vaccine this year.”

“We also want to make sure that people who care for vulnerable people, paid or unpaid, have the vaccine. By doing so they can help protect others by not unwittingly spreading the virus to patients.”

Seasonal flu is a highly contagious acute viral infection that affects people of all ages. H1N1 is a different strain of flu, but the symptoms are the same. It typically starts suddenly with fever, chills, headache, aching muscles, general prostration and a cough or other respiratory symptoms. Most people recover without complications in one to two weeks. However, flu can be serious in the very young, the elderly and other vulnerable groups, particularly pregnant women or those with heart problems, diabetes, diseases of the lungs, liver or kidneys or those who have weak immune systems.

In a drive to improve the take up of the flu vaccine, particularly amongst pregnant women, NHS Herefordshire and Wye Valley NHS Trust have joined forces to provide detailed information to all pregnant women through their midwives.

The vaccine is provided free of charge to all eligible individuals through their GP. If you are aged 65 and over or in the at-risk group or you are pregnant, then please contact your practice for you free flu jab.

Notes: *Individuals aged under 65 years are eligible for free flu vaccine if they have one of the following medical conditions:

• Chronic heart disease
• Chronic Respiratory disease
• Chronic kidney disease
• Chronic liver disease
• Chronic neurological disease including stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
• Diabetes
• Immunosuppression

Posted : 23/09/2011 14:45:26

Residents urged to have their say
Herefordshire residents are being urged to have their say on plans being made for the number of homes, jobs, shops and leisure facilities to be created in the county over the next 20 years.

After a series of public consultations, a revised blueprint for future planning in the county has now been drawn up, which takes into account concerns raised by residents as well as changes brought about by central government and the slowdown in the economy.

The major change is a reduction in the number of houses to be built in the county over the next 20 years from 900 a year to 825 a year, out of which the number in Hereford city will come down from 425 a year to 325 a year.

The plan also aims to help the economic well being of the county by making land available for better paid jobs in Hereford and the market towns as well as expanding Hereford’s city centre shops, leisure facilities and offices.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “Work is already starting on an expanded city centre and we also have an enterprise zone to attract new businesses so it is important we can provide the right variety of housing for these new workers.

“We really need to both keep young and working age people in the county as well as attract them here so we can create a vibrant economy and make our businesses and schools more sustainable in the future.

“All the evidence shows we need to build 825 homes in the county every year to support the growth we would expect from this thriving economy.

“The blueprint also includes building 265 of the county’s new homes every year in rural areas so we can provide more affordable homes in these generally more expensive parts of our county and support families to stay in areas they have grown up in rather than being forced to move away,” he added.

As part of this next round of consultations, planners are holding a series of meetings covering every one of the council’s 58 wards. Anyone with particular issues they wish to raise is advised to contact their own ward councillor directly.

There are also leaflets available in all county Info centres and libraries and the documents can also be accessed by logging onto www.herefordshire.gov.uk/ldf

The consultation runs until November 28 and then all comments will be considered before seeking final approval of the document in spring 2012.

Comments can be sent to a Freepost address Local Development Framework, Licence Number RRJX-TLSH-SCYH, Freepost, Forward Planning, Herefordshire Council, PO Box 4 Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 OXH or email ldf@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 22/09/2011 11:24:59

Herefordshire in top 10 for using solar power
Herefordshire has been named in the Top 10 local authority areas for its use of photovoltaic panels to create renewable energy.

The listing comes from the AEA Microgeneration Index which looks at how well Government incentives such as the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) are working throughout the country.

Under the FIT scheme, installations receive an attractive 'cash back' payment for every kWh of electricity generated. The tariff levels depend on the type of technology and the size of the system but have been set at a level that should provide a return on investment of between five per cent and eight per cent.

The scheme has been set up to encourage householders to install low carbon technologies which will not only reduce their energy bills but also cut carbon emissions and the country's reliance on fossil fuels.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “The council has been actively supporting residents in having photovoltaic panels installed on both homes and community buildings and I am delighted the county has received such a high rating.

“We are hoping the government's flagship Green Deal energy saving plan will further build on this and support many more householders to install low carbon technologies in the future. This means that from next year people will be able to access up to £10,000 up front to pay for energy efficiency works and repay the costs through savings on energy bills,” he added.

Tips on making your homes more energy efficient can be found by logging onto the website www.herefordshire.gov.uk and following the links to housing.

County residents can also find out more about low carbon technologies at the annual h.Energy week which runs from October 15 to 23. This event provides an opportunity for people leading the way to share what they have learnt with others around Herefordshire; and for those wondering where to begin, it offers a range of ideas, activities and workshops.

The ultimate objective of h.Energy week is to demonstrate that using renewable local resources, avoid waste and reducing energy usage is just common sense, as fuel prices continue to rise and the economy continues to struggle.

For more information about h.Energy week, log onto www.herefordshirenewleaf.org.uk

Posted : 21/09/2011 14:44:36

Bid for faster broadband - make your voice heard
Plans to bring high-speed broadband to rural Herefordshire move up a gear this week (week beginning 12 September) as a major survey begins in the county’s parishes and market towns.

An area covering large parts of south Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean was among the first in the UK to receive Government funding to bring improved broadband services to remote rural areas.

Companies are already involved in a complex tendering process to provide broadband infrastructure, seeking the best delivery in the shortest timescale and for the best value.

Improved broadband services will be introduced initially in south Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean, and will then be extended throughout Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

The Borders Broadband project is managed by a partnership of Herefordshire Council, GFirst (Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership), Gloucestershire County Council, and Government agency, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Local Broadband Champion volunteers are being recruited throughout south Herefordshire to work within their local community, passing on information on the project’s progress, highlighting the benefits of high-speed broadband and demonstrating demand for the new services.

Over the next few weeks information leaflets and questionnaires will be delivered to 24,000 homes and businesses in south Herefordshire, to gather evidence on demand for high-speed broadband. An online version of the survey is also available – visit www.fastbroadband4herefordshire.org.uk

Herefordshire Council’s broadband champion Cllr Graham Powell said: “These questionnaires are crucial to the process of bringing superfast broadband to Herefordshire. We urge every household and business to complete and return them.”

“This will provide the hard evidence that there is real demand for superfast broadband in Herefordshire – this is vital if we are to persuade suppliers to invest in our most rural, hard-to-reach areas.”

“And we would really like to hear from anybody interested in becoming a Local Broadband Champion for their community. This is a real chance to stand up and make a difference.”

If you would like to become a broadband champion, please contact: Graham Powell grahampowell@herefordshire.gov.uk or Fast Broadband4Herefordshire organiser David Sheppard david@davidsheppard.com

Posted : 08/09/2011 20:39:58

Gully top thefts in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council’s contracting partner Amey is urging motorists to be vigilant after a two week spate of gully top thefts.

Gullies are found at the edge of all roads and capture rain water. The gratings on top of the gullies, or drain covers, are made of cast iron and the recent thefts have been to rising scrap metal prices.

Thefts have been reported on a daily basis from 40 locations across the county including Hereford City, Leominster, Withington, Wellington and Credenhill. Currently 131 gully tops have been reported stolen and the number continues to grow. The missing gratings can cause a hazard to motorists and cyclists so highway users are urged to exercise extra caution when using the roads.

Amey is reacting to all reports of missing gully tops and making the areas as safe as possible until replacements are delivered.

In the meantime, both the council and Amey are appealing to residents who see anyone acting suspiciously on the roads around the county, to report them to Herefordshire Council on 01432 261800.

Posted : 01/09/2011 10:39:04

Car park to close for relining works
Herefordshire Council is advising motorists that the Broad Street car park in Leominster will be closed on Sunday, September 11, so relining works can be carried out.

This date has been chosen to minimise disruption to commuters who use this popular car park during weekdays.

Herefordshire Council apologises for any inconvenience and thanks motorists for their co-operation by not parking on the car park for this day.

Posted : 30/08/2011 10:28:47

Herefordshire celebrates GCSE results
Students are celebrating high achievement across the county once again after receiving their GCSE results.

All schools have their own success stories: overall in Herefordshire there was an increase in students achieving five or more GCSE* passes from 80 percent to 86 percent. In the national benchmark measure of five or more GCSEs at grade C and above including English and mathematics, the percentage has increased from 55 percent to 58 percent this year.

The proportion of young people achieving five or more GCSE passes has improved across the county with Herefordshire schools performing well above the 2010 national average.
Some schools have shown significant improvements: Lady Hawkins High School is celebrating a 16 percent improvement on this measure taking the percentage of students achieving five or more GCSEs to 83 percent. Other schools to note are Aylestone Business and Enterprise College whose results show a12 percent improvement (89 percent), and St Mary’s RC High School with an 11 percent improvement (95 percent).

The top three schools achieving five or more GCSE passes including English and mathematics at grade C and above are Wigmore High School (75 percent), Queen Elizabeth High School (75 percent) and Fairfield High School (72 percent). The top three schools achieving five or more GCSEs grade C and above are Wigmore High School at 98.9 percent, Fairfield High School at 98.7 percent and Queen Elizabeth High School at 95.8 percent.

Furthermore, across the county the percentage of students gaining an A*-C grade in English improved by six percent and those gaining an A*-C grade in mathematics improved by three percent.

Councillor Price, cabinet member for corporate services and education, said: “I am very pleased to see that we have again increased the percentage of students in Herefordshire who have achieved grades C and above, including English and maths. This is clearly becoming the benchmark for employers.

“The business community is increasingly demanding that students have good English and mathematics GCSE grades when they are interviewing young people for jobs. They are also looking for students who have a foreign language GCSE.

“Congratulations to all those who have achieved GCSEs this year, particularly those who have managed to obtain five A-C grades, including English, mathematics and a foreign language.”

Posted : 26/08/2011 13:07:50

Jobs fair helps job seekers
People looking for employment are invited to explore career opportunities with local businesses at a jobs fair extra in September.

Herefordshire Council, NHS Herefordshire and Wye Valley NHS Trust have teamed up with the Job Centre Plus and for the third year running are hosting the Jobs Fair Extra which takes place on Thursday September 8th from 10am to 2pm at the Shire Hall in Hereford.

There are more than 20 employers involved this year, including Argos, Cargill, Amey, Hereford Housing, The Entertainer Toy Store, Polytec Holden and Matlock Security to name a few.

The day will also include advice from local training agencies to help provide information on courses and training that are available such as Pertemps People Development Group and JHP Employablility.

The aim of the day is help those looking for work, or for a career change in Herefordshire to find employment, develop their careers and learn about the wide range of opportunities available to them.

They will also be providing workshop sessions to help people write or improve their CVs, job applications and interviewing skills, and offering advice and support for people who are thinking about becoming self employed.

Anyone keen to book onto one of the application and interview skills sessions, is advised to ring 01432 260028.

Editor's Note: If you are looking for a job in Herefordshire, you could also try Herefordshire Jobs or Jobs365

Posted : 26/08/2011 13:02:39

Blue-green blooms at Bodenham Lake
Samples of water taken at Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve have indicated the presence of blue-green algae creating an algal 'bloom'

It is thought that the naturally forming blue-green algae blooms usually occur after a warm, wet period of weather in late summer or autumn. They usually disappear in cold weather.

Blue-green algae exist in fresh waters in Great Britain and throughout the world; they are noticed when their concentrations increase to form 'blooms' and when they form a surface scum - looking like blue-green paint or pea soup - or when they collect on the shore line as a blue-green sludge.

Blue-green algae in these visible concentrations are potentially harmful to livestock, pets and humans if ingested or through contact with skin. Swallowing the water or algae scum can cause stomach upsets or more serious health effects. Contact with the water or with algae scum can also cause skin irritation and rashes. It is a sensible precaution for all visitors to the Lake to keep their dogs on a lead and avoid all contact with the water or the algae

Notices have been posted in the car park and next to the lake warning that contact with the algae should be avoided and the council's youth service is cancelling all forthcoming water-based activities. The council's website has also been updated to include a warning.

The behaviour of algae is erratic and the level of toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and mixing and re-accumulate at any time. Please check the onsite signs or the website for up-to-date details and for the “all clear” information.

The orchard and bird hide are both still fully accessible and the car park will remain open as normal: dawn-dusk daily.

Posted : 26/08/2011 11:47:57

First-ever Herefordshire Food Week tastes success
Herefordshire Council’s first-ever week-long celebration of good food in Herefordshire led to high visitor numbers and very happy producers across the county last week.

Many food producers put on special events during Herefordshire Food Week (August 13 to 21). Wye Valley Brewery had free tastings to help their research into new hop varieties and the Farmers Market put on a burger bar using ingredients from the stalls in the city centre.

“For some food producers it’s been the first time they have opened and they’ve been surprised at the numbers of visitors interested in what they are doing,” says co-ordinator Andy Dawson from Herefordshire Council.

A Cook’s Kitchen at Dunkertons Cider Mill produced a unique Food Week menu and Oliver’s Cider made special label perry and cider.

“We also had a visit from the Great British Food Cyclist Tim Keates who is on a John O’Groats to Lands End quest for all the best food in the UK,” says Mr Dawson. “He first stopped off at British Cassis for a gala evening in celebration of Herefordshire food and then called on Once Upon a Tree for cider refreshment the next day.”

Local bike group Come Cycling Ledbury came out to meet him at the orchard and escort him back to Ledbury.

Food Week is to be an annual event and any producers wishing to become involved next year should contact Andy Dawson on 01432 383064.

Posted : 22/08/2011 17:05:14

Herefordshire A-level students celebrate results
Students in Herefordshire’s high schools are celebrating their A-level successes following the publication of results this week. Once again, the hard work of students and teachers has paid off, with schools maintaining high standards and improving their performance from last year.

The number of students staying on to study post-16 courses continues to increase – this year the county experienced the largest recorded entry for A-levels and equivalent qualifications for schools in Herefordshire.

John Kyrle High School in Ross-on-Wye and John Masefield High School in Ledbury had an impressive overall pass rate of 100 percent with 87 percent of A-level grades in both schools being at grade C and above. Particularly impressive is the number of students achieving the very top grades of A*-B.

At John Masefield, 37 percent of the grades achieved were A* or A, an improvement of four percent on last year’s already high figure. At John Kyrle, where there was a record A-level entry this year, an impressive 60 percent of grades were at A*-B.

Earl Mortimer College in Leominster achieved a 93.4 percent A-level pass rate with an 100 percent pass rate in several subjects with results in A-level equivalent vocational subjects the best ever achieved by the college. Over half the students achieved the top Distinction or Distinction* grades (A* and A level equivalents).

Lady Hawkins High School in Kington achieved a very creditable 92 percent A-level pass rate and 55 percent of grades awarded to students were at grade C and above with 31 percent at A*-B.

Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for corporate services and education, said: “Congratulations to all our schools for helping our students achieve such good results once again. All Herefordshire high schools can celebrate individual student or subject successes.

“A great many of our students are off to their first choice university or into the world of work. On behalf of Herefordshire Council, I wish them the very best for the future.”

Posted : 22/08/2011 10:34:53

Residents urged to have their “Moment to shine"
Herefordshire Council is urging county residents to give deserving people their “moment to shine” by nominating them as Olympic torch bearers.

The nomination programme run by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOGOC) has now closed but there is still a chance to nominate people through Torch Relay presenting partners Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

Stephen Ashton, Herefordshire’s Olympics 2012 officer, said: “Early indications from the LOGOC nomination programme show that every area has a wide range of deserving people nominated to carry the torch as part of the relay.

“These nominations will now be going to a selection panel and all nominees who have got to this stage will be contacted before September 16.

“There have been 14 nominations for every one of the 2,012 places on offer through this scheme and it is inspiring that so many deserving people have been recognised.

“In October, selection panels will meet to go through the final list of nominations and the chosen torchbearers will then be contacted in December.

“There are, however, some 8,000 places available altogether and I people can still nominate deserving candidates through the presenting partners whose schemes are still open. We are specifically looking for 12 to 24 year olds so if you know someone, please put them forward now.

“People can nominate through Coca-Cola on www.cokezone.co.uk (deadline September 5 2011), Lloyds TSB at www.lloydstsb.com/carrytheflag (deadline September 12 2011) or Samsung www.samsung.com/london2102 (deadline September 30),” he added.

Posted : 22/08/2011 10:18:49

Car parking charges to rise for first time in 3yrs
Herefordshire Council is to raise car parking in Leominster for the first time in three years but free car parking will still be available in the Etnam Street car park and in the Central Area.

There will be free parking after 6pm and on Bank Holidays but charges will be introduced for Sudnay parking, in line with neighbouring authorities.

Parking on a Sunday will be free in Etnam Street and the Central Area and will be capped at £2 for all other council-owned car parks.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, transportation and waste, said: “People using car parks in Leominster have paid the same prices for the past three years despite rising inflation and the increase in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent.

“We need to raise charges so we can continue to maintain the car parks to a high standard as well as ensuring we can cope with budgetary pressures following the Government’s reduction in funding.

“The fact people can still park all day in Leominster for £1 is incredible value for money when compared with neighbouring towns such as Ludlow where it could be £4.80 in Ludlow and £3 in Tenbury Wells.

“We realise car parks are vital to the vitality of the town and have kept the increases to a reasonable level as well as keeping evenings and Bank Holidays free. We have also kept the short-stay parking in the central area free of charge as this means more spaces will be available for people needing to access town centre shops and services,” he added.

The new charges will be advertised prior to coming into effect on November 1, 2011.

Posted : 19/08/2011 14:10:36

Chance to conserve traditional fruit trees
Herefordshire Council Countryside Service is inviting local people to help conserve some of the county’s unique varieties of fruit trees.

To help celebrate Herefordshire’s Year in the Orchard, Herefordshire Council Countryside Service is offering local variety fruit trees for sale. Gennet Moyle, King’s Acre Pippin and Herefordshire Pomeroy are just a few of the traditional varieties of fruit tree on offer.

Two hundred years ago Thomas Andrew Knight published his beautifully illustrated Pomona Herefordiensis, the first book to catalogue in detail varieties of apple and pear. A renowned horticulturist, Knight helped to found what became the Royal Horticultural Society and in 1811 became its second President. To commemorate this landmark publication, 2011 has been designated Herefordshire Year in the Orchard.

James Bisset, Principal Countryside Officer, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to help preserve some of these old, traditional varieties of fruit trees, many of which are in danger of disappearing altogether, as well as enjoying some delicious home-grown fruit as part of your ‘five a day’.”

The fruit trees, including seven varieties of apple, two cherries and two quinces, can be ordered from the Countryside Service by downloading the form available on www.herefordshire.gov.uk/fruittrees or requesting a form by emailing orchards@herefordshire.gov.uk or telephoning 01432 260073. Collection of ordered trees and a “cash and carry” sale of any spare trees takes place at Queenswood Country Park, Dinmore Hill between 1pm and 7pm on Friday 25th or 10am and 4pm on Saturday 26th November 2011.

There is a limited number of trees of each variety available so early ordering is recommended to avoid disappointment – or turn up on the collection weekend and take pot-luck!

The Fruit Tree Initiative is part of Herefordshire’s ‘Year in the Orchard’ celebrations. For more information, visit www.yearintheorchard.org

Posted : 18/08/2011 09:17:32

Celebrating Herefordshire’s Orchard Heritage
Herefordshire Council invites community groups to plant specially grown local fruit trees to celebrate Herefordshire’s Year in the Orchard.

Community groups in Herefordshire are being invited to plant specially grown fruit trees to help celebrate the county’s rich orchard heritage and the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pomona Herefordiensis, the first scientific based, colour illustrated Pomona, or book of apples, by Thomas Andrew Knight, the eminent horticulturalist and Herefordian.

Herefordshire Council’s countryside service, which has successfully bid for a grant from the ‘Big Tree Plant Fund and working with Trees for Life nursery, is making more than 200 local variety apple trees available free to community groups in the county. The trees are being supplied as 70 special Pommunity Herefordiensis tree packs. Each pack of three trees includes one of each local variety apple, specially grown for the project - Downton Pippin, Stoke Edith Pippin and Herefordshire Russet.

Community groups are being invited to apply for one of the tree packs, to be planted on publicly accessible land. The applicants are encouraged to involve the wider community in caring for the trees.

James Bisset, Principal Countryside Officer, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for community groups to reconnect with Herefordshire’s orchard heritage by planting a collection of local variety apple trees.”

Initially only one Pommunity Herefordiensis tree pack will be allocated per community - however, should spare packs be available after the application closing date these will be shared out between those applicants indicating they are interested in taking extra trees.

The closing date for applications is September 14, 2011. Applications will then be assessed, Pommunity Herefordiensis tree packs allocated and all applicants contacted by the end September.

The trees will be supplied bare-root and will need to be collected from Queenswood Country Park on Friday 25th or Saturday 26th November 2011 - the perfect time of year for planting and during National Tree Week.

Pommunity Herefordiensis is part of Herefordshire’s ‘Year in the Orchard’ celebrations. For more information visit www.yearintheorchard.org

Posted : 18/08/2011 09:16:21

Herefordshire ahead in race for rural broadband
Rural Herefordshire is ahead of the game in the national race for faster broadband.

The Government’s announcement today (Tues, August 16) of £363m to improve broadband in rural areas includes cash already allocated to Herefordshire via the local Borders Broadband project.

Managed by a partnership of Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership Gfirst, Gloucestershire County Council and Government agency Broadband Delivery UK, the project is making good progress.

Potential suppliers of broadband infrastructure are already involved in the complex tendering process, seeking the best delivery in the shortest timescale and for the best value. A contract is expected to be awarded in May 2012.

An area covering large parts of south Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean was among the first in the UK to receive Government funding last autumn, to bring high-speed broadband to rural areas otherwise not considered commercially viable.

Improved broadband services will be introduced initially in south Herefordshire and rolled out throughout the county.

Herefordshire’s funding allocation, included in today’s Government announcement, is £6,350,000, to “pump-prime” improved broadband services throughout the county.

Local parishes and market towns are being consulted, and local broadband champion volunteers have been recruited to work within their local communities.

They will pass on information on the project’s progress, highlight the benefits of high-speed broadband and provide evidence of demand for better services.

Cllr Graham Powell, Herefordshire Council broadband champion, said: “The south of the county was among the first areas chosen for introducing improved broadband services to rural areas, making Herefordshire very much ahead of the game.

“We’re now entering a very exciting phase in which our rural communities can really begin to play a vital role in the arrival of faster, better broadband services in Herefordshire.”

Posted : 16/08/2011 15:27:39

Chance to influence the future of housing services
Herefordshire Council is looking for feedback on its joint housing strategy which tackles such problems as affordable housing and making sure there are enough homes for vulnerable people.

The Joint Housing Strategy, which covers Herefordshire and Shropshire, is currently at the draft stage and the council is seeking the views of local residents and partner organisations it works with before it finalises the strategy.

The Consultation period runs until Friday, September 30.

Cllr Brian Wilcox, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “We’re keen to seek the views of our residents and partner organisations on this important key strategy for the delivery of housing services in Herefordshire.

“The joint strategy with Shropshire will enable the sharing of resources and enable us to work together to achieve positive and cost effective outcomes for local residents.”

Herefordshire and Shropshire are two of the largest and most sparsely populated areas of England and face similar challenges in a time of significant reductions in funding for public services.

Joint challenges include:

• A lack of affordable housing throughout Herefordshire.
• Suitable housing for vulnerable people to live independently.
• High levels of fuel poverty.
• Improving the condition of homes across Herefordshire.
• Preventing Homelessness in Herefordshire.

“It’s important that local people are involved in key decisions to help shape our services and assist with the delivery of effective housing services which provide positive outcomes for the future. We want as many as possible to have their say,” added Cllr Wilcox.

Full details of the strategy can be found at
http://consult.herefordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/HfdsandShropsHousingstrategy/consultationHome and copies of the strategy are also available at libraries and council main receptions.

Additionally, copies of the Joint Housing Strategy and response form can be requested from Herefordshire Council by telephoning 01432 383421 or by emailing cjackson@herefordshire.gov.uk.

The full consultation draft document and response form are also available at the West Housing Market Area Partnership website: www.westhousingpartnership.co.uk.

The strategy will be published by the end of 2011.

Posted : 16/08/2011 14:55:51

Residents can get grants for renewables
Herefordshire Council is backing a government scheme which offers money to county householders so they can invest in renewable heating technologies such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps and biomass boilers.

The Renewable Heat Premium Payments scheme has been launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change which offers one-off payments to householders.

It is planned to expand the scheme next year when the Green Deal will come into effect.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “It is important that people considering installing these technologies know grants are available and apply for them. The government will be using this scheme to gauge public opinion and also see which technologies perform best.

“The scheme offers various payments to households in order to assist with the capital cost of installing such technologies and greater payments are available for households that are not connected to the gas mains, which is particularly relevant in Herefordshire,” he added.

Householders can apply for the grants now by calling 0800 512012 or by logging onto www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

The only condition of the scheme is that homes must have basic energy efficiency measures such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation installed.

Councillor Wilcox added: “We are currently supporting Domestic and General Insulation Ltd who are offering free loft or cavity wall insulation to all county households so if anyone wants to take advantage of this offer I would urge them to call 01432 377050 as soon as possible,” he added.

Posted : 08/08/2011 18:41:37

Patients to get stronger voice in Herefordshire
A new, independent health and social care watchdog is to be launched in Herefordshire as part of a national drive to make the NHS more accountable to patients.

Called HealthWatch, it will be run by volunteers who will monitor and scrutinise health and social care services in Herefordshire, champion people’s views and provide an independent advocacy service to help people who wish to complain about services.

Herefordshire HealthWatch has just been awarded relatively unique Pathfinder Status to enable the county to pilot this new government initiative aimed at placing patients and public at the heart of the NHS.

Allan Lloyd, Herefordshire’s HealthWatch Lead, welcomed the news: “The voice of the people is vital in enhancing local health and social care services. HealthWatch will work on their behalf, making sure people and patients know their rights and can enjoy the best possible services.”

He expressed his appreciation for the assistance received in completing the application for Pathfinder Status from representatives of Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire Patient Advice and Liaison Service and added that he ready to grasp the challenge with enthusiasm.

Cllr Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Health and wellbeing is everybody’s responsibility - whether it is sharing views about how services could be improved, or looking after our own health.

“We want to create effective services, influenced and designed by local people and healthcare experts which meet the needs of patients in Herefordshire. HealthWatch will be a key partner to help us achieve that.”

HealthWatch will work with all the stakeholders in the county’s health and social care, and is set to play a vital role in bringing patient voices to the fore as new services are designed and delivered.

Posted : 05/08/2011 18:42:05

Eat and drink your way around Herefordshire
Twenty five food producers open their doors to visitors this August in the first county food tour set in the rolling hills of deepest Herefordshire.

Cider, vodka, wine, chocolates, ice cream and organic produce will all be available to sample while getting a behind the scenes look during the first ever Herefordshire Food Week running from August 13 to 21.

Many producers are opening for the first time and some are putting on special events to attract visitors.

“This is a chance for foodies and families to visit some of the best food makers in the UK, at home,” says organiser Andy Dawson, creative industries co-ordinator for Herefordshire Council which has organised the event.

“You get to see how they grow and make food and drink, sample the delicious results and all set in one of the most unspoilt rural havens in the UK,” he added.

Visitors will use a free brochure to plan their own itinerary around as many food locations as they like. Big yellow Food Week signs in hedgerows and on farm gates will help them find their way to some of the remote producers.

The week is revving up with lots of additional events and happenings being added at the last moment! We have Food Champion Just Rachel Desserts hosting an evening of puddings on Monday night and the Great British Food Cyclist freewheeling his way through the county on Thursday and Friday.

The week kicks off at Mayfields Brewery offering a tour of their facilities in Leominster – 2pm Saturday 13th. Even further north at Lower Buckton local foodista Carolyn Chesshire will be offering her famous and unique “cook-demos” on Tuesday – book now for a feast for the eyes and mouth.

Thursday sees the Hereford Farmers Market get underway with a children’s’ quiz and family BBQ. There will be a prize draw too – 9am to 2pm in the High Town.

And during Thursday we expect the arrival of Tim Keates on an ancient butcher’s bike that he has peddled all the way from John O’Groats in his three-week quest for good food in the UK. British Cassis will be hosting him that night for a gala evening of local food, and then on Friday Tim will set off across the county on his way to Land’s End.

Saturday 20th sees the big open day at Wye Valley Brewery with free tours and tutored beer tastings plus live music and competitive BBQ demonstration.

Tastings all week
The Discover Hereford tourism shop in Hereford city centre will be offering a range of tasting of local food each day (closed Sundays) during the Food Week.

Posted : 04/08/2011 20:02:46

Residents welcome new Noise Response Team
Herefordshire residents are already responding well to the council’s new night-time Noise Response team which will be operating throughout the county this summer.

The idea behind the new team is to ensure residents complaining of unreasonable noisy parties or neighbours during the summer have a dedicated number to call and environmental health officers will be able to visit addresses and deal with the problems there and then.

Marc Willimont, Herefordshire Council’s regulatory services manager, said: “With the long summer evenings, many people hold barbecues and parties but sometimes these cause unacceptable noise nuisance to their neighbours.

“Before this team was set up, people would have to wait until after the weekend to report such incidents but now we are able to respond when the nuisance is actually happening.

“So far we have been able to stop noisy parties by speaking to the people involved but the environmental health officers will also have powers to serve noise abatement notices if necessary.

“The service has been well received by residents who have told us it is a much welcomed service because noise can cause such a blight to people’s lives,” he added.

The Noise Response Team consists of two environmental health officers operating throughout the county after 9pm over the weekend nights until the middle of September.

After this trial period, the service will be reviewed to see if it can continue the following year.

Marc added: “It will be really interesting to see what impact this team has on the lives of many people who would normally have to wait and phone us on the Monday morning following a weekend of noise which has prevented them from sleeping. We are aiming for this service to be cost effective and also help us to improve the health and wellbeing of many residents as well.”

The Noise Response Team can be contacted on 01432 261761 after 9pm over the coming weekends including the Bank Holiday.

Posted : 03/08/2011 13:33:56

County’s first night-time noise team launched
Herefordshire Council’s environmental health and trading standards service has got the go ahead to trial a night-time Noise Response Team to operate throughout the county during the summer.

The team will comprise of two environmental health officers working as a pair after 9pm on both Friday and Saturday nights and will be financed by savings already made elsewhere within this service.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “I am really excited to see what impact this team will have on the lives of so many people who have to suffer sleep depriving noise at night time and getting totally stressed from it all.

“For the first time ever, Herefordshire Council will not only be able to respond to these pleas for help from the public when the night-time noise is actually happening, but will then be able to send officers to the scene to witness the noise and take the necessary steps to resolve the situation.

“Although the environmental health officers will make every effort to remedy the situation informally, I would like to make the point that they will also be empowered to serve noise abatement notices on the night as and when necessary.

“In this way we hope that the team will not only offer a cost effective and improved service focused at what our public actually want and need, but that it will also help improve their health and wellbeing too,” she added.

After the eight-week trial period, the service will be reviewed to see whether the council can continue to run a similar service next year.

In the meantime, the Noise Response Team can be contacted on 01432 261761 after 9pm on both Friday and Saturday nights starting Friday 29th July until the end of September.

Posted : 27/07/2011 10:23:18

Make the most of summer by recycling garden waste
Herefordshire’s residents are being urged this summer to compost their garden waste and salad leftovers at home.

Herefordshire Council’s Lets Waste Less campaign is still offering compost bins for a little as £13 (including delivery), but now there is also the option of getting a second half price, which can work out at as little as £17 (also including delivery) for two 220-litre compost bins.

The compost bins are now also available in green and black on the scheme, with both being made out of recycled plastic. So far having a choice had proved hugely popular with around 60 per cent of residents opting for the new colour green.

The public can view the full range of products online at www.letswasteless.com, which include wormeries, bokashi systems, much larger compost bins and a wide range of accessories such as kitchen caddies for example, aimed at helping keep food waste tidy in the kitchen, before transferring to the compost bin in one trip.

Grass cuttings, hedge clippings, nettles and soft prunings can be added into a compost bin. More woody prunings such as thin branches are good to mix, but have the consequence of taking longer to break down so it is best to shred or chop these up first.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “With gardens at their most productive at this time of year, now is the perfect time to start composting and ensure all those grass cuttings and vegetable trimmings are added to compost bins. It is still important for residents to balance piles of green cuttings with "browns" such as scrunched up cardboard, newspaper and toilet rolls.

“This will ensure that in around about nine to twelve months time, nature will have turned the mix into lovely crumbly compost which can be used to help plants bloom ready for the spring planting season,” he added.

For further information visit www.letswasteless.com or alternatively call 01905 766883.

Posted : 27/07/2011 10:22:22

Record number of pupils receive cycling tarining
Herefordshire Council’s Bikeability cycle training scheme has benefitted a record number of 1,350 Year 6 and 7 pupils this academic year.

Pupils have received Bikeability Level 1 and 2 training from the council’s team of 10 cycle trainers which includes world downhill mountain bike champion Tracy Moseley.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “It is really important that our youngsters can cycle safely and this training helps pupils learn how to control their bikes, assess traffic and even do simple maintenance.

”We like to encourage as many pupils as possible to cycle to school as it is not only good for their health and well being but also reduces traffic congestion at busy school times.

“It is fantastic that we have been able to train 1,350 youngsters this year and I hope this will see an increase in the number cycling to school.

“Herefordshire Council also offers free adult cycling for adults and this may be of interest to mums and dads who want to join their children on the ride to work.

“We are aware some adults haven’t cycled for a long time and may need their confidence boosted before they take to the roads again and the courses can be specifically designed to take into account their own routes to work,” he added.

Posted : 26/07/2011 15:32:26

Roll up, roll up for circus fun at library
Herefordshire Council’s library service is urging youngsters to roll up to the county’s libraries this summer for some circus-themed activities.

Roll up, roll up and join Circus Stars the summer reading challenge at your local library when youngsters read six books during the holidays and collect special prizes.

There are also lots of activities for all the family. Enjoy a Clowning Around story time or join in with Big Top Fun and have a go at juggling.

Hereford and Leominster libraries are looking for families to help them create an exciting circus mural or they can make circus puppets for the Puppet Parade.

For more information visit your local library or www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries

Posted : 18/07/2011 11:31:10

Council takes lead on responsible dog ownership
Herefordshire Council's community protection team has just completed a successful course in Leominster about responsible dog ownership.

More than 20 dog owners attended the weekly sessions at The Grange in Leominster run by dog warden Matt Faulds and they learnt the basics of dog handling and the importance of keeping their dogs under control as well as clearing up after them.

All of the people attending the course received free poop bags and Leominster Pet Supplies sponsored treats which were given as rewards to the dogs for improved behaviour.

Shane Hancock, acting regulatory services manager for Herefordshire Council, said: "These sessions proved extremely popular and everyone was amazed by how much their dog's behaviour had improved and they also better understood their responsibilities as an owner.

"The problem of dog fouling has often been raised by residents and we feel education is one of the best ways to tackle this so, as part of the six-week course, we also urged people to clear up after their dogs and reminding them of their responsibilities.

“We are now holding courses in Hereford and Ross which are already fully booked and hope to run more in the future,” he added.

Posted : 15/07/2011 12:33:18

Adoption inspection praises service
Herefordshire Council’s adoption service has been rated by Ofsted as good in all areas, with some outstanding features.

Ofsted inspectors undertook an announced inspection of the council’s adoption service last month. The report praised the work that had been done to improve the service since it was last inspected in 2008, describing it as a well managed agency that strives to improve and develop practice. The inspectors reported a real strength of the service is that young people’s needs dictate the adoption process and their views are taken into account in planning for their care, and in the development of services.

The inspectors also noted that careful matching and placement processes ensure that children settle very well and thrive in their adoptive placements. This is achieved by robust family finding and strong matching and placement processes that ensure adopters are able to meet the needs of their child. Prospective adopters are well prepared with the focus on parenting a child who may have additional needs relating to adverse early experiences.

Outstanding elements identified by the inspectors include ensuring children’s views are sought and used in practice and that staff work with children to help them understand what adoption will mean for them. This links into the matching and placement processes that foster carers are involved in – the inspectors highlighted the good practice of inviting the child’s foster carers to attend the adoption panel – this helps gain a first hand view about what the child is like to care for and puts the focus of the proceedings firmly on the child.

Birth families are supported to take an active part in the care planning for their child and are encouraged to provide information for the child. Adult adoptees are assisted to find out about their adoption in a sensitive way.

There was also praise for the way the service is run. Comments about the social workers and administrative staff on the adoption team show that the calibre of staff is excellent. The inspectors reported that the adoption team is well managed by a qualified, experienced and skilled manager who is fully committed to ensuring safe, stable and secure placements for children are made and maintained.

Councillor Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Meeting the needs of vulnerable children remains a priority for the council, so I was delighted to receive this report from Ofsted which shows we are achieving this well and continuing to improve.

“Putting children’s needs at the core of what we do and supporting adopters throughout the matching process and beyond has resulted in children finding permanent homes with loving families who are able to meet their individual needs. Well done to all the staff who have worked so hard to implement the recommendations from the previous inspection and remain committed to providing the best service they can for the county’s children.”

Posted : 15/07/2011 10:32:55

Grange Court heritage secured by Lottery funding
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has confirmed that Herefordshire Council and the LARC Development Trust have been awarded a development grant* of £25,300 to further develop their project to secure the history of grade II* listed Grange Court in Leominster for current and future generations.

Currently undergoing a programme of restoration, Grange Court was originally built by John Abel, the King’s Carpenter in 1633. The building was located in the centre of Leominster, as the Market House for the town.

During the life of the building it has been used as a market house, town hall, court house, guild headquarters, school and community meeting-place, with market stalls set out underneath. In 1859 the structure was dismantled and re-erected on its present site in the Priory Grange, converted into a gentleman’s residence and renamed Grange Court. Since 1935 it has been used as Council offices.

The restoration work will convert Grange Court into a multi-use community and heritage centre that will be owned and operated by the LARC Development Trust.

The HLF grant means that Herefordshire Council and the LARC Development Trust can now work up their plans to progress the second stage of the HLF application process for a full grant of £287,400 to create heritage displays, audio visual equipment, publications, employ a heritage officer as well as provide community learning and volunteering opportunities at the site.

Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands said: “We’re extremely pleased to give initial support to the project, which aims to complement the restoration taking place at Grange Court with an exciting education programme so that its fascinating history can enjoyed by future generations. We shall watch the developing plans with interest."

Bill Jackson, Chair of LARC said: “This is great news for Grange Court and the people of Leominster, as not only will it enable the history of this amazing building to be recorded and accessed by the local community, it will also help us to put Grange Court on the map as a valuable and accessible heritage site.”

Posted : 15/07/2011 09:09:16

Residents urged to avoid heat and drink more water
As the summer season finally appears to be upon us, Herefordshire’s director of public health is urging residents to make sure they keep themselves cool and hydrated by avoiding heat and drinking plenty of water.

Young children, elderly people and people with long term conditions such as diabetes are particularly susceptible to heat and at a higher risk of developing dehydration.

Although the rise in temperature over the last week is what the UK would expect during this time of year, because temperatures have not soared significantly, people do not realise that they need to avoid heat and drink more water.

Advice from health professionals is to wear loose, cool clothes and hat if you go out. If you are in at risk group then avoid going out between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day) and stay inside in a cool place.

They also advise that a minimum of six to eight glasses of fluid should be taken every day. In addition to water people can drink semi-skimmed milk, diluted fruit juice and diluted squash.

Alcohol and products containing caffeine such as coffee and to a certain extent tea can have a dehydrating effect on the body, and people are advised to avoid sugary and fizzy drinks which can produce other adverse health effects.

Symptoms of dehydration range from increased thirst, dry mouth, weakness, passing small amounts of urine less than three or four times a day, dizziness and palpitations to irritability, confusion, sluggishness, low level of consciousness, cool hands and feet, fainting and fits. In extreme cases, it can cause death.

Dr Sarah Aitkin, director of public health, said: “Dehydration can make you feel very poorly and in the most extreme situations can cause death, yet it is easily avoidable. This is why we are urging residents to make sure they are avoiding heat and drinking more water and less caffeine and alcohol as the summer season kicks in.

“We also urge them to encourage dependants such as children and the elderly to take on more fluids and avoid fizzy drinks, many of which are full of caffeine and sugar.

“The county’s A&E service is already stretched with people needing emergency treatment, so I would urge people who have the symptoms of dehydration to take on extra fluids and if the symptoms continue call NHS direct for advice or contact their GP.

“Alternatively pharmacies offer excellent advice on a whole range of illnesses and conditions.

“We also have minor injuries units in Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Leominster and Kington and a walk in centre at ASDA, Hereford where residents can also receive out of hour’s service.”

Posted : 05/07/2011 17:52:46

Become a Let's Waste Less Champion
Herefordshire Council wants to hear from 'Let's Waste Less Champions' in Herefordshire who are willing to share the top tips they employ to reduce household waste

The authority's waste management team wants to hear from anyone who has a story to tell when it comes to new and innovative ways of cutting the amounts of waste that end up in the bin – with the best set to be featured on www.letswasteless.com

The dedicated 'one-stop shop' website, which has attracted almost 30,000 visitors since being launched in September, is packed with useful information and already includes stories of how local people and organisations have gone the extra mile to prevent waste.

www.letswasteless.com, set up by Herefordshire Council in partnership with Worcestershire County Council, was specifically put together to help residents find out more about making their own household waste work for them.

It covers all aspects of waste prevention, including how to get a bargain compost bin, information on setting up Swap Shops, details on hosting Swishing parties, ideas on how to make your food go further, plus a whole lot more.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "I'm am very impressed with the amount of recycling we collect each week and the fact this has meant fewer black sacks going to landfill.

“Our waste promotions team often talks to residents who have come up with quirky and practical ways to reduce the amount of rubbish they produce as a household.

"If you have some good ideas, we would like to hear from you. The website is an excellent resource and there really is something for everyone. Many of the ideas can help people to save money too so, even if you don’t have any tips to share, please log on and see how you can start saving money,” he added.

All residents need to do to submit their tips is log onto the website www.letswasteless.com and click on the Your Say link on the Community section.

Posted : 01/07/2011 13:47:10

Mobile Library Service Scrapped
Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed plans to extend its home delivery service of books to protect the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Cabinet yesterday (Thursday, June 30) approved the withdrawal of the county’s mobile library service from September this year. The service, used by 996 people, currently costs £178,000. Existing users who require a home delivery service will continue to be provided for.

They also agreed to invite local groups and organisations to consider operating community-based libraries.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, said: “There has been a tremendous transformation of library services and we have operated a policy of bringing all of our council services into one building to reduce costs.

“This has proved to be the right policy as we have not had to look at closing any of our main libraries and the facility at Bromyard has one of the longest opening hours in the country.

“We did give notice back in February that the mobile library service was under review and I feel this is the only viable option.

“I understand many mobile library users are housebound and we will continue to offer them a service by delivering books to their homes but people who are mobile are urged to use one of the permanent libraries and help their viability.

“I would also urge residents to consider whether their area would benefit from a community-based library. We have already got one in Peterchurch and there is no finer example in the country,” he added.

Anyone interested in setting up a community library is urged to contact Jon Chedgzoy on 01432 260557.

Posted : 01/07/2011 13:44:57

Bar’s application to extend opening hours approved
Herefordshire Council’s regulatory sub-committee yesterday (Tuesday, June 28) approved an application by Shooters Bar in Leominster to extend its opening hours.

The current licence for the bar in Grafton House allows performance of live music, provision of facilities for dancing and other entertainment facilities 11:00 to 23:30 Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 to 01:00 Friday and Saturday.

It also allowed sale of retail by alcohol and provision of sporting events and playing of recorded music 10:00 to 23:30 Sunday to Thursday and 10:00 to 01:00 Friday and Saturday.

The amended licence will allow performance of live music and provision of facilities for dancing 11:00 to 23:30 Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 to 01:00 Friday and Saturday.

Indoor sporting events and playing of recorded music is now allowed from 10:00 to 23:30 Sunday to Thursday and 10:00 to 02:00 Friday and Saturday.

Alcohol can now be supplied 10:00 to 23:00 Sunday to Thursday and 10:00 to 01:30 Friday and Saturday.

There can also be no use of the area licensable activities and consumption of alcohol after 1900 from October 1 to April 30 and after 2100 from May 1 to September 30.

Shooters will also now be able to open until 02:00 on every Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend and to be able to supply alcohol until 01:30 on those nights.

Four representations were received from members of the public concerned that another late-night venue in the town would create price wars as there is not enough business for both to thrive. They also expressed concerns that the property is near residential homes and would create a noise nuisance.

Marches Housing Association, which has 11 family homes next to the bar, objected to the extension in hours because of the nuisance it would cause to their residents.

West Mercia Police and Herefordshire Council’s environmental health and trading standards team sought a series of conditions should the application be approved and this was agreed by the applicant.

Jim Mooney, police licensing officer for Herefordshire, told the committee that Leominster, like the rest of the county, was a safe place to live, visit and work in with little disorder occurring outside pubs.

Applicant Wayne Harris said he had spent a lot of money doing the place up and do not want to upset residents but needed longer opening hours to make the business viable.

Posted : 30/06/2011 09:10:20

Plans to boost income to safeguard services
In the face of unprecedented cuts to government grants for local authorities, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet will consider a package of charging principles aimed at protecting frontline services.

When cabinet meets this Thursday, June 30, it will consider proposals to raise £712,000 through increasing its income to help towards the £10.3 million savings to balance this year’s budget.

The council has pledged to protect the services depended on by the most vulnerable in our communities and has already earmarked an extra £3.5 million for adult social care.

A five point plan to make the savings required began earlier this year. It is anticipated that 250 jobs, including more than 30 management posts, will go across the council during the next two years, reflecting the massive reduction in public sector funding seen across the UK.

However, when compared with other similar authorities, the council does not bring in as much income through charges, although any charges cannot be set to make a profit.

“We’re facing an unprecedented level of government cuts and we’re doing all we can to minimise the impact on those front line services that are valued by communities right across Herefordshire,” said Cllr John Jarvis, leader of the council.

“We’ve been planning our response to the reduction in government funding for some time and are already well advanced in our plans to share services between the council and NHS Herefordshire.

“We fully understand these changes will affect a lot of people, but in a small way; we hope to protect frontline services which many vulnerable people rely upon.”

The cabinet report proposes increasing charges in four areas. If agreed, the figures will be considered in detail and will be widely communicated before any changes are brought in during the autumn.

The proposals before cabinet include:

Car parking:
In line with most local authorities, it is planned to charge for parking on Sundays and Bank Holidays but, unlike most other authorities, evening parking from 6pm will remain free.

Some free car parking will also continue to be available in all market towns and there will be free on-street parking in Hereford city.

The council is planning to remove the existing concessionary parking scheme but Blue Badge holders will still be able to park for three hours for free.

Parking charges have remained at the same level for three years and will need to rise above inflation but detailed charges have yet to be decided. The rise will also allow the council to fund the increase in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent.

Not withstanding the proposed changes, the charges will still remain competitive when compared with neighbouring authorities

Many authorities charges for on-street parking charges. This is not being introduced in Herefordshire this year but consideration may be given to a trial of the system to see if it would be of benefit.

School transport:
Parents and carers will be asked to make a greater contribution towards the costs of home/school transport.

The annual cost of providing home/school transport for the county’s children works out at £600 per pupil and is increasing because of rising fuel prices.

Herefordshire is one of the few councils in the UK that still offers a subsidy for home/school transport. Currently, the subsidy paid for by the council, is £200 per pupil - it is proposed to reduce this to £100 a year and to offer a new monthly payment system to help parents and carers spread the cost.

Planning advice:
A number of local authorities already charge for giving pre-application planning advice.

The majority of income through this - estimated at £50,000 a year - will come from large scale residential and commercial developments where officers will need to devote a significant amount of time

Adult social care:
The proposals are to bring in an additional £150,000 income through adult social care - although a more fundamental change is on the cards to reflect the changing approach to care provision with personalised budgets being managed by those in receipt of care. Any changes to the fees and charging approach will be subject to consultation

Posted : 28/06/2011 14:26:55

Library service to increase home delivery service
Herefordshire Council is planning changes to the way it delivers library services in rural areas.

Following the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the resulting reduction in council budgets, the library service has been looking at ways of making its service more efficient while also ensuring those most in need can continue to access free books.

The council’s library service engaged in the government-supported Future Libraries Programme which looked at how services might be designed to meet the financial challenges, the changing use of libraries and encouraging local self-reliance.

Cabinet is now being asked to approve plans to restructure the library service in rural areas by withdrawing the current mobile library service and replacing this with an increased home delivery service. The decision will be made at their next meeting on June 30.

If approved, existing mobile library users will be informed about the changes to services and also be assessed on the basis of health and mobility to see if they qualify for home deliveries which offer people a selection of 12 books on a monthly basis. Deliveries to care homes will also continue.

It is also planned that the home delivery service will be supported by inviting local groups and organisations to consider operating community-based libraries in shops or village halls. The idea here would be to deliver books to these community outlets on a regular basis so they can be easily accessed by residents without them having to go to the main libraries.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, said: “As I stated when setting budgets for this year, the mobile library service would be under review. We have decided that an increased home delivery service can better cater for the most vulnerable and people with special needs and I will be urging Cabinet to approve this as the way forward.

“We are also aware that Herefordshire is a large rural county and some people may find it difficult to access the permanent libraries. This is why we also want to encourage groups such as parish councils and village hall committees to work with us so we can create community-based libraries to serve more rural areas better.

“With budgets set to be reduced for several years to come, we need to have a library service that is both viable and sustainable in the long term and I believe this twin approach will help to achieve this.

“We are fully committed to keeping all of our permanent libraries open also reducing our running costs in the market towns by moving our customer services centre and library into one building at Ross with a similar model planned for Ledbury so we can ensure residents continue to get a comprehensive library service into the future,” he added.

If approved, the changes will come into effect by September and any groups interested in running community libraries should contact Jon Chedgzoy on 01432 260557.

Posted : 23/06/2011 10:25:01

Create beautiful jewellery at Queenswood
Come to Herefordshire Council’s Queenswood Country Park and join a creative workshop making ‘Jewellery Inspired by Nature’.

Join local textile artist Lisa Pendlebury at Queenswood on Saturday July 16, 2011, from 10am to 12.30pm to design and create your very own jewellery using natural fabrics, thread and beads, inspired by the natural setting of the woodlands.

The workshop costs £15 and booking by July 9 is essential to help us manage numbers – contact Herefordshire Council’s countryside ranger Jim Key, telephone 01432 260346 or email:jkey@herefordshire.gov.uk

This is just one of the new creative workshops, aimed at adults, that have been introduced to this year’s Queenswood events programme.

Other workshops taking place later this year include photography walks with local travel photographer Nick Meers who can give advice and guidance on how to take better pictures.

Children’s activities are provided this year by the RSPB who have made Queenswood ‘A date with nature’. RSPB staff and volunteers will be on site Thursdays to Sundays 10.30am – 4.30pm throughout the summer organising family activities to join in with, including arts and crafts, self guided trails and making bird feeders. For more information on Date with Nature please contact the RSPB, telephone 0121 6166850.

Other family events planned for this year include ‘Bertie Buzzard’ fun trails during the school holidays, and Lisa Pendlebury will be back in October half term to create ‘Art with Autumn colour’. Also look out for local chainsaw sculptor Steve Elsby who will be on site carving creatures for our new sculpture trail during the coming weeks.

The current events leaflet is available from the Queenswood, Libraries and other Council Info Centres. Alternatively visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/queenswood for full details.

Queenswood, managed by Herefordshire Council, is Herefordshire’s only country park and has free car parking, toilets and the Queenswood Café. There are three way-marked trails and easy access paths so that everyone can enjoy the park as well as a picnic and barbecue area, a popular adventure play area and a free ‘seaside style’ telescope at the viewpoint.

Queenswood Country Park is on the A49 between Hereford and Leominster – follow the brown signs at the top of Dinmore Hill. Alternatively the 492 bus service departs Hereford and Leominster at regular intervals throughout the day.

Posted : 22/06/2011 17:20:27

Grenadier Guards to visit Leominster
Lt James Stafford Allen is taking a group from Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards cycling from Land’s End some 1400 kms to John O’Groats in the north of Scotland.

This is to raise funds for the Regimental Charity “The Colonel’s Fund” which supports those wounded or injured on operations, and the families of those killed on active service. On the most recent operational tour to Afghanistan, the Grenadiers suffered 5 fatalities and 32 injured. They deploy to Afghanistan again next year.

Their overnight stop on Wednesday 29th June 2011 will be in Leominster and they will be cycling through, raising funds as they go.

Anyone wishing to sponsor this group of intrepid Guardsmen can visit their fund-raising website at:

www.bmycharity.com/IronGuardsman

or send a cheque payable to “The Colonel’s Fund – Grenadier Guards” to:

Lt James Stafford Allen
5 Platoon Company
Nijmegen Company
Wellington Barracks
London SW1E 6HQ

Posted : 22/06/2011 17:18:24

Summer Reading Challenge in Libraries
Roll up! Roll up! This summer Herefordshire Council’s libraries are challenging all children to read six books in the school holidays.

Aimed to include all children aged between four and eleven, local libraries are running the Circus Stars reading challenge with themed activities to support the Reading Agency scheme.

This aims to encourage reading, literacy and visits to public libraries. It is free to participate in the challenge itself, where children receive prizes and stickers as rewards for reading books, and get a medal and certificate on completion of the challenge.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for enterprise and culture, said: “We hope that this will encourage children to use their local library in the summer holidays in order to develop their reading skills and encourage a love of books. The challenge starts on July 9 and runs until the beginning of September so there will be plenty of time to read those six books.”

If you would like to know more about the challenge, ask at your local library for more details.

Posted : 20/06/2011 09:03:26

Chance to get your home insulated for free
Herefordshire Council is supporting Domestic and General Insulation Ltd in a new scheme where 3,000 county households can gain free home insulation.

The offer is open to all privately renting tenants or homeowners and people will be entitled to either cavity wall insulation or loft insulation free of charge.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for environment, housing and planning, said: “We used to offer grants ourselves to fund the cost of installing insulation measures and have already helped more than 12,000 households reduce their energy bills.

“This funding has now been withdrawn by the Government but we remain fully committed to making the county cleaner and greener by reducing carbon emissions from domestic homes. Insulation measures have proved to be one of the easiest and most effective ways to achieve this and have the added bonus of reducing fuel costs as well.

“Domestic and General Insulation Ltd has been able to secure funding from energy companies to install insulation for 3,000 county households for free and we are delighted to be able to support them in promoting this initiative.

“The company has a long record of working in the county and the insulation measures will not only improve the environment but, with fuel bills set to increase even further, this will be an excellent way to reduce those household bills. The offer is on a first come, first served basis so I would urge all people who do not have cavity wall or loft insulation to contact DGI on 01432 377050,” he added.

Paul Simpson, Domestic and General development manager, said: “We have installed more than 19,000 energy efficient measures to Herefordshire properties since 2006, including loft and cavity insulation but also energy efficient boilers, double glazing and solar systems. We’re excited that we have the potential to add to that figure with this special offer and help more Herefordshire householders to reduce their carbon emissions.”

Any residents who get a free installation of insulation can also have a second measure installed for the special price of £99.

All residents over the age of 70 or in receipt of benefits can also get these insulation measures free of charge.

Free installation is subject to property size, suitability and a technical survey.

For further details about how insulation can reduce your energy bills, contact Herefordshire Council on 01432 260398.

Posted : 17/06/2011 16:00:43

Council’s music service strikes the right note
The future of Herefordshire Council’s music service will become more secure if plans to change the way the service runs are approved by the cabinet member for cabinet and education.

Following reports that the service, which provides music tuition to more than 3,000 children across the county, was failing to cover costs, a number of different options have been explored over the last few months to see if the service could be run differently.

As a result of discussions with music staff, unions, parents and schools, a new business model is being recommended which, if approved, will protect services for children.

The new scheme being proposed is the Accredited Teacher Scheme which has proved to be very successful in other authorities such as Derbyshire.

Under the proposals, the 53 peripatetic teachers currently employed by the council will become self employed and join a quality assured accredited register managed by the council. Accredited music teachers will work directly with schools to deliver tuition to children wishing to learn a musical instrument and will invoice parents directly, saving schools administrative time. Parents will benefit too as tuition fees will be reduced from £29 to £27 an hour, where tutors charge the recommended rate.

By making instrument tuition self financing, the grant funding available for the music service will be used to continue running the Music Centre bands, orchestras and ensembles and to increase whole class instrumental lessons, which are free to primary school pupils through the wider opportunities programme.

Cliff Woollard, head of Herefordshire Council’s music service, said: “As the government continues to bring new changes in, we need to change the way we deliver services in a climate of reducing budgets.

“We don’t have the funding to continue supporting the music service as we do at the moment, yet we want to make sure children and young people have the opportunity to learn to play music instruments in school, and to continue to develop the outstanding bands and orchestras we have.

“By reducing our management from seven to two, reducing our back office costs and changing the organisation of the instrumental provision, we will be saving approximately £200,000 each year.”

“The new business model will prevent us operating at a loss – it’s a much more flexible model for schools which saves them the burden of administration and the collection of tuition fees.

“By adopting these new arrangements, we can secure the future of music tuition for the county’s children and ensure the music service is able to better respond to national policy changes in the future.”

The proposals will be considered by the cabinet member for corporate and education.

Posted : 17/06/2011 15:54:55

The Queen honours outstanding volunteer groups
The Bromyard Light Brigade and Yarpole Community Shop Association from Herefordshire have been announced as two of 130 winners of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for groups of volunteers who work in their local community for the benefit of others.

This prestigious UK National Honour recognises outstanding voluntary contributions and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged to be of the highest standard.

The Bromyard Light Brigade has received the Award for the difference they make to the lives of people living in and around Bromyard, an area of severe rural deprivation. Not only do they give joy and civic pride in the very high standard of the Christmas lights but they also bring in much needed trade by attracting visitors. The volunteers who range in age from 14 to 70 also raise funds and through their efforts give pleasure to many people.

Yarpole Community Shop Association has received the Award for their determination and hard work in setting up and manning this community asset. The shop, which includes a Post Office and a coffee shop has created a focus for community life in the village and provides some 30 people with opportunities to volunteer their time, energy and expertise to support this facility. Yarpole Village shop is working hard for the local community and is an excellent example of how determined voluntary action can succeed.

Those receiving this year's Award were selected from 413 groups nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally or witnessed the benefits of a group's work in their community.

The Bromyard Light Brigade and Yarpole Community Shop Association will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty's representative in Herefordshire, The Countess of Darnley at a special ceremony arranged by the Lieutenancy office on Wednesday 15th June.

The group has also received an invitation for representatives to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in the summer.

The Lord-Lieutenant, The Countess of Darnley, said: "Herefordshire put forward eight excellent very strong nominations for the Award recognising the marvellous efforts of voluntary groups in the County. I am delighted at the success of the Bromyard Light Brigade and the Yarpole Village Shop - well done to both of them."

Seven groups from Herefordshire have now received this annual Award since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

For details of all this year's Award winners and information on how to nominate a group, visit www.direct.gov.uk/qavs, where a nomination form can be downloaded.

In 2012, The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee year. There will be further announcements on activities to mark the anniversary of the Award in the autumn.

Posted : 06/06/2011 17:45:15

Friends of library to meet
The next meeting of the Friends of Leominster Library will take place on
Wednesday, May 25.

The Friends Group supports the library in Leominster and acts as an advocate on behalf of the library service. The meeting will be held in the library at 6.30pm and all are welcome.

If you would like further details about the group please contact Margaret Coldman on 01432 383290.

Posted : 20/05/2011 14:32:53

Election Results May 2011 - Leominster
Election Of Councillors For The Leominster North Ward

BARTLETT, JENNIFER MARGARET - Green Party - 380
BURKE, DAVID RICHARD - Local Conservatives - 543
CLARK, EDWARD HENRY (Known as Eddie) - The Labour Party Candidate - 308
JONES, PETER - Local Conservatives - 610 (E)
LANE, MATTHEW CHARLES (Known as Matt Lane) - Liberal Democrat - 119
MILLER, JAMES (Known as Jim) - Independent - 392
NORMAN, FELICITY MARY - Green Party - 607 (E)

(E) : Elected

PETER JONES and FELICITY MARY NORMAN have been duly elected.


Election Of Councillors For The Leominster South Ward

BLENCH, PETER JOHN - Green Party - 268
FERRARI, BENSON JOSEPH - Independent - 233
GREENE, AUBREY BASIL - Local Conservatives - 427
HUNT, ROGER CHARLES - Local Conservatives - 787 (E)
MCCAULL, PETER JAMES - Independent - 660 (E)
ROBERTS, PHILIPPA LOUISE - The Labour Party Candidate - 247
SMITH, PAMELA ANN - The Labour Party Candidate - 160
THWAITES, JOAN - Green Party - 240

(E) : Elected

ROGER CHARLES HUNT and PETER JAMES MCCAULL have been duly elected.

Posted : 06/05/2011 09:56:54

Herefordshire Council election results
Following yesterday’s local elections, the results for Herefordshire Council are:


Conservatives - 30 seats won
Independents- 14 seats won
It’s Our County - 9 seats won
Liberal Democrats - 3 seats won
Labour - 1 seat won
Greens - 1 seat won

A full list of the results for each ward is available on Herefordshire Council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk.

The count for the parish council elections begins at 10am today and results will be posted on the website as they are announced.

The count for the referendum begins at 4pm. The result for Herefordshire will be posted on the website when it is known.

Posted : 06/05/2011 09:48:24

Music Box set to strike a chord
Adults with learning difficulties in Leominster hope to hit the right note with local music lovers when they open a new shop in the town early next month.

The Music Box is an exciting new venture which will sell high quality second hand CDs/DVDs, records, books and computer games.

It will be located on West Street in Leominster and will be operated by Marshfield’s, which is part of Herefordshire Council’s day opportunities services for adults with learning disabilities.

“We believe that passion for music creates common ground,” said inclusion manager at Marshfields, Sean Ladd.

“The music box will provide individuals involved with an opportunity to engage with their community,” he added.

“In addition, Individuals will be able to develop a range of skills that will prove beneficial to their future independence and help them to achieve, believe and belong”.

As well as direct sales the shop will be selling online, opening up a world of personal development for those involved.

The shop has sofas and coffee available, so you can relax and try before you buy.

The new shop opens its doors for business on Monday, April 4, and opening times are Mon – Fri 10am to 4.15pm and Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Donations of unwanted CD’S/DVD’S books and computer games gratefully received - contact the Music Box on 01568 611869 or Marshfield’s on 01568 614772 for further information.

Posted : 25/03/2011 10:47:53

Grange Court model unveiled in Broad Street
As work progresses on Herefordshire Council’s major refurbishment of historic Grange Court in Leominster, visitors to the market town will now be able to see a model of the building as it was originally constructed.

Grange Court, which was built in 1633 by the King’s Carpenter John Abel, was originally sited at The Buttercross, on the junction of High Street and Broad Street and served as a town hall with an open-air market beneath. In 1856, Grange Court was dismantled, moved and rebuilt at its current site in Pinsley Road as a Victorian private residence.

Now a bronze tactile scale model of Grange Court has been unveiled at the building’s first site at The Buttercross.

Mayor of Leominster Councillor Roger Hunt, who unveiled the model, said: “Tourism is vital for Leominster and this model will provide another link to get tourists here as well as enticing them to go and see the original building.”

Martin Baines from the Leominster Area Regeneration Company (LARC) added: “This model is a first for Herefordshire and is the ideal way to show where Grange Court first was and what it looked like then.”

Funding for the model came from Advantage West Midlands Better Welcome Fund, Barclays Bank plc, Marches Housing Association, Leominster Civic Society, Bill Jackson and N and M Baines Architects.

The Dog Rose Trust of Ludlow advised on how the model could best be cast, the mould was made by Omega Models of Glasgow and the final casting was done by Castle Fine Arts Foundry at Oswestry.

The £2.8million “Grange Court: building in the past for the future” project, has been funded by grants from the Big Lottery Community Assets Programme (£1million), Advantage West Midlands RDPE Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) (£750,000) and Social Investment Business Community Builders Fund (£1million) with the difference made up by Marches Town Initiative funding, Leominster Town Council and Herefordshire Council.

As part of project, Herefordshire Council will transfer the freehold of the completed building to the Leominster Area Regeneration Company Limited (LARC) who will manage the new community facility.

Posted : 03/03/2011 11:29:58

Council tax frozen in Herefordshire
Despite the deepest cuts in the funding it receives from central government, Herefordshire Council has confirmed it is to keep council tax levels at the same level as last year.

To achieve this, it is to cut management costs and slash red tape, but has vowed to safeguard most frontline services – including those to the most vulnerable people in Herefordshire.

“Be under no illusion,” Cllr Roger Phillip, the leader of the council, told fellow councillors at today’s (Fri, Feb 4) meeting of council, “these are the deepest cuts we’ve ever had to face.

“Our strategy is to cut the costs of delivery and protect frontline services where we can,” he added.

He highlighted the deep partnership which has been forged with NHS Herefordshire and Hereford Hospital Trust which has allowed a number of services to be shared as a key area of savings, along with a commitment to cut around 250 jobs – around 12 per cent of the workforce – including more than 30 management posts.

The financial strategy is designed to save just over £10.3 million in the coming financial year and £5.8 million in the following year.

However, the budget also includes an extra £3.5 million for adult social care to help support services to the more than 4,500 older people in the county. The number of older people is growing rapidly and during the last 12 months along has increased by seven per cent.

While the cut in government funding affects concessionary bus fares, councillors were told that the council proposes to use some of its financial reserves to retain free travel for bus pass holders, although free travel will no longer be available during the weekday morning commuter period before 9.30am.

The budget also means that, unlike many other areas of the country, Herefordshire will hold on to its existing libraries but the mobile library service is undergoing a review.

During the two-hour debate, Cllr Phillips announced that he was writing to the county’s two MPs to raise his concerns regarding the alarming rise in the cost of fuel which is affecting individuals, businesses and the public sector.

He also said he would continue to lobby central government in a bid to ensure maintenance and improvements to the county’s roads remained a priority.

“There’s no doubt that this is a tough budget. We’ve been planning for it – it will take a lot of effort to implement, but we have no choice.”

Thirty councillors voted in favour of the budget strategy and keeping council tax to its current level, 22 councillors abstained.

Posted : 07/02/2011 12:23:20

Council consults on reduced school budgets
Herefordshire schools are having to face up to reductions in school budgets as a result of falling pupil numbers, increases in spending commitments for looked-after children and changes to the way the government allocates its funding.

The majority of the funding schools depend upon comes from the Dedicated Schools Grant, which is allocated to the local authority by the government on a ‘per pupil’ basis. In the past, this has been topped up with a range of other grants, including the Standards Fund and Area Based Grant. However, these have either been stopped or reduced, making the Dedicated Schools Grant the sole source of income for many schools.

Although the government has set a pupil premium of £430 for vulnerable children and an additional £200 for service children, there is still a predicted shortfall in the overall Herefordshire schools budget of £1.5m.

Herefordshire’s Schools Forum met this week and agreed to the distribution of a consultation document which will be tabled at a meeting of head teachers. A package of cash-saving measures are included in the document, which could see a number of schools experiencing cuts to their school budgets from April 2011.

There are also proposed cuts to the nursery education grants, which will have an impact on private, voluntary and independent playgroups and nurseries. Schools and early years settings are being given the opportunity to respond to the paper this month before the Schools Forum considers a set of formal proposals at the beginning of March.

Budgets have to be set by the end of this financial year (March 2011).

Posted : 02/02/2011 15:52:22

Trading standards warning over top ten scams
As part of February’s national scam awareness month, Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service is warning people not to fall victim.

Each year an incredible £4 billion is given over to fraudsters every year in the UK.
Beware of the following top ten scams from 2010:-

1. Doorstep Crime- always top of the list. Anyone who cold calls you for property repairs will almost certainly be a rogue trader and charge excessive amounts for poor quality and unnecessary work, whether it is for driveways, roofing, garden/tree surgery or any other work. If you are trying to find a reputable trader then search the Herefordshire Council’s Trader Register at www.traderregister.org.uk/herefordshire or phone 01432 260746

2. Cold telephone calls falsely purporting to be from Microsoft, claiming you have a virus on your pc. They will take over your computer and charge you £80 when there is nothing wrong in the first place.

3. Small business scams:- cold calls pushing advertising in fictitious publications for the emergency services or schools etc and then sending you an invoice for £400. Also companies who cold call you claiming to be able to reduce your business rates and others who claim to get you top of internet searches.

4. Calls falsely offering to get your credit card debts written off due to legal technicalities and then taking £400 off your credit card as payment.

5. Calls and emails offering low interest loans if you pay a large up front fee-usually by wiring the money abroad.

6. Cold calls offering free gifts -eg free alarm systems which come with an extortionate monitoring contract, free carpet cleans which are merely the hard sell on a vacuum cleaner costing up to £2400.

7. Timeshare resale/Holiday clubs: those with existing timeshares coerced to a presentation by false promise of buying their timeshare - only to be conned into signing up for a holiday club costing £5,000 or more.

8. Bogus charity collections - still as rife as ever and cost genuine charities millions every year.

9. Unsolicited calls that result in high pressure selling from unscrupulous traders for extortionately priced mobility aids such as – bath lifts, reclining chairs and scooters.

10. Last but not least Prize Draw Mailings, Scratchcards, usually asking you to ring a premium rate number and implying you will receive a much better prize than you actually do.

Principal Trading Standards Officer, Tim Thorne, says: “Typically, it’s the elderly or vulnerable who fall victim to such scams. We can all therefore play our part and be vigilant to ensure that our relatives or neighbours don’t get conned !”

“There is a very simple rule to follow to avoid being a scam victim and that is never deal with anyone who cold calls you at home, or on the telephone and put all unsolicited mail / flyers in your green recycling bin”.

Posted : 02/02/2011 15:51:13

Wealth of events to celebrate Year of the Orchard
Herefordshire Council is supporting the Orchard Topic Group in promoting a series of events to celebrate Year of the Orchard 2011.

This year is the 200th anniversary of Thomas Andrew Knight’s ground-breaking work, Pomona Herefordiensis, the first illustrated Pomona (Book of Apples) in the world.

Thomas Andrew Knight, born at Wormsley Grange in Herefordshire and living at Downton Castle, near Ludlow, was an 18th century horticulturalist who helped to develop many of the fruit and vegetable varieties we still eat today.

He went on to become president of the London Horticultural Society, which later became the Royal Horticultural Society.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “We have already got a host of events registered to celebrate this important anniversary with many more being confirmed every day.

“Orchards play such an important part in the county’s economy and biodiversity and these events will help people find out more about them as well as try some of the many ciders, perries and apple juices produced in Herefordshire.

“More events will be advertised as the year goes on and I would urge people to log onto www.yearintheorchard.org to find out what is happening and more about Herefordshire’s Year in the Orchard,” he added.

Events already confirmed are:

Saturday, February 5: Community Apple Tree Pruning at Kingsland Millennium Green. Come and learn how to prune fruit trees for better tree health, shape and fruit production. Bring sharp secateurs and suitable outdoor clothing for this hands on practical event. Numbers will be restricted, so please book a place in advance by calling 01568 708281. Donations to Kingsland Millennium Green would be appreciated.

Saturday, February 19, 2pm to 5pm: Once Upon a Tree, Putley Village Hall, Putley, Much Marcle. Cidermaker Simon Day will lead a talk and tasting of “The Wonder” dessert pear wine and Norman Stanier will lead a walk and talk to visit “The Wonder” landslip, taking in several Putley orchards on the way. Contact 01531 670263 for further details. Wine tasting for over 18s only.

Saturday, March 26: Tree logging demonstrations using heavy horses at Westons Cider, Much Marcle. For more information visit www.westons-cider.co.uk

Tuesday, March 29 to Saturday, May 7: The Herefordshire Pomona and Heritage Orchards, 10am to 4pm at Apple Store Gallery, Hereford. Images and prints from the 'Herefordshire Pomona' will be featured alongside the work of local artists who have been inspired by the traditional orchards of Herefordshie. Richard Bavin, painter and a group who have been working over the past year producing ceramics, textiles, photographs and stained glass will be showing their work. The Gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 4pm. Entry is free and all are welcome, but children should be accompanied by an adult. Support dogs are welcome. For further details log onto www.applestoregallery.co.uk

Sunday, May 1 to Monday, May 2: Blossom Weekend, The Bounds, Much Marcle. A chance to take a tour round the mill and see the orchards in full blooms. For further details log onto www.westons-cider.co.uk

Sunday, May 8: Blossom time walk around Risbury Hill Fort orchard, 2.30pm. A walk of about 2 hours on and around the beautiful and interesting Risbury Hill Fort and its orchards at blossom time. For further details call 01568 780886.

Wednesday, May 18: International Cider and Perry Competition, 10am to 5pm at Cider Museum, Hereford. Entries from the UK and overseas will be judged to determine the Overall Champion Cider or Perry Maker for 2011 followed by ploughman’s supper and tutored cider tastings for over 18s only. Bookings must be made for tastings by emailing enquiries@cidermuseum.co.uk or telephoning 01432 354207.

Saturday, August 27: Bats and Moths night at Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve join Herefordshire Moth Group and the Council’s Countryside Service for a “four in one” celebration of the County’s biodiversity. Celebrate International Year of the Bat and European Bat Night with a bat walk around the orchard at Bodenham Lake and its locality, then return to support European Moth Night seeing what native and migratory moths we can attract in the orchard and from the surrounding area. Further details nearer the time on www.yearintheorchard.org or email orchards@herefordshire.gov.uk

Tuesday, September 27 to Saturday: The Orchards of Herefordshire and Monmouthshire, 10am to 4pm, Apple Store Gallery, Hereford. Painters Richard Bavin and Richard Corbett live and work close to the Welsh Border. During the recent past, Richard Bavin, who has has a long fascination with trees, has been working in a traditional orchard to the north of Hereford, painting in oils, acrylics and watercolours. Richard Corbett has turned his artistic attention to orchards in Monmouthshire as part of a country-wide focus. The results of these two extended projects will form the core of an exhibition at Apple Store Gallery. For further details log onto www.applestoregallery.co.uk

Saturday, October 1 to Sunday, October 2: Berrington Apple Weekend, 10am to 4pm. Normal admission charge applies. Berrington’s extensive range of apples and fruit will be on display and there will be cider making demonstrations, local food and craft stores. Organised children’s activities ensure this is a day for all the family. For further details log onto www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Saturday, October 8 to Sunday, October 9: Big Apple Harvestime, Much Marcle, organised by The Big Apple Association. The event will be made up of community activities among the orchards, celebrating the cider heritage of Marcle Ridge. For further details log onto www.bigapple.org.uk

Saturday, October 15: Leominster Apple Fair 10am to 4pm, Priory Church, Leominster. A large display of apples, apple growing advice and information, and apple identification, apples, cider, perry, apple juices, cakes, jams, jellies, honey, artisan bread, herbs and other produce for sale with opportunities for tasting many of these products. There will also be stalls, craft displays, demonstrations, home-made refreshments, competitions and dancing from the Jenny Pipes Morris. For details call 01568 780886 or email folley.farm@btinternet.com

Saturday, October 15 to Sunday, October 16: Cidermaking Festival, Cider Museum, Hereford, 10am to 5pm. Demonstrations of traditional cidermaking, coopering and blacksmithing, beekeeping exhibition, displays of apples and pears, Morris Dancing, corn dolly making, fairground organ, games and children's activities. Normal admission prices apply. For further details call 01432 354207 or email enquiries@cidermuseum.co.uk

Sunday, December 4: Christmas Fair at the Cider Museum, 11am to 7pm. A perfect chance to get ahead of the city centre crowds and pick up some imaginative gifts with a local or orchard flavour, festive snacks and entertainment. For further details call 01432 354207 or email enquiries@cidermuseum.co.uk

Posted : 31/01/2011 17:35:15

Council missed just two days of refuse collections
Herefordshire Council's refuse collection service, carried out by Focsa, only missed two collection days during the worst December weather for more than 100 years.

The service did struggle with the snow and ice, particularly in the more rural and remote areas of the county where the roads hadn't been treated, but only missed two whole days of collections and on all other days collections were made.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for environment and strategic housing, said: “I would like to thank residents for bearing with us while our contractors Focsa worked extra hours to return the service to normal.

“Thankfully we have a weekly refuse collection in the county so the ability to catch up on the missed days is much easier when compared to authorities who have a fortnightly system.

“I would also like to thank residents for accepting the difficulties the collection crews have faced and the fact they still provided a service where possible.

“We received a call from a lady in Ross who said: 'While councils are being criticised for the accumulation of rubbish and recycling bins we should like to congratulate you on the magnificent service we get here in Ross-on-Wye. It was unfortunate for us that the snow came the afternoon before our collection was due but apart from that week we have had no problem'.

“I would also like to thank people for continuing to use the recycling service which has again seen increases in the amounts collected and we hope this will rise even more as the service is extended to village halls and charities,” he added.

Residents can also sign up for an SMS texting service which will let them know if there are any problems with recycling collections. All you need to do is text “hcrecycle”, your postcode and first line of your address to 80800.

Posted : 27/01/2011 12:17:26

New library card design to be launched
Herefordshire Council’s library service is launching a new library card which has been specially designed to encourage more under 5s to enjoy the benefits of free library membership.

The card will be officially launched at Hereford Library on Wednesday, February 2 at 1.30pm, by Cut and Paste nursery from Hereford and a special appearance by the much-loved children’s book character, the Gruffalo.

Emma Stevens, Herefordshire Council’s library learning officer, said: “We are launching this card as part of our campaign to get every baby, toddler and young child to enjoy the benefits of free library membership.

“Every Child a Talker is a national strategy which highlights how talking to your child can help to develop their speech and communication skills, as well as helping their imagination grow too.

“Sharing books can play a big part in this and our libraries not only offer a wide range of picture and board books to borrow for free but there are no fines or charges for damaged or lost books for under fives,” she added.

For more information on how to join the library contact your local library or log onto the website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries

Posted : 21/01/2011 10:09:40

Libraries launch Gruffalo competition
Herefordshire Council’s library service is celebrating the joy of children’s books this spring with a special competition with lots of lovely Gruffalo goodies to be won.

As part of celebrations for World Book Day, the competition is to draw a picture of something from your favourite children’s book.

Emma Stevens, Herefordshire Council’s library learning officer, said: “The competition is open to all ages so we’re hoping this will capture the imaginations of the young and old, and everyone in between.

“Herefordshire libraries are trying to get every baby and young child to enjoy the benefits of free library membership this spring as part of a nationwide campaign.

“Every Child a Talker is a national strategy which highlights how by talking to your child you’re helping to develop their speech and communication skills, as well as helping their imagination grow too. Sharing books can play a big part in this, so Herefordshire Libraries are reminding parents of what they offer.

“In addition to our regular Bounce and Rhyme and Storytime sessions each week, we are also launching a new library card designed for young children, and you are never too young to enjoy the benefits of being a library member. There are no fines or charges for damaged or lost books for under 5s, and we have a huge choice of picture and board books to borrow for free,” she added.

Details of the competition, further events and how to join the library are available from any of your local libraries or on our website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries

The closing date for the competition is March 11, 2011.

Posted : 10/01/2011 16:43:14

Every Child a Talker (ECAT)
Herefordshire Council’s library service is trying to get every baby, toddler and young child to enjoy the benefits of free library membership this spring as part of a nationwide campaign.

Every Child a Talker is a national strategy which highlights speech and language development in babies and children. It supports parents by encouraging them to talk to their children as much as possible because this helps to develop their speech and communication skills, as well as helping their imagination grow too.

Sharing books can play a big part in this, so Herefordshire Council’s library service is launching a series of events this spring which will support parents and be fun for children.

Events include special storytelling sessions for invited groups from playgroups, childminders and other early years groups from across the county.

These are in addition to the Bounce and Rhyme and Storytime sessions which are already available each week. These sessions are free and fun to join in and involve songs, rhymes, stories and story sacks which parents and children can enjoy together.

Emma Stevens, Herefordshire Council’s library learning officer, said: “If you do have a young child, don’t miss out on the benefits of them joining the library.

“You are never too young to join up and there are no fines or charges for damaged or lost books as well as a huge choice of picture and board books to borrow for free. We are even launching a new library card specifically designed for young children which will be available this spring.

“We also work in partnership with health visiting teams in the county to ensure that free Bookstart book packs are available to every child in the county. Please ask at your local library or ring 01432 261644 for more information.

“You may also like to take part in the Book Crawl, where you collect stickers and certificates for your child when they take books out. This is also free and a great way to connect fun and books,” she added.

Details of further events and how to join the library are available from any of your local libraries or on the website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries

Posted : 10/01/2011 16:42:36

Work progressing well on Grange Court revamp
Contractors WRW Construction Ltd are on schedule with works on Herefordshire Council’s £2.8million refurbishment of Grange Court in Leominster.

A Meet the Buyer event has already been held and provided some successful leads but the contractors are still keen for any tradesmen, especially those involved in finishing works such as decorating, to get in touch. Tradesmen are welcome to call in at the site office at Grange Court.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “We would love more local tradesmen to get involved in this exciting project which gives an opportunity to work on a historic building and I would urge anyone interested to get in touch with the contractors.”

Foundations for the extensions to the historic building are now being dug out as part of the scheme which will see the historic building become a hub for community activities.

As part of the “Grange Court: building in the past for the future” project, Herefordshire Council will transfer the freehold of the completed building to the Leominster Area Regeneration Company Limited (LARC).

LARC are in the process of applying for charitable status and this will allow them to access more funding to equip the building and install educational materials relating to the history of Grange Court which was built in 1633 by the King’s carpenter John Abel.

LARC are also to start recruiting for a centre manager and will also be seeking suitable tenants for the completed building.

Bill Jackson, chairman of LARC, said: “It is wonderful work has now started on the building and we can start to plan for the future in earnest. We want the building to be a focus for the local community and offer people the chance to have state-of-the-art offices in the heart of Leominster.

“We are also seeking charitable status and this will enable us to access funding for items such as furniture and display cases to ensure the building’s history can be used as an educational resource,” he added.

Work on the fabric of the building and extensions is being funded by grants from the Community Assets Programme from HM Government (£1million), Advantage West Midlands RDPE Rural Development Programme for England (£750,000), Social Investment Business Community Builders Funds (£1million) with the difference being made up by Marches Town Initiative funding, Leominster Town Council and Herefordshire Council.

Community Assets is a non-Lottery programme funded by the Cabinet Office and is distributed by the Big Fund, the non-Lottery funding operation of the Big Lottery Fund.

Posted : 10/01/2011 12:28:10

Council nearly doubles amount of roads gritted
The coldest December ever recorded has seen Herefordshire Council nearly double the amount of miles it has gritted to 44,000 miles in the 2010/11 winter season to the end of 2010 compared with 23,000 miles in the equivalent period of the 2009/10 season.

Up to the end of December 2009, the council’s gritters carried out 36 priority runs, 4 secondary runs and 4 part treatments whereas in the period up to December 2010 there were 65 priority runs, 12 secondary ones and 11 part treatments.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “We are only at the start of 2011 and we are already carrying out record numbers of gritting runs up to the end of December.

“We remain committed to keeping the county’s roads open for business and our gritting operations this year alone are estimated to cost £2.4million. This compares with the £2million we spent during last year’s severe weather.

“I hope residents will understand we have to focus on priority routes in the county because if we were to try and grit the whole of the county’s road network then these costs would soar to £7.5million plus.

“In these times of government cutbacks, it would be impossible to find this extra £5million without severely affecting other council services and we could only do more if the government commits to providing us with extra funding,” he added.

Herefordshire Council is still receiving regular salt stocks with more deliveries due next week together with a further 3,000 tonnes of imported salt supplementing the 2000 tonnes which was imported back in the summer to ensure that our salt barns were brim full at the start of the season.

For further details about gritting routes log onto www.herefordshire.gov.uk and click on the Winter Gritting box.

Anyone with any particular problems to report with gritting should telephone Streetscene on 01432 261800 or email streets@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 10/01/2011 12:25:27

Snow Update - 7 January
Council opens info line as snow returns to Herefordshire

Herefordshire Council has opened its information lines for residents concerned about road conditions and school closures after heavy snowfall across the county this morning and freezing overnight temperatures. The number is 0844 9396101 and calls are charged at local rate.

All gritting teams are deployed and have been treating roads last night and in the early hours of this morning. Primary routes are passable with care but traffic is very slow on some stretches, including the A4103 at Frome Hill, the A49 at Callow and at Dinmore Hill, and the A465 towards Pontrillas is currently closed. Traffic in Hereford City is slow and static in some places.

The council’s gritting schedules are available on its website: www.herefordshire.gov.uk and motorists are advised to take extra care and leave plenty of time for travelling.

Several schools have closed due to bad weather. Parents are asked to consult the council’s website for up-to-date information and list to local radio.

Posted : 07/01/2011 08:42:13

Largest book giveaway ever attempted
20,000 passionate book lovers will give away 1,000,000 books on the inaugural World Book Night

World Book Night will take place on Saturday 5 March 2011 and will be broadcast in partnership with BBC Two. This dynamic and unprecedented initiative to celebrate adult books and reading will see one million free books given away on World Book Night by 20,000 passionate readers to other members of the public across the UK and Ireland.

Members of the public can currently apply to be one of the 20,000 givers of 48 copies of their favourite book chosen from a carefully selected list of 25 titles.

Herefordshire Council’s library service is celebrating the inaugural World Book Night by urging people across the county to register as book givers at www.worldbooknight.org before the extended deadline of January 17, 2011.

“We’re thrilled to be involved with the inaugural World Book Night,” said Anne-Marie Dossett, reader development librarian at Herefordshire Council,” and our readers are participating enthusiastically.”

Herefordshire Council’s library service participation in World Book Night is organised by The Reading Agency, the independent charity working to get more reading to more people.

Most givers are expected to be passionate readers who will take pleasure in recommending a book they love to other readers. However, World Book Night will also encourage givers to pass the books on to others who either may be reluctant readers or who are part of communities with less access to books, bookshops and libraries.

The 25 titles selected for the inaugural World Book Night are:

Kate Atkinson - Case Histories (Black Swan)
Margaret Atwood - The Blind Assassin (Virago)
Alan Bennett - A Life Like Other People’s (Faber/Profile)
John Le Carré - The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (Penguin)
Lee Child - Killing Floor (Bantam)
Carol Ann Duffy - The World’s Wife (Picador)
Mark Haddon - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time(Vintage)
Seamus Heaney - Selected Poems (Faber)
Marian Keyes - Rachel’s Holiday (Penguin/Poolbeg)
Mohsin Hamid - The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Penguin)
Ben Macintyre - Agent Zigzag (Bloomsbury)
Gabriel García Márquez - Love in the Time of Cholera (Penguin)
Yann Martel - Life of Pi (Canongate)
Alexander Masters - Stuart: A Life Backwards (Fourth Estate)
Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance (Faber)
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas (Sceptre)
Toni Morrison - Beloved (Vintage)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun (Fourth Estate)
David Nicholls - One Day (Hodder)
Philip Pullman - Northern Lights (Scholastic)
Erich Maria Remarque - All Quiet on the Western Front (Vintage)
C.J. Sansom - Dissolution (Pan)
Nigel Slater - Toast (Fourth Estate)
Muriel Spark - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Penguin)
Sarah Waters - Fingersmith (Virago)


The World Book Night website www.worldbooknight.org will serve as the primary means through which members of the public can apply to be a giver. People will be asked to say in up to 100 words why they want to give away a book chosen from the list and the sort of people they would like to give it to. Information about World Book Night will also be available via libraries and bookshops across the UK and Ireland. The closing date for entries is January 4, 2011.

The final selection of titles offers a wide array of outstanding books encompassing all types of fiction be it historical, literary, crime and commercial as well as poetry, memoir and young adult. Whether a huge bestseller, a prize-winning debut, a lesser known gem or an undisputed classic, it was felt that every book needed to be an accessible work of enduring quality that people would feel passionate about sharing with others.

Jamie Byng, Chairman, World Book Night says: “World Book Night is a unique collaboration between publishers, booksellers, libraries, writers and individual members of the public and one that I think is going to have an enormously positive impact on books and reading. There are few things more meaningful than the personal recommendation and having one million books given to one million different people on one night in this way is both unprecedented and hugely exciting.”

Alan Yentob Creative Director, BBC and member of the World Book Night editorial committee says: “BBC Two will host World Book Night from its inception on December 2 through to the event itself on 5 March. Whether as a giver, recipient or viewer, we hope that BBC audiences will be inspired to get involved with this groundbreaking project.”

Author John le Carré says: “No writer can ask more than this: that his book should be handed in thousands to people who might otherwise never get to read it, and who will in turn hand it to thousands more. That his book should also pass from one generation to another as a story to challenge and excite each reader in his time -that is beyond his most ambitious dreams.”

For press information about World Book Night please contact Fiona McMorrough or Josephine Olley at FMCM on 0207 405 7422, fionam@fmcm.co.uk; josephineo@fmcm.co.uk

Posted : 05/01/2011 09:36:36

Herefordshire refuse collections
All refuse collection vehicles are out in Herefordshire today as normal and they will be doing their best to make collections despite the icy roads and pavements.

Advice to residents is to leave it out until the end of today. If it is not collected, please take refuse in and present on the next collection day.

Recycling will be caught up on next scheduled collection day - recycling sites are available in most supermarkets and across the county.

Anyone with extra recyclable material is asked to place it out in another bag next to their recycling bin which is clearly marked “RECYCLING”.

They are asked not to use black bags for this purpose as the crews can not see what is in the bags and may miss the label.

Posted : 24/12/2010 09:11:35

Snow update
Snow update at 8:15am

Herefordshire Council’s gritters have been out overnight using around 260 tonnes of salt to keep the roads clear.

Surface temperatures dipped to a low of -7 at Llancloudy.

High Town in Hereford has been treated this morning in preparation for the last day of Christmas shopping.

Motorists are being advised that untreated surfaces still remain hazardous in some locations and slight winds in the early evening have caused some snow drifts in various places.

We advise motorists to take extra care and leave plenty of time for travelling.

Posted : 24/12/2010 09:10:43

Snow update
Snow update at 8:15am

Herefordshire Council’s gritters have been out overnight using around 260 tonnes of salt to keep the roads clear.

Surface temperatures dipped to a low of -7 at Llancloudy.

High Town in Hereford has been treated this morning in preparation for the last day of Christmas shopping.

Motorists are being advised that untreated surfaces still remain hazardous in some locations and slight winds in the early evening have caused some snow drifts in various places.

We advise motorists to take extra care and leave plenty of time for travelling.

Posted : 24/12/2010 09:09:49

Snow update
Herefordshire Council’s gritters have been out overnight using around 260 tonnes of salt to keep the roads clear.

Surface temperatures dipped to a low of -7 at Llancloudy.

High Town in Hereford has been treated this morning in preparation for the last day of Christmas shopping.

Motorists are being advised that untreated surfaces still remain hazardous in some locations and slight winds in the early evening have caused some snow drifts in various places.

We advise motorists to take extra care and leave plenty of time for travelling.

Posted : 24/12/2010 09:07:13

Snow update
Gritters have been out overnight keeping priority routes clear across Herefordshire.
 
While surface temperatures dipped to a low of -14.2 at Allensmore, 260 tonnes of rock salt have been used overnight.
 
Salt and grit has also been used to treat roads and pavements in Hereford’s High Town.
 
Motorists are being advised that untreated still remain hazardous.
 
Refuse and recycling:
 
Collection crews are out this morning.
 
Residents are asked to put out their refuse as normal but to be aware there may be delays in collections and there will be some areas that the crews cannot get to due to icy roads and pavements.
 
Advice is that if a collection is not made today, please leave refuse and recycling out until the end of tomorrow.
 
Once crews complete today’s collection rounds, they will attempt to return to areas which were not collected from yesterday and possibly Tuesday.
 
If refuse has not been collected by the end of Friday, residents are asked to take it back in until the date of their next collection.
 
Please note that there are no changes to collection days over Christmas and New Year; crews are working as normal on the bank holidays.

Posted : 23/12/2010 09:13:46

Take care of flu symptoms in this severe weather
NHS Herefordshire, the leader for health in the county, has confirmed there has been a significant increase in the number of people visiting their GP with flu like symptoms over the last few days. As the cold weather is set to continue, the situation is anticipated to escalate further in the coming days.

NHS Herefordshire is urging anyone suffering flu symptoms to stay at home, take Paracetamol if appropriate, keep well hydrated and only contact their GP by telephone if symptoms persist or get worse. Alternatively they can contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

Dr Arif Mahmood, Consultant in Public Health at NHS Herefordshire, said: “Most patients visiting their GP are experiencing mild illness and not requiring hospital admission or any specialist treatment. However, for those individuals in at risk groups, such as the elderly, the chronically ill, immuno-compromised, and pregnant women, the flu virus can be serious.”

He added “The NHS in Herefordshire is well prepared for the influenza season but it is important that people do everything they can to reduce the incidence and spread of this infection. This means everybody in the at-risk group who needs to be immunised gets their free flu jab from their local GP Practice – which this year includes pregnant women.”

The met office has advised a slight thaw is likely over the next few days, as a milder air front comes into the county. As a result, NHS Herefordshire is advising patients to rearrange routine GP appointments where possible.

Posted : 22/12/2010 16:47:11

Update on Roads – 11am
Dinmore Hill and Frome Hill have now been reopened and are passable with care. Herefordshire Council’s gritting teams have been out and about across the county, helping to keep the county moving. Further deliveries of salt were brought in by gritters this morning boosting stock levels to 1070T.

The county’s minor roads (C and U roads) have not been treated and are hazardous in some areas, particularly north of the county. Footways in the north of the county are also hazardous, particularly in Kington Town.

As Herefordshire continues to struggle with the weather, the following roads are passable with extreme care. However, motorists are advised to avoid them if possible:

Leintwardine, A4113, A4110
Little Hereford, A456, A4112, B4361, B4362
Leominster, A44, B4360
Kington, A44, A4111, A480, B4355, A438

Posted : 22/12/2010 11:42:58

Recycling and refuse collections cancelled
Recycling and refuse collections across Herefordshire have been cancelled again today due to the heavy snowfall.

Weather permitting, the collection vehicles will be out tomorrow doing what they can to make collections and follow up the backlog from yesterday and today. Residents who's collections have been affected are asked to leave their rubbish out until the end of tomorrow. If it isn't collected by then they should take it back in until the date of their next collection.

Herefordshire Council's recycling sites remain available throughout the county. In addition, all household waste sites are currently open.

Posted : 22/12/2010 10:44:27

Snow Advice at 9am
Gritting teams are reporting that the snowfall is becoming slightly less intense in the far north of the county, but the southern edge has moved south to encompass Morton on Lugg/Wellington where the snowfall is intense. This concurs with the latest forecast from the met office who expect the snow to pass, just touch Hereford and become less intense over the next two to three hours.

Dinmore Hill and Frome Hill remain impassable at the moment whereas other roads are passable but with extreme care (Leintwardine, A4113, A4110, Little Hereford, A456, A4112, B4361, B4362, Leominster, A44, B4360, Kington, A44, A4111, A480, B4355, A438)

All efforts are being taken to keep the roads as clear as possible, but the council is urging people to sit tight and wait until the snowfall has passed and the gritters have got on top of the roads before making any journey through North Herefordshire or beyond.

Posted : 22/12/2010 09:14:16

Road Update
As Herefordshire continues to struggle with the weather, the following roads are passable with extreme care. However, motorists are advised to avoid them if possible:

Leintwardine,
A4113
A4110

Little Hereford,
A456
A4112
B4361
B4362

Leominster,
A44
B4360

Kington,
A44
A4111
A480
B4355
A438

Posted : 22/12/2010 08:54:46

Snow update - 9.30am
Due to the adverse weather, Herefordshire Council's refuse contractors have had to suspend collections for the day.

Officers are monitoring the situation and will make a decision regarding tomorrow's collections as soon as possible.

Meanwhile the council is continuing to run its constrained service to conserve salt stocks, meaning only priority routes are being treated.

High Town in Hereford is also being treated as a different product is used here.

As part of its winter planning service, the council is keen to hear people's experiences of what has worked well and what has been not so good.

People are urged to call 01432 261800 or email streets@herefordshire.gov.uk

Motorists are being advised that the C1120, known as God Almighty Hill, remains closed due to snow and ice on a very steep pitch. A diversion route has been set up.

Posted : 21/12/2010 09:51:39

Snow update – 7.45am
Herefordshire Council’s team of gritters have been busy during the night depositing 330 tonnes of rock salt on the main routes through the county.

Teams have been out gritting and ploughing the roads three times overnight.

As a result, main routes (A and B roads) are passable with care, but other routes are passable with extreme care.

The only road which is closed is the C1120, Bodenham to Marden road.

The lowest surface temperature recorded overnight was -4.4 on the A4113 at Hillpike.

Posted : 21/12/2010 09:28:29

Herefordshire prepared for arctic weather
Herefordshire Council has had to move to a more constrained winter weather service due to the impact of the recent bad weather and the effects of what is lining up to be the coldest December for 100 years.

Extremely cold temperatures over the weekend, with some places in Herefordshire reaching as low as -14.5 degrees, mean the council has to be prudent with its salt stocks to ensure priority routes can remain open.

In line with its winter service plan, the council has now moved to a constrained level of service focusing on the priority routes. Snow clearance will still be carried out on secondary routes and other places as well.

So far this winter, the council has used 6,000 tonnes of salt and has delivered more than 28,000 miles of gritting.

Today (December 20), the council has 1,500 tonnes of salt in stock and a further 420 tonnes is being delivered this week. Regular stocks will continue to arrive from the council’s normal supplier and a further 3,000 tonnes of imported salt, which was ordered at the beginning of December, is due to arrive in January.

In addition to this the council has put in its bid for some salt from the strategic stockpile held by the Department for Transport, to ensure our resilience throughout.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “We are monitoring the salt stocks on a daily basis and the extremely cold temperatures over the weekend mean we have to move to the more constrained level of service. Fortunately, the schools have now broken up for Christmas but we will ensure priority routes are gritted.

“This will ensure our salt stocks will last over the Christmas period and then we will have more salt arriving in January to replenish salt stocks.

“I would like to thank all in the highway service team who have planned well for winter and have, once again, been working around the clock through the bad weather to keep essential routes open and minimise the risk of accidents on the roads.

“With more snow and freezing temperatures forecast, I would urge drivers to ensure they plan their routes carefully and log onto www.herefordshire.gov.uk and click on the Winter Gritting box for details of our priority routes for treatment. They should also drive according to the conditions, remembering it takes a lot longer to brake in snow and ice,” he added.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, added: "I would like to add my thanks to the gritting teams for all the work have been doing and will be doing over Christmas and New Year to keep our roads safe and passable."
Anyone with any particular problems to report with gritting should telephone Streetscene on 01432 261800 or email streets@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 20/12/2010 11:58:48

Herefordshire Weather Report Update
Herefordshire Council reports another freezing cold night in the county with temperatures ranging from minus 3 to minus 7. All A and B roads are passable with care after being treated with around 220 tonnes of salt at around 3am this morning (8 December 2010) and yesterday evening.

Freezing fog and a severe hoar frost means untreated surfaces are hazardous. Hereford city car parks, High Town and heavily used footways were treated at 4.30am.

All schools in the county are reported to be open this morning and the council’s website – www.herefordshire.gov.uk – carries regular school and school transport updates as well as details of the winter road gritting schedule.

Posted : 08/12/2010 08:32:25

Herefordshire's main roads open this morning
Herefordshire Council reports that all A and B roads across the county are passable with care after being treated with salt in the early hours of this morning (6 December 2010).

Over 220 tonnes of salt were used by the council’s partner Amery Herefordshire at 3.03am and 6am after temperatures were recorded at minus 10 in some parts of the county. Freezing fog and a severe hoar frost means untreated surfaces are hazardous and Hereford city car parks, High Town and heavily used footways were treated at 6am.

All schools in the county are reported to be open this morning and the council’s website – www.herefordshire.gov.uk – carries regular school and school transport updates as well as details of the winter road gritting schedule.

Posted : 06/12/2010 09:30:25

Brace yourself for more freezing weather
Herefordshire Council is advising motorists and pedestrians to take particular care this evening when a mixture of rain and snow is likely to fall on freezing surfaces.

It will mean there will be the potential for widespread icy surfaces across the county – meaning an increased risk of injuries and road accidents.

The latest weather forecasts show that while up to 3cm of snow may fall in some areas during the late evening/early part of the night, the greater hazard is it falling onto cold roads and pavements.

Saturday is expected to be mostly cloudy with some rain at times and slightly higher temperatures, but ice will again be a hazard overnight into Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, Herefordshire Council is aware that many people want to clear ice and snow from footways and roads but do not do so due to concerns over potential litigation.
Herefordshire Council’s advice is:
There is plenty of case law about the responsibility of the highway authority with respect to snow, ice and gritting, but we can find none which deals with ordinary members of the public.
The position of an ordinary person who clears snow from outside their own or someone else’s property is that they would only be liable for an accident if:

• Their efforts actually made the pavement less safe than it was with the snow and ice undisturbed;
• They should have foreseen the likelihood of someone being injured as a result;
• Someone actually gets injured;
• The injury is the result of their efforts; and
• The person injured decides to sue them.

In most cases people will improve the situation, in which case no liability could arise.
While there is a theoretical possibility of liability arising if a person cleared an area by moving a lot of snow somewhere else, which caused an accident, or if they cleared snow which wasn’t slippery, and left a wet area which iced up and became slippery, we do not think that this should discourage individuals from taking it upon themselves to clear ice and snow from our roads and footways.

For further details of the council’s gritting operations and advice on the precautions residents can take to make drives and pathways safer during the freezing weather, visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk and follow the winter gritting link from the front page to view the council’s winter gritting leaflet.

Posted : 03/12/2010 15:56:28

Herefordshire's main roads gritted overnight
Herefordshire Council reports that A and B roads in the county are passable with care after they were gritted overnight and this morning following a 2am inspection.

Also this morning, workmen have been out gritting Hereford city car parks, High Town and the main footpaths through the city centre.

However, motorists are being advised to take care as light snow flurries over night have been falling on sub-zero ground temperatures and a severe frost so untreated surfaces are hazardous.

Overnight gritters have used 270 tons of rock salt.

The domestic refuse and recycling crews are all out collecting their normal Friday rounds this morning.

The main routes are accessible but crews are reporting difficulties with ice on side roads.

Every attempt will be made to clear this week's backlog later in the day but this will dependant on weather and road conditions.

Stoke Prior and Wigmore primary schools are closed this morning.

Posted : 03/12/2010 08:52:17

Herefordshire refuse collections as normal today
Herefordshire’s refuse and recycling crews are out collecting this morning.

Thursday’s collections rounds will be carried out first with crews going back out again to collect the remaining refuse and recycling from Tuesday and Wednesday, subject to suitable weather and road conditions.

Posted : 02/12/2010 09:56:19

Council reports primary routes clear in County
Herefordshire Council reports that all A and B roads in the county are passable with care after being treated by the gritting teams, although untreated minor roads remain hazardous.

Today (2 December 2010) all the county’s schools are open, except for Michaelchurch Escley primary school, which is clearing up after burst water pipes. Herefordshire Council has a regularly updated schools list on its website – www.herefordshire.gov.uk - for parents who need to check their schools status and how school bus services are coping.

Overnight, temperatures were as low as minus 4 in some areas and 130 tonnes of salt were used to treat roads. Of the 2044 miles of road in Herefordshire, around 30 per cent are priority routes that receive precautionary and reactive gritting. The trunk roads and motorways are maintained by the Highways Agency, including the M50 and the A49.

The council’s partner Amey Herefordshire uses 15 gritters on different routes around the county and aim to have all routes completed in two and a half hours. Generally, all planned early morning treatments are completed before 7.30am. In cold weather, other roads may be icy and in prolonged freezing weather or snow, salting or snow clearance is carried out on defined set of secondary routes. The council publishes its winter gritting plans on its website.

Roads that provide access to schools are also treated as a high priority in times of severe or prolonged winter weather. Roadside grit bins are supplied following requests by parish councils to provide cover on minor roads which might not otherwise be treated.

The council has released top tips for motoring in winter. Before you go check the weather forecast and consider whether your journey essential is essential, allow an extra 10 minutes to prepare the car, make sure all windows and mirrors are clean and clear from frost, ice or snow and carry a scraper and de-icer. Make sure your wipers and lights are clean and in good working order, consider taking a torch, blanket, food, wellingtons, warm clothing and a spade and finally, tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to arrive.

When driving, allow extra time for your journey, adjust your driving to suit the conditions, remember stopping distances can be ten times longer in ice and snow compared to a dry road, apply brakes gently and manoeuvre carefully and where there is poor visibility or snow, use dipped headlights. If you need to abandon your car, try to park considerately to facilitate gritting activities and allow access for other road users, and let the local police know.

Posted : 02/12/2010 09:55:28

Refuse Collections In Herefordshire
Herefordshire refuse collections as usual with some delays in remote areas.

Herefordshire Council reports that its refuse and recycling collection crews are out on the roads as usual this morning and residents are requested to put out their refuse and recycling for Wednesday collection as usual.

Some rural areas are still proving difficult to access for the council’s contractors Focsa, which will be undertaking the normal Wednesday collections first and then going back to finish any missed rounds from Tuesday.

The council has apologised for any delays in remote areas and asks everyone to bear with them while they carry out collections where there remain difficult conditions on minor roads.

The council will be updating advice throughout the day on its website – visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 01/12/2010 09:08:23

Work starts on Grange Court revamp
Work has now started on Herefordshire Council’s £2.8 million refurbishment of Grange Court in Leominster.

Contractors WRW Construction Ltd from Llanelli, Carmartenshire, have now started on the scheme which will see the historic building become a hub for community activities.

As part of their commitment to getting the community involved in the project, the contractors are holding a Meet the Buyer day on Wednesday (November 16) when local sub-contractors are urged to come forward and see if they can get involved in the scheme. It is being held at Grange Court in both the morning and afternoon and invites have already been issued.

The contractors have also been in contact with Herefordshire College of Technology and will be offering work experience to students who are studying construction, plumbing and metalwork courses.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “I am pleased the contractors are offering a chance for local firms to get involved in this project and would urge anyone interested to attend the day.

“As the build period is less than 12 months, the contractors were unable to offer apprenticeships for students but I am sure many will benefit from work experience being offered on this prestigious project and a chance to learn about working on a historic building,” he added.

Bill Jackson, chairman of LARC, said: “I am delighted work has started on schedule ready for completion by September 2011 and we will now be working to get tenants for the finished building so it can become a place for Leominster to be proud of,” he added.

Work is being funded by grants from the Community Assets Programme from HM Government (£1million), Advantage West Midlands RDPE Rural Development Programme for England (£750,000), Social Investment Business Community Builders Funds (£1million) with the difference being made up by Marches Town Initiative funding, Leominster Town Council and Herefordshire Council.

Community Assets is a non-Lottery programme funded by the Cabinet Office and is distributed by the Big Fund, the non-Lottery funding operation of the Big Lottery Fund.

As part of the “Grange Court: building in the past for the future” project, Herefordshire Council will transfer the freehold of the completed building to the Leominster Area Regeneration Company Limited (LARC).

Posted : 10/11/2010 09:12:17

Hereford Fire Update
The vast majority of shops in Hereford’s High Town will be open for business as normal tomorrow morning (Fri, Oct 22) despite the blaze which brought the city centre to a standstill this morning.

The fire at the Card Factory shop, which spread to nearby buildings, resulted in a cordon in High Town to allow around 70 fire fighters to tackle the blaze.

However, St Peter’s Square has already been opened up to allow school buses to use it as the regular collection and drop-off point and the council is expecting that just a handful of shops neighbouring the Card Factory shop which were directly affected by the fire, will remain closed tomorrow morning.

Herefordshire Council has vowed to support these local businesses as they look for alternative suitable premises in the city centre.

Posted : 21/10/2010 17:29:33

St Peter’s Square open in time for school bus run
Following the fire in Hereford this morning, when a section of the city centre was cordoned off, Herefordshire Council is pleased to announce that St Peter’s Square has been re-opened in time for the school bus run.

Alternative arrangements were put in place this morning as the square was closed to allow fire fighters to put out the fire.

Although St Peter’s Square is not fully open to all traffic, arrangements have been made to ensure buses can use the bus stops in the square.

Posted : 21/10/2010 14:38:40

Helping local businesses get back on their feet
Herefordshire Council is pledging support to local businesses affected by today’s fire in Hereford city centre by helping them find alternative suitable premises.

The economic development team is scouring the city to identify potential properties for temporary or permanent occupation, in a drive to get those affected up and running again as quickly as possible.

The team encourages premises owners or business managers in need of alternative accommodation to contact them as quickly as possible on 01432 261758.

The team is also investigating how affected businesses will be treated from a business rates perspective.

It is hoped that damaged properties can be taken out of business rates until they are ready to be occupied again.

The council has also announced it will waive the daily charge for those businesses which would ordinarily have been trading in High Town today but are unable to due to the fire.

Posted : 21/10/2010 11:17:34

Hereford fire
The fire in Hereford’s High Town is under control – but the area is likely to remain cordoned off for the remainder of the day.

Other parts of the city centre – include Maylords Orchard, Widemarsh Street, Broad Street, Commercial Street and Commercial Road, are open for business as usual.

Around 70 fire fighters and 20 fire engines have been at the site of the fire, which began in the Card Factory, when it took hold at around 4.30am this morning and spread to a number of neighbouring shops.

Four people were evacuated from city centre flats – but no-one has been injured and no-one is reported missing.

The Black and White house in the centre of High Town is undamaged.

High Town, the Buttermarket, St Owen Street and St Peter’s Square are currently closed. To help city centre shop workers, Herefordshire Council has opened up the Shire Hall as a gathering centre so workers can get the latest information.

Due to the amount of water used on the fire, people may experience low water pressure or slightly discoloured water in the city centre.

Posted : 21/10/2010 09:48:00

Schools gear up for Car Free Challenge
Five Herefordshire secondary schools are taking part in a regional Car Free Challenge which aims to reduce the numbers of children travelling to school by car.

Pupils from Aylestone Business and Enterprise College, Hereford Cathedral School, The Hereford Academy, Minster College in Leominster and Kingstone High School will be competing against a further 31 schools across the West Midlands in the challenge which runs from April 26 until May 7.

The campaign, funded by the West Midlands Department of Health as part of its Change4Life campaign which aims to get people moving more, eating better and living longer, challenges schools to come up with innovative ways of reducing the number of cars coming to school.
It is being organised by TravelWise West Midlands.

Ideas so far generated in schools include podcasts, video documentaries, competitions to promote walking and cycling, poster campaigns, leaflets and newsletters to parents, promoting car sharing amongst staff, drama around the journey to school, sponsored walks and many more.

The most innovative and successful school in Herefordshire will win £100 for their school and a chance to win the top prize of £500 for the best school campaign in the West Midlands.

Andrew Ashcroft, Herefordshire Council’s head of planning and transportation, said: “By 2050 almost 60 per cent of the population could be obese, with nearly 30 per cent of two to 15 year olds currently being classed as overweight or obese. Walking or cycling to and from school provides an easy, daily opportunity for exercise and gets students outdoors and more active.

“With the ever increasing petrol price, walking to school will help parents save money. Reducing car use will also reduce school carbon emissions, 16 per cent of which result from school travel and transport.

“This is a great campaign that will not only help the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road and combat the increasingly growing obesity problem, it will also motivate students to become creative and organised about a real life issue that has to be tackled,” he added.

The challenge is for student groups who will need to be as innovative as possible to encourage people to go car free for a two week period. The challenge is due to take place between April 26 and May 7.

An awards event will be held next autumn to award the winners and the winning campaign will be turned into a new campaign for all secondary schools.

Hereford Cathedral School are starting the week on April 26 with a school assembly in Hereford Cathedral to explain the aims of the Challenge and Hereford Academy are launching the Challenge with an open morning and display at the school on the same day.

Posted : 20/04/2010 11:27:36

Another £1million to fix Herefordshire's highways
Herefordshire Council has received an extra £1million from the government towards its major scheme to fix the county’s highways.

The announcement came as part of the recent Budget after the council lobbied central government for more cash to repair the county’s roads.

This will be added to the £10.7million already earmarked by the council to deliver the biggest programme of highway maintenance that the county has ever seen.

Richard Ball, Herefordshire Council’s assistant director, said: “Highways in Herefordshire have suffered greatly after the worst winter weather in more than 30 years.

“Rather than just provide a quick-fix by filling in potholes, we will carry out a wider programme of planned resurfacing work over the coming year to restore the county’s roads to an acceptable standard for the longer term.

“The condition of the county’s roads is one of our major priorities and I believe Herefordshire is leading the way among local authorities in targeting resources to this important issue.

“I am glad our lobbying for government cash has paid dividends,” he added.

Detailed surveys have highlighted a rise in defects of more than 30 per cent on the county’s road network. This year will see the biggest ever programme of maintenance with over 135 miles of the county’s road network being treated.

Posted : 13/04/2010 19:09:16

Way forward for tourism in Herefordshire
A new report outlines the way forward for tourism in the county to build on the success of Visit Herefordshire in attracting people to the county.

The report commissioned by Herefordshire Council in collaboration with Visit Herefordshire DMP outlines the value of tourism to the county at £410 million per year, and shows how well placed the county is to increase visitor spend and offer.
It also builds on the good work carried out by Visitor Herefordshire in attracting people to the county through marketing, major events such as University of the Great Outdoors and the Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival.

The report offers new ideas for creating greater collaboration between tourism operators and other sectors involved in tourism development within the county.

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council’s head of economic and community services said: “Tourism is so important to the profile and economy of the county and the report points us in the direction to ensure the work of all parties involved can promote the county and ensure visitors stay longer.”

Peter Hands, chairman of the Destination Management Partnership, added: “Following on from my tenure as chairman, this report is very welcome in outlining the next stage in the development of the Destination Management Partnership. Many partnerships in the UK are going through similar changes and as a county we need to be ahead of the competition to make sure we maximise the opportunities for the county.”

The next phase will be to work through the details recommended in the report, through a transition group.

Peter Hands will sadly be stepping down as chairman of the partnership in May to pursue a new challenge with his wife Gillian, having recently purchased the Speech House Hotel in The Royal Forest of Dean.

Natalia Silver said: “Peter will be greatly missed as he has overseen some major advances in tourism within the county over the past two and a half years. On behalf of Herefordshire Council, I would like to wish him all the best with his new venture.”

Posted : 13/04/2010 19:06:35

General election – make sure you can vote on May 6
Voters in Herefordshire go to the polls on Thursday, May 6, to elect their member of parliament for the Hereford and South Herefordshire and North Herefordshire constituencies.

Electors in Hope End and Ledbury wards will be going to the polls on the same day to elect new Herefordshire Council councillors following resignations.

To ensure everyone who wants to vote can, Herefordshire Council is issuing the following guidance:

Not everyone realises that they need to re-register each year to have their names included on the register of electors.

This happens when the council's electoral registration team carries out the annual canvass in the autumn, or if people move house during the year.

Anyone who returned the canvass form, or registered on line or by telephone during the annual canvass, should be on the register of electors. They will shortly receive their poll card with voting details for the election.

Anyone who did not register, or who has changed address since the autumn, still has time to register in time for the elections.

“All they need to do is download the voter registration form off the council's website and return it to the council's electoral registration team based at the Town Hall in St Owen Street, Hereford, as soon as possible,” said Chris Bull, the acting returning officer for the election.

“The deadline for completed forms to be with us is Tuesday, April 20,” he added.

The forms are also available from the council's Info shops and libraries – and they can be obtained by telephoning the council's electoral registration team on 0844 9396107.

For those who can't get to a polling station to vote, the council has the following advice:

If you can't get to your polling station to vote, or simply find it more convenient to vote by post, then you can apply to vote by post at the elections on May 6 and future elections.

Once again, the forms to apply for a postal vote are available to download from the council's website – www.herefordshire.gov.uk/elections - and from Info shops and libraries.

The deadline to apply to vote by post at the elections is 5pm on Tuesday, April 20.

The council is aiming to send out postal votes for the election on either Friday, April 23, or Monday, April 26 at the latest.

“Alternatively, residents can choose to vote by proxy – this means appointing someone to vote on your behalf.

“Simply complete and return the proxy application form which can be found on the council's website and is available from Info shops and libraries and return it to us. You may need to have your application vouched for, depending on the reasons for your application. More details can be found on the form,” said Chris.

The deadline to apply to vote by proxy at the elections is 5pm on Tuesday, April 27, other than for medical emergencies.

If someone is unable to get to the polling station due to a medical emergency that has arisen after the normal deadline, they can apply to vote by proxy up to 5pm on the day of the election.

To anyone who wants to stand in the general election, Herefordshire Council is issuing the following guidance:

Nomination packs can be downloaded from the council's web site www.herefordshire.gov.uk/elections or can be obtained by telephoning the electoral services office on 0844 9396107.

Completed nomination papers have to be delivered to the acting returning officer at the Council Offices, Brockington, 35 Hafod Road, Hereford HR1 1SH between 10am and 4pm (Monday - Friday) from Wednesday 14 April to Tuesday 20 April 2010.

Key towns served in each of the two constituencies covering the county are:

Hereford and South Herefordshire:
• Hereford
• Ross-on-Wye

North Herefordshire:
• Leominster
• Kington
• Bromyard
• Ledbury

Polling station locations can also be found on the council's website.

Anyone who needs further information about the process should contact the electoral registration team on 0844 9396107.

Posted : 12/04/2010 19:04:40

Pride of Herefordshire photo competition launched
Local photographers have a chance to showcase their work in some of the most visual places in Herefordshire in a competition to highlight the beauty and diversity of the county.

This competition has been launched as one part of Herefordshire Council’s Windows on Art scheme funded by the Communities and Local Government Department, which aims to make creative use of empty shops with a view to making high streets a more vibrant and attractive place to shop and run businesses.

The Pride of Herefordshire Photo Competition is an opportunity to show everyone what is good about the county and for everyone else to see it. Pictures will be judged and winners will see their images featured in window displays in empty shops around the county.

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council’s head of economic and community services said: “This is a chance for local people to use photography to show what Herefordshire means to them, as well as improving empty shops to visitors and shoppers into the county.

“This is a development of the window in art programme ran last year which was really popular and makes the most of the creativity in the county,” she added.

The competition is open to amateur and professional photographers alike, who are residents of Herefordshire who have until Tuesday 4th May to enter their images into The Pride of Herefordshire Photo Competition.

The Pride of Herefordshire Photo Competition judging panel will be looking for the photographers idea of positive aspects of living and working in the county. They will also consider a range of factors and will be looking for present rural, urban landscapes and scenes at events. Judges will also look for a creative approach and good technical ability.

For full details on how to enter the competition, please visit the link: http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/leisure/arts_and_crafts/26195.asp or email: lhill@herefordshire.gov.uk or telephone Liz Hill on 01432 260621

Posted : 12/04/2010 18:59:01

Council warns over broadband offer
Herefordshire Council is warning county residents to beware of cold callers claiming to offer free broadband.

Maureen Guest, Herefordshire Council’s principal trading standards officer, said: “We have received calls from concerned members of the public who have been told by cold callers that Herefordshire Council is offering a free broadband service.

“As a council, we have no such offer for residents but would instead urge people to carry out their own research into the best broadband provider for their needs.

“Residents should always be wary of cold callers who often claim to offer services that do not exist and target the most vulnerable members of society.

“I would also welcome it if anyone who has calls from these people would contact trading standards so we can investigate the matter further,” she added.

Posted : 08/04/2010 18:51:57

Stained glass window unveiled at new crematorium
Herefordshire Council’s new crematorium now has a new stained glass window kindly donated by a Hereford man to commemorate the life of his late partner John Sperry.

Richard Claridge of Hampton Grange and Lynhales Nursing Homes donated the bespoke window to the crematorium.

The window was designed, painted and made by Williams and Byrne of Ludlow.

David Williams, of Williams and Byrne, said: “Richard wanted to make this gift to the people of Herefordshire because stained glass can be peaceful and uplifting. It cannot change the sorrow, but it can give comfort and strength.”

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “When we designed the new crematorium, we wanted the chapel to become part of the city’s heritage and we were delighted when Mr Claridge asked if he could pay for a stained glass window to be installed there.

“The window is not only a fitting celebration of his late partner’s life but is also a sensitive addition to the crematorium’s interior decoration.

“For people attending the crematorium it can be a distressing and upsetting time, so it is important that the surroundings are as sympathetic and pleasant as possible and this window certainly makes the chapel a more uplifting place to be,” he added.

Posted : 30/03/2010 12:47:53

New play areas to open in time for Easter holidays
Children across Herefordshire will be able to enjoy eleven new, creative outdoor play areas this Easter thanks to Herefordshire Council.

Over the last few months, plans have been drawn up, ramps and boulders have been installed and nature-friendly play equipment has been delivered to create fantastic new play areas with a focus on challenge, for children aged eight to 13 in Leominster, Bromyard, Hereford, Kington, Peterchurch, Credenhill and Ross on Wye.

Nearly £300,000 has been spent on the new equipment with funding from Playbuilder, a two year government project which aims to improve or develop play areas. The focus of Playbuilder is to encourage outdoor play in the natural environment. As fund manager, Herefordshire Council has worked closely with local groups and organisations to develop sites that include mounds, boulders, wood and logs as well as exciting new types of swings, slides and zip wires. Now, as the project reaches its half way point, eleven new sites will be opened just in time for the Easter holidays.

Developed hand in hand with the local community, Herefordshire Council will continue to maintain the sites and ensure they are kept safe.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This project has brought together council departments and local community groups to make sure we make the best use of people’s broad skills and experiences and get it right for our children and their families.

“We’re lucky in Herefordshire to have so many open spaces and such a beautiful environment in which to live. However, much of it isn’t free for children to play in and there are many local community groups who have been working hard to make things better for their children and young people. Herefordshire Council has been delighted to work with them to make sure that our children get the play spaces they need and deserve.

“A lot of thought and discussion has gone into the design of these areas to make sure that the equipment provided enhances imaginative play and allows children to challenge themselves and take risks in a safe environment.”

The new play areas are Bye Street in Ledbury, The Knapp in Bromyard, Barons Cross and Sydonia Park in Leominster, King George V Playfield Fields and Northolme Road in Hereford, Roman Way in Ross on Wye, Crooked Well in Kington, and recreation grounds in Peterchurch and Credenhill.

A further fourteen play projects are due to begin this year taking the total to 22 across the county. These are due to be completed by April 2011*.


* The Copse, Burghill
Withington, site to be determined
Sutton St Nicholas, site to be determined
Llangrove, site to be determined
Weobley, site to be determined
Griftins Park, Lentwardine
Kingstone, site to be determined
Kington Recreation ground
Deer Park, Ledbury
The Knapp (Phase 2), Bomyard
Grandstand Road, Hereford
Waterfield Road, Hereford
Queenwood Country Park
Ross on Wye, site to be determined

Posted : 30/03/2010 12:46:50

Setting out ambitions for broadband in the County
Herefordshire could be missing out because of the limited broadband coverage, yet an event held on 18th March showed there is potential in businesses, communities and Herefordshire Council coming together to improve Broadband coverage in the county.

The Community Broadband Conference was open to anyone with an interest in improving broadband and included national and local speakers.

David Thame, gave an inspiring talk on how local people have set up Lingen Community Broadband showing that local solutions are possible though not without challenges along the way.

Launched at the event was the document entitled Broadband in Herefordshire – Developing a County Approach which sets out a vision for the future, as well as outlining how solutions can be met.
This document makes clear that waiting for market forces to solve the problem is unlikely, with Herefordshire not having the population density to make the laying of fibre optic cable financially viable for commercial operators.

Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “People of the county are losing out, including businesses who are not able to compete on a level playing field with companies in the more urban areas who have faster connectivity.

“Within Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire we are keen to have more services available electronically to aid access to services specifically in the rural areas but this will prove difficult without a broadband solution,” he added.

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council’s head of economic and community services, said: “The conference and document produced aims to stimulate debate about a way forward for the county working with local businesses and communities to create solutions for different parts of the county.”

The document is available via email economicinvestment@herefordshire.gov.uk or sent by contacting 01432 260609

Posted : 23/03/2010 19:27:15

£10million to fix Herefordshire’s highways
After the worst winter weather for 30 years, Herefordshire Council is to invest over £10million during the next year (an increase of over £3million compared to last year) to deliver the biggest programme of highway maintenance the county has ever seen.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Our highway network has suffered considerably during this winter weather and we have already filled 17,000 potholes since the beginning of the year.

“This compares to just 3000 in the same period last year and the numbers of potholes reported and being found are still continuing to rise.

“Whilst pothole repairs are providing a quick-fix, a wider programme of planned resurfacing work will be done over the coming year to restore the county’s roads to an acceptable standard for the longer term.

“The condition of the county’s roads is one of my priorities and I am pleased to be able to announce this major highway maintenance programme for the county. I believe Herefordshire is leading the way amongst local authorities in targeting resources to this important issue,” he added.

Detailed surveys have highlighted a rise in defects of more than 30 per cent on the county’s road network of more than 2,000 miles.

Amey normally use four hotboxes manned by two operatives to deal with the potholes but are currently using the four hotboxes together with an additional Jetpatcher and two further hot boxes.

All parish gangs have also been redeployed on pothole works (eight gangs of two men countywide) which is over and above the normal labour attached to this activity

Posted : 23/03/2010 19:26:31

New play area opens in Barons Cross
Children in the Barons Cross area will be spinning, climbing and cycling this summer as a new play area is due to open next month (April 2010).

Herefordshire Council has been working closely with Marches Housing Association and residents at Barons Cross to provide much needed facilities for the children who live on two adjacent estates. A patch of land divides the two at the moment, but work has already begun to turn this into a fantastic play area for 8-13 year olds and is due to be completed and officially opened on Saturday April 10 2010.

The new playground will feature a zip wire, a tree house, a cyclone spinning roundabout, a basket swing and a state of the art climbing frame. A cycle track is being created by local residents and to retain as much of the natural environment as possible, a wild flower area is being planted on the borders alongside some trees.

The £57,000 project is being funded through the government’s Playbuilder programme and is part of a project being run by Herefordshire Council to develop 22 new play projects across the county.

Residents at Barons Cross got together a steering group with support from the Marches Housing Association, to consult with children and young people, decide what was needed and put together plans and a funding bid to the council.

“The residents have worked incredibly hard, talking to children and young people and encouraging other residents to get involved, said Chris Bailey, Marches Housing Association. She continued, “Their work has paid off and as a result the children will be able to play outside this summer in a fantastic new facility. Through discussions with other groups, there are hopes to receive further funding for a ball court, an under-5s play area and a youth shelter which would make this an incredible community facility.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, cabinet member for economic development and community services, Herefordshire Council, said: “This is an exciting project and shows what can be achieved when people come together and work in partnership. The new play area has been planned with great care to make sure it is enhances the natural environment and is as inclusive as possible. It is so important for our children to be able to play outside and take reasonable risks when playing – it’s part of learning to be independent. Herefordshire Council is delighted to have been able to help with this much needed venture.”

The playground will be officially opened by Councillor Adrian Blackshaw at 11.30am on Saturday April 10 2010. To celebrate the event, WildPlay will be running some sessions with the children helping them explore the outdoor environment and there will be refreshments available to help families celebrate the opening.

Posted : 22/03/2010 16:47:32

Don your boots and discover more of Herefordshire
This year's Herefordshire Walking Festival offers more than 50 walks over a nine-day period so visitors and residents alike can discover the nooks and crannies of the county's rich, rural landscape.

The featured walk at this year's festival, which runs from June 19 to 27, is "In the Steps of the Mortimers", a three-day walk covering 30 miles from the north of Leominster through to Ludlow, uncovering the secret past of its undulating scenery.

In the south of the county, the Ross Round offers a chance to hike all or part of an 18-mile circuit around the market town, passing ancient sites and where steep climbs are rewarded with magnificent views.

Several of the walks offer a chance to sample some of the county's wonderful locally grown produce over a delicious breakfast, lunch, tea or evening meal while other walks provide refreshment stops or free tastings of local ice cream, apple juice or perry.

There are also many walks catering for special interests such as archaeology, ornithology, nature, history and wildlife.

Jane Lewis, Herefordshire Council's tourism, food and marketing manager, said: “This festival really does offer something for everyone, whatever their interests may be.

“This year we have two morning walks to hear the bird chorus, a special evening walk to search for bats and even a chance to go walking with llamas.

Budding photographers have the chance to improve their skills under the guidance of travel photographer Nick Meers, on a twilight amble at Croft Castle, and there is also a chance to find out more about the hauntings and horrors of Hereford city on a special ghost walk.

For further information and to book tickets log onto www.walkingfestival.com, telephone 01568 797842 or pick up one of the Herefordshire Walking Festival programmes from one of the county's libraries and tourist information centres.

This year's walking festival is being sponsored by MandMDirect.com, the country's leading online discount clothing retailer, and Amey, one of the UK's leading public services providers.

Posted : 15/03/2010 10:34:15

Herefordshire gears up for British Tourism week
Herefordshire Council's tourist information centres are gearing up for the fourth annual British Tourism Week which takes place from 15th-21st March 2010.

During 2008 visitors brought nearly £411 million into the county and the council is keen to celebrate British Tourism Week by putting on events to raise the profile of the tourist information centres and encourage visitors and residents to use them.

Last year's British Tourism Week saw 230 events take place across the country: a list of this year's events is available at www.britishtourismweek.com.

In Herefordshire the Leominster Tourist Information Centre will be offering free samples of local food and drink from local producers, throughout the week. Tyrrells potato chips, cider from Dunkertons, jams and pickles from Sally's Pantry, and Herefordshire cheeses from Monkland Cheese Dairy are just some of the tasty samples donated for people to try.

Ross-on-Wye's centre has some fabulous prizes to give away in a competition which will run throughout the week. Prices include tickets to see Jools Holland at Eastnor Castle on Saturday 10th July, £50 worth of Theatre Tokens and National Express tickets. To enter, simply call into the Tourist Information Centre.

There will also be a competition, one for adults and one for children, at the Hereford Tourist Information Centre. The prizes on offer here are two return tickets to travel anywhere in the United Kingdom by National Express and for the children a big cuddly teddy bear.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “Herefordshire is a beautiful county to visit so it’s no wonder we receive so many visitors each year: tourism is an important part of our local economy.

“Our tourist information teams have a wealth of knowledge about the county's culture and history, together with lots of information about places to visit and things to do. During national tourism week, we hope that local people as well as visitors, will be encouraged to visit the centres more often so that they can explore some of the county's hidden treasures.”

Posted : 15/03/2010 08:51:38

Seal of approval to customer services
Local people receive excellent customer service from Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire, according to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

The Customer Excellence Award has been developed by the cabinet office and assesses the attitude, professionalism and helpfulness of customer service staff, as well as the timeliness and quality of information provided.

There is also emphasis on how well the council and the primary care trust understand their customers, and their experience of, and satisfaction with, nearly 1000 different services delivered to over 170,000 people across the two organisations.

An assessor spent two days with the customer service team, scrutinising evidence, visiting customer service centres and checking experiences with customers, partners and staff.

The new award replaces the Charter Mark for excellence in customer services. Herefordshire Council has won the Charter Mark for the previous five years running.

Councillor June French, cabinet member for corporate, customer services and human resources, said: "Herefordshire Council has a strong track record in excellent customer services and I am delighted that the team have again met the highest standards to achieve this new award.

"Public services are usually well ahead of the private sector when it comes to providing a knowledgeable and responsive customer service, either face to face or by telephone or email. It is very important that residents are able to access local services and be able to talk to someone about the issues that concern them. Now that the council and the primary care trust are working in their unique partnership, staff have to know about nearly 1,000 different services that often affect the quality of life of thousands of local people. This level of service is something many other organisations can only aspire to”.

All the employees working in our customer service centres and contact centre have received extensive training and are able to provide a wide range of information on public services.

There are customer service centres in Hereford, Bromyard, Kington, Leominster, Ledbury and Ross-on- Wye. In addition, information can be obtained by ringing the contact centre on 01432 260500.

Posted : 12/03/2010 10:05:07

Setting out ambitions for Herefordshire broadband
Businesses and communities in Herefordshire are missing out because of the limited broadband coverage. However, a new document produced by Herefordshire Council sets out an ambitious way forward to address the challenges.

Herefordshire, like all rural areas, is not able to achieve the broadband coverage and bandwidth of more urban areas because the network coverage is not in place. The document entitled Broadband in Herefordshire – Developing a County Approach sets out a vision for the future, as well as outlining how solutions can be met.

This document makes clear that waiting for market forces to solve the problem is unlikely, with Herefordshire not having the population density to make the laying of optic fibre financially viable for commercial operators.

Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “People of the county are losing out, including businesses who are not able to compete on a level playing field with companies in the more urban areas who have faster connectivity.

“Within Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire we are keen to have more services available electronically to aid access to services specifically in the rural areas but this will prove difficult without a broadband solution,” he added.

The document will be launched at a Community Broadband Conference on 18 March, from 4.30pm until 7pm at The Three Counties Hotel, Hereford. The conference is open to anyone with an interest in improving broadband and will include national and local speakers.

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council’s head of economic and community services, said: ”The conference and document produced aims to stimulate debate about a way forward for the county working with local businesses and communities to create solutions for different parts of the county.”

To book a place at the conference please contact Kate Amos on 01432 260638 or email to kamos@herefordshire.gov.uk

For anyone unable to make the conference the document can be sent (electronically or in paper form) after the event.

Posted : 09/03/2010 10:17:08

Unseen health dangers of binge drinking
Young people in Herefordshire are being warned of the dangers of alcohol consumption through an exciting new project being delivered in the county’s colleges.

NHS Herefordshire, the leader for health in the county, has successfully bid for £12,000 to pilot a new innovative programme which will help young people understand all the risks involved with alcohol consumption. The primary care trust is working in partnership with 2XL, a voluntary-run group that uses the creative arts to raise awareness and stimulate discussion on a wide range of issues affecting young people.

Aimed at colleges and sixth forms, 2XL is developing an exciting, vibrant, dramatic performance called Blind Delusion which will take their student audience on a journey challenging perceptions and myths so that they have a clear understanding of the risks involved with alcohol. Safe and sensible drinking is the key message. The project is a pilot project and will consist of ten performances being delivered around Herefordshire’s colleges between March and April this year (2010). Each performance is followed by an interactive workshop where students can ask questions, exchange information and, if they wish, talk to health professionals.

“It’s about presenting issues in a social context,” said Sue Carter from 2XL. She continued, “We have put the performance together after detailed discussion with a group of young people who we work with on a regular basis, so we can make sure the issues addressed are from a young person’s perspective.

Roger Hanson, NHS Herefordshire, said: “The anti-social effects of binge drinking are well documented with national hospital admissions at an all time high, but we also want students to be aware of the other effects of alcohol misuse such as links to cancers, heart attacks and strokes. There is also a whole range of issues around control and responsibility, which has an impact on sexual health and relationships.

“Drinking sensibly isn’t a problem, but many don’t understand what the NHS recommended limits are, and that the impact of abusing these limits goes beyond liver damage. Using drama is a great way of getting messages across to students in an accessible way and encouraging them to consider changes in their own behaviours.”

NHS Herefordshire hopes to develop the programme further and bids are in for additional funding to facilitate this.

Posted : 08/03/2010 11:27:42

Herefordshire’s lowest ever council tax rise
Herefordshire Council approved today (5 March 2010) the lowest council tax rise ever in its history. The rise of 2.54 per cent represents £29.85 a year, or 57.4 pence a week, on a Band D property, which will rise to £1,205.09 in the next financial year but is still below the average council tax level for the country.

In a challenging budget setting, the council balanced its books last year for the seventh year running and achieved £5.6 million in savings for the next financial year.

Today, Herefordshire Council announced it had allocated an extra £1.5 million in capital and extra reserves for road maintenance, following the worst cold spell in the county for 30 years. The council, with its contractor Amey, is filling in 200 potholes a day, dealing with the most urgent first but allocating £3.7 million over the next 12 months to bring roads up to repair and resurface the road network.

Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of the council, said the council recognised the impact of any rise on local communities but Herefordshire was facing huge pressures in providing more social care for vulnerable and older people, a section of the population that is growing rapidly, as well as facing more expensive safeguarding for children.

The numbers of people receiving intensive home care has risen by 25 per cent in two years, and the number of children under child protection has rocketed by 100 per cent in the same period. The council today announced an extra £500,000 in contingency for increased pressure on social care next year.

Councillor Phillips announced that he expected soon to hear details of the new dedicated schools grant funding formula from the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Herefordshire Council has been lobbying for a fairer deal for schools, as Herefordshire gets just over £4,000 funding per pupil from government, compared with the national average of nearly £4,400. The county is fighting for government recognition of the higher overheads involved in providing education in sparsely populated areas.

Herefordshire people get £317 each from the central government formula grant, which is 17 per cent less funding per head of population than the average for similar authorities, despite the fact that public services are more expensive to provide in rural settings.

Posted : 05/03/2010 16:38:35

Spring is ideal time to reuse
Spring is the ideal time of year for people to have a good old clearout and maybe even decorate their homes and Herefordshire Council is encouraging people to see if any of their unwanted items can be reused rather than thrown away.

Many people discover unwanted items when spring cleaning but they are too good to throw away and they need somewhere to take them. People may also be replacing furniture but their existing furniture could still be useful to other people.

All across Herefordshire there are many voluntary or community organisations that will gladly take unwanted items, still in good condition, such as furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles and paint. They are then made available to other people in the area.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “The reuse and voluntary sector is a vital means by which unwanted items don’t end up in landfill.

“Around the county many such organisations exist to help and even collect those unwanted household items that people simply have no need for anymore. Most are perfectly good and suitable for re-homing.

“The Reuse guide lists all the organisations and the items that they accept, and is a great guide for finding out where to donate your unwanted possessions.

“Re-using valuable resources in this way can help reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and help support good causes,” he added.

A leaflet containing details of the county’s local re-use organisations is available from Info in Herefordshire centres throughout the county. Alternatively, residents can try offering their unwanted items on the internet by using the Freecycle website and a local Freecycle group can be found at www.freecycle.org

People interested in finding out more about re-use initiatives should call 01905 766883 or visit www.wastemissionimpossible.org.uk

Posted : 02/03/2010 09:45:33

Herefordshire families invited to boogie on down
As the nation gets dancing with the Change4Life Let’s Dance campaign, NHS Herefordshire and Halo Leisure are teaming up to get local families strutting their stuff on the dance floor by offering free dancemat taster sessions.

Halo Leisure has purchased two sets of eight state-of-the art dancemats to help Herefordshire’s families get active. Using games console technology, the mats are used in small classes with an instructor on hand to help participants learn a range of steps. Each class member has their own mat to dance on with the dance image being projected onto the wall at the front of the class. The class can choose which tracks they want to do, which vary from 1970s glam rock to hip hop, dance and R&B. Once the tracks are chosen, the dancing begins! You follow the moves on the screen and your efforts are recorded and scored for accuracy, effort and skill, so there’s a competitive element too.

Dancemat sessions have been introduced into Halo’s group exercise programme at Hereford Leisure Pool and Leominster Leisure Centre. Although these are targeted at young people aged 6–16, Halo is working in partnership with NHS Herefordshire to provide some free sessions as part of the local Change4Life programme that people of any age can participate in.

The free sessions which take place on March 6, are open to all people regardless of age, ability and style. Four sessions will be run from Hereford Leisure Pool (10-10.45am, 11-11.45am, 1-1.45pm and 2-2.45pm) whereas Leominster Leisure Centre re inviting people to come and have a go any time between 11.45am-15.45pm. Booking is advisable for the Hereford sessions by ringing 0845 241 2562.

“Dance is great for all ages and abilities and it doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a musical bone in your body – you’ll still be having fun whilst getting involved in healthy activity.” Says Tamara Bailey, health and fitness manager at Halo Leisure. She continued, “All people need to bring with them is a willingness to have a go, and some comfy shoes."

Posted : 25/02/2010 14:40:12

Are you ready for this year's General Election?
While the date for this year's general election is not yet known, Herefordshire Council is urging residents not to wait until the date has been announced before they secure their right to vote.

The time between the election date being announced and the last change to register to vote can be a matter of a few days, warned Chris Bull, Herefordshire Council chief executive and electoral registration officer for Herefordshire.

“If you're not on the electoral register, you won't be able to vote,” he added.

Registering to vote only takes a few minutes: print off a form from the council's web site www.herefordshire.gov.uk or www.aboutmyvote.co.uk, the website of the independent elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, or telephone the electoral services office at 01432 260107.

Return the completed form to the Electoral Services Office at the Town Hall, St Owen Street, Hereford HR1 2PJ.

“Sometimes people don't realise they need to re-register every year,” said Chris.

“Last autumn we sent out registration forms to 79,500 addresses in Herefordshire – around 90 per cent of people returned them. But if you're not sure you returned yours, or if you've moved house since then and have not registered with your new details, you need to register now to make sure you can vote.

“Don't let anything stop you make your mark and have your say on election day.”

Posted : 24/02/2010 09:42:32

Secure future for Leominster Town FC
The future’s looking bright for Leominster Town Football Club after it took over the lease of its pitch from Herefordshire Council.

Eddie Clark, chairman of Leominster Town FC, said he was delighted the club now has total control of the lease for the Bridge Street ground.

He said: “This really marks a new era for the club and we can now start developing the ground for the benefit of both the football club and town as a whole.

“The fact we have now taken over the lease means we can apply to the Football Association for various grants which can help us to improve the ground. We can then seek to climb the football ladder and play at a higher level than we do at the moment.

“We can also invest more in providing facilities to encourage youngsters to take up the sport and, as the largest market town in Herefordshire, we really want to create a football club that the whole county can be proud of,” he added.

Councillor June French, deputy leader of Herefordshire Council and a ward member for Leominster, said: “I am delighted the football club has now taken over the lease as this will enable them to better plan for the future.

“I would also like to thank staff from our property services and parks and countryside team for all the work they carried out to ensure this takes place.

“As a local member, I wish the club all the best and hope they are successful in achieving their plans to rise up the football leagues and perhaps we may even get to enjoy a day out at Wembley,” she added.

Posted : 22/02/2010 14:36:15

Children’s Centres open their doors to families
Herefordshire Council’s children’s centres in Kington and Leominster are inviting mums, dads and carers to go wild and get drumming with their toddlers next month as they prepare to hold open sessions for new and existing customers.

The sessions, which are free, take place at Coningsby Children’s Centre in Leominster (next to the Leisure Pool) on Saturday March 20 from 10am to 1pm and at Kington Children’s Centre on Thursday March 25 from 10am to 12 noon.

Both centres have local percussionist Pedro Brown on hand to make sure the event remains upbeat. Nature rangers, WildPlay, will be organising lots of outdoor fun for parents, carers and toddlers to get involved in such as den building, hide and seek and searching for bugs. Children’s centre staff will be around to talk to visitors about how they support families within the local community and refreshments will be available.

Andy Gosling, manager of Kington and Coningsby children’s centres, said: “This is a great opportunity for parents and carers to come and meet others with young children and learn about what each of our centres has to offer.

“There are lots of organisations using the centres on a regular basis offering a range of services from parenting support, child development programmes, access to health services and a range of other activities for young children and their families.”

Honey Bees Day Care Nursery will also be opening their doors at Coningsby Children’s Centre on Saturday 20th March.

Posted : 22/02/2010 13:20:43

Council helps responsible dog owners
Herefordshire Council is set to change the way it manages its stray dog functions with effect from March 1, 2010, to help responsible dog owners avoid unnecessary charges.

The changes will mean that responsibility for dogs collected as strays will pass to the owners, allowing the council’s dog wardens to spend more time carrying out enforcement or educational work around responsible ownership and dog fouling rather than transporting dogs around the county.

Fees associated with administering this service will also rise as a part of this change to more closely reflect the actual costs incurred.

Owners of dogs seized as strays will be required to pay an administration charge of £50, a statutory fee of £25, plus £8 per night for each night their dog is boarded at kennels. The administration charge will be reduced to £30 in cases where a dog can be returned directly to an owner without being boarded at kennels.

Shane Hancock, regulatory services manager with Herefordshire Council, said: “In future, an owner whose dog has been collected as a stray and taken to a kennels for safety will have to collect their dog from the kennel and pay a fee for its return. A big advantage of this is that it will release time for the dog wardens to actively promote responsible dog ownership and carry out enforcement where education is not working.

He added: “The vast majority of dog owners are very responsible and do not incur any charges because they keep their dogs under proper control. Dogs that are not kept under control and are left to wander unsupervised in public are a hazard. They can cause a danger to traffic, they may attack people or other animals, they may foul in public areas, and they may also get injured or killed.

“It is only right that responsible dog owners and non dog owners do not disproportionately fund, through their taxes, a service that has to be provided because of the actions of a minority. It is acknowledged, however, that on occasions dogs can ‘escape’ the control of even responsible owners.

“In such cases, charges may be avoided if owners comply with the legal requirement that dogs must wear a collar giving the name and address of the owner when in a public place. A telephone number is also useful. This allows a finder to contact the owner direct without the council stray dog service being involved.”

Anyone wishing to report a stray dog or a lost dog should contact Herefordshire Council’s INFO in Herefordshire service on 01432 260500

Posted : 15/02/2010 14:58:24

Council helps to meet the challenges of broadband
Herefordshire Council is seeking to work with communities and businesses to improve broadband coverage in the county.

The council recognises broadband coverage and speed is a key issue for the county, with communities and businesses potentially losing out on the opportunities of electronic communication.

In response, Herefordshire Council is organising a community broadband conference for anyone interested in looking at solutions for the county. The conference will take place on Thursday, March 18, from 4.30pm to 7pm, at The Three Counties Hotel, Hereford, with a mix of presentations and workshops.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “We are using the conference to gauge a national and regional perspective on what is possible in Herefordshire, but we are also keen to create a forum for discussion and debate involving communities and businesses.”

One of the ways forward is to work closely with local communities to look at localised solutions to address broadband coverage, and the conference will include a presentation by the Community Broadband Network with examples of how local areas have worked together to improve services. Additionally, businesses have challenges not just on coverage but also bandwidth and this will also be a topic for the conference.

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council’s head of economic and community services, said: “The concern is that as a county we could just wait for market forces to improve coverage, however the problem facing many rural areas is that there are not enough customers for companies to justify the investment. However, we need to make sure businesses and communities do not lose out, and that companies decide not to locate to the county because of its limited broadband coverage.”

The conference is suitable for community representatives, local businesses, internet service providers, providers of internet content, community services e.g. rural shops and community centres, councillors and statutory and voluntary sector organisations.

The event is free, but early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. To register please contact 01432-260638 or email to kamos@herefordshire.gov.uk no later than March 12, 2010.

Posted : 12/02/2010 15:18:52

Families challenged to read the labels
Herefordshire families are being urged to read the labels when doing the weekly shopping to make sure their favourite products don’t contain hidden sugars, fats or salt.

As part of the Change4Life campaign, NHS Herefordshire is doing a sweep on supermarkets across the county to teach people how to read product labels and understand what are healthy levels of sugars, fats and salt in some of our everyday products.

Health trainers have been scouring the shelves in our stores, helping customers identify some of the key offenders and looking for alternative, healthier options. Breakfast cereals are a classic; many popular brands which claim to aid weight loss are low in fat but still very high in sugar. Also, many low fat products are still high in calories due to hidden sugar. Too much sugar, fat and salt can have harmful long term effects on people’s health leading to diabetes, cancers and heart disease in later life.

Lisa Purslow, healthy lifestyle co-ordinator, said: “People are often surprised to learn that the foods they thought were healthy are not always what they seem to be. Label reading is a bit of an art and our health trainers have been helping shoppers learn how to do this. As well as learning how to identify sugars, fats and salt in products, our shoppers are being helped to understand the appropriate and safe levels for themselves and their children.

“Fizzy drinks are some of the worst offenders with up to ten teaspoons of sugar in a typical serving. We are encouraging families to get a better understanding of what’s inside their weekly shopping trolley so that they can make small changes. With a bit of label reading knowledge, they can choose alternative, products with lower sugars, fats and salt without having to change the kinds of products they buy.”

The team is happy to talk to customers about making healthy choices and help them learn how to read the small print on the packages. NHS Herefordshire will be at Morrison’s supermarket in Leominster on Friday February 12, at Tescos in Belmont, Hereford on Friday February 9 and at Morrisons in Hereford on Friday February 25, from 10am-4pm.

Details of all Herefordshire Change4Life events are available at www.herefordshirechange4life.org

Posted : 09/02/2010 09:54:34

Council celebrates cultural traditions of Africa
Herefordshire Council’s cultural services learning team has brought together local and international artists to celebrate some of the many cultural traditions of Africa.

Destination Africa is a programme of events from Friday, February 12 until Tuesday, February 23, and will include workshops in the county’s libraries and museum sites.

Events range from a bellydancing session at the Museum Resource and Learning Centre in Hereford, an author recounting his solo trek across Africa, as well as workshops for children to dance, paint their own tee-shirts, create wall-hangings and make kangas. There will also be storytimes on an African theme available in some libraries and a competition running thoughout February where people could win a wonderful cuddly elephant family.

Two of the flagship events will be the Cultural Roadshow attending Leominster Leisure centre on Saturday, February 13, where families are encouraged to make their own African art and the Heritage Open day on Tuesday, February 16, at the Museum Resource and Learning Centre in Friar Street, Hereford. Here people will have the opportunity to see some amazing museum artefacts from Africa, peek behind the scenes and there will also be dancing and painting workshops running.

In addition groups from a number of playgroups are being invited to special stories with Anansy, an African storyteller in some of the county’s libraries. There are also artists working in partnership with schools on African projects, including Aaron Meli who is working with John Kyrle High School on some drumming workshops which will hopefully lead to a performance in Ross Library.

Posted : 08/02/2010 16:19:05

Now is perfect time to install solar panels
Herefordshire Council is encouraging residents to consider installing solar panels which can reduce the cost of their electricity bills and reduce the impact they have on the environment.

Residents have a double incentive to consider solar energy now with grants available from Herefordshire Council to help towards installing the panels as well as a government announcement this week that people with solar panels will be able to sell the electricity generated.

Solar electric panels or photovoltaics have been in the light this week as the government announced the clean energy cashback or feed in tariff scheme for small-scale electricity generation.

Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council’s energy champion, said: “Feed In Tariffs are to be introduced on April 1 2010 and will provide financial incentives for households to install solar electricity panels. A guaranteed minimum payment for the electricity generated will be offered from your energy supplier. The added incentive is the solar generated electricity, used in the home for lighting and electrical appliances will help reduce electricity bills.

“As a council, we can also help people with the cost of installing solar panels. Our SEES Renewables scheme still has funding for 10 grants of £500 available to private homeowners in Herefordshire, regardless of income, subject to funding, to help towards the cost of utilising renewable energy in the home.

“The deadline for receiving SEES Renewable applications is the end of February so I would urge people to get in touch soon,” he added.

Measures included in the scheme are:
• Solar thermal
• Solar electric
• Biomass boilers
• Wind turbines
• Ground source heat pumps
• Air source heat pumps

For more detail on how to apply for the SEES Renewables scheme please contact 01432 260398

Posted : 08/02/2010 13:47:28

Events at libraries to promote World Book Day
Herefordshire Council's library service is celebrating World Book Day in March with a variety of events and promotions.

The events, which will take place across libraries in the county, include the popular bounce and rhyme sessions, storytimes and even a special appearance by the Bookstart Bear.

Youngsters will be encouraged to dress up as storybook characters for a storytime session at the council's newest library which opened in Peterchurch last month.

Jan Nesaratnam, Herefordshire Council's senior reader services librarian, said: “World Book Day is an opportunity for us to promote the wealth of books we have available at county libraries and get more youngsters to enjoy reading.

“Books are great fun and by holding these storytelling events and encouraging youngsters to dress up, we hope they will develop a lifelong love for reading,” she added.

Events are:

Monday, March 1:
and Rhyme for under-fives at The Kington Centre 10.3am to 11am.

Tuesday, March 2:

• Three storytime sessions at The Kington Centre for Reception and Year 1 children from the local primary school.

Wednesday, March 3:

• Staff from Ross Library will be doing an Ugly Bug Storytime at the afternoon Stay and Play session at the local Children's Centre.
• Hereford Library - Bounce and rhyme for 0-3yrs 11.15am to 11.45am.

World Book Day Thursday, March 4:

• Peterchurch Library - Local primary school children will come along to the library from 10am to 11am. The children will be dressing up as storybook characters.
Ledbury Library - under-fives storytime 10am to 11am
Leominster Library – Bounce and Rhyme 10.30 to 11am
Hereford Library - Storytime for 2+ yrs 10.15 to 10.45am
• Hereford Library - Bounce and Rhyme for 0-3yrs 2.15pm to 2.45pm
• The Bromyard Centre - Book exhibition 4pm to 5.30pm
• Belmont Library - Bookstart Bear will be welcoming under-fives to the library for short Bounce and Rhyme sessions at 11am, noon and 2pm. He will also be gifting bookstart packs on production of your child’s red health record book.
• Herefordshire Council's Cultural Roadshow will be at Belmont Tesco from 10am to 3pm promoting libraries and books to all ages and highlighting the service at Belmont Library.

Friday, March 5:
Staff from Leominster Library will be out doing storytimes for three reception classes at Leominster Infants School.
• Under-fives storytime at Ross Library 2.15pm to 2.45pm

Saturday 6th March:
Leominster Library Chatterbooks group (age 7-12yrs) will be dressing up as book characters 2pm to 3pm

Bookstart pack gifting at Belmont Library

At Belmont Library on Thursday, March 4 between 11am and 3pm children are invited to come and collect any Bookstart packs that they may have not already received. The first Bookstart pack is usually gifted at 9-12 month reviews by health visitors. The second pack is usually gifted at the 24-30month check, also by health visitors.

If you have missed either of these checks, bring your read child health record along to Belmont Library on World Book Day to collect your packs. Alternatively, contact our Early Years Officer, Julie Goodwin for more information on 01432 261644.

If you would like further information about any of these events, please contact Jan Nesaratnam, Senior Reader Services Librarian on 01432 383285.

Posted : 08/02/2010 13:44:50

New telephone scam hits Herefordshire
Fraudsters are telephoning local residents claiming they are due for a rebate on their council tax – if they would just let them have their bank details.

Herefordshire Council warns householders to be on their guard after a local woman received a bogus call saying that her council tax banding was being reduced.

The resident received a call from someone who gave her name as Margaret and told her that there was a one off fee of £39.99 for her council tax to be reduced. She put her through to a man who took her bank details. She did not catch the man’s name. When the call was finished she dialed1471 and message was ‘caller withheld number’.

The resident called Herefordshire Council to check and was advised to contact her bank urgently to explain what had happened, and to inform the police.

Similar warnings have already been issued from Newcastle to Portsmouth, as variations on the scam are growing across the country.

"No council would ever contact a resident in this manner on such issues”, said Mike Toney, head of the council’s benefits and exchequers service, “and we would never ask for your bank details over the phone to make refunds.

“Homeowners are asked to please remain alert to scams designed to find out your bank details and if possible, keep a close eye on vulnerable older family members or neighbours," he said.

Posted : 29/01/2010 18:06:15

Exhibitions to mark liberation of death camp
Herefordshire Council's community heritage team has arranged for two special exhibitions to mark the fact 2010 is 65 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Berkenau death camp.

Next month (February), the exhibition, “Never Again? Thinking about the Holocaust” will be coming to Hereford and will be on display from February 8 to 20 at Hereford Museum and Art Gallery then travelling to Leominster library from February 22 to 27 and to the Cider Museum, Hereford from March 1 to 6.

This exhibition by the Wiener Library, Britain's leading archive on the Holocaust and Nazi era, allows audiences to explore and think critically about the issues raised by the Holocaust and genocide. Themes covered include refugees, commemoration and memorials, propaganda both historical and contemporary and justice through the legacy of Nuremburg.

The Never Again? exhibition is complemented by the Heartstone “Testimony” Auschwitz-Berkenau exhibition on display at Hereford Museum and Art Gallery until February 20. This is a powerful photographic exploration of the Auschwitz-Berkenau death camp, featuring stunning contemporary photographs of this historic site and testimony from survivors.

Later in the year in October, to coincide with Herefordshire Photography festival, the photographic exhibition “Absence and Loss” by Marion Davies will be on display in the stairwell of Hereford Museum and Art Gallery.

The exhibition records Marion's journey around Berlin exploring the many Holocaust memorials in the city and impact of Nazis in Berlin and the wider German population in the wartime era. The exhibition aims to present an impression of the period, demonstrate man's inhumanity to man and encourage reflection on current issues of racism and extremism in society.

For more information about these exhibitions or to find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day please contact the council's community heritage officers on 01432 383599 or log onto www.herefordshire.gov.uk/museums or www.hmdt.org

Posted : 29/01/2010 17:08:48

Council approves £7.8m primary school
Herefordshire Council has rung the bell to start the legal process of creating a new £7.8-million primary school in Leominster. The brand new school, which will join up the current infants and junior schools, was backed by the council’s cabinet (Thursday 21 January 2010) but also needs the approval of the Secretary of State.

Although the government wants to see more businesses, charities or parents groups compete to run new schools, it will consider an exemption if the local community prefers their council to run it.

Consultation during the autumn of last year resulted in 73 per cent of local respondents supporting the proposal to amalgamate the schools, and when asked how it should be run, the overwhelming majority gave a vote of confidence to the local authority.

Both schools already are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, but a brand new school, providing 630 places for children aged 4 to 11, will be a big boost to Leominster. It is part of a package of almost £30 million going into supporting schools in the market town. The new £20-million state-of-the art secondary school, the Minster College, is due to be finished in the summer of this year.

“The new primary school will make more effective use of resources”, said Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and achievement. “It will share teacher expertise and provide a consistent support for children’s achievement in one school, Leominster Juniors and Infants are the only schools in the county not as an all-through primary.

“The decision to amalgamate was supported by the local community and councillors when this option was put forward under the government’s policy Primary Strategy for Change to obtain the funding. Cabinet’s decision seeks to formalise the statutory process”.

The investment will also support and sustain the vibrant community of Leominster. Approvals permitting the new school will be built on land next to the existing site in September 2012.

Posted : 26/01/2010 14:35:41

Emergency funding bid for £5.5m pothole bill
As Herefordshire thaws after the big freeze, the full damage to the county’s road network is becoming clear. Herefordshire Council estimates it will cost over £5.5 million to repair the potholes created as the water froze, expanded and broke up road surfaces.

The council and its highways partner, Amey Herefordshire, are currently scouring the county’s roads and lanes to repair hazardous potholes and keep roads safe.

In the meantime, council leader Roger Phillips has written to the Department of Transport to request the government to enact emergency funding. He makes the case that the road network has ‘suffered considerable damage as a direct result of the recent and unusually severe weather, which has left roads not meeting the high expectations of the public’.

He urges the government to act by making available extra financial support to address the full impact of the damage urgently. Several councils are expected to make similar requests.

“As in previous years Herefordshire continues to effectively deliver winter gritting and snow clearance to keep the county’s primary routes open”, said Councillor Phillips.

“There is great regret that there is never enough rock salt available in the national supply system for the council to grit over 2,000 miles of minor and unclassified roads – the focus always has to be on the A and B roads together with key access roads, such as to the county hospital, that keep the county open for business and emergency vehicles.

“However, now we face another challenge to repair hazardous potholes in the road network as quickly as possible – and although there are contingencies in the council’s budget, the financial impact is out of all proportion to what could have been expected during the winters Herefordshire is used to”.

Over 10,000 tonnes of grit have been used on Herefordshire’s roads this winter so far, mostly during the first two weeks of January. A typical recent winter would normally require about 5,000 tonnes of grit for the entire season.

If anyone spots a pothole, they are asked to contact the council’s street care line on 01432 261800 or at streets@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 26/01/2010 14:34:52

Herefordshire schools get seven new minibuses
Seven new minibuses will help the county’s secondary school students get training in specialist subjects, thanks to Herefordshire Council.

To take part in the new young apprenticeship programmes and diplomas, 14 to19-year-old students need to be being able to travel from their base school for training in specialist subjects at other educational establishments. The courses include business, administration and finance, construction, engineering, hospitality, social care and creative and media.

Following a successful proposal, the council secured £1 million in government funding. Schools were asked how they wanted this money to be spent and as a result, more than £200,000 was used to buy seven 17-seater mini buses, which have been converted for use by disabled people and wheelchair users. The rest of the money will go towards equipment, ICT and building works.

Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This really boosts the opportunity for young people in our schools, and because we face significant transport problems in getting students around our large county, the minibuses are going to be a great help. This was a wise choice made by the county’s schools.”

The minibuses will be kept at the following schools, although all secondary schools will be able to use them to transport pupils to and from diploma courses:

John Kyrle High School
Queen Elizabeth’s Humanities College
The Minster College
Weobley High School
Wigmore High School
Fairfield High School
Lady Hawkin’s High School

Posted : 25/01/2010 15:26:58

Snow brings traffic disruption in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council has opened its emergency information line to take residents questions on how the snow is affecting roads, schools and services this morning. The number is 0844 939 6101.

The council reports that gritting teams are working across the county to tackle the heavy fall of snow that coincided with the start of commuter journeys this morning. Persistent heavy rain overnight meant that gritting could not start earlier as rock salt would simply have been washed away.

Traffic is at a standstill on several roads – including Fromes Hill on the Worcester to Hereford road where the council’s contractor Amey Herefordshire is hand-gritting to try and get traffic moving after a bus broke down and several vehicles abandoned. There remain traffic queues into Hereford.

Posted : 20/01/2010 10:37:28

Rock salt record in worst cold spell for 30 years
Over 10,000 tonnes of grit have been used on Herefordshire’s roads this winter so far, mostly during the first two weeks of January, when the county was in the grip of the worst cold spell for 30 years.

Herefordshire Council reports that storage barns were full with 6,500 tonnes of rock salt stockpiled before Christmas to ensure it could fulfil its pledge of keeping the county’s 600 miles of priority routes open over the winter.

This was backed up with more deliveries as needed and more rock salt has been received today (20 January 2010).

Last year, the council used 10,000 tonnes of salt during the whole winter period, and in the year before that under 4,000 tonnes were used, with under 3,000 tonnes used in total the year before that.

The council’s winter service plan is to grit the strategic routes that carry heavy traffic, the key commuter and public transport routes, and those important to the emergency services. But the council says it is almost impossible to also grit the unclassified and minor roads that make up the remainder of Herefordshire’s 2,000 plus miles of roads.

“I know many people in rural areas would want us to grit every minor road”, said Clive Hall, the council’s highway network manager. “If the council attempted to do so, it would soon have run out of rock salt altogether, given that the whole country was in the grip of icy conditions and there were national shortages due to the high demand on supply.

“Running out of supplies would mean it would be almost impossible for most people to get anywhere in the county, and this could bring business and commerce to a halt, as well as endangering lives and seriously impacting emergency and public services”.

“We do have a good track record in keeping primary routes open in even the worst conditions, but the recent prolonged period of below freezing temperatures has been a real challenge to our services”.

The council also has to carefully manage the way its salt is stored and used, as there is the risk of environmental damage if too much is washed into the soil or into water courses.

In the aftermath of the big freeze, there is also the problem of the potholes created as water freezes, expands and breaks up road surfaces. The council estimates it will cost over £5.5 million to rectify the damage to Herefordshire’s roads.

Herefordshire Council and its highways partner, Amey Herefordshire, are currently scouring the streets and lanes across Herefordshire to make sure that all hazardous potholes are repaired as soon as possible.

Local authorities are expected to lobbying central government for financial help in addressing the full costs of the damage to road networks during the extreme weather.

“We have contingencies in our budgets for the impact of winter on our roads, for we will be seeking help from government”, explained Clive Hall.

“Teams are out and about already repairing potholes,” he added. “They are also be inspecting drains at critical locations to make sure they are not blocked by debris and not the cause of localised flooding.

If anyone spots a pothole, they are asked to contact the council’s street care line on 01432 261800 or at streets@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 20/01/2010 09:25:04

Jilt the Junk advice hits the road
Herefordshire Council will once again be taking its advice on dealing with junk mail on the road in a bid to help residents reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

The waste prevention team's Jilt the Junk Mail campaign, run in conjunction with Worcestershire County Council, is now in its fourth year and aims to help households get on top of the issue of unsolicited letters and flyers arriving through their letterboxes.

As part of the campaign, the team has arranged a number of drop-in sessions at customer contact centres in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Residents are invited to pop along and find out ways in which they can help stop junk mail. Free Jilt the Junk Mail packs will be available, containing letterbox stickers, envelope re-use stickers and more top tips and advice, but only while stocks last.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “This simple campaign is very effective and is the perfect way to stop all that 'junk' mail falling through your door. Pop along to one of the road shows to find out more from the waste prevention team about how to prevent all that unwanted post piling up on your doormat.

"We are also reminding people that if they do still receive junk mail, they can recycle it through their kerbside recycling collection, at local recycling banks or even compost the paper element at home."

The roadshow will be calling at the following venue between 10am and 3pm:

Herefordshire: InfoShop, Wednesday, February 24

For further information, visit your local customer contact centre, call 01905 766883 or visit www.wastemissionimpossible.org.uk

Posted : 19/01/2010 16:46:41

Spread the word about home composting
Herefordshire Council is giving residents the chance to give something back to their community by championing the benefits of home composting.

The council, in association with the national charity for organic growing, Garden Organic, and Worcestershire County Council, is appealing for volunteers to sign up to its Master Composters Programme. They are looking to recruit 20 more volunteers to be trained in March 2010.

A total of 72 people have been trained since the scheme began. The Master Composter scheme is aimed at promoting the benefits of home composting, encouraging more people to participate and enabling those who already home compost, to do so more effectively.

Volunteers will take part in a number of promotional activities, which could include attending events such as shows and doing school visits and demonstrations, where they will provide the council’s waste prevention team with a helping hand.

Since May 2006 volunteers have collectively given around 4,000 hours of their time to promoting home composting across the two counties.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “The Master Composters Programme is making a massive contribution towards home composting throughout Herefordshire and Worcestershire and we are now looking for more people to join the team so that we can spread the word even further.

“Our existing volunteers are an enthusiastic and motivated team, who are doing a fantastic job in promoting home composting. Becoming a Master Composter is a great way to meet new people, learn valuable skills and benefit from being part of a team that makes a difference.”

Volunteers will be provided with full training in home composting and other related environmental issues. Volunteers will be expected to contribute a minimum of 30 hours over 12 months. Travel expenses will be paid.

People interested in finding out more should call Chris Atkinson on 01905 768227 or email cnatkinson@worcestershire.gov.uk

Posted : 19/01/2010 16:29:52

Flooding in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council has reported that several roads remain flooded in the north of the county as a result of the melting of the week’s heavy snowfall over the weekend. The following roads are likely to remain closed well into today (Monday 18 January 2010):

A4113 Walford to Leintwardine
A4110 Adforton to Leintwardine
A4110 Lawtons Cross to Bainstree Cross, Kingsland
A438 Letton
C1001 Brampton Bryan to Walford
C1039 Bicton Crossroads
C1105 Ivington to Hyde Ash

The following are passable but with care:
A4111 Eardisley
A456 Little Hereford to Brimfield

The council’s emergency information line was opened at 6am this morning and is taking calls – the number is 0844 939 6101.

The information is based on reports from local authority and police sources but is not necessarily comprehensive. Conditions are liable to change at short notice. Motorists are advised to take care on all routes and to comply with warning signs.

Residents are advised to:
• Listen to the local radio for travel information
• Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive
• Do not enter floodwater, as there is no way of telling how deep it may be. This applies if you are on foot as well as in a vehicle - manhole covers may have been loosened or removed so there could be extremely dangerous hidden hazards in floodwater
• Please respect road closure signs - they are there for your safety and mean the road is impassable
• Remember the rain and spray from vehicles makes it difficult to see and be seen, so adjust your speed and drive more slowly and use your headlights.

Posted : 18/01/2010 08:01:24

Refuse and recycling collections in Herefordshire
Friday's refuse and recycling will be collected as normal where the crews have safe access, reports Herefordshire Council.

Local people are requested to put out their recycling if they normally have a Friday recycling collection but it wasn't collected due to the Christmas Day and New Year's Day arrangements and the snow last Friday.

The collection crews will be working today and Saturday to clear both Friday recycling collections so residents are asked to put out their recycling at their normal collection point until 6pm Saturday. If the crews have been unable to collect by then residents should please bring their refuse and recycling back in.

The council expects that both refuse and recycling collections will return to full service next week but will keep residents informed if weather conditions worsen again.

Richard Wood, waste services manager, said: “I would like to thank Herefordshire residents for bearing with us during the recent terrible weather conditions and I would remind everyone that extra recycling can be put out in old purple and clear recycling sacks or in sacks clearly labelled, "RECYCLING" on their normal recycling day”.

Posted : 15/01/2010 08:21:29

Schools and Roads Update
With today’s big thaw, Herefordshire Council reports that most schools are expected to open today and A and B roads across the county are clear with some minor and unclassified roads getting easier to negotiate for motorists, although great care is still required as the rain is turning to ice on some high ground.

The council’s emergency information line is open this morning and taking calls – the number is 0844 939 6101.

Posted : 15/01/2010 07:21:07

Normal service resumes at household waste sites
Residents wanting to get rid of their refuse or recyclable materials can do so at the county’s household waste sites.

These have been closed due to the snowy weather, but are now open as normal.

Locations and opening times are:

Hereford
Chapel Road
Rotherwas Industrial Estate
HR2 6LD
(01432) 343420
Mon-Sun 8am – 6pm
(Inc. Bank Holidays except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)

Leominster
Bridge Street
HR6 8EA
(01568) 614271
Mon-Sun 8am – 6pm
(Inc. Bank Holidays except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)

Ross-on-Wye
Station Approach
HR9 7AQ
(01989) 762460
Thurs and Sat 8am – 6pm
Sun 10am – 5pm
(Except Christmas Day , Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)

Bromyard
Linton Industrial Estate
HR7 4QT
(01885) 488261
Tues 8am – 6pm
Sat and Sun 8am – 6pm
(Except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)

Ledbury
Little Marcle Road
HR8 2DR
(01531) 635615
Wed and Sat 8am – 6pm
Sun 9:30am – 1pm
(Except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)

Posted : 14/01/2010 09:16:15

Herefordshire’s refuse collections resume
Refuse and recycling collections across Herefordshire have resumed today, Thursday, January 14.

Herefordshire residents are being asked to put out their refuse and recycling for collection as normal today.

With the thaw expected to continue, the council is planning a double collection of recycling tomorrow, Friday, January 15.

It means that people who haven’t had a recycling collection due to Christmas falling on a Friday should put out their recycling tomorrow morning along with those residents who normally have their recycling collected on Fridays.

These arrangements will be confirmed first thing tomorrow morning.

Posted : 14/01/2010 09:15:33

Schools and Roads Update
Most schools are expected to open today in Herefordshire but the following schools are reporting they will be closed:

Notified as Closed as at 7.45am
Primary Schools
Kings Caple Primary
Kingstone and Thruxton Primary
Leominster Infants School
Leominster Juniors School
Llangrove CE Primary
Michaelchurch Escley Primary
Much Marcle CE Primary
Peterchurch Primary
Steiner Academy
Stoke Prior Primary

Secondary Schools
Fairfield High School
Kingstone High School

Special Schools
Barrs Court

Notified as Open as at 7.45am
Primary Schools
Ashfield Park Primary (packed lunches required)
Bridstow CE Primary (packed lunches required)
Dilwyn CE Primary
Eardisley CE Primary (no transport or lunches)
Goodrich CE Primary
Luston Primary
Madley Primary
Much Birch CE Primary at 10am
Orleton CE Primary
St Joseph's RC Primary 9.30 - 2.30
St Martin's Primary, Hereford
St Mary's CE Primary, Credenhill
Wellington Primary
Whitchurch CE Primary
Wigmore Primary
Withington Primary

Secondary Schools
John Kyrle High School
John Masefield High School from 9.45am
Lady Hawkin's High School main road buses only
Weobley High School
Wigmore High School

Special Schools
Blackmarston from 10am


Herefordshire Council reports that A and B roads across the county are clear after overnight gritting - but drivers are reminded to watch out for patches of black ice and freezing fog in some areas. The minor and unclassified roads remain hazardous after yesterday's persistent snowfall and overnight temperatures over just below freezing.

The council’s emergency information line is taking calls on the status of school opening, roads and public services this morning – the number is 0844 939 6101.

Posted : 14/01/2010 08:55:35

Refuse collections across Herefordshire cancelled
Refuse collections across Herefordshire have been suspended today, Wednesday, January 13, due to the snow.

Residents are being asked to keep hold of their refuse and recycling which was due for collection today.

Refuse can be put out next Wednesday for collection and recycling will be collected in a fortnight’s time, subject to the road conditions improving.

Herefordshire Council and its partners will assess the conditions tomorrow morning prior to deciding on whether we can safely carry out Thursday’s collections.

Look out for further updates on the council’s website and by tuning in to your local radio station.

The Hereford, Leominster and Ledbury household waste sites are open today, but residents are advised that care should be taken on the roads accessing them.

Posted : 13/01/2010 09:51:05

Schools open and schools closed in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council has reported that 90 schools are closed and 10 known to be open across the county this morning (at 9.00am on 13 January 2010):

Schools closed today:

Primary Schools
Almeley Primary
Ashfield Park
Ashperton Primary
Brampton Abbotts Primary
Bredenbury Primary
Bridstow CE Primary
Broadlands Primary (and nursery and after school clubs)
Brockhampton
Burghill Primary
Burley Gate Primary
Canon Pyon Primary
Clehonger Primary
Clifford Primary
Colwall Primary
Cradley Primary
Dilwyn Primary
Eardisley Primary
Eastnor Primary
Ewyas Harold Primary
Garway Primary
Goodrich Primary
Gorsley Goff Primary
Hampton Dene Primary
Holme Lacy Primary
Holmer Primary
Ivington Primary
Kings Caple Primary
Kingsland CE Primary
Kingstone and Thruxton Primary
Kington Primary
Lea Primary
Leintwardine Primary
Leominster Infants
Leominster Junior
Little Dewchurch Primary
Llangrove Primary
Lord Scudamore Primary
Luston Primary
Madley Primary
Marden Primary
Michealchurch Escley Primary
Much Birch Primary
Orleton Primary
Our Lady's RC Primary
Pembridge Primary
Pencombe Primary
Peterchurch Primary
Riversides Primary
Shobdon Primary
St Francis Xavier
St James' Kimbolton Primary
St Joseph's RC High School
St Mary's Credenhill Primary
St Michael's CE Bodenham
St Paul's CE Primary Hereford
St Peters Bromyard
St Thomas Cantilupe Primary
St Weonards Primary
St. Mary's CE Primary, Fownhope
Staunton-on-Wye Primary
Stoke Prior Primary
Stretton Sugwas Primary
Sutton Primary
Walford Primary
Wellington Primary
Weobley Primary
Weston-under-Penyard Primary
Whitbourne Primary
Whitchurch Primary
Wigmore Primary
Withington Primary (and Nursery)

High Schools
Fairfield
John Kyrle High open for exam candidates only
John Masefield High only open for exam candidates
Lady Hawkins (open for A level exams)
Queen Elizabeth
St Mary's RC High
The Hereford Academy
Weobley High
Whitecross High
Wigmore High
The Steiner Academy
The Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School
Kingstone High
The Minster open for exam candidates only

Special
Barrs Court
Blackmarston
Westfields
The Priory Centre
The Aconbury Centre

The Contact Course at the Art College

Schools Known to be Open

Primary
Ledbury Primary
Marlbrook Primary
Mordiford Primary
St James' CE Primary, Hereford
St Martins Primary, Hereford
Trinity Primary

High
Aylestone High

Special Schools
Brookfield - open until 12.

Colleges
Hereford Sixth Form College
Herefordshire College of Technology

Posted : 13/01/2010 09:15:10

Heavy snowfall closes many schools
Herefordshire Council reports that several schools will be closed today as a result of the heavy and persistent snowfall. The list at 6.50am is:

Primary
Burghill Primary
Canon Pyon Primary
Kingstone & Thruxton Primary
Leominster Infants
Leominster Junior
Llangrove Primary
Whitchurch Primary
Wigmore Primary

High
Lady Hawkins (open for A level exams)
Whitecross High
Wigmore High
The Minster open for exams only

Special
Barrs Court
Blackmarston

The council does publish gritting routes on its website and these can be viewed by visiting www.herefordshire.gov.uk and the council’s own emergency information line has been open since 6am to respond to residents’ enquiries about schools, roads and other services. The number is 0844 939 6101.

Herefordshire Council has reported that as forecast, the county has been hit by persistent snowfall overnight and this morning, with up to 6 feet drifts in some areas of high ground affecting the road network.

Gritting and snowplough teams have been battling to try to treat the A roads as a priority since 10.30 last night. The teams will tackle B roads as soon as the A roads are clear. Currently A roads are passable with care but other roads, particularly the minor and unclassified ones, are hazardous.

The council’s contractors are in Hereford High Town clearing snow in preparation for the day’s business after hand gritting the city and market town shopping areas yesterday.


During what is the worst cold spell for 30 years, the council’s contractor Amey Herefordshire is focusing on regularly gritting the 600 miles of A and B roads - but if it attempted to treat all of the 2,500 miles of minor and unclassified roads across such a large area, it would run out of rock salt very quickly. Salt has to be carefully managed at a time of national supply problems but the council traditionally is able to keep most of the county moving on primary routes during extreme weather.

There are warnings of possible delays at Aylestone Hill in Hereford as Welsh Water begin repairs to a burst water main, the result of a thaw after freezing weather. Temporary traffic lights are installed and the repairs are expected to be completed by Thursday afternoon.

Posted : 13/01/2010 06:59:28

Heavy snow disrupts Herefordshire yet again
Herefordshire Council has reported that as forecast, the county has been hit by persistent snowfall overnight and this morning, with up to 6 feet drifts in some areas of high ground affecting the road network.

Gritting and snowplough teams have been battling to try to treat the A roads as a priority since 10.30 last night. The teams will tackle B roads as soon as the A roads are clear. Currently A roads are passable with care but other roads, particularly the minor and unclassified ones, are hazardous.

The council’s contractors are in Hereford High Town clearing snow in preparation for the day’s business after hand gritting the city and market town shopping areas yesterday.

The council does publish gritting routes on its website and these can be viewed by visiting www.herefordshire.gov.uk and the council’s own emergency information line has been open since 6am to respond to residents’ enquiries about schools, roads and other services. The number is 0844 939 6101.

Two schools – Kingstone High and Barrs Court special school - have reported they will be closed but the list is expected to grow.

During what is the worst cold spell for 30 years, the council’s contractor Amey Herefordshire is focusing on regularly gritting the 600 miles of A and B roads - but if it attempted to treat all of the 2,500 miles of minor and unclassified roads across such a large area, it would run out of rock salt very quickly. Salt has to be carefully managed at a time of national supply problems but the council traditionally is able to keep most of the county moving on primary routes during extreme weather.

There are warnings of possible delays at Aylestone Hill in Hereford as Welsh Water begin repairs to a burst water main, the result of a thaw after freezing weather. Temporary traffic lights are installed and the repairs are expected to be completed by Thursday afternoon.

Posted : 13/01/2010 06:58:49

Herefordshire to decide on its future
Local people to reshape Herefordshire as a new land of opportunity – major consultation starts next week

Thousands of residents are expected to participate in discussions to help turn Herefordshire into a new land of opportunity, with more and better paid jobs, more decent and affordable homes, and better transport links.

Herefordshire Council is launching next week the Shaping Our Place 2026 consultation, the findings of which will affect everyone who lives and works in the county. A public event at the Kindle Centre at Asda in Hereford - from 10am to 4pm – on 18 January kicks off an eight-week series of exhibitions and road shows across the county.

“Herefordshire Council needs you to share your views now in what will be one of the most important consultations ever to take place in the county”, said Councillor John Jarvis, cabinet member for environment and strategic housing. “The council wants to help create a land of opportunity, right here in Herefordshire, for all our communities.

“Herefordshire has the room and freedom to grow, while retaining its special heritage and environment. Everyone has a view about how Herefordshire can be improved – whether we need a relief road for the city, more decent and affordable homes, a university or better-paid jobs. But it will be up to local people to help grow the right future for the county, the city and the market towns”.

The consultation is driven by the need to grow the county. Herefordshire has below average wage levels for the region but above average house prices. There are 5,000 people on the county’s housing waiting list and demand is high for homes that are decent and affordable.

Herefordshire is recognised as providing a good education. But without a university, or sufficient higher education to build skills and qualifications, or good career prospects, the council knows young people are more likely to find better prospects elsewhere.

The county also needs more enterprises, offering high quality jobs. More space for employment land has to be found. Growth in the county will provide stronger markets for local firms to thrive and prosper - and safeguard local essential public services.

Sorting out Hereford’s traffic problems is a major priority. Previous consultation shows that most local people feel that a blend of public transport improvements and a new relief road and second river crossing is the preferred solution. However, the route – either to the west or the east of the city – needs careful consideration and the consultation details the implications of either option. Leominster is also identified as requiring a southern relief road.

The strategy for the market towns is to further promote their roles as service and economic centres for their rural hinterlands but also improve links with Hereford. Several villages could see development designed to increase affordable housing and sustain essential services, including schools, and new shops, along with rural transport improvements. The options are also to promote extended employment land and more enterprise centres to encourage the creation of new jobs, particularly creative industries and environmental technologies to boost the economic viability of villages.

The council is holding several exhibitions and road shows across the county in the coming weeks, as well as workshops in schools and colleges. People’s views will be analysed and proposed policies developed and presented back to cabinet later in 2010 and publicised, before being submitted to the Secretary of State, who will arrange for a public examination and inspector’s report with final adoption anticipated in 2011.

It provides a chance for everyone to help finalise the Local Development Framework, which will be the blueprint for planning and developing Herefordshire for the future.

In parallel, the council is also running a consultation on the Local Transport Plan, which will be adopted by April 2011 and will drive the county’s transport strategy for the next 15 years. The review of the transport strategy is intended to align transport policy with the wider needs of the county and will help coordinate support for growth. The Local Transport Plan consultation enables local people to let the council know what their priorities for transport are for the county, whether it is greater public transport investment, more cycle routes, better highway maintenance or further road safety improvements.

Members of the public wishing to comment can access the consultation documents on the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk. Literature can also be picked up from council facilities like info shops and libraries.

More public events are expected to be announced by Herefordshire Council soon, but the following have been arranged:

• 18 Jan - Launch at Kindle Centre, Asda, Hereford. Turn up any time from 10am to 4pm
• 26 Jan - Public event at the Town Hall, Hereford from 10am to 1pm
• 02 Feb - Road show at Ross Market Square. Visit any time from 10am to 1pm
• 03 Feb - Road show at Leominster Corn Square from 10am to 1pm
• 04 Feb - Road show at Evans Easyspace at Rotherwas, starting 11pm
• 09 Feb - Road show at Kington Mill Street Car Park from 10am to 1pm
• 11 Feb - Road show at Bromyard Tenbury Road Car Park from 10am to 1pm
• 13 Feb - Road show at Hereford High Town from 10am to 3pm
• 23 Feb - Road Show at Ledbury St Katherine Street Car Park from 10am to 1pm
• 23 Feb – Evening event at Hereford’s Aylestone School from 6pm to 8pm
• 24 Feb - Road show at Ewyas Harold Memorial Hall Car Park from 10am to 1pm

Posted : 12/01/2010 13:07:17

Waste collections resume across Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council has reported that waste collections across Herefordshire have resumed today (Tuesday 12 January 2010). The council apologises for the disruption and crews will be making every effort to collect all refuse and recycling - but are still hampered by difficult icy conditions on many minor roads.

Residents are asked that if they have not had a collection by 6pm today, then could they please bring in their refuse and recycling and put it out again on their next collection day.

In the face of the worst cold spell for 30 years, the council is making the decision whether to send out the crews on a day-by-day basis. Rotherwas, Leominster and Bromyard household waste sites have re-opened today.

The council’s contractors will collect recycling material, over and above that in the authorised bins and sacks, for the next round of collections, which will take place when refuse collection vehicles are out again.

It will mean residents can put out excess recycling in their old purple and clear sacks or in any other sacks, so long as they are clearly labelled up as "recycling".

A decision on Wednesday’s collection will be made first thing tomorrow morning - residents are advised to tune in to their local radio stations or visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk to find out the latest information.

Posted : 12/01/2010 11:48:59

Herefordshire’s scandals, brought back to life
John Challis - of Only Fools and Horses and Green Green Grass fame – is to play a leading part in bringing back some of the most scandalous and surprising stories from Herefordshire’s past.

Herefordshire Council is holding a special evening next month when Mr Challis and other actors will perform dramatic readings of selected historic documents.

Tales from the Archives will be held in the Great Hall, Bishop’s Palace, Hereford at 7pm on Saturday 27 February 2010. It will feature crimes, miracles, tokens of love, drunkenness and witchcraft – all taken from the county’s written heritage held in the council’s archives service.

Chief archivist Elizabeth Semper O’Keefe said ‘We are delighted that Mr Challis and the other actors will be helping us celebrate the people of Herefordshire who are represented in our archives. It will be very exciting to hear them being given a voice and I’m sure it will make for a special evening.’

Tickets are £8 and will include light refreshments. For further information and bookings, call Herefordshire Council’s archive service on 01432 260750

Posted : 12/01/2010 10:03:40

More snow on the way for Herefordshire tonight
As Herefordshire braces itself for more heavy snowfall, the council warns that it must continue to prioritise on keeping the primary routes of the county open.

During what is the worst cold spell for 30 years, the council’s contractor Amey Herefordshire is focusing on regularly gritting the 600 miles of A and B roads - but if it attempted to treat the 2,500 miles of minor and unclassified roads across such a large area, it would run out of rock salt very quickly. Salt has to be carefully managed at a time of national supply problems but the council traditionally is able to keep most of the county moving on primary routes during extreme weather.

The council reports that all A and B roads in the county have been gritted throughout the night and are passable with care – but motorists are advised that they are likely to encounter black ice without warning, and there is freezing fog in some areas. Most minor and unclassified roads are all passable with extreme care - but pavements in villages, market towns and parts of Hereford are hazardous.

Waste and recycling collections are operating today, reports the council, and Fosca bin crews will endeavour to get to every household but delays are inevitable.

Social services have asked if residents could please look in today on elderly or vulnerable neighbours who may have run out of basic supplies and would find it difficult to get provisions if we suffer increased disruption.

Fire and rescue remind parents to keep children away from icy bodies of water after incidents in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and urged extra care with wood burning stoves and electric fires. Also poorly parked cars in some back roads are restricting access for fire crew vehicles.

Around 90 schools in Herefordshire are expected to be open today and parents can check with individual school’s web sites or call the council’s emergency information line, which opened at 6am this morning. The number is 0844 939 6101.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service warns that people should take care to avoid the risk of slips, trips and falls if they have to venture out on foot.

NHS services remain under pressure and NHS Herefordshire is urging people to only use 999 if a situation is life-threatening. Anyone requiring medical treatment should consider using parts of the NHS other than Accident and Emergency and the 999 service. People can get advice on their condition from their local pharmacist or GP and should also consider calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visiting it on-line at http://www.nhs.uk/

Posted : 12/01/2010 08:10:06

Drivers asked to watch out for black ice
Herefordshire Council reports that all A and B roads in the county have been gritted throughout the night and are passable with care – but motorists are advised that they are likely to encounter black ice without warning, and there is freezing fog in some areas. Most minor and unclassified roads are all passable with extreme care - but pavements in villages, market towns and parts of Hereford are hazardous.

Around 90 schools in Herefordshire are expected to be open today and parents can check with individual school’s web sites or call the council’s emergency information line, which opened at 6am this morning. The number is 0844 939 6101.

The council’s contractor Amey Herefordshire dispensed 170 tonnes of rock salt on the roads overnight. They reported at 3.30am a major water leak on the A49 southbound, just past the traffic lights for Saxon Gate in Hereford, and Welsh Water have been notified.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service warns that people should take care to avoid the risk of slips, trips and falls if they have to venture out on foot.

NHS services remain under pressure and NHS Herefordshire is urging people to only use 999 if a situation is life-threatening. Anyone requiring medical treatment should consider using parts of the NHS other than Accident and Emergency and the 999 service. People can get advice on their condition from their local pharmacist or GP and should also consider calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visiting it on-line at http://www.nhs.uk/

While social services are doing their best to ensure elderly and vulnerable people are looked after, residents are asked please to check on their older neighbours as many may be in need of basic supplies.

Posted : 12/01/2010 07:02:27

Herefordshire Snow Update
As Herefordshire enters its second week of snow and ice, some schools in the county have reported to local radio and to the council that they will be open today. But parents are advised to check the school's individual websites for updated information or call Herefordshire Council's emergency information line– the number is 0844 939 6101.

The following schools are expected to be open today:

Ashperton Primary
Canon Pyon Primary
Cradley Primary
Fownhope, St Mary's Primary
Garway Primary
Holme Lacy Primary
Pencombe Primary
Trinity Primary
Whitchurch Primary

John Kyrle High School for years 11,12,13 and exam candidates only
The Minster at Leominster for years 11,12, 13 and exam candidates only
Kingstone High
St Mary's RC High for years 10 and 11 only (packed lunches are required and parents driving their children to school should please pick them up at 3pm).

Motorists are respecting the difficult road conditions and driving with care on the county's principle roads, which have been kept open by gritting teams, who were out at 12.30am and 4am this morning. Herefordshire Council and its contractor Amey Herefordshire are focusing on treating the 600 miles of A and B roads and managing road salt supplies - but much of the county's 2,500 miles of minor roads remain icy and hazardous.

Snow showers started at midnight and have been persistent on times across the county. Motorists are advised to check local road and weather conditions before making the decision to drive. Visit the council's website on www.herefordshire.gov.uk and look in the spotlight on the home page to access information on which roads will have been gritted.

Don't get caught out even on short journeys. If you have to travel, make sure you take plenty of warm clothing, food and hot drinks.

The county's emergency services along, with Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire, reviewed together the situation over the weekend to ensure key services are maintained and communities supported throughout the spell of very cold weather.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service warns that people should take care to avoid the risk of slips, trips and falls if they have to venture out on foot.

NHS services remain under pressure and NHS Herefordshire is urging people to only use 999 if a situation is life-threatening. Anyone requiring medical treatment should consider using parts of the NHS other than Accident and Emergency and the 999 service. People can get advice on their condition from their local pharmacist or GP and should also consider calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visiting it on-line at http://www.nhs.uk/

While social services are doing their best to ensure elderly and vulnerable people are looked after, residents are asked please to check on their older neighbours as many may be in need of basic supplies.

Posted : 11/01/2010 07:11:11

Keep on recycling...
The snow may have prevented the regular refuse collections around the Herefordshire, but it needn't stop people recycling.

Herefordshire Council has agreed with its contractors that they will collect recycling material, over and above that in the authorised bins and sacks, for the next round of collections, which will take place when refuse collection vehicles can safely go out to collect.

It will mean residents can put out excess recycling in their old purple and clear sacks or in any other sacks, so long as they are clearly labelled up as "RECYCLING".

“We apologise that we have not been able to collect during the last few days due to the weather. The good news is that it needn't stop people recycling – just store it up and put it out when the collections start again,” said Richard Wood, Herefordshire Council's waste services manager.

Due to the ongoing icy conditions, Herefordshire's household waste sites won't be open this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, January 9 and 10). They are iced over and are not safe for residents to deliver their recycling and refuse.

Please check the council's website to see when the sites will reopen.

Posted : 08/01/2010 17:23:42

Motorists heed 'stay at home' message
Emergency services and organisations providing key services across Herefordshire have praised county motorists for heeding the “stay at home” message during the current spell of icy weather.

Plunging temperatures which fell to around -14C last night caused hazardous driving conditions across the county as water, slush and snow turned to ice yesterday afternoon and overnight.

But despite today’s blue sky and bright sunshine, temperatures are not due to rise much above freezing and with clear sky tonight, the temperature is expected to plummet again.

“We’ve had a great response from people across the county,” said Supt Kevin Purcell, of West Mercia Police, who chairs the group which oversees the response to the snowy weather from the emergency services, Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire.

“With treacherous conditions, it was encouraging that roads were noticeably quieter yesterday afternoon and overnight. However, drivers must not be complacent.

“The big freeze is not over and conditions in the coming days will mean more ice and possibly snow this weekend – motorists should remain vigilant.

“The message is the same – only make essential journeys. If you have to go out, make sure you take plenty of warm clothing, food and hot drinks,” he added.

While the county’s A and B roads are passable with care, minor roads remain covered in snow and can turn into ice rinks overnight.

“As schools know their local conditions and how far staff and pupils have to travel, they are best placed to make their own decisions as to whether they remain closed or re-open,” said Chris Baird, children’s services assistant director for Herefordshire Council.

“Schools are also very much aware of the health and safety implications they need to take into account. They will act on the advice that the council and other partners provide.

“A number of our schools are not on main roads and many roads across the county are not yet suitable for school buses. This is under constant review and we are updating the current position with our transport contractors.”

When schools make a decision to re-open, they will update their websites, inform the council and let local radio stations know.

Gritters were out on the priority routes again last night (Weds, Jan 6) and put down around 400 tonnes of salt – but salt solutions do become less effective in the extreme temperatures we’re currently experiencing.

“Roads may appear gritted, but at the temperatures we’re getting overnight, the effectiveness of the salt can become limited,” said Clive Hall, Herefordshire Council’s highways network manager.

“Motorists who have to make essential journeys should be aware that when temperatures reach -15C, the roads could be slippery and icy, despite the salt we’ve put down,” he added.

The team of 18 gritters are currently working around the clock to keep the county’s A and B roads clear.

“We have to concentrate on keeping the main routes through the county clear so unfortunately we simply don’t have the capacity to extend the coverage to all other roads,” added Clive.

Visit the council’s website on www.herefordshire.gov.uk and look in the spotlight on the home page to access the information on gritting routes.

He also issued a plea to youngsters who are out about enjoying an extended winter holiday to stay safe.

“We want our youngsters to enjoy the snow, but please do it safely,” he warned.

“Large snowmen on verges close to a road and on roundabouts could be dangerous to drivers, and children playing in these areas are at risk of slipping into the roadway and are also at risk of cars skidding on the ice.

“Please enjoy the snow, but enjoy it in parks and gardens, well away from roads,” he added.

Posted : 07/01/2010 15:26:49

No refuse collections across Herefordshire today
Refuse collections across Herefordshire have been suspended today, Thursday, January 7, due to the snow and icy weather.

Residents are being asked to keep hold of their refuse and recycling which was due for collection today.

It can be put out next Thursday for collection, and recycling in a fortnight's time, if conditions allow.

Herefordshire Council and its partners will assess the conditions tomorrow morning prior to deciding on whether we can safely carry out Friday's collections.

Look out for further updates on the council's website and by tuning in to your local radio station.

All the county's household waste sites are also closed today.

Posted : 07/01/2010 10:30:25

Extreme weather continues
After recent snowfall and clearer conditions in Herefordshire, temperatures fell as low as minus 13 Celsius in some locations overnight. Herefordshire Council reports that A and B roads are passable with care. They were treated at 6pm yesterday and again this morning at 4am, and over 340 tonnes of rock salt was used, but untreated surfaces and unclassified roads remain hazardous.

Herefordshire Council’s emergency information line is up and running and residents can ring this for the latest information – the number is 0844 939 6101. Herefordshire’s schools are expected to be closed today generally but those opening will notify local radio to inform parents, updating their school’s website and implementing their processes for contacting parents and carers. Schools transport operators are not running services today.

As the weather forecast remains uncertain, schools are considering their local circumstances on a daily basis and will inform the council and local media when they are due to reopen.

The county’s emergency services along, with Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire, are meeting regularly to review the situation and make plans to ensure key services are maintained and communities supported throughout the spell of wintery weather.

The message from the police is to stay at home if possible and only go out if it’s an urgent journey. Don’t get caught out even on short journeys. If you have to travel, then make sure you take plenty of warm clothing, food and hot drinks.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust has backed this call warning that iced-up untreated roads and pavements will be very slippery – so people should take care to avoid the risk of slips, trips and falls if they have to venture out on foot.

NHS Herefordshire is urging people to only use 999 if a situation is life-threatening – anyone requiring medical treatment should consider using parts of the NHS other than A&E and the 999 service. People can get advice on their condition from their local pharmacist or GP and should also consider calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visiting it on-line at www.nhs.uk.

Posted : 07/01/2010 07:55:31

Snow wipes out refuse collections
Refuse collections across Herefordshire have been suspended today, Wednesday, January 6, due to the snow.

Collections were called off late yesterday morning due to the weather.

Residents are being asked to keep hold of their refuse and recycling which was due for collection today.

It can be put out next Wednesday for collection, and recycling in a fortnight's time, if conditions allow.

Herefordshire Council and its partners will assess the conditions tomorrow morning prior to deciding on whether we can safely carry out Thursday's collections.

Look out for further updates on the council's website and by tuning in to your local radio station.

All the county's household waste sites are closed today

Posted : 06/01/2010 11:08:45

Herefordshire Snow Update
Herefordshire Council has reported that A and B roads across the county are passable with care after nearly 500 tonnes of salt were put down by gritters working throughout the night. Hereford has had around 4 inches of snow and up to 10 inches of snow has fallen on parts of South Herefordshire. The council’s contractor Amey Herefordshire is continuing to treat the roads this morning but unclassified roads will be extremely difficult for motorists.

Therefore, the council reaffirms police advice that drivers should not venture out unless their journey is absolutely necessary. Domestic waste and recycling collections are likely to be extremely disrupted today.

Parents can find out the most up to date information on school closures this morning by telephoning Herefordshire Council's emergency information line – 0844 939 6101 – which has been open from 6am.

The council has been notified of the following school closures due to heavy snow today. Parents are advised to ring their schools direct for further details.

Primary Schools
Almeley Primary
Ashfield Park Primary
Ashperton Primary
Bosbury Primary
Brampton Abbotts Primary
Bredenbury Primary
Brockhampton Primary
Burley Gate Primary
Burley Gate Primary
Burley Gate Primary
Canon Pyon Primary
Clehonger Primary
Clifford Primary
Colwall Primary
Cradley Primary
Dilwyn Primary
Ewyas Harold Primary
Garway Primary
Goodrich Primary
Gorsley Goffs Primary
Hampton Dene Primary
Holme Lacy Primary
Ivington Primary
Kings Caple Primary
Kingsland Primary
Lea Primary
Ledbury Primary
Leintwardine Primary
Leominster Infants and Junoirs
Lord Scudamore Primary
Lucton Independent School
Lugwardine Primary
Luston Primary
Marden Primary
Marlbrook Primary
Michaelchurch Escley Primary
Much Birch Primary
Much Marcle Primary
Orleton Primary
Our Ladies RC Primary
Pencombe Primary
Peterchurch Primary
Shobdon Primary
St Francis Xavier RC Primary
St James' CE Primary Hereford
St Joseph's RC Primary
St Pauls CE Primary Hereford
St Peter's Bromyard Primary
St Thomas Cantilupe Primary
Stoke Prior Primary
Sutton Primary
Trinity Primary
Walford Primary
Weobley Primary
Whitbourne Primary
Whitchurch Primary
Wigmore Primary
Withington Primary

Pembridge Primary is open but no buses will be operating

High Schools
Aylestone High
Fairfield High
John Masefield High
Kingstone High
Lady Hawkins High
Queen Elizabeth High
St Mary's RC High
The Bishop's of Hereford Bluecoat School
The Hereford Academy
The Minster
Weobley High
Wigmore High
John Kyrle High
Out of county schools
Monmouth Comperhensive
Tenbury High
Ludlow College

Special Schools
Barrs Court Special School
Blackmarston Special School
Westfield Special School
St Davids Pupil Referral
The Aconbury Centre

Hereford College of Technology - both Hereford and Holme Lacy Campus'

Herefordshire Council is grateful to the team of volunteer 4X4 response drivers, who are members of the community and made over 20 emergency journeys during the night, primarily to get staff to and from the county hospital, and are continuing to make journeys today.

Emergency crews have reported difficulties in getting to blue light incidents due to the weather. Untreated roads and pavements are likely to stay very slippery through the rest of today. And people are urged to take care so that they avoid the risk of slips, trips and falls.

NHS Herefordshire advises that if you do need medical treatment, please consider using parts of the NHS other than A&E and the 999 service. The NHS is extremely busy at present due to the cold weather; please get advice on your condition from a pharmacist, your GP NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or on-line at www.nhs.uk and if you need treatment, consider using a walk in centre or minor injuries unit.

Residents are also being advised to check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable to cold weather, which is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses. People with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems may have worse symptoms during a cold spell and for several days after temperatures return to normal.

To keep warm and well during the current snowy weather:

• Keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts.
• Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter.
• Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer).
• Keep as active as possible.
• Wrap up warm if you need to go outside on cold days.

Keep your home at the recommended temperature of 18–21°C (64–70°F). If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before you go to sleep.

Posted : 06/01/2010 09:25:57

Residents advised to only make essential journeys
With further snow and freezing conditions due later today and overnight, Herefordshire Council and its partners are advising people to only make essential journeys.

Around 80 schools have closed today and refuse collections have been suspended as the weather created problems with crews finding it difficult to keep vehicles on the roads.

Parents can find out the most up to date information on school closures tomorrow morning by telephoning Herefordshire Council’s emergency information line – 0844 939 6101 – which will be open from 6am.

Meanwhile emergency crews have reported difficulties in getting to blue light incidents due to the snow and increased congestion on the roads

West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Mark Gough, said: “Untreated roads and pavements are likely to stay very slippery through the rest of today. We would urge people to take care so that they avoid the risk of slips, trips and falls if you are on foot.

“Where possible, people should stay at home. If you do have to travel, please ensure you take warm clothing, and sensible footwear with you. If possible take a shovel, snow chains, chocolate and a drink with you.

”If you do need medical treatment, please consider using parts of the NHS other than A&E and the 999 service.

“The NHS is extremely busy at present due to the cold weather; please get advice on your condition from a pharmacist, your GP NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or on-line at www.nhs.uk.

“If you need treatment, consider using a walk in centre or minor injuries unit.”

Residents are also being advised to check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable to cold weather, which is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses.

People with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems may have worse symptoms during a cold spell and for several days after temperatures return to normal.

To keep warm and well during the current snowy weather:

• Keep curtains drawn and doors closed to block out draughts.
• Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter.
• Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer).
• Keep as active as possible.
• Wrap up warm if you need to go outside on cold days.

Keep your home at the recommended temperature of 18–21°C (64–70°F).

If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before you go to sleep.

Posted : 05/01/2010 17:15:50

Herefordshire Council emergency information line
Herefordshire Council’s emergency information line has opened to give local residents the latest news on roads affected by the snow as well as details of school closures.

The telephone line opened at lunchtime today and will remain open so long as there is demand for it this evening.

It will re-open at 6am tomorrow (Weds) and will have the latest details on school closures.

The number is 0844 939 6101

Posted : 05/01/2010 14:14:20

Snow affects Herefordshire refuse collections
Herefordshire's refuse and recycling crews were out this morning but were quickly affected by the snow.

Some areas have had their refuse and recycling collected, but by 9am crews were having difficulties keeping the vehicles on the roads.

At 11am today all collections of refuse and recycling were stopped.

If residents haven't had their collection today, they are being asked to take their refuse and recycling back in.

Refuse can be put out next Tuesday for collection, and recycling in a fortnight's time, if conditions allow.

We will assess the conditions tomorrow morning prior to deciding on whether we can safely carry out Wednesday's collections.

Look out for further updates on the council's website and by tuning in to your local radio station.

Posted : 05/01/2010 11:36:08

Road safety advice over the Christmas period
Herefordshire Council is reminding motorists out on the road over the Christmas period to drive according to the road conditions.

Drivers should be aware that if the road surface temperature drops to -5C, the grit laid down by the gritting lorries becomes less effective – and at -9C, it has virtually no effect at all.

Key advice is that although the council is continually monitoring and treating Herefordshire’s roads, people should only travel when necessary over the Christmas period during the current icy weather.

Posted : 24/12/2009 13:57:42

Gritters out and about to keep routes clear
Herefordshire motorists are being reassured that Amey Herefordshire’s fleet of fifteen gritters will be out and about keeping the county’s primary routes clear over the Christmas period.

Overnight the gritters have been working around the clock to keep primary routes clear: 209 tonnes of grit have been distributed during the last 18 hours.

The gritters were out at 4pm yesterday and were back out again at 10pm to grit all primary routes, secondary routes and car parks

A third grit of all primary routes occurred again at 2.30am this morning and Hereford’s High Town has been hand treated throughout this period.

The team of drivers will be on call right through the Christmas period and will continue to operate as weather conditions dictate.

A leaflet has been produced detailing the winter gritting routes which can be downloaded in PDF format from the council’s website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk

The major towns are available in individual, more detailed files, which are also available on the website.

Posted : 24/12/2009 12:39:24

Swine flu vaccination for county’s under 5s begins
The first of 10,000 children aged between six months and five years of age in Herefordshire have begun receiving their swine flu vaccinations.

The vaccination programme follows the announcement by the health secretary Andy Burnham earlier this month that children of this age had been identified as the next priority group because they are more likely to need hospital treatment if they catch swine flu.

The decision is supported by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – the UK’s independent advisory board on vaccines.

This second phase of vaccinations follows hot on the heels of the first phase during which around 25,000 people - identified as being at risk of severe illness should they contract the swine flu virus - in Herefordshire were contacted by their local GPs and invited to have their swine flu vaccination

NHS Herefordshire has negotiated through the Local Medical Committee and has reached an agreement that local GPs will roll out this second phase of vaccinations.

While some have already begun contacting the parents of youngsters, the majority of GPs will be contacting families early in the New Year to invite them to bring their children in for flu vaccinations.

“These people have been identified nationally by the Department of Health (DoH) because they are at highest risk of severe illness should they contract the swine flu virus,” said Dr Akeem Ali, Herefordshire’s Director of Public Health.

“Thankfully, for most people the affects of swine flu are mild and no worse than a bout of seasonal flu.

“NHS Herefordshire, which is receiving the batches of vaccinations from the DoH, is making sure they are delivered to GP surgeries so they are in the hands of local doctors who know their patients and particularly those at risk.

“If you get a letter or a phone call from your GP inviting you, or your children, to have a swine flu vaccination, please ensure you to take up this offer,” added Dr Ali.

Posted : 24/12/2009 12:37:53

Highways team keeps county moving
Herefordshire Council and their service delivery partners Amey have been working hard during the recent spell of bad weather to keep the county’s roads clear of ice and snow.

The county’s fleet of 18 gritters has salted roads on both primary and secondary gritting routes during the recent cold snap. The county has 3,291km of roads with 963kmn being priority gritting routes while 684km are secondary routes.

Roadside grit heaps and bins are also provided where requested by parish councils to provide cover on minor roads which might not otherwise be treated.

A leaflet has been produced detailing the winter gritting routes can be downloaded in PDF format on the council’s website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk The major towns have also been made available in individual, more detailed files, which are also available on the website.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Even though many people are now enjoying a much-deserved Christmas break, it is still crucial that the county’s roads are kept open as this helps to ensure the safety of commuters, people out shopping and those who are travelling to visit relatives.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on weather forecasts and ensure the appropriate action is taken to minimise the risk to the travelling public and keep the county’s roads open throughout the winter period,” he added.

Posted : 22/12/2009 10:22:49

There’s no need(le) to waste Christmas trees
Herefordshire Council is encouraging people not to put their Christmas trees into landfill this year but instead recycle or re-use them.

Millions of Christmas trees are disposed of in early January every year but people could instead take them to the household waste sites where they will be chipped, shredded and used for compost.

Laura Blackwell, Herefordshire Council’s recycling officer, said: “There are also living tree schemes where people can bring a real, potted tree into the house and then plant it back outside once the festivities are over.

“Another option is to buy an artificial tree which can be re-used every year. Unlike a real tree, it won’t help to offset global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide but in comparison to a Christmas tree that is sent to landfill after just a few weeks, it will use fewer resources in terms of transportation, felling and waste disposal,” she added.
Anyone wanting to recycle their Christmas tree in Hereford should take them to their nearest household waste site and leave them in the large composting bins.
Household waste sites can be found at:
Hereford - Chapel Road, Rotherwas
• Ross-on-Wye - Station Approach
Leominster - Bridge Street
Ledbury - Little Marcle Road
• Bromyard - Linton Industrial Estate, Leominster Road

All household waste sites will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Saturday 26th December.
All sites that are normally open on a Sunday will be available on Sunday 27th December. All sites that are normally open on Mondays will be open on Monday 28th December. All sites will be closed on New Year’s Day, Friday 1st January. Normal opening hours will resume on Saturday 2nd January 2010.

Posted : 17/12/2009 12:11:19

Herefordshire rural shops get a lifeline!
Herefordshire Council is offering rural shops in Herefordshire a chance to apply for funding to make a difference to their businesses and the communities they serve.

The discretionary grant aims to enhance the future viability of rural shops in Herefordshire in order to safeguard vital services for people living in rural areas.

A grant of up to £5,000, or 90 per cent of the total project cost, is available to owners, landlords or lessees of a general village stores which sells a variety of goods. Priority will be given to shops at threat of closure, particularly those that currently offer a post office service.

Eligible activities include:-

• Refurbishment to the shop interior;
• Purchases of equipment e.g. display cabinets, refrigeration;
• Training or advice.

The scheme excludes farms shops, community shops and franchises. However, they are encouraged to contact the team as there may be other funding available.

Cllr Adrian Blackshaw, Cabinet member for economic and community services, said: “I’m delighted to have an opportunity to support our rural shops as they provide such a vital service for their local communities. Keeping these services available and operating ensures that the most isolated and vulnerable communities of Herefordshire can survive.”

As funding is limited, all applications need to be received by 25 January 2010 to be assessed by an independent panel.

Any traders or landlords wanting to take advantage of the grant scheme should contact the delegated grants team for details and an application pack on 01432 260753 or email the team at delegatedgrants@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 16/12/2009 17:23:28

10,000 under fives to get swine flu vaccination
Children aged between six months and five years of age in Herefordshire are to be vaccinated against swine flu.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham’s announcement last week, (Tues, Dec 8), means around 10,000 youngsters in the county will receive the H1N1 vaccine.

This age group was identified as the next priority group for the vaccine because they are more likely to need hospital treatment if they catch swine flu.

The decision is supported by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – the UK’s independent advisory board on vaccines.

Although the roll-out of the vaccination programme has been hampered because a national agreement between NHS employers and the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners’ Committee could not be found, NHS Herefordshire is negotiating through the Local Medical Council to reach an agreement with local GPs.

“Failure to reach a national agreement is disappointing, but we’re hoping to be in a position to roll out the vaccination programme by around Christmas,” said Dr Akeem Ali, Herefordshire’s director of public health.

“We have a number of options, but our preferred choice would be to vaccinate through our local GPs.

“Parents of children in the priority group will receive information about the swine flu vaccination programme as soon as these plans have been finalised,” he added.

Posted : 15/12/2009 08:05:10

Herefordshire is a good place to live
Glowing reports show that quality of life in Herefordshire is improving

Herefordshire is a good place to live, thanks to the council, the primary care trust and the police services working very closely together to improve people's lives. This is the conclusion of a new government assessment – called Oneplace – which assesses how well public services are meeting the needs of local people.

Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire, who are working in a unique and close partnership to improve local services, have welcomed the new report. Working with the police, and other agencies, they are credited with reducing anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime in Herefordshire, as well as ensuring that people are healthy and safe and that children get a good education.

The rating comes hot on the heels of another very positive report. Herefordshire Council's children's services are also 'performing well' according to an annual performance rating published by Ofsted this month. This is the third year running that children's services have demonstrated continuous improvement. The report says the overall effectiveness of the large majority of inspected services is good and better than in similar local authorities and nationally. Children receive a good start to their care and education in the county.

Also this month, the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of health and social care, has reported that Herefordshire is looking after older and more vulnerable people better than ever before. The council consistently delivers adult social care services above minimum requirements and this year has moved up a level from 'performing adequately' to 'performing well'.

The council works closely with its partner, NHS Herefordshire, which is the leader for health in the county, and has improved strongly the quality of life, health and wellbeing of users of social care services and carers, against more stringent government testing for social care.

The rural nature of Herefordshire presents difficulties in terms of domestic waste collection and the Oneplace assessment refers to the need to improve. However, in November, the council launched its new recycling service. Nearly 60,000 wheeled bins and over 15,000 sack deliveries took place and when the scheme went live, the council collected 600 tonnes of recycling by the second week – three times as much as in the same period the previous year. Over 98 per cent of all residential properties now receive a recycling service.

The council also launched this year a new community protection team to respond to anti-social behaviour, and is the first point of contact for sorting out fly tipping, abandoned vehicles, fly posting, littering and dog fouling, and quickly responds to and investigates all reports.

The council is also working to provide more affordable housing, which the Oneplace assessment also identified as a need for Herefordshire. Although it has reached its targets in 2009, the council is encouraging new developments, such as the urban village on the ESG regeneration site in Hereford. Other issues being worked on by the primary care trust, the council and other agencies, include the need to improve broadband access for business, and reduce road accident deaths, speed up ambulance response times and improve dental health.

Herefordshire is one of 152 areas assessed in England, with six independent inspectorates creating a single snapshot of an area. They look at how important local issues, such as crime, affordable housing and people's health, are being tackled – and the prospects for improvement.

The assessment sometimes uses 'red flags' to signal any significant concerns about performance, and in this first Oneplace report, Herefordshire has no red flags but is working to win 'green flags' for significant improvement in next year’s assessment.

Chris Bull, chief executive of Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire, said: “The story for Herefordshire continues to be one of improvement and assessment of our services, by a number of different agencies, is finding that our unique and pioneering approach to partnership is working and providing real benefits for residents, especially in terms of quality of life, community safety, social care and education.

“There is of course, much more we need to do, but in this first Oneplace report it is great news that local people find Herefordshire a good place to live. It is only by working closely together, that their council, primary care trust and several other public services providers, can make a real and lasting difference in ways that are important to them”.

Mary-Ann Bruce, Oneplace spokesperson for Herefordshire said: "Herefordshire is a good place to live. The council, NHS, fire and police services work very closely together to improve people's lives. They've reduced anti-social behaviour and the fear of crime. People are healthy, safe, and children get a good education. The majority of people are satisfied with where they live. But the rural nature of the county creates difficulties, such as a need for more housing that people can afford, better waste management and improved broadband access to attract business and jobs. And more needs to be done to reduce deaths from accidents, speed up ambulance response times and improve dental health."

Oneplace provides an independent overview of local public services. It will help people see how well their local services, including councils, police and the NHS, are serving their needs and how well these services are working together to improve an area's quality of life. The results will be published on a new website www.direct.gov.uk/oneplace launched on 9 December 2009.

Posted : 09/12/2009 07:59:01

Social care services performing well in the County
Herefordshire is looking after older and more vulnerable people better than ever before, according to an independent assessment of social care services.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is the independent regulator of health and social care in the England, has reported that when it comes to adult social care services, Herefordshire Council is performing well.

The council consistently delivers services above minimum requirements and this year the commission has reported that Herefordshire has moved up a level from ‘performing adequately’ to ‘performing well’.

The council works closely with its partner, NHS Herefordshire, which is the leader for health in the county, and has improved strongly the quality of life, health and wellbeing of users of social care services and carers, against more stringent government testing for social care.

“It is very good news that the council’s efforts to ensure that social care service meet the needs of the growing numbers of older and vulnerable members of our communities”, said Councillor Olwyn Barnett, cabinet member for older people and social care.

“There will always be immense pressures on these services in Herefordshire, because the older section of the population is growing faster than most anywhere else in the county, and there will always be room for improvement. But I am gratified that given the more stringent assessment of services, Herefordshire Council is able to demonstrate strong improvement in the range and quality of services it provides.

"I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all members of staff for their very hard work and I congratulate them on the very good results, in spite of the financial pressures."

The council is helping larger numbers of older people to live independently at home, including people with a learning disability, and is boosting awareness and training to help them avoid falls, and so hospital admissions have reduced. People are checked on more often, particularly at night, and the success of electronic monitoring services is also exceeding targets.

Many more people are provided with adaptations to help them live at home and waiting times for this service are much shorter. The number of delayed hospital discharges of older people is very low, although the council needs to continue actions within its new integrated structure with the primary care trust to ensure this number is reduced.

Nearly 250 additional extra care places have been provided this year, including Rose Gardens, in Hereford, a partnership scheme of 91 affordable apartments with on-site social care and leisure facilities.

An innovative village warden scheme has been rolled out across the county, supporting people in remote areas to remain independent.

The council contributes to the funding of the voluntary sector (there are over 1500 voluntary and community organisations in the county and it is estimated that 18 per cent of the local population volunteer). Carers are supported to take part in community life through the carers’ hub, newsletters and specific events for carers.

There is a well-established ‘signposting’ service where local public services alert other services if they feel a vulnerable person needs extra help. Actions have been taken to strengthen and monitor protection for people who use services and their carers from all forms of abuse.

The council is ‘personalising’ services and has increased the number of people who receive a direct payment and use that to purchase the care they need.

There is a range of schemes and services that provide information and advice to help users and carers to understand and manage their income and meet their costs. For example, there is a ‘gold ticket’ fast track benefits scheme that guarantees applications will be processed within two working days.

The council and the primary care trust has improved health and wellbeing, providing a wide range of information and advice to promote a healthy lifestyle, including a magazine delivered to peoples’ homes, coffee mornings that offer free health checks and initiatives to manage long term conditions.

Services and results for people who misuse alcohol are better, and hospital admissions for alcohol related harm have been cut, and there are more drug users receiving effective treatment.

A range of employment opportunities is available for people with learning disabilities, including social enterprise schemes. Training courses and workshops for carers have been developed with partners, and the council plans to improve information and support for employment amongst carers by including information in the carers’ newsletters and on the website.

Chris Bull, chief executive of Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire, said: “The unique and innovative partnership we have between health and social care means we are able to make progress on joining services up to help older people live independently at home with dignity, while having the confidence that the care and support they need is there for them. People in our county live longer than average and we have to ensure that we are delivering on our commitment to add life to years, as well as years to life”.

Posted : 03/12/2009 16:24:08

Council goes electric with new car
Herefordshire Council and its service delivery partners Amey are bidding to cut their carbon footprint by trialling a new electric car.

The partnership is one of just 100 nationwide to have secured the electric-powered smart cars as part of research trials being held across the West Midlands, London and the South East.

Powered solely by electricity, and chargeable from any three-pin socket, the smart electric car can achieve 300mg and travel up to 84 miles between charges. It also has reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “I am delighted we have been selected to trial this car as it will not only save our fuel costs but will also help the environment as they produce far less carbon emissions.

“It is crucial that we as a council lead by example and this will help to reduce our own carbon footprint. If the car proves a success, we will look at acquiring more as and when our existing fleet needs replacing.”

Mark Thomas, service director for Amey, said: “One of Amey’s priorities is to reduce its carbon emissions and the trial of the new vehicle is a step towards achieving that goal.”

Posted : 30/11/2009 17:07:17

Herefordshire is urged to shape its future
Growth is coming to Herefordshire – which may result in over 16,000 new homes, new enterprises, more jobs and prosperity, and a bypass for Hereford and Leominster. But making sure we grow the right way is up to everyone, says Herefordshire Council, which is launching a major consultation in the New Year to shape the future of the county, the city and the market towns.

Leader of the council Roger Phillips urged the silent majority to speak out on the options laid out for the Local Development Framework when the consultation starts on 18 January. Speaking at the council’s cabinet (26 November 2009), he said this was Herefordshire’s big chance to write the blueprint for planning and development up to 2026.

Cabinet members considered various ‘place shaping options’ outlined in a draft consultation paper, which has been published on Herefordshire Council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk and these are detailed for Hereford, Bromyard, Kington, Ledbury, Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and the rural areas of the county.

The council will hold exhibitions and road shows across the county early next year, with workshops in schools and colleges. People’s views will be analysed and proposed policies developed and presented back to cabinet later in 2010 and publicised, before being submitted to the Secretary of State, who will arrange for a public examination and inspector’s report with final adoption anticipated in 2011.

Previous consultation had highlighted that nearly 80 per cent of respondents feel that a blend of public transport improvements and a new relief road would be the preferred solution to Hereford’s traffic problems. However, the route – either to the west or the east of the city – needs careful consideration and the draft consultation paper details the implications of either option. The paper also outlines possible locations for the new homes, which will also affect the route of a bypass and the location of a second river crossing, as developers would need to contribute to infrastructure improvements. The aim is to regain the city’s place as an economic power in the region in order to bring prosperity and opportunity for future generations.

The strategy for the market towns is to further promote their roles as service and economic centres for their rural hinterlands but also improve links with Hereford.

The largest single allocation of new homes outside of Hereford could go to Leominster, due to its economic importance located on the A49 corridor and its rail links, with growth providing a southern link road for the town. Ledbury and Ross could support more development than Bromyard and Kington with the amounts of new homes and employment land balanced by their respective needs and environment considerations. Several villages and groups of villages could see development designed to increase affordable housing and create and retain employment and services.

The cabinet approved the ‘place shaping paper’ as a consultation document and agreed the formal consultation period of 18 January to 12 March 2010.

Posted : 30/11/2009 08:31:13

Council warning on fraudsters
Fraudsters have targeted Herefordshire homes attempting to trick people into giving their bank details over the phone.

The bogus phone callers claim they are representing the council and tell householders they are entitled to a refund on their council tax because they have 'overpaid'. They then ask for personal bank account details, in which to ‘pay the refund’.

"These calls are not connected to the council and people should never provide personal account or bank details over the phone," said Mike Toney, head of revenues and benefits for the council.

“In some cases, fraudsters may even get hold of part of a person's account number by going through their rubbish, and could quote a few numbers of this in the hope that their victim will provide the rest of the information.”

"Residents need to be aware that if they have overpaid their council tax, we would never telephone but will issue a revised bill to advise them of this. Fortunately no-one has fallen for the scam, but like most organisations, such as banks and government offices, Herefordshire Council will write to residents, therefore be very careful if you do receive calls like this and report them to the council and to the police."

Posted : 26/11/2009 10:48:49

Ambassadors speak up for Herefordshire
Visit Herefordshire is to launch its Ambassador Programme at Hampton Court today, Thursday November 26th, with many of the high profile ambassadors for the county in attendance.

Visit Herefordshire has signed up a wide ranging team of world renowned personalities, as its ambassadors to carry the message that Herefordshire is a wonderful county to visit and relocate to.

During the evening the new 2010 visitor guide for the county, which has a number of quotations from our Ambassadors, will be revealed.

Peter Hands, Chairman of Visit Herefordshire who has worked for several months tracking down the “Good and the Great” to enlist their support in promoting Herefordshire, said: “It has been along process but I am deeply heartened by the responses I have received to date, given that everyone is so busy with their own professional careers.

“Ambassadors who have already signed up include John Challis, Quentin Letts, Mathew Engel, Sir Roy Strong, Richard Johnson, Ian Storey, Walenty Pytel, Sam Llewelyn, Kate Bliss, Kevin Sheedy, Eleanor Oldroyd, Miranda Richardson, Lord Alex Carlile; Julian Lloyd Webber, Colin Addison, Robert Rogers and Brian Huggett.”

Ian Storey, world famous tenor, commented: “I really look forward to returning home to Herefordshire as I am always away performing in various opera’s around the world. It is just the most tranquil county I know”.

Jane Lewis, tourism marketing manager for Herefordshire, said: “It is quite amazing who we have discovered with connections to the county, I am delighted that we have been able to recruit such great Ambassadors and we thank them for their contributions to the new visitor guide.

Posted : 26/11/2009 09:51:19

Recycling collection reminders prove great success
Herefordshire Council has already had more than 500 people sign up to receive a free text message to remind them when to put their recycling out.

The council’s website, which also offers a free postcode search to find out collection days, has also received 1,969 users since the service launched on November 2.

To get free texts, residents just have to text “hcrecycle”, their postcode and first line of address to 80800. People who sign up to the free service receive a text at 6pm the night before their recycling is due to be collected.

Residents can also check their collection date by logging onto the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk and using the simple postcode search.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “We knew when we started the fortnightly collection of recyclable materials that some people may have trouble remembering when to put their wheeled bin or clear sacks out so I am delighted so many have taken advantage of this free text messaging service.

“I am aware people lead busy lives and as we are obviously keen for people to recycle as much as possible, we wanted to make it easy for people by offering these two services. People can also contact any of the Info in Herefordshire centres to find out when their collection day is.

“These figures show people in the county obviously want to embrace the new recycling service and ensure they don’t miss their collection date and this will be especially important as we start to hit the festive season when people will be having parties and recycling a lot more bottles and cans,” he added.

Posted : 23/11/2009 21:47:33

Walking and more in a Winter Wonderland
Enjoy a winter wonderland this Christmas at Herefordshire Council’s Queenswood Country Park with lots of fun including Bertie Buzzard’s Christmas Trail throughout the school holidays and much more.

Book your place now on the Christmas wreath making workshop on Sunday, December 13, 2009 from 1pm to 3pm.

Come along and make a traditional festive wreath using natural hedgerow materials to take away with you and decorate your home. The term wreath comes from the old English word, “writhen”, meaning to writhe or to twist. At Christmas evergreen plants, such as holly, ivy and pine have long been used to create wreaths.

These plants have a special meaning since they not only stay green, they bear fruit during the harsh winter months and traditionally people believed these plants to represent the promise of new or everlasting life….just don’t leave them up after Twelfth Night. Please wrap up warm as this event will take place outside.

The workshop costs just £5.50 per person, suitable for all ages but no children under 8 years. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking is essential please contact Queenswood Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01568 797842

Then on Saturday, December 19, 2009 Queenswood will host the Noah’s Ark Trust Annual Lantern Walk. Reserve your lantern and candle by registering with the Noah’s Ark Trust. For more information and to register please telephone 01432 264555 or visit www.noahsarktrust.co.uk

Queenswood Tourist Information Centre will be open every day until December 23 from 10am until 4pm and December 28 to December 31 from 10.30am-3.30pmso why not pop in for Christmas gifts galore, stocking fillers and a lucky dip £1 entry.

Queenswood Tourist Information Centre is one of the TIC’s in the county holding a “Decorate a Christmas Tree Bauble” competition for children. You can collect your bauble from Friday, December 4 until Saturday, December 12 and return it decorated to be judged on Saturday, December 19 at noon.

Each entrant will get a small present and the winner of the competition will be given the opportunity to visit Santa in his grotto or to attend the performance of Christmas pantomime.

Then when it’s all over for another year why not “Start as you mean to go on in 2010!” by joining Countryside Officer James Bisset for a walk around Queenswood Country Park on New Year’s Day, and the 2nd and 3rd of January 2010. Get some fresh air and exercise and learn more about the park and its trees and wildlife. These walks are free, no need to book, just meet in front of the Tourist Information Centre at 2pm. Dogs welcome on leads. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information about Queenswood this December please contact the Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01568 797842.

Queenswood Country Park, managed by Herefordshire Council’s parks, countryside and leisure development service is open all year, from dawn till dusk with free car parking and a children’s play area.

There are three way-marked trails and easy access paths so that everyone can explore the park and work off that Christmas Pudding!

Queenswood is on the A49 between Hereford and Leominster – follow the brown signs at the top of Dinmore Hill.

Posted : 23/11/2009 21:35:48

Making it easier to get advice on benefits and bad
Herefordshire Council is holding a series of special surgeries at Belmont Library to make it easier for customers to access information and advice on housing and council tax benefits as well as blue badges.

The surgeries, being run by the council’s Info in Herefordshire centres, are every Tuesday from 9.30am until 12.30pm and all people have to do is call 01432 261832 to make an appointment.

Councillor June French, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for corporate and customer services and human resources, said: “We are aware many people who live in the South Wye area find it more difficult to get to the Info centre at Garrick House during normal working hours so decided we would, instead, bring the service to them in their own area.

“At these surgeries, our staff will be able to offer advice on whether people qualify for housing or council tax benefits and can then help them fill in the correct application forms to make their claims which will be fast-tracked and processed within two days as long as we have been provided with all the necessary information.

“Residents can also use the surgeries to see if they qualify for a blue badge for parking and again we can help them complete the application form.

“In the current climate, it is really important to ensure everyone is getting the benefits they are entitled to and I would urge anyone who thinks they may qualify to make an appointment for one of the surgeries,” she added.

Posted : 17/11/2009 14:50:44

New gritter to help keep roads clear this winter
Herefordshire Council has just taken delivery of a new gritter to help ensure it can keep the county’s roads open during the winter months.

The new £80,000 vehicle – paid for by a detrunking grant from the Department of Transport – brings the council’s total fleet of gritters to 17.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Last year, we took over responsibility for maintaining two new roads, the A40 and A465, which were previously managed by the Highways Agency.

“As part of this agreement, we were given a grant towards maintaining these stretches of roads and have spent some of this money on buying this new gritter. Obviously, we now have extra lengths of road to keep clear during the winter vehicle and this new gritter will ensure we can keep to our targets of getting all priority routes treated within a two-hour period.

“The new gritter conforms to the highest environmental standards and has other features such as GPS technology which will show us which roads have been treated and when. There is also a camera inside the vehicle which allows the driver to see what is happening inside the hopper at the back from the safety of the cab rather than having to get outside the vehicle.

“This year, the council will again be using Safecote to treat the county’s roads and this will also mean the new vehicle will have a lifespan of at least 10 years, rather than the eight with the existing vehicles.

“Herefordshire Council has a dedicated maintenance cycle for its gritting vehicles and aims to replace each one after it has reached its lifespan and also keeps a spare gritter as part of the fleet in case it is needed for extremely severe weather,” he added.

Posted : 13/11/2009 11:43:52

Council prepared for winter weather conditions
Herefordshire Council is fully prepared for whatever this winter brings.

This year’s winter service plan builds on the success of last year’s gritting operations which proved to be resilient to the national salt shortage and enabled the council to keep all priority routes treated throughout the winter.

The winter service, along with the rest of the highway service, is now delivered for Herefordshire council by Amey Herefordshire. In this ground breaking service delivery partnership Amey Herefordshire deliver an ‘end to end’ service for the people of Herefordshire, which also extends well beyond highways into parks, public rights of way services and a range of support services.

Through this partnership Herefordshire Council has secured a guaranteed minimum annual saving of one million pounds, this representing five per cent of the annual spend on these services.

This represents a genuine efficiency saving as opposed to a cut in service because Amey Herefordshire has challenging targets to achieve, which are firmly linked to the award of contract extension. Many of these targets relate to the state of our roads and Amey Herefordshire are managing there operations to achieving the following standards as a minimum:

• 100% defects that represent an immediate or imminent hazard to the travelling public will be responded to within two hours and made safe within 24 hours. 100% of these defects will be permanently repaired within 28 days of initial report.
• 95% defects that, if they remain untreated could become a hazard will be repaired within 28 days of initial report, 100% within two months.
• 95% of defects that present a lower risk, will be repaired within two months of report, 100% within three months.
• All category other defects identified or reported will either repaired or incorporated into known programmes of work within six months.

The programmes of work are being developed through sound asset management planning. Asset management identifies the optimal allocation of resources for the management, operation, preservation and enhancement of the highway infrastructure to meet the needs of current and future customers. Considerable benefits can be derived from the management of assets in this way.

The development of asset management creates the foundation for a best practice environment, and good asset management will ensure that the need for investment is truly understood and that the performance and standards that can be attained for that investment are realised. Ultimately this approach enables the council to make key decisions on the levels of service and performance with regard to the county’s roads, this with the full understanding of the way in which we will need to invest the available funds to secure the very best outcomes for customers.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “As part of the development of our asset management plan, a public consultation exercise was carried out which received more than 4,500 responses.

“Customers clearly indicated what they felt was important and what was currently being delivered to a satisfactory standard. Limits on funds will undoubtedly mean that we cannot match all customer aspirations and that the first duty has to be to fulfil all of our statutory obligations. However, where the options to introduce a higher standard of service do exist, we will take into account the wishes of our customers when deciding where to invest.

“The public consultation concluded that our customers want safe and reliable journeys delivered through:
1. Safe roads, free from defects and obstructions including standing water
2. Quick and reliable journeys and free traffic flow
3. Investment and improvement in Streetscene particularly in areas where customers live and shop

“These wishes are reflected in the targets that have been agreed with Amey Herefordshire and by next year operations will have improved the road condition on our A roads, to a level that only five per cent of this network should be considered for maintenance, only eight per cent of our B and C roads, might require maintenance and our unclassified road network has its overall condition stabilised at 17 per cent to be considered for maintenance. These targets will be achieved alongside improvements in the cleanliness of our streets and drainage systems,” he added.

Posted : 11/11/2009 15:31:06

Council widens its search for would-be adopters
Herefordshire Council’s adoption team is launching a campaign to persuade would-be adopters in Herefordshire and immediate surrounding areas to get in touch during national adoption week (November 9-15).

The council needs people from all parts of the community who could make a lifelong commitment to a child or children. Adopters could be people who already have school-aged children, or grown up children who have left home. Alternatively they might have no children at all but would like to make a difference to a child’s life and provide a safe and loving environment for them to grow up in.

Hilary Hale, adoption team manager, Herefordshire Council, said: “There are lots of myths around who can adopt and who can’t. People are often surprised to learn that we don’t just accept young, heterosexual couples. Single people, older people and people with disabilities will all be considered – what is most important is that they are able to make a lifelong commitment to a child, enjoying the rewards as well as sticking with them through the tough times.

“We particularly need people just outside the county as many children we place will only feel safe in new surroundings, but we would like to be close enough to give them the support they will need. Herefordshire’s population is small, so anonymity can sometimes be a challenge.

“Adopters have to be over 21 and have lots of emotional and physical energy. They need to have a healthy lifestyle and the space in their lives and home for a child or children who will have had a difficult start.

“Re-parenting a traumatised child isn’t easy, but our experienced professionals can provide help and support and the results are life-changing.”

Starting during National Adoption Week, Herefordshire’s adoption team will begin campaigning in some of the area’s supermarkets where they’ll be providing general information about adoption in Herefordshire. They’ll begin at Asda supermarket in Hereford on Wednesday 11th November from 12-2.30pm and will be at Belmont Tesco on Thursday, November 19th from 5pm –8pm

Posted : 10/11/2009 15:18:03

Christmas Lantern Walk
A Christmas Lantern Walk is being held on Saturday 19th December starting at the Queenswood Arboretum, Dinmore Hill near Leominster for those wishing to reflect upon the memory of a loved and lost family member or friend over the festive season.
The 45-minute walk is being organised by Noah’s Ark Trust, a local charity that specialises in providing bereavement support for children, young adults and their families, and is open to all individuals and groups of families and friends.

Says Liz Collins, Community Fundraiser for the charity, “The walk is a wonderful opportunity for people to pull together at what is, perhaps, one of the most difficult times of the year. Everyone is welcome and it can really help to know that you are not alone in your situation. The lanterns and pretty woodland setting create a lovely atmosphere for everyone to remember together.”

The forest walk will pass a viewpoint overlooking the county where a few moments can be taken for remembrance and reflection. After the walk, and to recognise that Christmas is a time for fun and celebration, there will be carols, hot drinks and mince pies.

The walk starts at 5.30pm. Candles and lanterns can be reserved for a £5 donation to Noah’s Ark Trust, please register online at www.noahsarktrust.co.uk or call 01905 745735 or 01432 264555.

Posted : 02/11/2009 22:56:22

Young inspectors trained to check local services
Young people in Herefordshire are being given the opportunity to inspect the services they receive and recommend changes to how they are provided in the future.

Herefordshire Council has been given the thumbs up to run a new programme for young inspectors called Youth4U. The programme aims to give young people the chance to look at services available in their area and tell the people in charge of them what they think. It is being run by the Look Listen Change consortium which is made up of the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), the British Youth Council (BYC) and KIDS Charity.
This programme is for 13 to 19 year olds (or disabled young people up to the age of 25) who, because of their background or life experiences, haven’t had the opportunity to speak out and get their views heard.

They will be trained to look at anything from information, advice and guidance services at schools and colleges, to transport, health services, sport and leisure facilities or youth and community services
As well as gaining valuable training, they will be paid £75 for each inspection they undertake, and have the opportunity to achieve a national accreditation too.

Andy Preedy, Herefordshire Council, said: “The purpose of the programme is to increase the number and quality of opportunities for young people living in Herefordshire to influence services and activities that they access. It’s also to help young people to connect with their peers and shape local policies and services across a wide range of areas including health, transport and community services

“This is a great opportunity for 13-19 year olds to get involved in assessing local services and make a real difference to the way they are provided in the future.”

To get the programme started, Herefordshire Council is looking for ten young people for the first round of training and inspections which will begin before Christmas. Anyone wishing to nominate a young person who appears to fit the bill is encouraged to get in touch with the council’s youth involvement team on 01432 383008.

Posted : 02/11/2009 22:49:37

Don’t be spooked by recycling this Halloween
Herefordshire Council is urging county residents not to be spooked by recycling and give their well-carved pumpkins a second chance this Halloween.

Nearly every one of the pumpkins sold each year in Herefordshire is used to create spooky jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween celebrations.

Scarier than all those lanterns, however, is the fact that once October 31 is over most of the pumpkins are thrown in the bin and sent to landfill.

Laura Blackwell, Herefordshire Council's recycling officer, is urging people to think twice before putting their pumpkins in with their household rubbish.

She said: "Residents are urged to reuse their unwanted pumpkins to make delicious soup and can even serve the soup in the shells. Carved lanterns should be put in a home compost bin. This is great for vegetable peelings which can then be recycled into compost and used as a resource for the garden.

“If residents haven't got room for a compost bin, then they should consider having a kitchen waste disposer fitted instead," she added.

Recipe for pumpkin soup

Ingredients:
One 1kg pumpkin or squash
500ml skimmed milk
100ml low-fat cream
Half an orange
Two pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
A few cloves
One bay leaf
A handful of chives
Salt and pepper

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove the flesh from the pumpkin (you will want the shell to carve into a lantern. Remove the seeds and dice.

Put the diced flesh into a saucepan with 100ml water, season and cook for 20 minutes over a medium heat.

Grate the zest off the orange and slice thinly. Pour milk into another saucepan, add the orange zest, nutmeg, cloves and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, take off heat, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve.

Mash the flesh from the pumpkin and put it back into the pan. Add the strained milk, bring to the boil, stirring constantly.

Before serving, add the cream and pepper and decorate with chopped chives. Serve piping hot with crusty bread

Posted : 29/10/2009 11:24:20

Use fireworks safely and considerately
The Safer Herefordshire Partnership is urging anyone using fireworks to be aware of the dangers of firework misuse and to follow the firework code.

Not everyone enjoys fireworks in the same way and it is timely to remember that irresponsible use of fireworks can pose a danger to people and property. Fireworks can scare people, especially the elderly and small children, and can frighten animals which should be kept indoors, if at all possible.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “We want people to enjoy fireworks but to ensure they keep themselves and any vulnerable people safe by following simple rules and then we can all enjoy this time of year.

“We would also urge people to be careful when planning bonfires and not to put materials on them that will not burn or could create toxic fumes,” he added.

Top tips for a safe fireworks night are:
1) Only buy fireworks that meet the British Standard - BS 7114
2) Only allow adults to light or hold fireworks
3) Never return to a lit firework, even if it looks like it has done out
4) Stand well back when watching fireworks
5) Keep pets indoors
6) Never give sparklers to children who are under five years old and make sure they put them out in
buckets of water.

It is an offence under the Explosives Act for anyone to throw or set off fireworks in a public place, and the police can issue on the spot fines of up to £5,000. In addition the Fireworks Regulations 2004 make it an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

Anyone planning to use fireworks should also remember the curfew times, set by the Government, which prevents firework use between 11pm and 7am, and anyone who breaches this could be liable to a £5,000 fine.

Safer Herefordshire Partnership is made up of local agencies working together to make Herefordshire an even safer place to live and visit. Details may be found at www.herefordshre.gov.uk/community_and_living/1306.asp

Further information on the firework code can be found at www.dti.gov.uk/fireworks

Posted : 28/10/2009 16:44:17

Flavours of Herefordshire Awards 2009
Most of the key figures involved in food and tourism within Herefordshire gathered together at Hereford Racecourse on Friday, October 23, to recognise and reward those judged to be serving-up the very best “flavour of the county” to their customers.

Now in its eleventh year, the overall aim of the Flavours of Herefordshire awards-scheme continues to encourage all catering outlets and shops to source their supplies locally wherever possible.

The Flavours scheme also aims to persuade restaurateurs to preserve and promote authentic traditional recipes while developing and promoting new dishes based on the food and drink products of the area.

This year's search for the pick of the crop began as long ago as April. Since then, judges have been scouring the county to seek out winners in eleven separate categories:
• Best Breakfast
• Best Pub/Inn
• Best Gastro Pub
• Best Restaurant
• Best Tearoom
• Best Tearoom in a Visitor Attraction
• Best Shop/Retailer
• Best Food Producers
• Best Drink Producers
• Best Young Chef (Industry)
• Best Young Chef (Education)

Awards were also presented for Outstanding Achievement, Global Excellence, and to the Outstanding New Entrant.

"It's been another tough year for the judges," says Herefordshire Tourism's Jane Lewis.

"We always pride ourselves on finding the 'best of the best' in Herefordshire through this awards scheme, and I think out list of winners will help to point both locals and visitors to the county in the direction of some exceptional places where it is possible to truly appreciate the county's wonderful local produce."

The annual Flavours of Herefordshire awards took centre-stage on the eve of the county's second annual Food Festival, at Hereford Racecourse, which attracted 9,000 visitors.

TV celebrity chef, Gino D'Acampo, was this year's Guests of Honour and handed over the awards to those judged to be the very best at using and promoting local, Herefordshire produce.

For further information, visit www.visitherefordshire.co.uk.

A full list of winners is:


FLAVOURS OF HEREFORDSHIRE AWARDS 2009

BREAKFAST
Sponsored by the British Pig Executive

Winner
Walford Court Tearoom and Guesthouse
Walford Court
Walton
Leintwardine
SY7 0JY
Tel: 01547 540570
www.romanticbreak.com

Highly Commended
Lower Buckton Country House
Buckton
Leintwardine
SY7 0JU
Tel: 01547 540 532
www.lowerbuckton.co.uk

Commended
Upper Newton Farmhouse
Kinnersley
Herefordshire
HR3 6QB
Tel: 01544 327 727
www.herefordshireholidays.co.uk

Yew Tree House
Bacho Hill
Vowchurch
Herefordshire
HR2 9PF
Tel: 01981 251195
www.yewtreehouse-hereford.co.uk

Finalist
Glewstone Court Country House Hotel & Restaurant
Glewstone
Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6AW
Tel: 01989 770367
www.glewstonecourt.com

Orles Barn
Wilton
Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6AE
Tel: 01989 562155
www.yourhomeinherefordshire.co.uk


PUB/INN
Sponsored by Wye Valley Brewery.

Winner
The Three Horseshoes Inn
Little Cowarne
Bromyard
Herefordshire
HR7 4RQ
Tel: 01885 400276
www.threehorseshoes.co.uk

Highly Commended
The Bell Inn
Tillington
Herefordshire
HR4 8LE
Tel: 01432 760395
thebellinntillington.co.uk

Commended
The New Inn
St Owens Cross
Herefordshire
HR2 8LQ
Tel: 01989 730 274
www.newinn.biz

The Crown Inn
Woolhope
Herefordshire
HR1 4QP
Tel: 01432 860468
www.crowninnwoolhope.co.uk

Finalist
The Red Lion
Winters Cross
Peterstow
Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6LH
Tel: 01989 730202
www.redlionatwinterscross.co.uk

The Royal George
Lyonshall
Kington
Herefordshire
HR5 3JN
Tel: 01544 340084
www.royalgeorge.lyonshall.net


GASTROPUB

Winner
The Mill Race
Walford
Nr Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 5QS
Tel: 01989 562891
www.millrace.info

Highly Commended
The Wellington
Wellington
Herefordshire
HR4 8AT
Tel: 01432 830367
www.wellingtonpub.co.uk


RESTAURANT

Winner
Wilton Court Hotel
Wilton Lane
Wilton
Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6AQ
Tel: 01989 562569
www.wiltoncourthotel.com

The Loughpool Inn
Sellack
Near Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR7 4RQ
Tel: 01989 730236
www.loughpool.co.uk


Highly Commended
The Stewing Pot
17 Church Street
Hereford
HR1 2LR
01432 265233
www.stewingpot.co.uk

Commended
Glewstone Court Country House Hotel & Restaurant
Glewstone
Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6AW
Tel: 01989 770367
www.glewstonecourt.com

The Bridge at Wilton
Wilton
Ross On Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6AA
Tel: 01989 562655
www.bridge-house-hotel.com

Finalists
Miro Bar & Grill
14 Union Street
Hereford
HR1 2BT
Tel: 0845 8728193
www.mirorestauranthereford.co.uk


TEAROOM
Sponsored by Business Link

Winner
Monkland Cheese Dairy
The Pleck
Monkland
Leominster
Herefordshire
HR6 9DB
Tel: 01568 720307
www.mousetrapcheese.co.uk

Highly Commended
Mrs Muffins
1 Church Lane
Ledbury
Herefordshire
HR8 1DL
Tel: 01531 633579
www.mrsmuffins.co.uk

Commended
Walford Court Tearoom and Guesthouse
Walford Court
Walton
Leintwardine
SY7 0JY
Tel: 01547 540570
www.romanticbreak.com

Finalist
Pots and Pieces Teashop & Gallery
40 High Street
Ross on Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 5HD
Tel: 01989 566 123
www.potsandpieces.co.uk

The Old Apple Store Tea Room
Greenfields
Brockhampton Estate Cow Park
Bringsty Bromyard
Herefordshire
WR6 5TB
Tel: 01885 489074
www.brockhampton.com/applestore


TEAROOM IN A VISTOR ATTRACTION
Sponsored by Business Link.

Winner
Courtyard Centre for the Arts (Café Bar),
Edgar Street,
Hereford
HR4 9JR
Tel: 01432 346517
www.courtyard.co.uk

Highly Commended
The Garden at The Bannut
Bringsty,
Near Bromyard,
WR6 5TA
Tel: 01885 482206
www.bannut.co.uk

Commended
Hampton Court Orangery Café
Hampton Court
Hope under Dinmore
Leominster
Herefordshire
HR6 0PN
Tel: 01568 797676
www.hamptoncourt.org.uk

Finalist
Westonbury Water Gardens Café
Pembridge
Herefordshire
HR6 9HZ
Tel: 01544 232727
westonburymillwatergardens.com

Blue-Ginger Gallery
Home End Farm
Stiffords Bridge
Cradley
Worcestershire
WR13 5NW
Tel: 01886 880240
www.blue-ginger.com


RETAILER of the year

Winner
Pengethley Farm Shop
Peterstow
Ross on Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6LL
Tel: 01989 730 430
www.pengethleyfarmshop.com

Highly Commended
The Hop Pocket Wine Company
New House Farm,
Bishops Frome
WR6 5BT
Tel: 01531 640592
www.hoppocketwine.co.uk

Commended
Townsend Farm Shop and Butchery
The Granary,
Townsend Farm,
Pembridge
HR6 9HB
Tel: 01544 388527
www.townsendfarm.co.uk

Truffles Delicatessen
46 High Street
Ross on Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 5HG
Tel: 01989 462 336
www.trufflesdeli.co.uk

Finalist
Herefordshire Farmers' Market Group
Compton
Bowley Lane
Bodenham
Herefordshire
HR1 3LG
Tel: 01568 797 427
www.hfmg.org

Canon Pyon Post Office and Stores
Canon Pyon
Herefordshire
HR4 8NU
Tel: 01432 830 355
www.realdrinksofengland.co.uk

Hopes of Longtown
The Farmers Barn,
Longtown
HR2 0LT
Tel: 01873 860444
www.hopesoflongtown.co.uk

Mousetrap Cheese Shop
3 School Lane
Leominster
Herefordshire
HR6 8AA
Tel: 01568 615 512
www.mousetrapcheese.co.uk


FOOD PRODUCERS SMALL
Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Winner
Just Rachel Quality Desserts
The Old Dairy,
Churches Farm,
Bromsberrow,
Nr Ledbury
HR8 1SA
Tel: 01531 650639
www.justrachel.com

Highly Commended
Court Farm & Leisure
Court Farm
Tillington
HR4 8LG
Tel: 01432 760271
www.courtfarmleisure.co.uk

Commended
Country Flavours Ltd
Lower Bellamore
Preston on Wye
Herefordshire
HR2 9JS
Tel: 01981 500 005
www.country-flavours.co.uk

Finalist
Three Counties Gourmet
Ivory House,
51 Hallwood Drive,
Ledbury
HR8 2FY
Tel: 0845 0948459
www.threecountiesgourmet.net


Food Producer Large

Winner
Tyrrells Potato Chips
Tyrrells Court
Stretford Bridge
Leominster
Herefordshire
HR6 9DQ
Tel: 01568 720455
www.tyrrellspotatochips.co.uk


DRINK PRODUCERS

Winner
Jo Hilditch British Cassis & British Framboise
Whittern Farms Ltd
Lyonshall
Herefordshire
HR5 3JA
01544 340 241
www.britishcassis.co.uk

Highly Commended
Once Upon a Tree
Dragon Orchard
Dragon House
Putley,
HR8 2RG
Tel: 01531 670537
www.onceuponatree.co.uk

Jus Single Variety Apple Juice
Birchley,
Aylton,
Ledbury,
HR8 2PH
Tel: 01531 670749
www.jusapples.co.uk

Commended
Ross On Wye Cider & Perry Co Ltd
Broome Farm
Peterstow
Ross on Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 6QG
01989 567 232
www.rosscider.com

Chase Distillery
Rosemaund
Hereford
HR1 3PG
01432 820 920
www.chasedistillery.co.uk

Finalist
Spinning Dog Brewery
The Victory
88 St.Owen Street
Hereford
HR1 2QD
Tel: 01432 342125
www.spinningdogbrewery.co.uk


YOUNG CHEFS

Industry
Scott Davies
Holme Lacy House Hotel
Holme Lacy
Hereford
Tel: 01432 870870

Education
Herefordshire College of Technology
Folly Lane
Hereford
Tel: 0800 032 1986
Shea Bevan


Outstanding Achievement Award
Glyn Slade Jones Family Butchers
39 High Street,
Kington
HR5 3BJ
Tel: 01544 230470


Award for Global Excellence
Oliver's Cider & Perry
The Old Hop Kilns
Moor House Farm
Ocyle Pychard
HR1 3QZ
Tel: 07768 732026
www.theolivers.org.uk


Outstanding New Entrant
Mortimer Country Stores
Castle Garage
Wigmore
Leominster
Herefordshire
HR6 9UJ
Tel: 01568 770307

Posted : 26/10/2009 14:16:49

Proposals to build a new primary school
Herefordshire Council is consulting with parents, staff, pupils and residents on proposals to build a brand new, contemporary primary school in Leominster.

Funded by money received through the government’s Primary Strategy for Change programme, around £7.8 million has been earmarked for the new school. The building will replace existing school buildings at Leominster Infant and Leominster Junior schools, some of which are in poor condition and expensive to maintain.

Although no designs have been drawn up yet, the new school will provide more energy efficient, lower maintenance modern teaching and learning facilities, fit for the 21st century. It will help teachers, other school staff and governors to continue improving the good standards already being achieved by pupils at the existing schools.

In order to maximise funding and create the best possible facilities for Leominster’s children so that they are prepared with skills and knowledge needed for the 21st century, the council is proposing to amalgamate the two schools.

The proposed amalgamation has been on the cards for some time and governing bodies and head teachers from both schools have been in regular discussions with council officers since lat year. Leominster is the last town in the county to have a separate infant and junior school, although in other parts of the county, children have enjoyed the enhanced resources and continuity that a single primary school can bring.

Following discussions with both schools, the council has launched a consultation document to seek the views of parents, staff, governors, the local community and other interested stakeholders on the proposals to amalgamate the schools.

Rob Reid, head of access and capital commissioning said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Leominster children to have some of the best up to date education facilities in the country. The Minster College building is nearly complete and there has been much excitement in the town about the prospect of children being able to learn in a new modern environment.

“We are hoping that primary school children will be able to enjoy new innovative buildings and equipment too, but we need to amalgamate the two schools for this to happen.

“It is really important that we consult everyone in the town and give people the opportunity to ask questions, so as well as publishing a consultative document, we are organising a number of events and meetings where council officers will be available to talk to parents and the local community.”

Details of all the events, together with a copy of the proposals are available on the council’s web site, www.herefordshire.gov.uk.

The deadline for consultation feedback is November 9 2009. The feedback will be considered by the governing bodies of the existing infant and junior schools before a report is submitted to the council’s Cabinet in the new year.

Posted : 13/10/2009 18:01:46

Enjoy some autumn colour at Queenswood
As the leaves on the trees start to turn and autumn descends upon us where better to see some amazing autumn colour than Herefordshire Council’s Queenswood Country Park?

October and early November is the best time to visit to see trees ablaze with colour and at the arboretum, especially in the Autumn Garden there are some really spectacular sights. Here the foliage of the Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) display brilliant vermilions, purples, yellows and oranges.

Once again, this autumn there are lots of activities planned to help you make the most of this fantastic season.

The first event is the “Queenswood photography walk” on Wednesday, October 21 from 2pm until 5pm, when Ranger Paul Ratcliffe and travelling photographer Nick Meers will show how to take better photos of the arboretum and all its glorious autumnal colours. The walk costs £4 and booking is essential to help us manage numbers.

“Amazing art with autumn colours” will take place on Tuesday, October 27 from 10.30am to noon, this fun family walk with Ranger Jim Key and local artist Lisa Pendlebury will involve collecting fallen materials to create a giant scale piece of autumn art. This event cost is £2 per child and booking is essential.

Join Wildplay for the final event in October “Spooky Halloween Fun” on Thursday, October 29. There will be two sessions; the first at 11am to 12.30 pm, and the second at 1pm to 2.30pm. Come along to walk the haunted trail and take part in different Halloween activities. Booking is essential and entry is free.

On Saturday, November 14 “Fairytale Fungi” is taking place from 10am to 12.30pm. Experienced members of the Herefordshire Fungus Survey Group will accompany a group of people around the arboretum and woodland exploring the diverse range of fungi. Suitable for children over 12 years old only, booking is essential and entry costs £2 for adults but children over 12 and under 18 can attend for free.

Throughout the half term holiday you can discover how seeds find a new place to grow by following Bertie Buzzard’s Autumn Trail. Entry forms are 50p and are available from Queenswood Tourist Information Centre.

To book any of these events please contact Queenswood Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01568 797842. At all the events children must be accompanied by an adult.

Queenswood is Herefordshire’s only country park and has free car parking, toilets and a licensed café. There are three way-marked trails and easy access paths so that everyone can enjoy the park as well as a picnic and barbecue area, a popular adventure play area and a free ‘seaside style’ telescope at the view-point.

Queenswood Country Park is on the A49 between Hereford and Leominster – follow the brown signs at the top of Dinmore Hill. Alternatively the 492 bus service departs Hereford and Leominster at regular intervals throughout the day.

Posted : 13/10/2009 17:59:55

Taxi fares set to remain the same
Herefordshire Council’s regulatory committee has in principles decided to keep taxi fares in the county at the same level as they currently are, although this is still to be openly consulted upon.

Members of the committee were told at their meeting on Tuesday, October 6, that last year an early review of fares took place on August 12, 2008 due to a sharp price increase in fuel costs at that time. The present fees were agreed at that meeting.

Mr John Jones, chairman of the Taxi Association, contacted Herefordshire Council on September 16 this year calling for the fares to be frozen and the committee agreed to this.

Under Section 65 (2)(a) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1976 states the committee’s decision must now be advertised for a minimum 14-day period and, if no objections are received, then the fares will stay the same. If objections are made, the committee will meet again to consider these.

The proposed fares will therefore be advertised in the local press and on the council’s website before being brought back to the committee

Posted : 07/10/2009 22:38:05

Celebration of forgotten horticultural hero
Thomas Andrew Knight, an 18th century Herefordshire horticulturalist, who developed many of the fruit and vegetable varieties that we still eat today, wrote the original ‘Pomona Herefordiensis’ and went on to become president of the London Horticultural Society (later the Royal Horticultural Society) was born 250 years ago this year.

To celebrate this important anniversary, Herefordshire Council’s countryside team has organised an evening talk by Dr Murray Mylechreest about Knight’s life and works on Saturday, October 24 2009 at the Cider Museum, Hereford from 7pm - 9.30pm.

Residents are urged to come along and find out more about the ground breaking work of this horticulturalist, scientist, and experimenter who is often described as the ‘Father of Horticulture Science’.

James Bisset, principal countryside officer, said “I first realised it was the 250th anniversary of his birth when I was researching the varieties for next year’s Fruit Tree Initiative.

“Thomas Andrew Knight is credited by Darwin in the first chapter of ‘The Origin of Species’ for his pioneering work on the origin of cultivated plants. It is also believed that Knight’s observations on the results of breeding work with peas may have influenced Mendel to use peas for the basis of his important studies into inheritance, but many people do not realise that he was born and spent much of his life in Herefordshire. I thought it seemed like a good idea to arrange this event to give people the opportunity to learn more about him,” he added.

The talk by Dr Murray Mylechreest will be followed by a talk from Chris Fairs of Bulmers on Herefordshire’s Orchards Present and Future.

Tickets for the evening cost £6.50 (adults only) which includes a tour of the cider museum and the chance to sample some of the distillery products.

To book your place please contact Queenswood Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01568 797842.

Posted : 05/10/2009 23:19:31

Parents invited to apply for school places
The county’s high schools are busy organising open evenings and events as Herefordshire Council invites parents of year six children to apply for secondary school places for September 2010.

Due to start at secondary school in September 2010, about 1900 children will be looking around schools, meeting some of the staff and finding out what sort of facilities are available, before listing their three top schools in order of preference.

If parents put as their preference the school that serves their catchment area, then they usually get offered this school, but sometimes parents wish to send their children to a school outside this area.

This academic year (2009-10) nearly 95 percent were allocated their first choice of school, with a further 4.3 percent getting a place at their second or third choice. These are some of the highest percentages in the country and are indicative of the current reduction in pupil numbers.

Parents have received a pack through their child’s primary school, which contains an information booklet telling them about admissions and transfers to schools in Herefordshire. The pack also contains an application form and dates for school open evenings, although applications may be made online via the council’s web site.

Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and performance, said: “We understand that choosing the right high school is a major event in a child’s life. Herefordshire is fortunate to have some of the best schools in the country – all our schools are good and an increasing amount of children are being allocated their first choice of school.

“It is important that parents and carers take time to visit schools, preferably with their child to find out whether the school and its ethos is right for them. They also need to consider other factors such as transporting their children to and from school and dealing with after school clubs and facilities, particularly if they choose a school out of catchment.”

The closing date for Herefordshire secondary school applications is Friday November 6 2009.

Herefordshire Council employs a choice adviser who can help families discuss options and go through the procedures for applying for places. They can be contacted on 01432 260999

Posted : 01/10/2009 00:25:25

National Customer Service Week
Herefordshire Council’s customer services staff are planning a host of special events to celebrate national customer service week which takes place from 5th-11th October.

Herefordshire has six centres which provide a single point of advice and support to customers and access to council services on a wide range of information. The centres based in Hereford, Ross on Wye, Ledbury, Kington, Bromyard and Leominster are all able to provide information and advice on local services, chase enquiries in relation to planning and building control, housing, environmental health and trading standards, housing benefits, council tax, payments, blue badges and bus passes, highways and culture and leisure services.

During the celebratory week, as well as providing their usual surgeries and services, the centres are all planning to hold additional events, many focusing on handy hints and tips for keeping warm this winter and carrying out home repairs.

The golden promise scheme to fast track new housing and council tax benefit claims within two working days has been so successful at the Hereford centre that it is now being launched in Leominster and Ross on Wye. Customer service staff will be promoting the new scheme on Monday October 5th.
From 6 October Belmont Library will host surgeries between 9.30am and 12noon every Tuesday. At the surgeries, residents can receive disabled parking blue badge scheme information including support and assessments, together with guidance and help for completing housing and council tax benefit applications. To book an appointment call 01432 261832.

To celebrate disability awareness day on Wednesday 7 October, all customer service centres will be promoting the disabled parking blue badge scheme. Herefordshire Carers Support will be available at the Hereford Centre, Widemarsh Street, between 9.30am and 4pm and there will be a bus between 11.00am and 2.00pm parked at the Maylord’s Orchard bus stop for wheelchair users to come and practice boarding.

To support the council’s partnership with NHS Herefordshire, the customer service team will be available to show patients how to choose and book appointments online at all our centres on Friday 9 October.

Councillor June French, cabinet member for customer services, said: “Our customer service staff are have a huge depth of local knowledge and understanding of local services, and provide good quality and much needed support to many residents.
“We have customer service centres in each of the market towns as well as Hereford, so people can get the information they need on their doorstep and all under one roof.  Customer services week provides an opportunity for us to encourage people to visit our centres and find out more about the services they can receive.”

Full details of all the events,including times and venues, are available on the council’s web site (www.herefordshire.gov.uk)

Posted : 30/09/2009 20:30:53

Vote for Herefordshire's favourite rhyme
Little Miss Muffet, Little Bo Peep and even Incey Wincey Spider will be out in force this October as Herefordshire Council helps to celebrate National Bookstart Day 2009.

In support of the day's theme 'my favourite rhyme' Herefordshire Council's library service will be asking people to vote online at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries and at their local library to find the county’s favourite rhyme.

Voting will take place from October 12 to 31 with the result being announced on November 19.
National Bookstart Day on Friday, October 9 will see more than 4,000 parties, storytelling, singing and rhyming sessions taking place across the country.

Bookstart aims to help every child in the UK to develop a lifelong love of books and this year's programme will offer millions of children and parents the chance to discover the joy of reading together.

Bounce and Rhyme and storytime sessions in Herefordshire's libraries take place throughout the year and are free. Families are welcome to join in the sessions and share their favourite rhyme all year round. For more details please visit you local library or go online to www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “It is vital every child discovers the joy of reading at as young an age as possible because this will not only improve their educational prospects but will also provide them with a lifelong hobby.

“Rhymes are an important starting point for helping children enjoy the sound of words and then move onto reading and it will be interesting to know which are the county's favourites so I would urge people to join the vote, either online or by visiting one of the county's libraries,” he added.

Posted : 27/09/2009 23:53:47

Number of deaths on county roads continues to fall
The number of people killed or seriously injured on Herefordshire roads is continuing to fall, the Safer Roads Partnership’s annual review conference was told on Monday (September 21st).

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said in his opening address that the number of people killed or seriously injured in the county had fallen to 93 last year compared with 133 in the previous year.

He said: “Road safety is an issue that is not one person’s responsibility but needs all of us to work together in partnership. Road improvements can have a major impact on the number of injuries but this won’t work on its own and we also need to promote and support training for cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists so they put safety first.

“As a council, we offer cycle training for children and adults and we also subsidise courses for both new drivers and older motorists who want to build their confidence,” he added.

“Speed awareness courses are being offered to certain motorists caught speeding where they pay £60 and take one of these courses instead of getting three penalty points on their licence and, in just two months, we have had 1,000 people from Herefordshire taking these courses,” Councillor Wilcox added.

Rod Reynolds, the Safer Roads Partnership manager, announced the launch of a new approach to speed enforcement in the county. This has included the review of all sites where enforcement currently takes place, introducing enforcement of entire routes where speeding has contributed to accidents and providing enforcement at sites where there is community concern about speeding.

The community concern sites will link in closely with the council’s Speed Indicator Device locations. Two sites in Herefordshire have been chosen as part of this community concern pilot scheme and will be launched in October.

Councillor Wilcox said: “I am delighted two sites in Herefordshire are to pilot this important scheme which will mean communities can have a real say over what the Safer Roads Partnership does.”

At the conference, speakers were:

Rod Reynolds, Safer Roads Partnership manager
Julie Freeman, Herefordshire Council road safety assistant, on speed indicator devices.
Katy Jenkins, Safer Roads Partnership communications manager, on Take Control training for moped and motorcycle users.
Malcolm Jones, TTC Group, on speed awareness courses in Herefordshire.
John Partridge, Amey, on road safety on trunk roads.
Steve Proctor, TMS Consultancy on future plans
Beth Fylan, Brainbox Research, on a young drivers’ perception of risk.

Posted : 23/09/2009 23:28:30

Try hospital food!

NHS Herefordshire, the leader for health in the county, continues to ensure that patients receive high standards of nutrition and cleanliness - a fact confirmed by the latest results of its Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT) assessment published on the National Patient Safety Agency website.

Now the primary care trust is holding a week-long programme of events to let patients and the public know about ‘hotel services’, which are provided in partnership with Sodexo and cover all non-medical hospital services – from catering and cleaning to security and waste disposal. Patients and visitors will also be asked to feedback their comments on the food, the standard of cleaning, and the general environment to enable continuous improvements to be made.

The events will take place during week commencing 12 October and are aimed at informing patients, visitors and the public that the quality of the food and drink provided, and the standard of the environment is a top priority for NHS Herefordshire.

Information stands will be at each site - Stonebow Unit, Ross, Leominster and Bromyard Community Hospitals, and Hillside Intermediate Care Centre - for the week with primary care trust and Sodexo staff on hand between 12.00 and 2.00pm to answer questions about food preparation and meals which meet faith, cultural and lifestyle needs. There will be an explanation of how cleaning materials and equipment are organised to ensure safety, information on how we control infection and any plans for refurbishment.

The event is also an opportunity to sample the food and to test how clean your hands are.

Monday 12 October – Ross Community Hospital
Tuesday 13 October – Leominster Community Hospital
Wednesday 14 October – Hillside Intermediate Care Centre
Thursday 15 October – Bromyard Community Hospital
Friday 16 October – Stonebow Unit

Richard Carroll, managing director for the primary care trust’s provider services, said: “It is very important to us that the hospital environment helps patients get well as quickly as possible and so infection control and cleaning are a top priority. These events are a wonderful opportunity to reassure the people of Herefordshire of the high standards we are achieving and I hope as many people as possible are able to visit to ask questions and see for themselves how, for example, we test hand cleaning”

This year’s event looks at “faith, culture and lifestyle” and what the primary care trust can do to ensure that the patient environment takes account of these.

Wendy Huxley-Marko, who manages the ‘hotel services’ contract at the primary care trust, added: “We believe that wet should accommodate the different faith, culture and lifestyle choices amongst our patients. Come along and try our tasty Kosher, traditional and vegetarian menus – we know you’ll be impressed with the quality and range of choice on offer.”

Posted : 17/09/2009 16:57:48

Art in the Woods
If you go down to the woods…for two days this weekend, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September you will find they are inhabited by mystery and magic! As part of this year’s Herefordshire Art Week (h.Art) celebrations Queenswood Country Park will once again play host to ‘art in the woods’.

Artists will be at work in the woods from 1pm-4pm both days, creating fun projects for all the family to join.

You will find lots of new ideas and inspiration - there will be lots of things to make in the ‘Arty Party’ and larger pieces of art to add to as you walk around the Country Park. You will be able to draw pictures in sand, create a ‘ripple rainbow’ and help decorate Doris the dragon. Then you can go away with the fairies in the garden of delights and make a home for some of your fantastic creature creations! You will be guided in everything from making sculptures to painting and using materials from the woods to make all sorts of fun things.

This year ‘Art in the Woods’ has been organised on a voluntary basis by Marianne Ryan, who is currently doing teaching practice at Hereford College of Art, in connection with studying to become an art teacher.

Marianne said: “Queenswood is such a brilliant place for families and fun, it’s really inspiring, with the trees just beginning to turn wonderful autumn colours. There’s masses to see and do, and I’m really looking forward to this weekend!”

All the materials you need will be provided, so just bring your imagination and let it run away with you! Don’t let a little drizzle put you off, but please make sure you’ve got some old clothes you don’t mind getting messy and all children are accompanied by an adult.

Queenswood Country Park is on the A49 between Hereford and Leominster – follow the brown signs at the top of Dinmore Hill. Alternatively the 492 bus service departs Hereford and Leominster at regular intervals throughout the day.

Posted : 15/09/2009 23:00:47

Library users urged to have their say
Herefordshire Council is urging people who use the county’s libraries to have their say on what they think of the service.

During the week of October 5 to 10, all people aged 16 or over using county libraries are being asked to take part in the national public library users survey.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “We want to know what people think of the library services we currently offer and will be asking for comments on books, computers, staff and opening hours.

“Results from the survey will help us to plan future services so they best meet what the public want so I would urge as many people as possible to fill in the surveys,” he added.

Posted : 15/09/2009 12:28:28

Changes to increase use of mobile libraries
Herefordshire Council is to change the way the county’s mobile libraries travel round the county so more people can take advantage of their services.

The changes are part of a wide-ranging review of the service which followed the introduction of new routes and stops in 2007.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “When we brought in the changes two years ago, we promised there would be a review of the service and we have since held a series of public consultation meetings.

“These changes will help increase the use of the mobile library, improve access to other services in rural parishes, and to make better use of the resources we have,” he added.

Changes will be introduced in January 2010 and will be launched by a display of the history of the service over the years. The changes are to revert to the four weekly rota, making the visits easier to remember; to make the service available truly countywide in both rural and urban areas and to have longer and fewer stops to coincide with regular meetings or events.

The mobile library will also be used by various council departments to bring more services to rural parishes.

New times and stops will be advertised widely and all current customers will be individually informed about the routes.

Herefordshire Council would welcome any photographs or memorabilia about the mobile library service or people’s reminiscences about their visits and the impact it has had on their lives. Anyone with any items or memories should contact Claire Lockley on 01432 260545.

Posted : 15/09/2009 12:27:56

Chance for children to join Chatterbooks
Herefordshire Council’s libraries are offering the chance for county youngsters to share books, stories and meet other children at a series of Chatterbooks book groups throughout the county.

Chatterbooks book groups are starting up again in Ross, Leominster and Ledbury libraries this autumn.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development and community, said: “Chatterbooks is a fun way for children aged between eight and 12 years old to share books, stories and meet other children. The aim is to encourage a love and enjoyment of reading as well as having a great time in the library.

“Youngsters don’t need to be book-worms to join in, either, as there are plenty of games, stories and exciting things to be involved in, as well as collecting stickers, pencils, folders and other goodies,” he added.

Teachers and parents have noticed that children who develop a wider love of books are more responsive to literacy work in schools. Libraries are ideally placed to support children who either already read widely or need help to engage with books, and the Chatterbooks book group scheme is both rewarding and fun.

The group in Ledbury starts meeting on September 17 from 4pm until 4.45pm and meets fortnightly.

The group in Ross Library restarts on September 17 from 5pm until 6pm and meets fortnightly.

The group in Leominster starts meeting on Saturday, October 3 from 2pm until 3pm and meets weekly.

For more information contact Ross Library on 01432 383250, Leominster Library on 01432 383290 and Ledbury Library on 01531 632133.

Posted : 14/09/2009 11:19:27

National Children's Centre Week
Herefordshire Council's children's centres are getting ready to celebrate the success of the children's centre programme and promote their activities during National Sure Start Children’s Centre week (14-18 September).

Herefordshire has 10 children's centres which provide activities and services for families with children aged five and under. Positioned around the county, they provide a single point of advice and support for young families. What they offer varies depending on local need, but most offer childminder support, job centre advice, health visitor drop-in sessions, dads’ groups, cookery classes and access to basic skills training. They also provide or link up with childcare facilities helping parents get back to work or training.

During the celebratory week, as well as providing their usual sessions and services, they're all planning to hold some special events (see below)

September 16th (Coningsby) and September 17th (Kington)

Families in the Leominster and Kington areas will be getting creative in the open air on Wild Play days courtesy of the Herefordshire Nature Trust. Wild play rangers will be running sessions to develop a wildlife friendly natural play area, offering children the opportunity to explore and experience the outdoors and have lots of fun. The centre is also using the week to start a Babysitting Course in Kington in partnership with the Youth Service on Tuesday 15th September. Coningsby Babysitting Course starts on 10th September, both from 4.30-6.30pm.

For details of all the events in Herefordshire, click here


Posted : 09/09/2009 18:06:18

Time running out to bag a bargain bin
Time is running out for people in Herefordshire wanting to get hold of a discount compost bin.

Residents in both Herefordshire and Worcestershire can get hold of a cut-price bin through the national Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) initiative before the end of the month. Composting is an easy way to divert bio-degradable organic waste (from the kitchen and garden) from going to landfill.

The resulting compost provides a great source of nutrients to help the garden grow and helps save money as residents don't have to buy compost. Until Wednesday, September 30 residents can buy a compost bin from as little as £12 – which includes delivery – when normally some bins can cost over £80.

Discounted compost bins can be bought online at www.recyclenow.com/compost or by calling 0845 076 0223. WRAP will no longer be able to provide this service from October, but Herefordshire Council and Worcestershire County Council are looking to set up a new scheme in the New Year.

Herefordshire Council and Worcestershire County Council have been promoting subsidised bins since 2004, with more than 84,000 compost bins sold across the two counties. If each bin is used for ten years this could divert nearly 100,000 tonnes of bio-degradable waste from landfill, saving the council taxpayer money and helping to protect the environment.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: "The scheme has been a great success in both Herefordshire and Worcestershire as over the last five years, a huge number of residents haven taken advantage of this opportunity to buy a reduced priced compost bin. The long-term benefits of composting some of our household waste instead of sending to landfill are there for everyone to see, but even in the short-term, those who get hold of a bin through the discount scheme can save themselves a bit of cash."

For those already taken by the composting bug, help is always at hand through the Master Composters Scheme, where other residents share their tips and advice on getting the most from their bins. To find more information about home composting or other Waste Prevention initiatives call 01905 766883 or visit www.wastemissionimpossible.org.uk

Posted : 08/09/2009 16:12:17

Move to bring together and improve services
Herefordshire Council’s cabinet will consider proposed improvements to the way services for young people are provided across the county when it meets this week (September 10).

Cabinet members will be asked to build on the council’s progress in supporting young people not in employment, education or training by bringing together its services with those delivered by the independently run Herefordshire and Worcestershire Connexions company. If approved, staff and services provided by Connexions in Herefordshire will transfer to the council in April 2010.

Connexions provides information, advice and guidance for young people aged 13-19 on a range of issues. Careers advice, managing money and relationships, health and well being and making the right exam choices are just some of the issues Connexions advisers help young people with.

The role is a statutory one and at the moment, the council commissions Connexions to deliver the service on its behalf. It is proposed that the Herefordshire elements of the Connexions service are brought into the local authority and integrated within the reorganised children and young people’s directorate. The new service will need to extend to cover the 11-19 age range. Similar arrangements are being made across the country in response to a national decision made by central government to cease the current Connexions establishments from April 2010.

The council is exploring the possibility of acquiring the Connexions drop-in facility in the centre of Hereford, which has proved to be a popular resource. Consultees, including young people, have said they wish to see the drop-in facility retained.

Kathy Roberts, assistant director, said: “Herefordshire is making good progress in delivering services to young people: our numbers of young people not in employment, education or training is low, participation in post-17 education is high, targeted youth work is helping more vulnerable young people and we have successful arrangements in place for those who drop out of the education system.

“The council already provides many services for this age group and by bringing the Connexions service into the council we will be able to integrate our work further, reducing duplication and providing high quality seamless services for our young people.”

The transfer is planned to work alongside changes of duties and resources of the Learning and Skills Council (which supports and funds education and work-based learning for young people aged 16 plus) to the local authority from April 2010.

Staff and users of the service were consulted in June this year. If approved by cabinet, the Connexions staff will transfer to the council, retaining existing working relationships between schools and personal advisers and providing continuity for young people. Eventually, the services provided will be delivered from three new locality based areas of the county which will provide integrated multi-agency services for children, young people and families.

Cabinet members will receive feedback from the consultation process and discuss the alternative option of tendering the service before they make their decision on 10 September.

Posted : 07/09/2009 12:28:03

Pupils in Herefordshire reach new heights at GCSE
This year’s GCSE results achieved by pupils in high schools across the county are once again the best ever. They have improved year-on-year for the last four years and are significantly higher than last year’s high water mark.

74.8 percent of pupils achieved five or more A*-C grades, an increase of 5.3 percent on 2008 and eight percent above the 2009 national average. Those achieving the new benchmark of five or more A*-C grades including English and maths rose slightly on the previous year to 53.2 percent.

Notable successes were recorded at Whitecross High School with the most improved A*-C grades in the county (five or more A*-C)), up almost 14 percent to 86.7 percent , at the Minster College up 12 percent to 67 percent and at John Masefield High School up 11 percent to 83 percent.

Almost every high school improved on its 2008 results with Wigmore High School topping the charts with 95.4 percent five or more A*-Cs followed by Fairfield High School with 93 percent and The Hereford Academy with 85.9 percent. Over 70 percent of pupils at St Mary’s RC High School gained five or more A*-Cs including English and maths.

Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and achievement, said: “I’d like to offer my congratulation to all our schools and their pupils for continuing to improve on results which are already above the national average results.

“I would also like to thank all the teachers, support staff and parents for helping our young people achieve such high standards. These results are a credit to the Herefordshire schools, community and supporting organisations, including the council.”

Posted : 28/08/2009 12:33:20

Spreading the word about new recycling service
Herefordshire Council is busy spreading the word about its new household recycling service which starts in November.

As part of the promotion campaign, the council’s waste management team has arranged for county buses to advertise the changes which mean most households will get a wheeled bin for all of their recyclable materials.

Buses branded with the new scheme can now be seen travelling throughout the county advising residents that wheeled bins will be delivered to their households in September and October ready for the new service to start in November. Residents should continue to use the current scheme until then.

Advertisements have also appeared in the local press and on the radio to promote the fact wheeled bins will be delivered in September and October. Billboards will also promote the scheme as well as posters in phone boxes.

Members of staff from the council’s waste management service have also been out and about at many sites throughout the county to promote the new scheme and give people a chance to ask questions about how the new scheme will work.

The team has been to the Big Event at the King George V Playing Fields in Hereford, Bromyard Gala, Ross town centre, Ledbury town centre, Leominster town centre, Fownhope stores, Kington Co-op, Allensmore Locks Garage, Bromyard town centre, Queenswood, Sainsbury’s at Ross, Oakchurch, Ledbury market place, Ross market hall, the Hop Pocket in Bishop’s Frome, Longtown post office, Wyevale and Morrison’s at Leominster.

Future events to be attended are Kington Show on September 12 and the Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival from October 24 to 25.

An information pack will be delivered with every bin detailing how the new scheme works and advising people of their collection days.

Recyclable waste will be collected from the wheeled bins once a fortnight and household refuse will be collected weekly using plastic sacks.

Recyclable materials can be placed in the green wheeled bin. Items should be clean and loose and not in bags. Bottles and tins no longer need to be squashed and paper should be kept flat where possible.

Any households not suitable for wheeled bins will still have a recycling service using plastic sacks and will have been notified of this by letter.

Glass can, for the first time, be put in the wheeled bins for recycling but not in the plastic sacks.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “We, as a council, face sever financial penalties if we do not increase the amount of recycling carried out in the county.

“I would like to thanks residents for the recycling they already do but the new scheme will not only make it easier for everyone to recycle but we will also be able to collect a lot of new materials such as yoghurt pots, egg boxes and fruit punnets.

“All materials that can be recycled should be placed loose into the wheeled bin and it will be sorted using state-of-the-art technology at a new facility near Worcester and turned into new materials,” he added.

Posted : 27/08/2009 12:14:34

Authors reveal mystery behind crime writing
Everyone loves a mystery, and library readers are no exception, so this autumn Herefordshire Libraries has teamed up with a host of top authors to reveal the secrets behind crime writing and give budding authors the chance to write their own crime novel.

Following on from their sell-out evening with the Medieval Murderers in May, Ross Library starts the library’s crime season on Friday, September 11 at 7pm when bestselling authors Caro Peacock and Rebecca Tope reveal their secrets of successful crime writing.

Rebecca Tope is the author of three popular murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker, and Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds. She’s also the "ghost writer" of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.

Caro Peacock writes historical mysteries and is the author of A Foreign Affair, A Dangerous Affair, Death of a Dancer, and Death at Dawn. She also writes as Gillian Linscott.

Tickets priced £3 are available from Ross Library, telephone 01432 383280. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and buy signed books on the night.

Hereford plays host to bestselling author Anne Perry on Friday, September 18. Anne will be running a crime-writing workshop at the Museum Resource and Learning Centre, 58 Friars Street, Hereford from 2pm until 4pm, followed by an evening talk in the Woolhope Room, Hereford Library from 7.30pm.

Anne Perry is a prolific author selected by the Times (London) as one of the twentieth century’s “100 Masters of Crime”. Her publishing career began with The Cater Street Hangman in 1979, the first book in the series featuring the Victorian policeman Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte. In 1990, Anne started a new series of detective novels about private detective William Monk and volatile nurse Hester Latterly. None of Anne’s books have ever been out of print, and they have received critical acclaim and huge popular success worldwide.

Tickets cost £5 for the crime-writing workshop and £3 for the evening talk. Tickets for both events are available from Hereford Library: Tel. 01432 383280. Please note: Hereford Library is a historic building and access to The Woolhope Room is via stairs only.

Phil Rickman, bestselling author of the Merrily Watkins mysteries returns to Herefordshire Libraries by popular demand on Friday, October 23 for Mysterious Marches: in conversation with Phil Rickman at Leominster Library. 7pm onwards. There will be an opportunity to buy copies of Phil’s latest titles and get them signed on the night. Tickets priced £3 are available from Leominster Library, telephone 01432 383290.

Previous author events in the libraries have proved very popular and advance booking is recommended for all these events.
www.herefordshire.gov.uk/libraries

Posted : 25/08/2009 20:50:50

Herefordshire benefits from education investment
Leominster will be first to benefit from an extra £8.3million secured from government by Herefordshire Council in March 2009 to rebuild or refurbish primary schools in the county.

The council is in discussions with the current infants and junior schools in the market town to bring them together and open a new, state-of-the-art primary school in 2012. Consultation will take place with parents, children and the community over the coming months. The plan will complement the new build Minster College secondary school, which will be completed next year by contractors Stepnell Limited for a further total investment of £25 million, which was awarded to Herefordshire in 2006.

Although most of the new funds from the Department for Children, Schools and Families will be invested in the new primary school in Leominster, the council is inviting other primary schools across the county to bid for funds to improve teaching facilities.

Earlier in the month the council announced that provisional results in Key Stage 2 SATS results in primary schools showed a better year on year performance. Herefordshire’s schools are benefiting from a range of funding that will help to make sure this performance continues.

“The level of education provided to children and young people in Herefordshire is world class”, said council leader Roger Phillips. “But some of our schools do need investment and therefore the money we have secured from government is a very welcome boost.

“Herefordshire will see a very clear benefit in the next one to two years both in primary and secondary education, and this is set to continue as we focus on improving our school facilities and promoting schools working with each other in local clusters to address some of the challenges we face”.

New school buildings in Herefordshire include Riverside Primary School and Sutton St Nicholas and plans are progressing for a new Hereford Academy. This will be a specialist sports college and will provide an important sports and events venue for the city. It is scheduled to open in 2011. Although the government’s funding for Herefordshire schools is among the lowest in the UK, the council has been lobbying hard to get a better deal. Two years ago the council joined the F40 group of the 40 lowest funded local authorities to fight for an increased settlement.

Posted : 24/08/2009 13:41:12

New sexual health service launched in Leominster
NHS Herefordshire is expanding its services to offer sexual health check-up clinics in the market towns of Leominster and Ross-on–Wye.

Currently the sexual health service at Gaol Street in Hereford is the place to go for confidential, friendly and helpful advice on sexual health issues, but this is to change to help people in the north and south of the county access services.

Although the hub of clinical expertise is predominately at Gaol Street Health Centre in Hereford, the primary care trust understands that many patients may prefer to attend a clinic nearer to home or place of work.

New clinics times are:

Ross Community Hospital, Mondays from 9-11.30am and
Leominster Community Hospital, Mondays from 2-4.30pm

At Gaol Street in Hereford, people can receive contraception, assistance living with HIV, advice and support for people who are gay, lesbian and bi-transgender and screening for sexually transmitted infections. The new clinics in Ross on Wye and Leominster will focus on providing check ups for people who are worried about their sexual health and who may require screening or testing for sexually transmitted infections.

Maggie Colwell, operational manager, sexual health services for NHS Herefordshire, said: “We know that sometimes people are worried they may have a sexually transmitted infection but are anxious about possible painful procedures, feel embarrassed or have fears about privacy and confidentiality. We also know that some people find it difficult to get into the centre of Hereford and would prefer to go somewhere locally for confidential advice and support which is why we’ve decided to extend the services to Ross on Wye and Leominster.

“Many of the tests used involve a simple urine or a blood test and the results are sent via a text messaging service using brief anonymous messages. There’s lots of help and support for people who do have an infection and need treatment.”

All age groups are welcome to the new clinics, male and female but bookings are advisable. For an appointment, ring (01432) 378915.

Posted : 18/08/2009 23:02:18

SATS Results
Herefordshire Council has congratulated pupils and staff in the county’s primary schools after provisional results showed a better year on year performance in Key Stage 2 SATS results.

Nationally there is a slight fall in proportion of 11-year-olds reaching the standard expected of them in the English curriculum tests but Herefordshire schools maintained stability and above average performance with 80.9 per cent of pupils achieving Level 4 or above. Performance in writing at both levels 4 and 5 show an improved performance from 2008. Pupils making two levels progress since Key Stage 1 remains high in the county for the third year running at 90.9 per cent.

Herefordshire’s performance in maths has increased slightly over the last two years, taking it to 77.4 per cent at Level 4 or above this year, with the performance at level 5 showing a great improvement. Pupils making two levels progress since Key Stage 1 is 80.5 per cent, which is also an improvement on previous years.

Herefordshire’s performance in Science is good with year on year improvement taking the county to 89.5 per cent at Level 4 or more. Results at Level 5 also show gains, with 45.1 per cent of pupils achieving this level.

Herefordshire Council says the results have yet to be validated, so may be revised upward if some schools appeal.

Director of children’s services Dr Sharon Menghini said: “We continue to be aspirational and want the very best for all of our children so there will always be room for improvement still but we are very proud of these achievements.

”Parents should be encouraged by the provisional results and children and teachers given credit for all their hard work”.

Posted : 14/08/2009 00:15:54

Unanimous approval of £2.7m Grange Court scheme
Leominster’s historic Grange Court is to be given a new lease of life in a £2.7m improvement scheme approved by Herefordshire Council. Members of the planning committee voted unanimously to give the green light to extend and upgrade the former market hall, which was built in 1633, for the benefit of the community.

Central to the scheme is the recreation of a first floor hall for local events, weddings and conferences and an extension in the sunken garden at the rear to provide modern and flexible office accommodation, which can be let to bring in money to cover the running expenses of the complex. A bank of solar panels will generate electricity for the building, which will be improved to new ‘green’ standards. A new lift and staircase will be fitted and access for disabled people improved.

Leominster Area Regeneration Company (LARC), a public, private and voluntary sector regeneration partnership, will take over the ownership and management of Grange Court once the improvements to the carved black and white timber building are complete.

The planning decision (7 August 2009) was welcomed by Leominster councillors as a crucial turning point for improving and safeguarding for the future an historic and attractive resource important to the people of Leominster. It is one of the first examples of a scheme to transfer public assets to communities to meet local people’s priorities, as outlined in the government sponsored Quirk Review of 2007. The review concluded that every community should have the chance for more active citizenship, a greater role in running services and owning assets, and improving wellbeing in their communities.

Architects for the project are S T Walker and Duckham of Worcester. The council will now have to refer the application to the Secretary of State to seek listed building consent before work commences.

Posted : 13/08/2009 23:44:19

Swine Flu Update
NHS Herefordshire has confirmed that the county has sufficient supplies of antivirals and has increased from six to nine the number of local pharmacies who can dispense medicine for people diagnosed by the National Pandemic Flu Service or local GPs.

Flu friends – a friend or relative who does not have swine flu – can use a unique authorisation number, issued by the national flu line, to pick up antiviral medicine from outlets in Hereford, Bromyard, Kington, Ledbury, Leominster and Ross. The primary care trust stresses that people in Herefordshire do not have to travel far, usually to their nearest market town, to collect antivirals. People can also collect medicine from other collections points in Worcestershire or Shropshire if they are closer for them.

Antiviral medicine is free on the NHS, and is offered to all who need them, so there is no reason to buy antivirals from other sources or from unregistered websites, which could be selling counterfeit or substandard medicines.

The national call centre - telephone 0800 1 513 100 – has significantly relieved much of the pressure felt by GP practices across the country, including those in Herefordshire. The primary care trust stresses that people can still speak to their GP if they are concerned, saying it is important that people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, and parents with children under the age of one should speak to their GP if they have symptoms.

People should not go to the accident and emergency unit or their GP surgery if they suspect they have swine flu, unless they are advised to do so by a healthcare professional.

If people think they have swine flu they should stay at home, go online and check symptoms on www.nhs.uk or call the swine flu information line on 0800 1513513. If still concerned, people should then call the national flu service on 0800 1 513 100, or text phone 0800 1 513 200, which will make an assessment and may issue a unique antiviral authorisation number for the patient’s flu friend to collect a course of antiviral medicine. There is also a new dedicated web site www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu for people to check their symptoms.

Information for the public can be found on the NHS Choices information and advice service: http://www.nhs.uk/ as well as the Department of Health website: www.dh.gov.uk and the Health Protection Agency website: http://www.hpa.org.uk/ For local information see the council website: http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/ and the primary care trust web site: http://www.herefordshire.nhs.uk/

Posted : 13/08/2009 23:40:28

More taking plunge thanks to free swims
New figures just releases show the number of people taking the plunge in Herefordshire rose by 50 per cent in June thanks to the Government’s free swimming initiative.

Under the scheme, launched in April this year, children under 16 years old and people over 60 can swim for free at Halo swimming pools in Hereford, Ledbury, Leominster and Ross.

Figures just released show that, since April, nearly 40,000 people have taken advantage of free swims in the county with nearly 28,000 of these being under 16. The huge numbers of people taking advantage of free swimming in the county puts Herefordshire in the top 10 per cent of local authorities nationally for “take up” of the scheme.”

The number of over 60s taking advantage of the scheme from April to the end of June was 11,180 and the number of under 16s in the same period was 27,952.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for economic development and community services, said: “I am delighted our decision to take part in this scheme has resulted in so many people taking up swimming which is wonderful exercise for people of all ages.

“This scheme allows people to hone their swimming skills, get fit and have fun without having to worry about the cost,” he added.

Jon Argent from Halo Leisure said: “We were keen to join this scheme because we want as many people in the county as possible to enjoy the benefits of regular swimming. We knew the scheme would create a big splash in Herefordshire but it has been an even bigger success than we could have imagined.”

For more information about free swimming visit www.freeswim.org.uk or www.haloleisure.org.uk. To register, fill in a registration form at your local Halo centre.

Posted : 12/08/2009 10:54:40

Time Team in Herefordshire
Channel 4’s popular Time Team, together with presenter Tony Robinson, was in Herefordshire last week to record a programme for their forthcoming series.

Working with Herefordshire Council’s archaeological service (Herefordshire Archaeology), Time Team has been investigating a possible hillfort overlooking the River Lugg.

Tony Robinson said: “I always enjoy coming to Herefordshire which is a wonderful county to explore and have enjoyed working with the county’s archaeological team again. The programme is likely to be screened in February or March 2010 and I’m sure it will be of interest to everyone living in the county.”

Dr Keith Ray, Herefordshire county archaeologist, said: “The dig did reveal evidence of an Iron Age hilltop enclosure on the site, but of an unusual and fascinating kind. We are now waiting for the results from analyses of soil and carbon samples taken on site to help further inform our conclusions.

“We will be revealing some interim thoughts at our annual symposium being held at the Courtyard Centre for Arts in Hereford on Saturday, October 17.

“This event should be of interest to people from across the county as we will also be covering recent digs held at the Prospect in Ross, St Katharine’s in Ledbury and at Credenhill Iron Age hillfort,” he added.

Time Team has worked with Herefordshire Archaeology in the past - investigating Freen’s Court, near Marden in the late 1990s and also at The Weir (National Trust) as part of the Big Roman Dig live broadcast in 2005.

Posted : 11/08/2009 15:52:16

Wheeled bins for recycling to be delivered soon
Herefordshire Council is advising residents to start expecting delivery of their wheeled bins as the start of the county’s exciting new recycling service gets ever closer.

The bins – either a 240-litre or 120-litre – will arrive at properties in September and October but residents are asked not to use them until the new collection service starts on November 2 but instead continue with the current plastic sack system.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “More than 70,000 bins are being delivered to households throughout the county ready for the new recycling service.”

“The council wants to ensure as many households as possible have a wheeled bin before the scheme starts on November 2 and they need this two-month period so they can ensure every part of the county is covered. We have also offered people a choice of bin sizes and this means some people may get their bins before others, depending on the type of bin requested. Where bins are not suitable we will write to residents to inform them of the recycling sack scheme that will be introduced at the same time.

“I would urge residents to continue using the existing plastic sack and blue box recycling service until the new scheme starts in November. At the moment, we have a recycling rate of 34 per cent and we want this to continue rising so I would urge residents to carry on using the existing recycling services until November.

“When the wheeled bin system comes into operation, people will be able to recycle glass for the first time from their kerbside and they will also be able to place all of their recyclable materials into one container.

“By making recycling easier, we hope our recycling rates will continue to rise and we can meet the government target of 40 per cent by 2010,” he added.

An information pack will also be delivered with each wheeled bin which not only explains how the service works but also includes the new collection calendar as well as a sticker to place on your bin. People should check this pack carefully as their collection day and time may change.

Residents will keep their weekly plastic sack collection for household waste that cannot be recycled and a six-month supply of bags will be delivered to every household in the county.

Green garden waste cannot be put into the wheeled bins but instead people should compost at home, take it to household waste sites or continue using the green bags which can be bought from the council and should be placed outside with the black sacks for collection.

Posted : 10/08/2009 21:32:59

Find out more about new recycling service
Herefordshire Council’s waste management team will be out and about around the county over the next two weeks to promote the new recycling service which starts on November 2.

As part of the service, which aims to make recycling easier, most households will receive a wheeled bin for all of their recyclable materials and, for the first time, glass will be collected as well.

Garden waste cannot be put into the wheeled bins and should either be composted or taken to household waste sites. Textiles also cannot go into the bins as they could be contaminated by broken glass and should instead be taken to charity shops.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “We are keen for everyone to find out more about the scheme before it starts and I would encourage everyone to try and attend one of the events. The venues have been chosen to fit in with the school holidays and to allow us to meet people who are enjoying days out at county attractions or else out shopping.

“Currently we recycle 33.92 per cent but we really need to increase this to 40 per cent otherwise we face severe financial penalties imposed by central government so I would urge everyone to find out more so together we can save,” he added.

Roadshows will be held at:

Friday, August 7, 11am to 3pm: Queenswood Country Park, near Leominster

Saturday, August 8, 11am to 1pm, Sainsbury’s, Ross

Sunday, August 9, 11am to 3pm, Oakchurch Farm Shop, Staunton on Wye

Monday, August 10, 11am to 3pm: Ledbury Market Place

Tuesday, August 11, 11am to 3pm: Ross Market Apron

Wednesday, August 12, 11am to 3pm: Hop Pocket, Bishops Frome

Thursday, August 13, 10.30am to 2.30pm: Longtown Post Office

Friday, August 14, 11am to 3pm: Wyevale, Hereford

Saturday, August 15, 9am to 5.30pm: Bromyard Library and Info Centre

Sunday, August 16, 11am to 3pm: Morrisons, Leominster

Posted : 03/08/2009 19:15:03

Herefordshire Young Farmers
Members from several Clubs represented the County at this year's Royal Show and came home with some superb results.

On the Wednesday of the Show candidates for the farm business development competition were put through gruelling interviews at the YFC centre by a panel of judges intent on testing their business acumen and entrepreneurial skills. The assessors praised the high standard and diversity of entries this year. First place and sponsorship to the Oxford Farming Conference went to the Gloucestershire team with the team from Herefordshire in 4th place - David Pursey (Welsh Newton YFC) and Abi Croshaw (Ledbury YFC).

Thursday saw competitors demonstrating their prowess with modern farming vehicles, performing risk assessments and a host of tasks with a range of equipment provided by New Holland and Kuhn in the efficiency with safety contest in the YFC arena. Pembrokeshire took the top spot. The team from Welsh Newton YFC, Herefordshire were placed 3rd overall - Keith Payne, John Brewer, Peter Brewer and Ryan Williams.

HRH the Duke of Kent toured the NFYFC marquee which hosted the exhibits from this year's static competitions including recycling posters, photography, eco houses, recycling models and cyber bullying webpages. Adam Barry from Hereford YFC was placed 1st in the senior photography competition, and the team from Ross YFC also collected 1st prize in the cyber bullying webpage design competition. HRH the Duke of Kent chatted to exhibitors from Lantra, Vinvolved, Beatbullying and Norman Davies of the Guild of Straw Craftsmen who had been helping NFYFC staff inform to entertain the hundreds of young visitors to the marquee throughout the week. The Duke was presented with an YFC tie by NFYFC president Lionel Hill.

Winners of the static exhibits collected their silverware during the chairman's reception hosted by Bryce Mackellar at the NFU Mutual hospitality marquee.

NFYFC and English Rural Housing Association (ERHA) launched a new survey to examine if difficulties securing rural housing were influencing young people's decision to live and work in the countryside.

Launching the survey, which is online under the national news tab, ERHA's operations director Martin Collett urged Young Farmers to share their experiences and concerns about housing in rural areas.
The survey, which aims to establish if the availability of suitable rural homes is having an impact on people thinking of entering or remaining in farming, was welcomed by NFU head of policy Dr Andrew Clark.

Four days of fun, learning and achievement were brought to a close by Bryce Mackellar, who thanked everyone involved in making the NFYFC's final Royal Show a success.

The next event in the HFYFC calendar is the County Chairman's Ugly Bug Costume / Black Tie Ball on Saturday 22nd August followed on Sunday 23rd August by the 65th anniversary afternoon tea in the gardens both at Lower Hope Farm, Ullingswick kindly hosted by the Federation's Patron, Mr Clive Richards and his wife Mrs Sylvia Richards. Tickets for the Ball are available from Miss Sarah Wells on 07779 343949 and for the 65th anniversary tea from Mrs Annabelle Sankey on 01544 230650.

Posted : 31/07/2009 17:15:30

Council helps residents beat rising fuel costs
Herefordshire Council has just printed a leaflet aimed at helping county residents to cut their energy bills as well as reducing carbon emissions into the bargain.

The leaflet, which is available at all county libraries and Info Centres, explain a variety of grants that are available to help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council’s energy champion, said: “Many people do not realise how poorly insulated homes and inefficient heating systems can substantially increase fuel bills.

“Simple measures such as ensuring there is enough insulation in lofts, installing cavity wall insulation or updating heating systems can make a huge difference and, as a council, we are able to both directly provide grants and help people access government-funded schemes as well.

“I would urge anyone who knows someone who could benefit from these grants to contact Domestic and General Insulation on 0844 543 0043 for further details,” he added.

The Special Energy Efficiency Scheme (SEES) offers a £500 grant to homeowners and private tenants who heat their homes by storage heaters, electric central heating, LPG central heating, oil-fired central heating or room heaters, people who pay for their fuel use with prepayment meters, homeowners and private tenants aged over 60 and people on benefits.

Measures covered under the SEES scheme are loft insulation, cavity insulation, draught proofing, thermostatic radiator valves, room thermostats, hot water cylinder thermostats and tank jackets.

Private homeowners and private tenants with less than 60mm of existing loft insulation between the joists are also eligible for a loft insulation top-up to 270mm depth.

Any private household who does not meet the SEES criteria is able to get discounted rates for installing loft and/or cavity wall insulation under the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) initiative. For further details contact Domestic and General on 0844 543 0043.

Government-funded Warm Front grants are also available, providing up to £3,500 for homes with gas-fired heating systems and up to £6,000 for off gas heating systems. Measures included under this scheme are central heating systems, boiler replacements and insulation measures.

To qualify for a Warm Front grant, applicants must be on benefits. Anyone not on benefits but over the age of 60 may be able to claim a Warm Front £300 rebate towards the cost of repairing or installing a heating system.

Herefordshire Council also offers a Warm Front top-up grant of up to £1,500 which is means tested and only available to people who have confirmation of receiving Warm Front grant funding. For further information, contact Warm Front on 0800 3166011.

Posted : 30/07/2009 11:47:34

Plant a fruit tree in celebration
Thomas Andrew Knight, an 18th century Herefordshire horticulturalist, who developed many of the fruit and vegetable varieties that we still eat today, wrote the original ‘Pomona Herefordiensis’ and went on to become president of the London Horticultural Society (later the Royal Horticultural Society) was born 250 years ago this year.

You can now celebrate his important anniversary by planting two of his cherry varieties as part of the Fruit Tree Initiative organised by the Herefordshire Council parks, countryside and leisure development service.

The initiative, which is in its 11th year, aims to encourage people to plant older, traditionally planted local fruit varieties when restoring an orchard or choosing a tree for their garden.

James Bisset, principal countryside officer, said: “It was only while I was researching some background information on some of this year’s fruit tree initiative varieties that I noticed that it was the 250th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Andrew Knight and that no one appeared to really have picked up on it.

“This year you can buy two of his cherry varieties as part of the initiative, although numbers are limited, but I have arranged for lots more of his fruit varieties to be specially budded-on ready for next year’s initiative as a celebration of Herefordshire’s great horticulturalist,” he added.

The fruit trees are budded-on to two different types of rootstock: M25 vigorous rootstock which results in a standard orchard tree that could reach a height of approximately 30ft and semi-dwarf rootstock which results in a smaller tree (approximately 7-10ft tall) suitable for planting in an urban garden.

All fruit trees cost just £9.50 per tree and are supplied bare root as ‘one year maidens’ in a protective plastic bag for your quick collection and convenience.

This year’s apple varieties include: Bosbury Pippin (dessert), Hereford Cross (early dessert), Red Blenheim (cooker/dessert) and Violette (cooker/dessert) which is not a locally developed variety but of special interest due to its beautiful blue-black blossom.

This year’s special trees include the two Cherry varieties ‘Knight’s Early Black and ‘Waterloo’ raised by Thomas Andrew Knight in the early 1800’s, and a Quince variety called ‘Champion’.

More information on all of this year’s varieties can be found by downloading the Fruit Tree Initiative application form at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/fruittrees

James Bisset added: “Plans are now in place to arrange a celebration of the life and works of Thomas Andrew Knight this autumn in partnership with other local apple enthusiasts.”

Posted : 30/07/2009 11:46:39

Time Team in Herefordshire
Channel 4’s popular Time Team is in Herefordshire this week to record a programme for their forthcoming series.

Working with Herefordshire Council’s archaeological service (Herefordshire Archaeology), Time Team has been investigating a possible hillfort overlooking the River Lugg.

Dr Keith Ray, Herefordshire county archaeologist said: “Working with Time Team gives us the opportunity to investigate some of our recent discoveries and promote the archaeology of Herefordshire to a wide audience. We will be working alongside Time Team and providing the majority of the excavation team. We will continue to work on the site once Time Team have left to finish recording the excavations.

“We would also like to thank all of the staff at Hampton Court Castle and Gardens for their help in allowing us to explore this site which is on part of their estate,” he added.

Time Team has worked with Herefordshire Archaeology before investigating Freen’s Court, near Marden in the late 1990s and also at The Weir Gardens (National Trust) as part of the Big Roman Dig live broadcast in 2005.

“We always enjoy working in Herefordshire, which is a county rich in archaeological sites,” said Francis Pryor, Time Team site director.

Posted : 27/07/2009 17:37:24

Council protects threatened bus services
Vital bus services which serve some of the more isolated and rural parts of the county and which had been under threat of being withdrawn have been protected and will continue to run thanks to Herefordshire Council.

The council put out more than £750,000 worth of subsidised services out to competitive tendering and invited bus companies in Herefordshire and neighbouring counties to bid for the work.

The tendering process was carried out in the shadow of concerns that the increased cost of running bus services would lead to service reductions in the autumn.

These threatened services included the Bromyard Town service, the 417 Worcester to Ledbury route, which was to be curtailed at Cradley and the 426 service between Bodenham and Leominster as well as evening and Sunday journeys throughout the county.

However, the council’s public transport team attracted more than twice as many companies to tender for the work compared with previous years which meant they could maintain the quality of services and, in some cases, see improvements to the services.

Cllr Brian Wilcox, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “The outcome of the tendering exercise is very good news indeed.

“Public transport is vital for many people in a rural county such as Herefordshire and I am very pleased that we will now be able to maintain services at their current level.

“I would particularly like to thank the council’s public transport team for all of their hard work which has achieved a great outcome for bus users.”

The new timetables come into effect on the Sunday, September 6, and the council will re-issue its popular bus and train timetable booklets in advance of the changes.

Details will also be available on the council website at www.herefordbus.info at least two weeks before services commence.

Posted : 22/07/2009 17:06:05

Swine flu is now part of the community, says NHS
NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council confirm that as predicted, there has been a rapid increase in the numbers of diagnosis of swine flu in Herefordshire by local GPs.

In line with the government decision to move to from a ‘containment’ phase to a ‘treatment’ phase earlier in the month, Herefordshire is no longer swabbing possible cases and sending them for laboratory testing. Instead GPs are making an immediate diagnosis and prescribing treatment, which means national and local figures on confirmed cases of swine flu are no longer available.

NHS Herefordshire, the primary care trust, confirms that swine flu is now very much part of the community across the whole of the West Midlands and that people should ensure they understand what they must do to limit the spread of the illnesses, and what to do if they have flu-like symptoms.

Herefordshire Council is aware of several schools and nurseries in the county that have very small numbers of pupils that have been diagnosed and they are being treated and recovering at home. Several employers will also have reports of staff being diagnosed.

The management of the nurseries and schools are working closely with the health agencies and Herefordshire Council to monitor the situation. Further guidance has been distributed to all schools, nurseries and early years providers in the county from the director of public health and the director of the council’s children’s services.

In the meantime, hundreds of employees in the council and the primary care trust have come forward to be redeployed to staff a local swine flu information line and antiviral collection points, both of which are ready to be activated should they be required.

NHS Herefordshire stresses that health services are managing the current number of cases and for the vast majority of patients the illness is generally moderate, and people do recover quickly.

The primary care trust and the council confirm there is no need for nurseries or schools to close if pupils or staff are diagnosed, and there is no need for people to stay away from work unless they have flu-like symptoms. People should not go to the county hospital’s accident and emergency unit or to their doctors if they suspect they have swine flu. Instead they are advised to contact their local doctor or NHS Direct on 0845 4647. Symptoms include fever and one of the following: cough, headache, runny noses, joint/limb pains, diarrhoea or sore throat.

If swine flu is diagnosed, the GP will give the patient an authorisation voucher, and local people are asked to identify a ‘flu friend’ who can collect their medication for them, as well as obtain daily essentials, without coming into close contact with the patient.

The primary care trust has not named the schools to give them time to ensure they have communicated with and reassured all pupils, parents, staff and members of the school community.

In line with national pandemic flu plans, the government decided on 2 July that the UK would move from a ‘containment’ phase to a ‘treatment’ phase. Efforts to contain the spread of the virus bought valuable time to learn more about the new virus, to build antiviral stocks and to start to develop a vaccine.

Scientists expect to see rapid rises in the number of cases and GPs and NHS Direct will now provide clinical diagnosis and prescribe treatment, rather than take swabs and await the results of laboratory testing. This means that the Health Protection Agency are no long publishing daily figures confirming swine flu and therefore it is impossible for Herefordshire to provide a running commentary on actual numbers of cases.

Currently the government is not advising avoidance of mass gatherings or social events and there are no restrictions in place. The council and the primary care trust are also working closely with the organisers of the forthcoming Big Chill Festival at Eastnor Castle, on 6 to 9 August, and others like Nostock on 31 July to 2 August at Bromyard, to ensure hygiene measures are in place to diagnose and treat festival goers who may contract swine flu.

The government has signed contracts to secure enough vaccine for the whole population of the UK and in Herefordshire, the primary care trust is putting in place plans to be able to offer the vaccine as soon as it becomes available in the autumn this year. The swine flu vaccination programme will be delivered through GP practices and schools.

NHS Herefordshire, Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust and and Herefordshire Council established in April 2009 a Public Health Incident Team to plan for, advise on and manage the swine flu pandemic in Herefordshire. The team works closely with the Health Protection Agency and Department of Health, as well as a range of agencies in the county, to provide help and advice for local people.

The NHS has been preparing for the possibility of a pandemic since 1998 and the UK is among the most prepared countries in the world. NHS Herefordshire, like all NHS organisations in the West Midlands, has a Pandemic Influenza Plan. The NHS has enough antivirals to treat half the population of the UK if they become ill.

Respiratory and hand hygiene

The Public Health Incident Team says it is still very important for everyone to take the simple steps that will help prevent catching colds and flu, which are based on good respiratory and hand hygiene. These steps are:

• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue.
• Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
• Maintain good basic hygiene - wash hands often with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people.
• Clean hard surfaces like door handles often, using a normal cleaning product
• Make sure your children follow this advice.

Information about swine flu

The Department of Health has launched a Swine Flu Information Line – 0800 1513513 - which contains pre-recorded messages giving background to the disease and what we can all do to prevent its spread. It will refer callers who need more assistance to NHS Direct

A national door drop of information leaflets was undertaken but copies can also be downloaded from www.direct.gov.uk/swineflu. A mass public health campaign has been undertaken with TV and radio to remind people of the measures they can take to contain the spread of swine flu.

Information for the public can be found on the NHS Choices information and advice service: http://www.nhs.uk/ as well as the Department of Health website: www.dh.gov.uk and the Health Protection Agency website: http://www.hpa.org.uk/

For local information visit the council’s website on: http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/ and the primary care trust web site: http://www.herefordshire.nhs.uk/

Schools and other children’s services are expected to be operating as usual and there is guidance published on planning for, and responding to, pandemic flu. This can be found on the Teachernet website:: http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/emergencies/planning/flupandemic/

Business Link carries information on business continuity and on protecting the workforce on: www.businesslink.gov.uk/swineflu

The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website also has further references: http://www.berr.gov.uk/aboutus/pressroom/page51164.html

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office website gives advice if you are travelling overseas: www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/swine-flu. If you come back from one of the affected countries abroad and have flu like symptoms, stay at home and call your GP or NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

Posted : 15/07/2009 16:16:28

Summer fun at Queenswood Country Park
Stuck for something to do this summer? You can have fun at Queenswood Country Park whatever the weather and lots of events have been planned for the school holidays to keep you busy!

Join local textile artist Lisa Pendlebury for 'make and take' craft workshops in the woods on Monday 20 and Monday 27 July.

“Make a Green Man” on July 20 will be a chance to make your own green man using fabric, paper and natural materials.

At “Weave in the Woods” on July 27 you can get inspiration from the trees and create a beautiful miniature weaving to take home and treasure.

There will be three workshops each day starting at 10am, 11am and noon and the cost is just £3.50 per child. Booking in advance is essential to help us manage numbers in each workshop.

Queenswood’s feathered friend 'Bertie Buzzard' will be back again throughout the school holidays with a trail designed by work experience student Alex Ferris of Aylestone School.

And it's picnic time for teddy bears (and their toddler friends of course!) on Tuesday, July 28 and Wednesday August 26, 11am - 12.30pm when Herefordshire libraries come to Queenswood for some special Teddy Bears Picnic Rhyme and Storytimes.

These events have been organised in partnership with 'Bookstart' a national charity that encourages parents to share and enjoy books with their children and it will be a great way to find out more about introducing your child to books - however young they are.

You will need to book your place on these free events to help us manage numbers and you will need to bring a picnic for you and your toddler as well as a suitable picnic blanket to sit on. There will be lots of fun and rhyming games to play with your child and as you settle down to enjoy your picnic under the dappled shade of the trees you can listen to a story or two! (These events will be cancelled in very wet weather.)

Abby Marshall, Interpretation & Promotion Officer said: “Don't miss out - book your child's place on these events now by calling Queenswood Tourist Information Centre Tel: 01568 797842.

“Full details of all the events taking place between now and December can be found in our special 'Walks & Family Fun' leaflet available now from Tourist Information Centres, libraries and of course the country park!

“Alternatively get up to date information by checking out the 'Queenswood' pages on Herefordshire Council's website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/queenswood” she added.

Queenswood is Herefordshire's only country park and has free car parking, toilets and a licensed café (opening hours vary please call 01568 797880 to confirm it will be open when you visit.)

There is a picnic area situated near to the very popular adventure play area and there is also a free 'seaside style' telescope at the view-point.

There are three way-marked trails and easy access paths so that everyone can enjoy the park and electric mobility vehicles are available to hire from the Tourist Information Centre Tel: 01568 797842.

Queenswood Country Park is on the A49 between Hereford and Leominster – follow the brown signs at the top of Dinmore Hill. Alternatively the 492 bus service departs Hereford and Leominster at regular intervals throughout the day.

Posted : 13/07/2009 16:58:33

Wheeled bins coming...
Herefordshire Council’s waste management team will be holding a special roadshow in Leominster on Thursday, July 30th, to promote the new waste recycling service which launches in November.

The team will be in Corn Square from 9.30am until 3.30pm and will be on hand to answer questions. Wheeled bins will also be on display.

The idea behind the new scheme is to make it far easier for people to recycle and the majority of households in the county will be getting a wheeled bin which can be used to store all of their recyclable materials.

For the first time, glass can also be collected using the wheeled bins and other materials which can be put in the bin include tins, cans, plastic bottles, paper and card. The wheeled bin will be collected once a fortnight.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “This new scheme will really help residents to increase the amount they can recycle and I would urge them to come along and find out more and get any of their questions answered.

“We want people to have as much information as possible before the scheme starts and this roadshow is one of many we have already staged or have planned to spread the word around the county,” he added.

Green wheeled bins will be delivered to households in September and October so residents are urged to look out for them. They will also have an information pack with them explaining the new system and when your collection days will be.

The new scheme starts on November 2 and residents are asked to continue using their current sack recycling system until then.

Even if you don’t have a recycling service at the moment, the council’s intention is for all households to be included under the new scheme so look out for further details.

Residents will also be keeping their weekly black sack refuse service but should be aware that their collection day and time may change. Any changes in collection days will be on the information pack delivered with the recycling bin.

Posted : 09/07/2009 19:00:25

Council helping to cut red tape for farmers
Herefordshire Council is urging all livestock and arable farmers to back a new initiative aimed at reducing the number of farm inspections that are carried out in the county.

Mike Pigrem, acting head of regulatory services, said: “At the moment farms get visited by a number of different teams from within the council to inspect records, production methods and various other aspects of their day-to-day business.

“These inspections place additional demands on time for both farmers and council officers, so we have devised a new method to help reduce the perceived red tape burden on the industry.

“All farmers are to be sent a simple form to fill in which will enable us to update our records and help assess the need for future inspections and visits.

“They will also get a registration document under the Feed Hygiene Regulations which apply to any business selling crops for feed and/or producing, processing or storing feed for feeding to animals on their own holding. Anyone already registered can ignore this document,” he added.

Farmers are asked to complete the forms within 28 days.

Posted : 09/07/2009 18:57:16

Team cracks down on illegal flyposting
Herefordshire Council’s community protection team is cracking down on illegal flyposting in the county.

The team has removed hundreds of signs advertising businesses and other commercial activities from tens of locations in the county because they have been put up without the necessary permission.

With some exceptions it is generally illegal to place such posters on property or land without the consent of the owner or responsible authority, which in the case of public land will usually be Herefordshire Council.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “Many of these signs are on the public highway and, as such, pose a distraction to motorists which could be dangerous.

“Where those responsible can be identified we are requiring them to remove the poster; where this is not the case enforcement officers will take immediate action to remove it.

“Most of the problems we have encountered are because signs advertising businesses have been put up illegally and, even though we appreciate times are hard, they do need to seek the correct permissions.

“We have also found signs for various local community events which have been left out long after the events have taken place. We don’t want to stop such events being advertised but would urge organisers to make sure the signs are removed as soon as possible after the event is staged.

“If they can also speak to us before putting the signs up, then we advise on suitable locations to ensure they are not posing a danger to passing motorists.

“I was shocked at the vast number of illegal signs that have been removed and we will be issuing warnings to the people responsible. If the offences persist, however, we will be forced to prosecute,” he added.

Posted : 09/07/2009 18:56:46

Just the ticket for bus travellers
Herefordshire Council’s run Tourist Information Centre in Leominster has become an agent for National Express buses, meaning town residents will no longer have to travel to Hereford to get their tickets.

The move came after the TIC was inundated with requests from residents and students in the town who wanted to book tickets for UK and European travel.

National Express has bus routes to 1,000 UK destinations, 500 European destinations and regular services to major airports.

Councillor June French, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: “We have been trying to get the ticket agency for some time to replace the facility lost when the bus station closed but National Express have only just started accepting new agents.

“I am delighted we can now offer town residents this valuable ticketing service which will make it much easier for them to travel around the country, to Europe and airports.

“Over 60s may also be interested to know that they qualify for half price travel on National Express and we also expect students to be interested in booking tickets for travel to Europe,” he added.

Leominster ward members Councillor Roger Hunt and Councillor Peter McCaull launched the new ticketing service on Thursday, July 2.

Jen Green, a Leominster resident who has been campaigning for the ticket office, said she was delighted she now doesn’t have to travel to Hereford to buy her tickets.

She said: “This will be a great benefit to residents and students alike and helps encourage more people to use the buses. All I would like to see now is for the buses to pick up in Leominster as that will even further reduce the number of car journeys made in the county.”

Posted : 07/07/2009 23:38:23

Getting on their bikes to promote cycling
Herefordshire Council’s integrated transport team has been promoting the benefits of cycling during national Bike Week.

‘Get Cycling’ packs were distributed to businesses and organisations throughout the county with the aim of encouraging more employees to cycle to work. Cycling is already enjoying good growth, with the number of cycle journeys in the county up four per cent from last year and up 15 per cent over the past five years. This year’s programme of events was designed to support renewed interest in cycling and to encourage more people to try getting about by bike.

At Hereford Hospital, council officers were on hand offering information and advice on local cycle routes and promoting the Free Adult Cycle Training scheme, while Dr Bike (Leominster bike shop owner, Phill Prothero) delivered free bike checks and carried out routine bike maintenance for Hospital staff who cycle to work.

Adult cycle trainer, Roger Calow offered hints and advice to staff at the council’s Plough Lane office in a ‘Meet the Trainer’ session that proved very popular. He later delivered a ‘taster’ training session for six members of the council’s environmental health team, based at Bath Street. The team has been making itsr own contribution to improving the environment by carrying out local site visits by bike. The training included a practical on-road session on how to cycle safely at roundabouts and junctions.

Local cycle groups also organised a full week of rides and events that were well attended.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Cycling is not only a quicker way to get around the city but it is also more environmentally friendly and has the added benefit of boosting people’s health and fitness as well.

“We have a range of initiatives to help people get back on their bikes, including free adult cycle training, and I would encourage anyone interested to get in touch with the council’s Integrated Transport team on 01432 383652.”

Posted : 07/07/2009 23:37:29

Strawberry farm planning applications deferred
Members of Herefordshire Council’s planning committee have deferred making a decision on three planning applications submitted by S & A Produce (UK) Ltd.

Members of the committee, chaired by Cllr Tom Hunt, felt they had no alternative after taking Counsel’s advice at the meeting held in Hereford’s Shirehall on, Friday, July 3.

The plans, submitted by S & A Produce (UK) Ltd, which runs Brierley Court, near Leominster, include siting accommodation for 1,000 seasonal workers on the farm; a retrospective planning application to put up Spanish polytunnels; a further retrospective application to retain a sewage treatment plant at the farm.

Posted : 07/07/2009 13:30:11

Grange Court application is deferred
Ambitious plans for the modernisation of Leominster’s historic former market hall, now known as Grange Court, have been deferred by Herefordshire Council’s planning committee

Members of the committee made the decision this morning (Fri, July 3), after hearing that the plans include the removal of a Victorian staircase and the removal of trees within the grounds of the grade II listed building to make way for an extension.

Members voiced concerns over the loss of these and voted in favour of deferring a decision to allow the architect to consider these points.

The committee also heard that in recent years the council had spent thousands of pounds maintaining this “very important and much loved” building.

Posted : 03/07/2009 17:40:31

Hereford’s livestock market now truly on the move
After ten years of consultation, plans for Hereford’s new livestock market - designed to safeguard the future of farming in the county and protect the rural way of life – have been given the go ahead.

The council’s main planning committee approved the plans today (Friday 3 July 2009) and work on a new, environmentally friendly market is planned to start later this year. The planning committee asked for more landscaping to the site and more consideration to the access to the site from the main road and this work was delegated to council officers.

It now means the livestock market, which is noted for its high quality produce, can move from its current dilapidated 7.0-acre site near the centre of the city. This will release prime development land for the city’s new retail and leisure quarter, which will see the city get its first multi-screen cinema, as well as a range of high-quality, household name stores.

The new site of the livestock market will be along the Roman Road to the north west of Hereford, between the Bobblestock area of the city and the village of Stretton Sugwas.

Despite the economic slowdown, the planning committee heard from the farming industry that Hereford’s livestock market is experiencing its best trading for over ten years and that a modern and well designed facility was crucial to the county’s farming heritage and the local economy. Herefordshire Council also has proposals to restore and promote Hereford’s Buttermarket as a centre for locally produced food and drink and is promoting farmers’ markets and a campaign to put more local produce on menus and dinner plates across Herefordshire.

Herefordshire is traditionally a prime livestock area and its farming heritage includes the world famous Hereford cattle breed. Livestock farming supports 25 per cent of the country’s landscape, providing attractive pasture and a rural way of life that also supports a £400 million a year tourism industry.

In one of the most exhaustive consultations undertaken in Herefordshire, the council investigated the need for a new market over ten years and set up regular public meetings and discussions with residents, farmers, businesses, parish councils and county marketers in 2005 and 2006.

Six possible sites were put forward and there was detailed evaluation of location, traffic impact, environmental factors and amenity, following which the chosen site was announced in late 2006, and further scrutinised by a cross party group of councillors in 2007. The community services scrutiny committee, after three meetings of formal questioning and investigations deliberated that the site for the new market was right and recommended the relocation, releasing valuable development land for regeneration.

The new market will contain a 7,250-square-metre covered building with a sheep ring and cattle ring, with loading docks, over 300 car or car and trailer parking spaces, an additional 44 articulated or trailer lorry parking and nine lorry wash stations. There will be offices, a café, welfare areas and toilets, with landscaped areas of decorative native trees, a wildflower meadow and wildlife conservation area.

A parliamentary bill was passed in 2003 to move the historic market out of the city centre, as a charter of 1597 decreed it must be within the city boundary.

Posted : 03/07/2009 17:38:40

Libraries help families beat recession
Herefordshire Council’s libraries are helping families to beat the recession by stocking a range of PS3 and Wii games.

As from July 14th, new titles for PS3 and Wii games will be added to the media collections at Herefordshire Libraries and they cost just £2.50 for a week’s loan.

Games in stock can be ordered free at any of the county’s libraries or on line at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries and new titles will be added every month.

Games already in stock include Wii® My Sims, Summer Athletics, Sports Party
PS3® Skate Games, Chronicles of Narnia and Indiana Jones.

Contact your local library for further details.

Posted : 02/07/2009 00:12:16

Healthy Herefordshire
Local NHS and council working together to help people live longer and better

Herefordshire is one of the best places to live in the UK, and people in the county are more likely to live longer to enjoy it.

New health profiles issued by the Department of Health show that the 178,400 people who live in the county generally enjoy better health than the average for the rest of the country and the region. Herefordshire men are likely to live to be almost 78 on average, and women nearly 83.

Early death rates from heart disease and stroke and from cancer have fallen in the county over the past ten years and have always remained below the national average.

Very few areas of Herefordshire fall into the most deprived 20 per cent of areas in England and none fall into the least deprived 20 per cent either. But the difference in life expectancy varies from 74.4 years for men and 80.7 for women in the most deprived areas of the county, to a maximum of 80.9 for men and 86.2 in the more affluent areas.

The good news is that Herefordshire is also below average in terms of levels of deprivation, child poverty, teenage pregnancy and violent crime, and GCSE achievement is better than average. Rates of hospital stay for alcohol related harm and rates of drug misuse are also lower than the England average.

Death from smoking related causes is at a lower rate than average as is the estimated proportion of adults who smoke. However, smoking during pregnancy in higher than in the rest of England.

However, Herefordshire still has a problem when it comes to rates of road injuries and deaths, as these are still higher than the national average. In addition, the estimated proportion of adults who are obese is higher; and levels of tooth decay in five-year-old children are higher than the average too.

Priorities for the county are reducing harmful alcohol use, roads injuries and deaths, reducing obesity in adults and further reducing the rate of smoking.

The profiles give a snapshot of health for each council area in England using key health indicators, which enables comparison locally, regionally and in some cases over time. They are designed to help local councils and the NHS decide where to target resources in their area.

Herefordshire Primary Care Trust and Herefordshire Council are working with a range of partners to challenge the links between high social deprivation and poor health with a particular emphasis on services for children, promoting healthy lifestyles and packages of care for older people.

Herefordshire’s Public Health Annual Report focuses on helping local people make the right lifestyle choices, such as help with quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, using alcohol sensibly and practicing safer sex, as well as protecting from health threats. The council is also working with partners on a countywide road safety strategy in a bid to cut road deaths.

Said Dr Akeem Ali, Herefordshire’s director for public health: “The health profile for Herefordshire is largely positive and means people generally enjoy a high quality of life for longer. However, the primary care trust and the council are working closely on a series of campaigns that help people make the right lifestyle choices and ensure that local healthcare is of high quality, adding years to life and life to years”.

NHS Herefordshire’s Public Health Annual Report is available on its website: www.herefordshire.nhs.uk

Posted : 30/06/2009 09:09:48

Herefordshire confirms further cases of swine flu
NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council have reported the second and third confirmed cases of swine flu in the county.

One confirmed case is a university student who returned home with symptoms, is responding well to treatment and has, together with immediate contacts, been given a course of antiviral drugs. The other case is a man in his 40s and public health personnel are now tracing immediate contacts to provide antiviral drugs as a precautionary measure.

With 1,358 confirmed cases of swine flu in the West Midlands and a total of 3,597 in the United Kingdom, the NHS has announced it has moved beyond the point where intensive containment of swine flu can be sustained.

Due to the relatively low number of confirmed cases in Herefordshire, the county’s director of public health states the county will continue to work hard to restrict the spread of swine flu. We will make the antiviral drug Tamiflu available to treat people at risk of complications.

“I want to thank everyone in our hospitals, GP practices, the NHS and council services who are working hard to help identify possible cases and put preparations in place in case we do move to an outbreak stage,” said director of public health Dr Akeem Ali.

“I wish to remind everyone that the illness is moderate but good respiratory and hand hygiene is the single most important thing people can do, at home, work or at school, to reduce their chances of catching the virus. Always use a tissue to catch your sneezes, throw away used tissues and regularly wash your hands”.

If you do feel unwell, then please stay at home and call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or your doctor’s surgery rather than going to GP surgeries or accident and emergency.

Herefordshire’s first case was reported earlier in June and was a man, returning from holiday in an affected area, who contacted the primary care trust out-of-hours service and has recovered well after treatment at home.

A Public Health Incident Team was established in Herefordshire in April, together with a Swine Flu incident room and a Herefordshire Flu Helpline, which will be activated if required.

Both the primary care trust and the council have identified staff who can be switched from their normal duties to support preparations, such as staffing the flu line and helping to manage the distribution of antiviral medicine if necessary, while ensuring that the other usual health and council services are maintained.

Residents are reminded that the Department of Health has a Swine Flu Information Line – 0800 1513513 - which contains pre-recorded messages giving background to the disease and what we can all do to prevent its spread. It will refer callers who need more assistance to NHS Direct. The Department of Health has distributed swine flu information leaflets, as part of a national door drop, but people can obtain further copies of the leaflets by downloading them from www.direct.gov.uk/swineflu.

The council and the primary care trust made translations of the flu leaflets available on their web sites to help migrant and seasonal workers stay healthy too.

Information for public can be found on: www.nhs.uk and www.hpa.org.uk - as well as on the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk and the primary care trust web site http://www.herefordshire.nhs.uk

Posted : 26/06/2009 16:44:25

Closure of the A44 at Eaton Bridge over the Lugg
Motorists in Herefordshire are being advised that the A44 at Eaton Bridge, over the River Lugg, will be closed from 9.30am to around 6pm tomorrow, Thursday, June 25th.

The one-day closure is necessary to allow urgent repairs to be carried out to one of the river piers on the bridge.

To cause a minimum of disruption to drivers, the road will be closed after the morning rush-hour and will be re-opened as soon as possible.

The road will be closed from the A49 junction to the C1110 Stoke Prior Junction.

A diversion will be signposted. This will direct traffic back to Bromyard then down the A465 to Burley Gate roundabout and then along the A417 to the A49 at Dinmore and back up the A49 to Leominster.

Posted : 24/06/2009 17:27:37

Advice regarding ash from Leominster fire


Herefordshire PCT and Herefordshire Council have reassured residents and businesses in Leominster that the ash which resulted from the fire earlier this week is no risk to health if handled appropriately.

Officers from the council’s environmental protection team have been visiting companies close to the Skymark factory which went up in flames on Wednesday.

Nearly 200 people were evacuated to a council-run rest centre at the town’s Bridge Street Sports Centre – they were allowed back home at around 6pm on Wednesday after Dr Akeem Ali, the director of public health for the county, declared the area safe.

Some areas under the pall of smoke which headed north over the town were left covered with a film of ash.

“We’re satisfied that there is no immediate hazard to the general public following air quality monitoring by the Environment Agency,” said Paul Nicholas, the council’s assistant director (environment and culture).

“The ash deposits come from the destruction of the building structure, its internal fabric and stored raw and finished products in site,” added Paul.

“As the Skymark building was relatively new there has been no report that asbestos would have been within this building.”

Advice to residents of the town is that any ash deposits large enough to handle could be hand picked, using gloves as a precaution, and disposed of with normal household waste.

Windowsills and cars with sooty ash deposits too small to handle should soon wash away with rain. Remaining deposits can be removed using a damp cloth.

Growers with fruit and vegetables in the town are being advised to wash their produce before eating it.

This advice has been put into a leaflet which is being distributed to companies close to the Skymark site, and is also available from Leominster Library, the Info Shop at Leominster and off the council’s website – www.herefordshire.gov.uk.

Posted : 19/06/2009 17:53:02

Leominster fire – 6pm update
The Director of Public Health for NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council, Dr Akeem Ali, has reassured those living in Leominster that there has been no long-term health risk from the fire which ravaged a factory in the town this morning.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Dr Ali said that while around 170 people had been evacuated from their homes to a council-run rest centre in the Bridge Street sports centre, the reason for the evacuation had been the risk of explosions at the Skymark factory.

This afternoon officers from the Environment Agency monitored the air quality in the town. Based on the result, Dr Ali was satisfied that any risk had been minimised and that those evacuated should be allowed back into their homes.

Police officers will be on hand to assist those evacuated back to their homes.

During the incident morale was high at the rest centre and the public spirited nature of those evacuated has been praised by all agencies involved in the incident who said the Leominster community had pulled together and supported each other with many volunteering to help prepare food during the day.

Overnight and tomorrow fire fighters are due to remain at the scene of the fire to damp down.

Schools are due to open as normal tomorrow, and arrangements have been made to catch up on refuse collections missed today.

Missed domestic refuse collections from today will be picked up by contractors either tomorrow (Thurs) or Friday, or possibly Saturday.

Anyone who hasn’t had their refuse collected by end of play on Saturday is asked to retrieve it and put it back out for collection during the next couple of weeks.

The council’s contractors are aiming to catch up on missed trade waste collections by the end of the week if bags and bins are left accessible to the crews.

While the A49 at Leominster was re-opened earlier this afternoon, Southern Avenue remains closed to through traffic – workers needing access to businesses along this road will be allowed in through a cordon manned by firefighters.

Anyone in Leominster with concerns over their health are asked to telephone the out of hours number – 0330 1239309.

The incident involved a multi-agency response in Herefordshire and has been a good test for partners’ resilience and resources.

The organisations which have dealt with the incident are delighted with the efforts of staff and thank the community for their co-operation.

Posted : 17/06/2009 18:52:02

Leominster fire update – no 6 (1.30pm)
Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire can confirm that the Minor Injuries Unit at Leominster Community Hospital has now reopened.
Posted : 17/06/2009 16:57:04

Leominster fire update – no 5
Herefordshire Council has announced that refuse collections in a number of areas have been affected by this morning’s fire in Leominster:

Refuse vehicles are parked in a depot within the cordoned off zone and therefore cannot be used.

The locations of collections which will not take place today are:

Round 15: Coddington, Wellington Heath, Stoney Cross, Westfields, Mathon

Round 16: Whitbourne, Tedstone Dalamere, Sapey Bridge, Hamish Park, Linley Green, Wofferwood Common, Stanford Bishop

Round 18: Bringsty Common, Brockhampton

Round 19
LEOMINSTER TOWN
Castlefields Waterworks Lane, Caradoc Drive, Conningsby Road and surrounding estate, South Street, Churchill Avenue, Holland Park, Westfields Walk, Sand Pits’ Newlands Road, Wharton, Brierly

Round 20: Lower Harpton, Bradnor Green, Huntington, Upper Hergest, Bredward, Kingswood, Chickward

Round 21: Almeley, Woonton, Weston, Lower Broxwood, Hurstley, Eccles Green

Round 22: Shobdon, Eardisland

Round 23: Kimbolton, Upper Hamnish, Puddlestone, Hatfield, Leyster

There will also be no collections of trade waste in Ledbury and the surrounding area, Shobdon and Eardisland. For these areas of Trade waste collections we will be catching up as soon as possible throughout the rest of the week including Saturday so please make sure your waste collection points are accessible during this time.

Plans to catch up on the missed collections will depend on when the council has access to its vehicles. Once this is known further information will be issued.

Posted : 17/06/2009 12:31:26

Leominster fire – bus service update (11.45 am)
Herefordshire Council can confirm that no bus services are being currently operated in the Leominster area by Lugg Valley Travel as they are unable to access the depot in Southern Avenue.

The following services are affected;

401,402, 403, 406 Leominster Town Services
426 Leominster - Marden - Hereford
491 Leintwardine - Leominster - Hereford
492 Ludlow - Leominster - Hereford
493 Leominster - Presteigne
495,496 Leominster - Kington
501 Leominster - Hereford

Posted : 17/06/2009 11:51:01

Leominster fire – 11.30am update
The fire at Leominster this morning has affected domestic and trade refuse collection rounds due to take place in a number of locations in the north of the county today.

The refuse collection vehicles are based in a depot at Southern Avenue which has been cordoned off due to the fire.

The extent of the disruption is not yet known – this will depend on when drivers can access the depot and drive the lorries out.

Further information on the affected refuse rounds will be given as soon as this is to hand.

Clinical waste and bulky waste collections are not affected.

Posted : 17/06/2009 11:36:34

Leominster fire – update 9am
Sorry, This update should have been posted before the 10am update!

Herefordshire Council has responded in several ways to the major fire at Leominster this morning:

The following schools are closed:

• Leominster Primary
• Leominster Junior
• Minster College
• Westfield Special School
• The Priory Pupil Referral Unit

Today's GCSE and A Level exams have been cancelled. The school will be in touch with the examination boards which have contingency plans to deal with these circumstances.

Lugg Valley Transport has a depot in Southern Avenue which it cannot access. As a result parents with pupils at the following schools will have to arrange alternative transport for their children this morning:

• Wigmore Primary
• Wigmore High
• Kingsland Primary

A rest centre was opened at Bridge Street Sports Centre in the town at 5am this morning.

Around 170-180 people have spent the early hours at the centre – they have been provided with cups of tea and breakfast.

The fire has affected Leominster Community Hospital; The Minor Injuries Unit and Outpatients departments are closed.

Anyone with a minor injury is being advised to attend the Accident and Emergency unit at the County Hospital in Hereford.

Posted : 17/06/2009 10:19:23

Leominster fire – road closures (10am)
Herefordshire Council can confirm that the A49 has been closed between the north roundabout - where the Fina Petrol Station is, and the Worcester Road roundabout as the road is lined with fire engines pumping water from the river.

The whole of Southern Avenue is closed from the Cemetery junction on the B4361, Hereford Road through to Worcester Road roundabout. Worcester Road itself in the town and up Etnam Street to the South Street junction is also closed.

Traffic from the A49 is being diverted through the town and down the B4361, Hereford Road to Cadbury roundabout to rejoin the A49.

Traffic wanting to go to Bromyard coming off the A49 at the north roundabout should follow the diversion through the town and down the B4361 to Cadbury's. They can then turn north back to the Worcester Road roundabout.

Posted : 17/06/2009 10:15:17

Herefordshire wins £2.4m for children and families
Herefordshire has successfully bid for £2.4 million to help bring together a wide range of services for children, young people and their families in a number of single sites across the county.

The bid was led by Herefordshire Council and the money, awarded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, will be used to expand sites and facilities in Kington, Leominster, Bromyard, Hereford, Ross on Wye and Ledbury. The new sites will enable social workers, educational psychologists, education welfare officers, specialist teachers of visual or hearing impaired children, community police officers, youth workers, family support workers and others sharing facilities and working alongside each other.

The aim is to make it easier for people to access services by using existing public service sites that are well used and valued in local communities. Children and families, and the staff working with them will spend less time travelling as a result. Staff will be able to provide a much better service by being able to work together in buildings around the county.

The bid was made on behalf of Herefordshire Children’s Trust, a strategic partnership of agencies responsible for services for children and young people. A consultation on the project – called No Wrong Door – as been undertaken and views gathered to inform plans being prepared to carry the project forward.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is excellent news for Herefordshire as it means we can move forward with plans to revolutionise the way children’s services are delivered.

“Now we have some cash to spend over the next two years on developing existing sites, which will help us deliver what promises to be an ambitious programme.

“The No Wrong Door initiative is going to bring many positive changes to our children and their families. Many thanks to Chris Baird, assistant director of children’s services, who put this bid together so successfully.”

The money will be alongside other funding initiatives. These include the Primary Strategy for Change, which is a national government programme of investment for primary schools, and Building Schools for the Future, the scheme that aims to rebuild or renew every secondary school in England.

Posted : 16/06/2009 01:01:53

Building Excellence in Herefordshire
Following on from last year’s success at the Local Authority Building Control National Building Excellence Awards, Herefordshire Council’s building control team, in partnership with some of the region’s businesses, have enjoyed further success in the 2009 Awards.

Finalists and winners of the west of England regional awards were announced at a ceremony held recently in Bristol, where the Herefordshire Council building control team nominated 14 projects in total across the 11 categories available.

Of those nominated, nine of the projects made it onto the shortlist of finalists with three of these going on to win outright the award for their category.

Winners of the regional awards automatically qualify as finalists for the national awards to be held in London later this year where the finest achievements in construction across the UK will be honoured.

After the ceremony Herefordshire Council’s building control manager, Chris Jenner, said: “These awards represent the best of the best from the region, and to be selected as a finalist from the huge number of potential entries is a tremendous accolade in itself.

“All those involved can be rightly proud of their achievement. It really is great to see Herefordshire’s businesses and their work recognised at this level.”

Category Winners:

Best sustainable project: The eco-classroom - Lady Hawkins High School, Kington/Owen Pell Ltd/Herefordshire Council.
Best conversion to dwelling: Barns at Biddlestone Orchard – Langstone Build Ltd/Michael Keyse Architectural.
Best commercial building up to £1m: Orphans Press, Leominster – GP Thomas/David Taylor Consultants

Finalists:

Best conversion to dwelling: Ocle Mead, Ocle Pychard – Coleman Developments/Penelope Clayton Architectural/Alex Clive Design
Best housing; small developer: Four new dwellings at Yarpole – GP Thomas/McCartneys Design
Best commercial building up to £1m: Travelodge, Grafton – Barnwood Construction/Pyramid Design
Best commercial building up to £1m: Howton Farm – JA Shaw Building/Michael Keyse Architectural
Best social/affordable housing: Upper Marshes, Leominster – EG Carter/Walker Troup Architects
Best educational building: Sutton St Nicholas Primary School – Herefordshire Council

Posted : 11/06/2009 15:55:04

Herefordshire smokers warned on dodgy cigarettes
Smokers across Herefordshire are being warned they may be inhaling more than they bargained for if they buy dodgy cigs.

The Department of Health, with support from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is launching a hard-hitting poster and radio advertising campaign highlighting some of the unpleasant ingredients that could be found in illicit tobacco products.

While the packaging looks almost identical to normal cigarettes, the contents are anything but, with research showing animal droppings, floor-sweepings, insects and even human waste have all been detected.

The poster campaign, which will be appearing in sites across the Midlands, show a man and woman smoking, but coming out of their mouth are examples of all the disgusting tasting things that go in to the dodgy cigs.

Paul Hooper, regional tobacco policy manager for the Department of Health West Midlands, said: “First and foremost, smoking tobacco of any kind is harmful to health. The NHS helps thousands of people quit smoking each year and when questioned some say they smoke dodgy cigarettes or tobacco that may have been smuggled into the country perhaps sold by ‘a man down the pub’ or in their workplace.

“They often say these cigarettes taste different, but it never occurs to them why. They often don’t realise just how unhygienic the conditions are in which they are made.

“Of course shop-bought tobacco is not a healthier option. It is better that people explore the help available to stop smoking altogether and save money that way, rather than seek out apparently cheaper alternatives.

“They might be cheap but they are a rip off.”

Selling dodgy cigarettes is also illegal and anyone caught dealing in their place of work could find themselves facing disciplinary action or even the sack, with the company also facing punishment.

Keith Morgan, Detection manager for HMRC said: “This is not an innocent or victimless crime but one that encourages otherwise honest people to trade with criminals. The illicit trade has a devastating impact on legitimate traders who have to compete against these cheap and unregulated goods.

More follows
“The gangs behind this form of criminality reap huge profits from cigarette sales which are ploughed straight back into the criminal underworld, feeding activities like drug dealing and fraud

He added: “We are keen to work closely with local people and communities in the fight against this type of crime. We would encourage anyone who knows of someone selling cheap or duty free cigarettes and tobacco from their house or place of work to contact the Customs hotline. ”

Posted : 08/06/2009 15:35:05

Residents get say on highways service
The public’s views on Herefordshire Council’s highways and transportation services will soon be compared with others across the country, thanks to the second annual National Highways and Transport (NHT) Network Public Satisfaction Survey.

Herefordshire Council is one of 77 local authorities to have signed up to a standardised survey that will ask members of the public exactly the same questions, whether they live in Herefordshire, Hertfordshire or Hampshire.

This second annual survey is the result of months of hard work between the National Highways and Transport (NHT) Network and a regional Highways Service Improvement Group and a number of Regional Improvement Efficiency Partnerships. It will allow local authorities to compare results, share in best practice and identify opportunities to work together in the future.

The questionnaire will be sent to a random sample of at least 4,500 Herefordshire residents this month (June) with local and national results expected to be published this summer. Since the survey is based on a sample, residents that receive a copy are being urged to take part.

Councillor Brian Wilvox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet members for highways and transportation, said: “There are clear benefits to conducting a public survey in this way. As well as providing excellent value for money, it also enables everyone involved to identify areas of best practice and spot national, regional and local trends.

“This is not about producing a league table to champion one geographical area over another but it is about understanding customer views better and working together to deliver the best possible outcomes for local residents,

“The results will also allow us to better understand and respond to the views of the public,” he added

Posted : 08/06/2009 00:02:05

Council achieves budget targets again
Herefordshire Council has delivered another year of prudent financial management - coping with severe cost pressures on social care, larger winter road maintenance costs and increased homelessness to meet its budget targets.

The council balanced the books for the sixth year running and ended the 2008/09 financial year with an under spend of £249,000.

A large over spend in adult social care of £750,000, due to the growing numbers of older people in the county. Reductions in expenditure in many other areas ensured that the council did not have to use its reserves to cover the extra costs of providing social care for older people and vulnerable adults.

According to a report to the council’s cabinet today (Thursday 4 June) the authority faced increased bills on healthcare for people with learning disabilities; more expenditure on homecare and supported accommodation for older people; higher costs for providing temporary homes for homeless people; and extra measures to safeguard children. The economic downturn also saw reduced income on investments, on land charges, markets and parking.

The council also sustained an overspend on winter maintenance due to the need to keep primary roads open and ensure adequate supply of rock salt during one of the coldest winters for decades.

However, money was saved in several other areas to compensate, such as a wide range of efficiency savings in administrative functions, reduced transport costs, staff vacancies, commercial environmental health arrangements, an under spend in the waste management contract, property income, increased performance in managing benefits and managing the cost of external borrowing.

The council also refused to invest in Icelandic banks at a time when many local authorities were and avoided the serious financial exposure that is prompting cut backs in services in many other councils.

The report to cabinet proposes that the under spend of £249,000 be transferred to a contingency fund to help address future pressures on social care costs. The contingency will increase to £926,000 as a result.

The council holds general reserves of £6.39 million, which reflects an overall strong financial position in the face of continuing cost pressures on services.

In addition, the council’s final outturn on its capital budget also was well within target, totalling £48.05 million compared with the original budget of £57.9 million. The changes are due to amended timescales for the new livestock market and the corporate accommodation programme.

Major capital schemes in the last financial year included: £7.3 million on road and footpath maintenance, £3.2 million on the Ross flood alleviation scheme, £1.7 million for the new crematorium in Hereford, £4.6 million for the new secondary school in Leominster, £2 million for affordable housing grants, £2.1 million on the Rotherwas access road and £1 million to improve broadband services for schools.

“Herefordshire Council has a strong track record in prudent financial management and delivering value for money”, said Councillor Harry Bramer, cabinet member for resources. “Yet we face many unique pressures, such as our rapidly growing older population, the challenges of providing services across a large, sparsely populated and rural county, higher transport costs and very poor funding for education from central government.

“When you look outside our county, you can see many other local authorities have overspent, are slashing services, cutting jobs and grants and unable to meet their fiscal challenges. We have been able to avoid many of the pitfalls that have affected other authorities and continue to provide the care and support to the most vulnerable in our communities, that is our enduring focus and commitment”.

Posted : 04/06/2009 21:32:35

Herefordshire confirms first case of swine flu
NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council have confirmed that the county has its first case of swine flu. A man recently returning from holiday in an affected area contacted the primary care trust out-of-hours service and is now responding well to treatment at home.

Director of public health Dr Akeem Ali has asked local people to remain vigilant and take all necessary hygiene measures to prevent the spread of swine flu. There are now 112 cases confirmed in the West Midlands region, and 428 confirmed cases in the UK.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) remains at level 5 today (4 June 2009) and the primary care trust, the council and the county hospital are prepared in case a pandemic (level 6) is declared.

Director of public health Dr Akeem Ali is Herefordshire’s lead on the issue.

“We have been expecting that we would eventually have cases of swine flu in Herefordshire and we are ready and planning for more.

“The man confirmed as having swine flu in Herefordshire, did exactly the right thing. When he was aware of possible symptoms, he did not go out but telephoned our out-of-hours service and identified a ‘flu friend’ who was able to get food and medication for him. The person is now responding well to anti-viral treatment and we wish to reassure people that Herefordshire has plans in place to deal with any outbreak. In the meantime everyone should please continue to take a few simple steps at home, at work or at school to maintain good respiratory and hand hygiene. Always use a tissue to catch your sneezes, throw away used tissues where germs can linger and regularly wash your hands”.

A Public Health Incident Team was established in Herefordshire in April, together with a Swine Flu Incident Room and a Herefordshire Flu Helpline, which will be activated in the event of a pandemic. Both the primary care trust and the council have identified staff who can be switched from their normal duties to support preparations, such as staffing the flu line and helping to manage the distribution of anti viral medicine if necessary, while ensuring that the other usual health and council services are maintained.

In Herefordshire, there have been updates to raise awareness of a possible swine flu case and information has gone to community groups, schools, youth clubs, residential homes, businesses, GP surgeries, dentists and pharmacists.

Residents are reminded that the Department of Health has a Swine Flu Information Line – 0800 1513513 - which contains pre-recorded messages giving background to the disease and what we can all do to prevent its spread. It will refer callers who need more assistance to NHS Direct. The Department of Health has distributed swine flu information leaflets, as part of a national door drop, but people can obtain further copies of the leaflets by downloading them from www.direct.gov.uk/swineflu.

The council and the primary care trust are making translations of the flu leaflets available on their web sites to help migrant and seasonal workers stay healthy too.

Information for public can be found on: www.nhs.uk and www.hpa.org.uk - as well as on the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk and the primary care trust web site http://www.herefordshire.nhs.uk

The advice is, if you have come back from one of the affected countries, and have flu like symptoms, stay at home and call your GP or NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

There are simple steps that people and their families should take to help prevent catching colds and flu:

1. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue.
2. Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
3. Maintain good basic hygiene - wash hands often with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people.
4. Clean hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) often using a normal cleaning product
5. Make sure your children follow this advice.

Schools and other children’s services are expected to be operating as usual at present and have been alerted to additional guidance on planning for, and responding to, pandemic flu. Schools and other children’s or young people’s services are asked to download and display the government flu leaflet on notice boards. Higher and further educations colleges will not be advised to close even during a pandemic.

Posted : 04/06/2009 16:50:37

New livestock market plans up for consultation
Herefordshire Council is holding a public planning consultation event next week for the new livestock market, which is proposed for construction later this year on a new site along the Roman Road in Hereford.

Local people are invited to see the plans at Stretton Sugwas Primary School on the evening of Wednesday 10 June, from 5.30pm to 8pm. A new, modern, environmentally friendly market is proposed to the north west of Hereford, between the Bobblestock area of the city and the village of Stretton Sugwas. The plans will be considered by the council’s main planning committee later this month.

The relocation of the livestock market will release prime development land on the current 7.9-acre site near the centre of the city. The council is committed to supporting the farming industry, which is experiencing its best trading for over ten years and strong demand for locally produced livestock.

The new market will contain a 7,250-square-metre covered building with a sheep ring and cattle ring, with loading docks, parking spaces, wash stations, offices, a café, welfare areas, and landscaping. The site is open, level and although away from main settlements, is easily accessed with good transport links for the delivery of livestock from the most used directions. A new access road junction will be constructed on the Roman Road and a new road built onto the site.

Herefordshire Council sees the new livestock market as a key element in promoting the county’s farming heritage alongside the local economy. There are also proposals to restore and promote Hereford’s Buttermarket as a centre for locally produced food and drink; the moving of the traditional retail market to the city centre; the promotion of farmers’ markets and a ‘your county needs you’ food campaign to put more local produce on menus and dinner plates across Herefordshire.

Posted : 02/06/2009 16:13:22

Traffic reduced to single way at bridge on A44
Herefordshire Council has reduced traffic on the A44 at Eaton Bridge, near Leominster, to single way working controlled by traffic lights.

The decision follows a routine bridge inspection carried out by engineers on Wednesday, May 27, which raised concerns over safety at the bridge.

Traffic is restricted to single way at Eaton Bridge which is on the A44 road to Worcester, just east of the junction with the A49 near Leominster.

The restriction is to reduce the traffic loading on the bridge, as a precautionary measure, while engineers carry out further more detailed inspections and assessments. Concerns are over erosion to the bed of the river at the bridge.

It is anticipated that the restriction will be in place for six to eight weeks.

Posted : 28/05/2009 16:46:55

Chance to explore fashion in age of Austen
Places are still available on a Herefordshire Council run workshop which will explore fashion in the age of author Jane Austen.

The novels of Jane Austen have been brought to life in countless film and television adaptations, making them some of the most watched and read stories of all time. But how did the costume designers re-create the Regency fashions of the era for the screen?

A special workshop being held over six sessions at Herefordshire Council’s Museum, Resource and Learning, will be using Austen’s novels and personal correspondence as a basis for exploring the fashions of the time.

The sessions will be on June 4, June 11, June 25, July 2, July 9 and July 16.

A range of other sources will also be referred to, including original garments of the period from the museum’s own collection.

Althea Mackenzie, Herefordshire Council’s collections officer for costumes and textiles, said: “Many of our most popular costume dramas are based on stories from Jane Austen and this workshop will look at why these fashions were so popular.

“To take part, students do not need an in-depth knowledge of Austen’s writings, just an interest in the period and fashions of the time,” she added.

People interested in the Austen period are also being offered a chance to construct their own Regency gown or bodice based on originals in the Museum Resource and Learning Centre’s collection.

In the two sessions, being held on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26, people will be able to cut a pattern and make a toile that
can then be adapted to their own gown design.

For further details and to make bookings contact Althea Mackenzie on 01432 383033 or email amackenzie@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 27/05/2009 20:46:30

Perry visits the University of the Great Outdoors
Perry Macarthy, the original Stig from Top Gear, visited Hampton Court to participate in the 2009 UGO event.

The second event was held on May Day Bank Holiday when more than 4,500 visitors were gathered to enjoy taster sessions of 26 activities on offer in the county.

Now in its second year, the aim of the event was to raise the profile of the range of activities on offer in Herefordshire and to encourage visitors to try out a new activity.

The range of activities included a 250m zip line; bungee running; golf; fishing; archery, canoeing; paintballing; pony trekking and many more. For the less strenuous there was Tai Chi; pottery; rug making; greenwood working and natural health treatments.

Perry Macarthy was enthused by the whole event and he commented: “The event was fantastic with so many people enjoying themselves during the whole weekend. The idea of offering taster sessions for a whole range of activities was great and so many people participated to receive their ‘degree’ from the University of the Great Outdoors.”

Jane Lewis, Herefordshire Council’s tourism, food and marketing manager, said: “We hope to continue to hold an annual UGO event in the county, to attract more visitors to the county to enjoy what we have to offer in this wonderful county.

“Visit Herefordshire is committed to developing new tourism initiatives for the county and to raise its profile within the UK and Europe as an active destination to visit”.

The event won a Highly Commended in the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards – Best Tourism Experience in 2008.

For further information please visit www.visitherefordshire.co.uk.

Posted : 18/05/2009 22:27:00

Young people invited to help build new school
Herefordshire Council is inviting 14-19 year olds from across the county to get involved with the building of a new state of the art school in Leominster.

The Minster College is currently in the process of being rebuilt and Stepnell Limited has been appointed to undertake the work. Working with the council, Stepnell is offering young people from all high schools and colleges a number of work experience opportunities to give the pupils a unique opportunity to get involved in the design and build of what promises to be an outstanding school building for Leominster.

The construction industry involves a vast number of professions, and the work experience available can be in any of these areas. For example, as well as the more traditional professions associated with construction like brick laying, carpentry, engineering, utilities installation, a project of this size will need designers, both interior and exterior, project managers, business support, IT experts and environmentalists.

On offer is a choice of one full week’s work experience or a work shadowing scheme where the students spends a day a week on the project over a specified period of time. In addition one day or half day site visits can be arranged together with a talk from the contractor on specific curriculum areas.

And teaching staff can also spend time at the project on placements which encourage them to get up to speed with the construction industry.

Laura Bentley, 14-19 co-ordinator at Herefordshire Council, said, “Stepnell is providing this wonderful opportunity for our young people as part of the company’s plans to involve the local community and encourage future construction workers.

“This is particularly good for those preparing to go into the construction industry, but can also provide lots of opportunities for others too. It’s a great chance for young people to try different jobs out like project management, design and planning for environmental sustainability. Students can learn first hand what their chosen profession is really like in a proper business environment, and decide whether it’s really for them.”

Anyone interested should contact Laura Bentley on 01432 260419.

Posted : 18/05/2009 22:25:55

Judging Herefordshire's food standards
The 2009 'Flavours of Herefordshire' awards scheme has taken another massive step up the food chain, following the announcement that three of its judges for this year's competition will be former NFU President Sir Ben Gill; former Times journalist Jane Wheatley; and the Chair of Herefordshire NFU, David Morgan.

Now in its eleventh year, 'Flavours of Herefordshire' is one of the longest-running schemes in the UK, and both recognises and rewards the use-and-promotion of local produce.

As well as being one of the longest-running, the scheme is also one of the very best examples of how an area of Britain can celebrate its regional flavours – and it is widely recognised as being responsible for raising standards of quality and service throughout the county since its inception.

Sir Ben Gill – who will be chairman of the judging panel and will also judge this year's "Best Producer" category – is already a keen advocate of the Flavours of Herefordshire scheme.

"The last half of the twentieth Century saw a marked change both in the way that we eat and the food that we buy,” he said.

"Today, we buy more ready prepared meals, and the American trend to build urban apartments without kitchens threatens some of the bigger cities. Yet if we cannot associate with the food we buy, or understand the source of the food in the first place, we may be unable to address the global problems around the food that we are being presented with.

“We may know the price of the globally sourced cheapest product that we buy in our local supermarket, but do we know the real value to us as part of our diet?

"The 2009 Flavours of Herefordshire awards aim to recognise the work that is being done within the county by local food producers and users to boost the use of local food and begin to address the ignorance that has built up in recent decades between the source of the food and the consumer. At the same time it will identify and recognise the best local practice in reducing the carbon footprint of our food by local sourcing as well as adding to the quality of the fresh produce that we eat by shortening the journey time.

"In these difficult and uncertain times having confidence in the food that we buy and eat could never be of greater importance. The Flavours of Herefordshire awards sets out to promote best practice for local businesses and local consumers."

The eleventh annual 'Flavours' competition will reach its conclusion on Friday, October 23rd, on the eve of the 2009 Herefordshire Food Festival.

The full list of categories for the 2009 Flavours of Herefordshire competition is featured at www.visitherefordshire.co.uk.

Entry forms for the competition can also be downloaded from the website or by telephoning 01432 383068.

Posted : 18/05/2009 22:22:57

Chance to walk every inch of the way
Tickets are still available for a series of nine walks being held each day of this year’s Herefordshire Walking Festival.

The walks – called Every Inch of the Way – offer people the chance to cover every part of the Mortimer Trail and its five loops, incorporating other footpaths and lanes to create eight circular walks and one linear walk, at a more leisurely pace than the main trail which is being covered over three days.

Walks can be booked individually for any of the days or people can choose to do two or more of them. They will always move forward along the main Mortimer Trail.

The walks cost £10 for adults, £7 for a child on Saturday, June 13. The other walks from Sunday, June 14 to Sunday, June 21 are £3 adult and children free.

Jane Lewis, Herefordshire Council’s tourism, food and marketing manager, said: “All of these walks are fantastic on their own and can also be combined so people get the chance to sample some of Herefordshire’s finest Mortimer country.

“Some people find the long walk over three days to be too strenuous so we hope these shorter walks will appeal to them. They will be able to visit some of the county’s finest villages such as Yarpole, Wigmore and Shobdon, and enjoy some fine dining along the way,” she added.

Tickets are also available for other walks throughout the festival from June 13 until June 21.

For further information, telephone the Festival Booking Office on 01568 797842 or log onto the website at www.visitherefordshire.co.uk

Posted : 14/05/2009 13:00:31

Hi-tech and free at Herefordshire libraries
Need to do some research for that project but don’t know where to start? Then why not come along to one of Herefordshire Council’s run libraries which have recently been fitted with new PCs and also offer a wealth of access to online reference sites – and all for free.

All people need to do to take advantage of this free service is make sure they join up to their local library.

People will not only be able to use the Internet for free but they can also access many reference sites which normally charge for free.

These sites include Ancestry Online where people can get help with tracing family trees, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Grove Art Online and Grove Music Online which offer a wealth of information about artists and composers, Oxford Reference Online and Who’s Who.

Other sites available for free by Herefordshire Library users are Findgroups which helps people find voluntary and community organisations in the county, Issues Online, Know UK, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford English Dictionary, People’s Network and The Times Digital Archive.

Once people have a library card, they can also access these services from their own computer, safe in the knowledge that the information on these sites is accurate and from a trustworthy academic source.

James Anthony, Herefordshire Council’s principal libraries officer, said: “Many people do not realise they can access this wide variety of sites for free just by joining the library. If they want to research or do their homework in the library, they will also find plenty of books to help them but the beauty of these sites is that they are extremely reliable sources and can be accessed from any computer.

“We are also allowing people to use their own USB devices on computers in libraries so they can easily take their research home or to school and college and continue working on it,” he added.

To join Herefordshire Libraries, just fill in a form at your local library and, if used regularly, your card will be valid for life.

Posted : 13/05/2009 22:58:29

Calling All Ex Young Farmers
For the 65th year of the Herefordshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs we want to start archiving the HFYFC memorabilia.

Do you have any old photos, cinefilms, videos, newspaper cuttings or yearbooks ?

If you do, please drop any information into the YFC office.

Please, if possible, provide dates, names and any other information about the photo.

For any further information then please contact

Boo Davies on 01544 327599 or Annabelle Sankey on 01544 230650.

For full details about the County Rally visit www.hfyfc.org.uk or contact the County Office on 01432 274187.

Posted : 13/05/2009 01:37:10

£1.1m cash boost for outdoor play
Children across the county are to benefit from a £1.1million boost to outdoor play thanks to Herefordshire Council.

The council has successfully obtained the funding from the Department for Children, Families and Schools under the Playbuilder scheme, to improve 22 play areas for 8-13 year olds in local communities over the next two years.

Rather than swings, slides and more traditional equipment, the fund will be used to create exciting innovative play areas that will facilitate play in the natural environment. The emphasis is on making the most of the county’s green spaces by creating play opportunities for children which are challenging and allow them to take risks. A range of exciting play equipment will be installed in response to local children’s requests and more natural features such as logs, mounds and boulders might also be used.

Eleven projects have been identified for this year. They are:

Roman Park, Credenhill
Bromyard Recreation Ground
Peterchurch Recreation Ground
Bye Street, Recreation Ground, Ledbury
Crooked Well Meadow, Kington
Dean Hill, Ross on Wye
The Grange, Leominster
Sydonia, Leominster
King George V Playing Fields, Herefordshire
Northolme, Belmont
Prospect Walk, Hereford

Local communities will be consulted to find out what children want in these particular areas before ideas are presented to them for further consideration. Parish and Town councils are being contacted, together with local councillors to encourage their involvement.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is great news for Herefordshire and provides us with an opportunity to create some exciting places for children to play in.

“Children in Herefordshire have told us that they want to play more adventurously and be free to enjoy themselves in the natural environment, which is why we welcome the focus of this funding to allow greater access to ‘natural’ play. This will encourage children to get outside and enjoy themselves freely with their friends, use their imaginations and be physically challenged – all important aspects of a child’s development.”

Herefordshire Council will shortly be inviting expressions of interest from community groups for eleven more projects to run from 2010 to 2011, so anyone with any ideas needs to start working on them now. Each project has to focus on 8-13 year olds, provide a wide range of play experiences and be committed to providing open-ended adventurous play in a stimulating environment for all children, regardless of their background or ability.

The first eleven projects have to be up and running by April 2010 so preliminary meetings with local communities will begin taking place within the next few weeks.

Further information is available from Tobin Godfrey on 01432 260000 tgodfrey@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 12/05/2009 21:14:52

School children raise funds for guide dogs
Thousands of Herefordshire school children are getting ready to join in this year’s Walk to School Week which takes place from 18-22 May 2009.

The theme is Walking Together and Herefordshire Council has joined forces with other authorities in the West Midlands to work with the Guide Dogs for Blind charity, encouraging schools to raise enough cash to sponsor a guide dog puppy.

Resource packs are being provided for schools which contain lesson plans, activities, DVDs and sponsorship envelopes for those who wish to raise funds. This year’s theme aims to encourage children to walk to school with their parents and friends. The partnership with the charity will help children to understand the problems which walking can pose to anyone who uses a guide dog.

Schools raising £250 or more can sponsor a guide dog puppy, give it a name and receive regular pupdates showing how their puppy’s training is progressing.

Fortyeight schools are taking part in Walk to School Week; seven of them will be raising money for guide dogs and receiving assembly visits from puppies and their walkers.*

Linda Sinker, Herefordshire Council, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Guide Dogs for the Blind this year as it brings an extra dimension to the campaign.

“Walk to School Week is a great opportunity to help children learn about the importance of keeping fit and healthy and highlight the benefits of walking to school wherever possible. The aim is to show children that it can be fun too and encourage them to continue walking to school once the week-long campaign is over.”

Guide Dogs for the Blind, in conjunction with Herefordshire Council has provided activity booklets for children, stickers, posters and badges for each participating child.

Children who are not able to walk to school because they live too far away are also being encouraged to join in the week by encouraging their parents to park ten minutes walk away and allowing the children to walk the rest of the journey. Children who travel by bus or taxi can also take part by walking around the playground or field at break or lunchtime to earn their sticker.

*Schools participating in the guide dog scheme are:

Leominster Junior School
Marlbrook Primary School, Hereford
Ashfield Park, Ross on Wye
Weobley Primary School
Ledbury Primary School
Lord Scudamore Primary School, Hereford
St Martin’s Primary School, Hereford


Posted : 08/05/2009 18:25:29

It might be pants, but it could save your life
NHS Herefordshire is stepping up its campaign to encourage women aged between 25 and 39 to get their cervical screening undertaken every three years.

Everyone knows that cervical screening (a smear test) is not particularly nice, but cervical screening saves one life in our region every day. Cervical cancer affects women of all ages but is most common in women aged 30 to 45. Women aged between 25 and 49 are invited for cervical screening every three years and women aged 50 to 64 are invited every five years. The invitation comes to their home in the form of a letter and they are given the choice of where they go for the test. Results are then posted back to their home address.

Janey Lyons, NHS Herefordshire, said: ”The test is very simple and only takes about five minutes. It’s done in private at your doctors surgery or local health clinic, and you can ask to see a female doctor or nurse.

“It’s so quick and easy, yet if anything is found in the test, it can usually be treated quickly and painlessly before it develops into something potentially life threatening.”

Prior to the events surrounding Jade Goodie, the number of women taking up their cervical screening offer in Herefordshire was below target, but since Jade’s well publicised illness and subsequent death, the number has risen.

The primary care trust in Herefordshire is eager to build on this surge of activity and has joined forces with other health providers in the midlands to run an eye-catching poster campaign What’s pants, but could save your life? The poster encourages women to contact their doctor or Gaol Street health clinic and make sure their tests are up to date.

Posted : 08/05/2009 18:22:23

Swine Flu - Situation in Herefordshire
NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council have asked local people to remain vigilant and take all necessary hygiene measures to prevent the spread of swine flu. At present there are no confirmed cases of the infection in the county, although there have been cases in neighbouring Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) remains at level 5 today (5 May 2009) and the primary care trust, the council and the county hospital are prepared in case a pandemic (level 6) is declared.

A Public Health Incident Team was established on Monday last week (27 April 2009). A Swine Flu Incident Room and a Herefordshire Flu Helpline is set up at NHS Herefordshire’s offices in Hereford and these will be activated in the event of a pandemic. Both the primary care trust and the council have begun to switch staff from their normal duties to support preparations, such as staffing the flu line and helping to manage the distribution of anti viral medicine, while ensuring that the other usual health and council services are maintained.

Director of public health Dr Akeem Ali is Herefordshire’s lead on the issue.

“In Herefordshire, it is important that we do not become complacent”, he said. “There is so much that is not yet known about the virus and how it spreads, so we must continue to be prepared for a possible pandemic, whilst hoping for the best. Everyone can continue to take a few simple steps at home, at work or at school to maintain good respiratory and hand hygiene. Always use a tissue to catch your sneezes, throw away used tissues where germs can linger and regularly wash your hands”.

In Herefordshire, the authorities have been sending out regular updates to community groups, schools, youth clubs, residential homes, businesses, GP surgeries, dentists and pharmacists.

The Department of Health has launched a Swine Flu Information Line – 0800 1513513 - which contains pre-recorded messages giving background to the disease and what we can all do to prevent its spread. It will refer callers who need more assistance to NHS Direct

Everyone in Herefordshire will shortly receive a swine flu information leaflet, as part of a national door drop, which is expected to take place from now, with 17 May being the final date for the entire distribution. People can get copies of the leaflets immediately, however, by downloading them from www.direct.gov.uk/swineflu. GPs have been asked to download copies of the leaflets and display them in their surgeries.

The council and the primary care trust are making translations of the flu leaflets available on their web sites to help migrant and seasonal workers stay healthy too.

To keep the public informed a mass public health campaign has started with TV and radio. The adverts remind people of the measures they can take to contain the spread of swine flu.

Information for public can be found on: www.nhs.uk and www.hpa.org.uk - as well as on the council’s website www.herefordshire.gov.uk and the primary care trust web site http://www.herefordshire.nhs.uk

The advice is, if you have come back from Mexico or one of the affected countries, and have flu like symptoms, stay at home and call your GP or NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

There are simple steps that people and their families should take to help prevent catching colds and flu:

1. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue.
2. Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully.
3. Maintain good basic hygiene - wash hands often with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people.
4. Clean hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) often using a normal cleaning product
5. Make sure your children follow this advice.

Public events within the county are expected to go ahead as planned – such as the Hay Festival. The government is not advising avoidance of mass gatherings and there are no restrictions in place. However, NHS Herefordshire stresses that it is important that people attending events should continue to take the hygiene measures designed to protect everyone from the virus, including washing their hands frequently and covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. The position will be reviewed if the situation changes.

Preparations for holding local and European elections will proceed as planned. This will be kept under review in liaison with EU partners.

Schools and other children’s services are expected to be operating as usual at present and have been alerted to additional guidance on planning for, and responding to, pandemic flu. Schools and other children’s or young people’s services are asked to download and display the government flu leaflet on notice boards. Higher and further educations colleges will not be advised to close even during a pandemic.

Local businesses can obtain more specific advice from www.businesslink.gov.uk - which signposts to relevant guides on developing continuity plans. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform website also has good information on www.berr.gov.uk

Posted : 05/05/2009 13:37:15

Work to improve county’s roads
Herefordshire Council and its partner Amey are about to commence this year’s surface dressing programme to the county’s roads.

Surface dressing is a cost effective way of restoring and preserving road surfaces. It involves a coating of bitumen being sprayed onto the road surface followed by one or more layers of hard stone chippings. As the bitumen sets, the chippings stick to the road surface and are further embedded by rolling in.

The process is rapid, compared to many other surfacing techniques and avoids lengthy closures and disruption to road users.

However, drivers do need to travel very slowly on the newly laid surface to prevent chippings being dislodged and signs will be in place telling motorists to slow down.

Inconsiderate drivers travelling above the recommended speed cause chippings to be thrown up which can damage vehicles, property and, most importantly, people.

The work coincides with the planned grass cutting programme which is carried out to ensure overgrown verges do not cause visibility problems for motorists.

Richard Ball, Assistant Director Environment and Culture, said: “This work is a necessary and essential part of our annual road maintenance programme and I would ask motorists to be patient when travelling along roads where surface dressing is being carried out.

“We will also be taking many measures to reduce inconvenience to motorists by providing advisory and warning signs,” he added.

Posted : 05/05/2009 13:33:57

Council recognises the value of foster care
Herefordshire Council has introduced a new fee system for foster carers which will help professionalise their roles, provide a better career structure and pay more to reflect the value of the work they do.

Herefordshire’s fostering allowances needed to be revised as they had fallen below the national average. Earlier this year, the government launched new training standards to professionalise the service. Herefordshire Council agreed to use the standards to underpin a new fee structure which reflected skills and competencies.

This has resulted in an increase in allowances for children placed in foster care and higher fees for their carers, provided they undertake the training required. The first level, level one, requires carers to undertake mandatory training in diversity, safeguarding and first aid, then choose one more workshop from a selection available.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children’s service, said: “Fostering is a challenging but incredibly rewarding job. It requires a very special kind of person to become a foster carer and make a real difference to children’s lives.

“The council is keen to provide support and recognition for local carers. We want Herefordshire children to be placed with Herefordshire carers so that children can stay in their existing school and retain as much normality in their lives as possible.”

“The work our foster carers do is invaluable which is why we were keen to make sure that the revised payment system reflected their skills and gave them the opportunity for career progression too. Some of our older children can be very challenging because of their life experiences, requiring their carers to have considerable experience, skills and understanding. Having a tiered fee system allows us to recognise these additional skills.”

The new allowances paid by Herefordshire Council are, for the first time, in excess of the government’s recommended rates. They vary according to the age of the child and experience of the carers. For example, a level one carer looking after a 5-10 year old would receive around £216 a week plus free Halo leisure membership for carer and child, help with transport, holidays and clothing allowances. A level three carer looking after a 16-17 year old would receive around £375 a week plus other benefits.

Anyone interested in fostering should ring 01432 383478. Training and support is provided.

Posted : 01/05/2009 14:48:09

Spring-cleaners urged to put clutter to good use
Herefordshire Council is encouraging residents busy with their annual spring clean to think twice about what they throw out.

People working hard to spruce up their properties with a spot of decorating or those getting rid of some clutter are being urged to put their unwanted items to good use to help the environment.

All across Herefordshire there are many voluntary or community organisations that will gladly take unwanted items, still in good condition, such as furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles and paint. They are then made available to other people in the area.

Re-using valuable resources in this way can help reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and help support good causes.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: "Many people choose this time of year to tidy, improve their homes and organise belongings. Taking a little time to think about how you could put your unwanted items to good use can help in a big way when it comes to reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill."

A leaflet containing details of the county’s local re-use organisations is available from the council. Alternatively, residents can try offering their unwanted items on the internet by using the Freecycle website, a local Freecycle group can be found at www.freecycle.org

People interested in finding out more about re-use initiatives should call 01905 766883 or visit www.wastemissionimpossible.org.uk

Posted : 28/04/2009 21:50:10

Come and have a go at UGO
Herefordshire is hosting the second “University of the Great Outdoors” event on May 3 and 4 at Hampton Court, Nr Leominster. Last year the two day event attracted more than 3,500 visitors and was voted a top outdoor event by participants and organisers and awarded Highly Commended at the regional Tourism in Excellence awards in 2008.

The event is held to raise awareness of the range of different activities on offer in Herefordshire and visitors are encouraged to have a go at over 24 different activities including paintballing, horse riding, Sky Trek, bungee running, fishing and laser clay shooting. Perry “the original Stig” Macarthy will be at Hampton Court on both days to join the crowds in having a go.

“The county has plenty to offer the active visitor and Visit Herefordshire is keen to share that secret and become the UK’s University of the Great Outdoors.” said Jane Lewis, tourism, food and marketing manager for Visit Herefordshire.

This is one of many projects being undertaken by Visit Herefordshire to promote the Great Outdoors, including the annual Walking Festival 13th – 21st June 2009 with over 60 walks over nine days throughout the county. The Walking Festival, now in its seventh year attracts 1,500 visitors to the county.

The outdoor theme continues with the golf short breaks packages, a new project for Visit Herefordshire, that was launched last year. The packages offer accommodation and opportunities to play golf at over 15 different golf courses.

To find out more about University of the Great Outdoors contact Visit Herefordshire on 01432 260621
www.visitherefordshire.co.uk

Posted : 27/04/2009 17:52:22

Chance to discover Mortimer Country in depth
Herefordshire Walking Festival, running from June 13 to 21 2009, offers ten days of unrivalled opportunities to discover the countryside of Herefordshire, in the company of experts on butterflies and birds, archaeology, local lore, history and heritage, with plenty of time to enjoy the delicious home produced food and drink and simply to stand and stare.

The Mortimer Trail is the featured walk this year and although the three linear sections are fully booked, each day a section of the Trail is explored and expanded into the surrounding landscape with all its ancient features and stories.

Every Inch of the Way is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to discover Mortimer Country in depth and tickets still remain for most of these loop walks.

Family walks are featured at the weekend and even here the Mortimers are not forgotten – ‘Monumental Mortimers’ wanders through the village of Wigmore & its castle, answering Who? Why? When? and What was medieval life like?

There is a walk for toddlers upwards in the grounds of the National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate and ‘Wild Play’ on Ewyas Harold Common. Even the chance to take a friendly llama for a walk around the Golden Valley.

Just email tourismmatters@herefordshire.gov.uk for your copy of the programme or visit www.walkingfestival.com from where you can buy your tickets.

Posted : 27/04/2009 12:35:42

New Bed and Breakfast added to leominster.co.uk
Today we have added details of Staunton House bed and breakfast to the Where To Stay section of the Leominster website.

For details of places to stay in Leominster and the surrounding area see Leominster hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation

Posted : 20/04/2009 22:43:53

Off the Page events celebrate Adult Learners Week
Off the Page, a week of practical, fun sessions on the theme of paper, books and tales is running in Herefordshire Council's libraries and museums from May 11th to 16th.

The events include a writing workshop using images from Herefordshire's library and museum collections, the chance for people to try their hand at papermaking, book making and calligraphy and a pleasant evening walk around Leominster and Ross with tales and stories along the route.

Sarah Chedgzoy, Herefordshire Council's principal officer for young people and learning, said: “These special events have been organised to coincide with Adult Learners Week 2009 and people will have an opportunity to learn a new skill, discover something about the place they live in, and have fun.

“We also want to remind people that libraries are welcoming community spaces offering free internet access and information to support people's work, learning and leisure while museums are inspirational community spaces that offer visitors opportunities for recreation and learning,” she added.

All sessions are free but booking is essential. For more information visit your local library or telephone 01432 260731.

Programme of events

Monday May 11
Faces and Places
A writing workshop discovering and reinventing the stories behind some of the wonderful images in the Herefordshire's Heritage and Library collections
10am – 12pm
Museum Resource & Learning Centre
58 Friars Street
Hereford
HR4 0AS
The workshop is led by Sally Givertz
Places limited. To book, phone Museum Resource & Learning Centre 01432 383595

Monday May 11
Ross Tales Walk
An evening walk that brings Ross's past back to life with stories and tales
7pm – 8.30pm
The walk is led by Mary Sinclair Powell and starts from
Market House Heritage Centre
Market Place
Ross on Wye
HR9 5HD
To book a place, phone the Market House Heritage Centre 01432 260675

Monday May 11
Create a Concertina Book
7-9pm
Leominster Library
8 Buttercross
Leominster
HR6 8BN
The workshop is led by Guy Begbie
To book phone Leominster Library 01432 383290


Tuesday May 12
Marches Scribes Workshop
An opportunity to try your hand at creating beautiful writing
10am – 12pm
Hereford Library Woolhope Room
Broad Street
Hereford
HR4 9AU
The workshop is led by Marches Scribes
Places limited. To book, phone Hereford Library 01432 383600

Wednesday May 13
Faces and Places
A writing workshop discovering and reinventing the stories behind some of the wonderful images in the Herefordshire's Heritage and Library collections
2pm – 4pm
Burgage Hall
Church Street
Ledbury
HR8 1DW
The workshop is led by Sally Givertz
Places limited. To book, phone Ledbury Library 01531 632133

Wednesday May 13
Book Doctor
A hands-on, practical workshop showing you how to take care of your books. From antique first editions to the old favourite that is suffering from being read too much.
2-4pm
Museum Resource & Learning Centre
58 Friars Street
Hereford
HR4 OAS
The workshop is lead by Liz Bowerman from Herefordshire Record Office.
Places limited. To book, phone Museum Resource & Learning Centre 01432 383595

Thursday May 14
Papermaking
It's fun, quick and easy to make your own handmade paper. Come and have a go at our hands-on workshop with Lisa Pendlebury. All materials provided but bring an apron if you have one.

10am – 12pm
The Bromyard Centre
Cruxwell Street
Bromyard
HR7 4EB

2pm – 4pm
Belmont Community Centre
Eastholme Avenue
Belmont
Hereford
HR2 7UQ

Places Limited.
To book, phone The Bromyard Centre 01432 260280
Belmont Library 01432 383295

Thursday May 14
Leominster Tales Walk
An evening walk that brings Leominster's past back to life with stories and tales
7pm – 8.30pm
The walk is led by Peter Holliday and starts from
Leominster Library
8 Buttercross
Leominster
HR6 8BN
To book a place, phone Leominster Library 01432 383290


Friday May 15
Bookmaking with Lisa Pendlebury
Learn some easy techniques to start making your own simple books. All materials provided for this make and take workshop. We will also look at how you can use the books for diaries and journals
1.30 – 3.30pm
The Kington Centre
64 Bridge Street
Kington
Herefordshire
HR5 3DJ
Places Limited. To book, phone The Kington Centre 01432 260600

Saturday May 16
Marches Scribes Workshop
An opportunity to try your hand at creating beautiful writing
1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ross Library
Cantilupe Road
Ross-on-Wye
Herefordshire
HR9 7AN
The workshop is led by Marches Scribes
Places limited. To book, phone Ross Library 01432 383280

Posted : 14/04/2009 15:15:34

Walking is the new folk rock and roll
Herefordshire Walking Festival is offering a chance for people to walk in the footsteps of folk legend John Jones during this year’s annual event which runs from Saturday, June 13th until Sunday, June 21st.

Jones of the legendary folk rock legends Oysterband, now lives in Herefordshire, and for his new Feet Don’t Fail Me Now tour will be walking to each of the venues, taking in some of the county’s wonderful countryside.

He said: “Walking is definitely the new rock and roll for me now I that have moved to this part of the county which has some of the most stunning countryside I have ever seen.

“The tour has given me a chance to more fully explore this countryside and I would urge anyone who loves walking to get tickets for this year’s walking festival,” he added.

John is walking from Hay-on-Wye to Titley in Herefordshire on Friday, May 22 where Oysterband will be giving a concert at the village hall.

He will then be walking from Titley to Leominster on Saturday, May 23 to give a concert at The Blue Note and walks on to Hereford the next day when the band will be in concert at The Barrels.

Want to follow in John’s footsteps?

If so then why not get tickets for the Ancient Trackways to a Black and White Hamlet walk in Titley on Tuesday, June 16 from 4.30pm until 10.30pm. This is a seven-mile walk following a section of the Mortimer Trail and it ends with a two-course meal at the Michelin-starred Stagg Inn.

There is also a chance to walk the Titley Loop on Saturday, June from 10am until 3.30pm. This nine-mile walk links ancient settlements at Hergest Ridge, Wapley, Croft Ambrey and beyond.

There is also a town walk in Leominster and a ghost walk being held in Hereford.

Jane Lewis, Herefordshire Council’s tourism, food and marketing manager, said: “John is a perfect example of someone who has started walking and has become totally hooked.

“I am sure he will have a wonderful time getting to his tour venues on foot and I would encourage county residents to follow in his footsteps and book their tickets now for the walking festival,” she added.

Herefordshire Walking Festival, sponsored by M & M Direct, offers 61 walks throughout the county catering for all ages and abilities and including special interest walks such as photography, archaeology and even a chance to meet llamas.

The Mortimer Trail is the featured walk this year and although the three linear sections are fully booked, each day a section of the trail is explored and expanded into the surrounding landscape with all its ancient features and stories. Every Inch of the Way offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to discover Mortimer Country in depth.

Just email tourismmatters@herefordshire.gov.uk for your copy of the programme or visit www.walkingfestival.com from where you can buy your tickets.

Posted : 14/04/2009 14:55:38

Italy Comes To Kington
Kington Choral (KCS) brings glamour and talent to Kington in June in the form of Italian soprano Silvia Spruzzola, who will be one of the star soloists in Kington Choral’s Summer GEM of a concert in St Mary’s Church, Kington, on Saturday 20th June 2009.

The impressive solo line-up is completed by Scottish baritone Allan Smith and local tenor Michael Clee, accompanied by organist Hilary Norris.

The soloists and 75-strong KCS choir will be conducted by Maureen Twiddy and will perform a triple bill of Gounod’s “St Cecilia Mass”, Elgar’s “From the Bavarian Highlands”, and Moeran’s “Songs of Springtime”.

E.F. Moeran has strong local connections with Kington so the choice of his beautiful but demanding acapella choral work is extremely appropriate.

KCS is a large SATB choral group based in Kington - visit the website kingtonchoral.org.uk for more information

Posted : 09/04/2009 19:58:17

Free swimming arrives with a splash!
More than 6,500 people have registered for Herefordshire Council’s free swimming scheme, which launched on April 1, at Halo swimming pools throughout the county.

The scheme, which provides free swimming for people aged 16 and under and over 60, is the result of a two-year grant from the government which aims to promote better health and wellbeing.

Of the people who have registered so far, 54% are female and 46% are male and 67% are aged 16 and under and 33% are aged 60 and over.

The youngest person to register is only a few weeks old and the oldest is 92.

Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “This is great news and has proved extremely popular, as we were expecting.

“Swimming is a great way to keep yourself fit and improve your wellbeing in a safe and enjoyable environment.”

Simon Gwynne, Manager of Hereford Leisure Pool, added: “The scheme has started well, particularly with the under 16’s, with the launch coinciding with the start of the Easter break”.

For more information about free swimming visit www.freeswim.org.uk or www.haloleisure.org.uk. To register, fill in a registration form at your local Halo centre.

Posted : 09/04/2009 18:52:54

Join some a guided walks with a difference!
Put the spring back in your step by joining a guided walk led by the Herefordshire Council Countryside Ranger Team.

The new programme of guided walks is now available and this year the team have organised some special interest walks which will provide unique opportunities to get closer to wildlife and explore the Herefordshire countryside.

The first walk this spring is ‘Dawn Deer Stalk’ starting at 6am on Saturday 9th May.

Countryside Ranger Paul Ratcliffe will take you around Haugh Woods and the surrounding countryside to track deer, and although spotting one is not guaranteed, you will be able to see lots of evidence of their presence and get some tips on how to track them.

You will also be able to enjoy the wide variety of flora on display as the woods and fields will be full of spring flowers and apple blossom.

If our feathered friends are more your thing then why not join Countryside Ranger Trevor Hulme for a 7.30am start on Saturday 16th May looking for ‘early birds’ at Queenswood Country Park. Trevor is a keen ornithologist and will give you an insight into identifying birds by their song and you will also get to explore the country park before many of the days’ visitors start to arrive.

The walks are both free, though booking is essential to help us manage numbers.
To book your place please contact Queenswood Tourist Information Centre, telephone 01568 797842

The full programme of guided walks can be found in the new “Walks and Family Fun” leaflet which also provides details of the family events taking place at Queenswood Country Park throughout the summer and beyond.

The leaflet is available from libraries, leisure centres and tourist information centres across the County and of course Queenswood Country Park or log onto www.herefordshire.gov.uk/queenswood

Posted : 08/04/2009 15:01:59

People urged to get a slice of Big Lottery Funding
Herefordians running projects in the county to enhance local facilities or help people enjoy their local area are being encouraged to bid for a slice of £250,000 up for grabs through The People’s Millions TV contest.

Grants of up to £50,000 per project will be awarded through the People’s Millions partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and ITV.

Across the Central region £250,000 cash is on offer in the contest which gives the public the opportunity to decide which local projects will receive Lottery funding.

In previous years the county’s Taste for Adventure Centre, H.O.P.E. For Children and Their Families and the Ewyas Harold Playground project each won a grant through the scheme.

“However, the county missed out last year so we’re encouraging people running local projects to make sure they get their details in to stand a chance of winning some cash this year,” said project development manager Clare Wichbold.

“The contest is particularly looking for projects that enable local people to get more involved in their community and that are original and imaginative,” added Clare.

“Later this year the short-listed projects will be showcased on ITV Central local news where they will have to convince the public why they deserve the cash. It will then be up to the public to use their vote to decide which groups win the funding.”

The People’s Millions is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s commitment to involving the public in deciding how Lottery money is spent. In the last four years, the competition has made 318 awards totalling £18 million to community projects across the UK through the contest.

Entry packs for The People’s Millions are available by calling the hotline: 08450 10 11 12, or by visiting www.peoplesmillions.org.ukl. The deadline for applications is May 15th.

Posted : 08/04/2009 13:30:42

Children’s centres invite families to have say
Children’s centres across the county are encouraging families to have their say over what sort of activities they’d like the centre’s to provide for them over the next few months.

Run by Herefordshire Council with support from the primary care trust, the centres are for families with children aged up to five years and provide lots of services and activities to meet local need. For example, some provide support groups for dads, others have activity days for parents and babies, one even has a special group for parents of twins and other multiple-births.

To encourage existing centre users and new ones to come and talk about what services they’d like to see provided, and find out how they can access training, play activities and other groups, a series of two hour open sessions have been arranged. All will take place from 10am until 12 noon and at each venue where there will be a selection of activities organised to keep children entertained while mums, dads and carers have a chat with centre staff.

Open sessions take place at:

Kington Children’s Centre, which is based in the Kington Youth Centre (next to Lady Hawkins School) on 18 April. The centre will be celebrating its first birthday in partnership with the county youth service, so lots of fun activities are promised.

Coningsby Children’s Centre, Leominster on May 9th

Shobdon School in the Community Room on May 30th

Andy Gosling, children’s centre manager, said: “Although children’s centres work mainly with families with very young children, we offer services to families with older children too and can signpost families and carers to other organisations who run activities for them. It’s important we get an understanding of what local families need to help us prioritise our work and make sure we meet those needs.

“A great deal of work goes into planning activities at all our centres and we want to make sure we get it right. I’d encourage people to keep an eye open for further details at their local children’s centre.

Details of all children’s centres activities are available by contacting a central number: 01432 383340 or mobile 07792 880 738.

Posted : 03/04/2009 16:05:44

Do you think you have an award winning business?
The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire are looking for special businesses from across the two counties to enter their Chamber Business Awards 2009.

The Chamber Business Awards celebrate the very best of Herefordshire and Worcestershire’s most successful businesses. With 11 categories, it is your chance to be recognised as a great business. Just by entering, you will boost the morale of your employees and the benefits of winning are numerous.
The categories for this year are:
• Business of the Year
• International Business of the Year
• Award for Excellence in Leisure and Tourism
(Sponsored by Herefordshire County Council and Worcestershire County Council)
• Growth Business of the Year (aimed at SME’s)
(Sponsored by Business Link)
• Award for Excellence in People Development
(Sponsored by Sanctuary Group)
• Community Enterprise of the Year
• Most Promising New Business (operating for 3 years or less)
• Award for Innovation through Technology
(Sponsored by Central Technology Belt)
• Large Business of the Year (over 250 employees)
(Sponsored by Nexus Creative)
• Young Entrepreneur of the Year (under 25 years of age)
(Sponsored by Rural Regeneration Zone)
• Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by University of Worcester)

This year, more than ever, finding ways to stand out and win business is a challenge. Therefore, the Chamber of Commerce is urging every business (regardless of membership), large and small, based in Herefordshire and Worcestershire to enter and use the most prestigious business awards in the area to their advantage. Winning a Chamber Business Award will get you talked about and make potential customers take notice.
Entries close on Friday 24 April and it couldn’t be easier to enter. Simply log onto www.hwchamberawards.com and complete the application form stating in no more than 2000 words why you deserve to win.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at Malvern Theatres on Friday 17 July.

For more information about the awards please contact the Chamber Team on 0845 641 1641 or e-mail enquiries@hwchamber.co.uk

Posted : 02/04/2009 01:20:25

Feast of flavours at county’s walking festival
Herefordshire Walking Festival – running from June 13 to 21 - offers the chance to not only explore the county’s countryside but also enjoy tasting some of its best produce including ice cream and cider as well as enjoy a meal at a Michelin-starred pub.

Longtown Circular, an 8.5-mile walk on Friday, June 19 from 10am until 8pm, finishes with supper at White Haywood Farm restaurant while Farming Today and Tomorrow, an eight-mile walk exploring local footpaths on Sunday, June 21 from 10.30am until 5pm, ends with a real farmhouse supper.

Beside the Cornish Way, a seven-mile walk through meadows and orchards on Saturday, June 13 from 10am until 4pm, includes a farmhouse lunch while Cider Cellars and Orchard Walk on Sunday, June 14 from 10.30am until 1.30pm, includes a farmhouse ploughman’s lunch and a chance to taste cider.

To the Vale of Ewyas on Monday, June 15 from 10am until 4.30pm, is a 9.5 mile walk ends
with a cream tea while Rivers and Railways of Kington, a seven-mile walk on Monday, June 15 from 6pm until 10pm, ends with a light supper.

People who like fine dining may want to join the Ancient Trackways to a Black and White Hamlet walk. This seven-mile walk ends with a two-course meal at the Michelin-starred Stagg Inn at Titley.

The Night, The Fox and The Dragon walk on Tuesday, June 16 from 5.30pm until 8.30pm, is a six-mile walk which ends with supper at a pub.

Views from the North, a five-mile walk on Thursday, June 18 from 2pm until 5pm, in the Leintwardine area ends with a cream tea using local produce.

A cream tea is also included in the Common and Garden Sunset Stroll, a four-mile walk in Bringsty Common on Thursday, June 18 from 6pm until 8.30pm.

Anyone who loves ice cream may want to join the five-mile walk The Cream of the Country, on Friday, June 19 from 5.30pm until 8.30pm, which ends at the award-winning Just Rachel ice cream factory where there will be a chance to taste and buy. Walkers are advised to bring a coolbox along to store any pirchases.
Jane Lewis, Herefordshire Council’s cultural services manager, said: “These walks offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy two of the county’s major assets, being the countryside and local food and drink.
“I would advise people to book their tickets soon as these walks are a great way to build up an appetite to taste some of the county’s best produce,” she added.
Herefordshire Walking Festival is sponsored by M&M Direct, the UK’s leading online discount clothing e-tailer. Log onto www.mandmdirect.com to find out more.

For further information about the walking festival, call the booking office on 01568 797842 or log onto the website at http://www.walkingfestival.com/

Posted : 01/04/2009 12:10:28

Primary schools to benefit from £8.3m cash boost
Herefordshire's primary schools are to benefit from a financial boost worth £8.3million thanks to the council successfully revising and resubmitting its Primary Strategy for Change to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

The National Primary Strategy for Change programme is designed to rebuild, remodel or refurbish about half of primary schools across the country over the next 14 years. Like many other authorities in the country, Herefordshire Council submitted a strategy in July 2008 but was told more work needed to be done before the strategy could be approved. The council worked hard during December 2008 and January 2009 to improve its strategy which was resubmitted in January 2009.

The DCSF has approved the revised strategy this week and as a result, £8.3m will be released to Herefordshire over the next two years with further funding to follow. Most of the funding will be used to create a new primary school in Leominster, by merging the existing infant and junior schools. There will also be a fund available to support small schemes that meet the Primary Strategy for Change criteria. This will enable other primary schools in the county to benefit from the strategy as well and over the next few weeks they will be invited to bid for some of the cash.

Cllr Philip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and achievement, said: “This is really good news for children and young people in Herefordshire, and for the schools that educate and support them.

“The revised strategy had to respond to a number of issues such as how the council will support world class standards in our schools, how links will be made between schools and early years settings, how we intend to address deprivation and how we can make sure all schools benefit from good quality ICT both within the communities and in the classroom.

“I am delighted to learn that children's services officers have managed to address these issues in their revised strategy and that so many schools will benefit as a result.”

The next step will be for the local authority to begin working with Leominster Infant and Junior schools to agree a way forward for the two schools to come together


Posted : 27/03/2009 15:16:36

Grass cutting season starts in Herefordshire
From now until the end of October, (weather dependant), Amey Wye Valley will once again be carrying out grass cutting works as part of the grounds maintenance partnership with Herefordshire Council.

As long as the ground is sufficiently dry for the mowers to cut the grass without churning up the ground, teams of grounds maintenance personnel will follow regular set routes around the county ensuring all amenity grassed areas receive attention.

Amey Wye Valley has a full time team, supplemented with additional seasonal workers, who are employed to deal with all the grounds maintenance works, which include approximately 137 hectares of grass cutting, care and maintenance of 15,000 trees and 2,000 square metres of flower beds containing over 90,000 plants.

They also care for, and water, in excess of 260 hanging baskets and maintain 73,000 square metres of shrub beds and look after more than 50,000 linear metres of hedgerows and 6,848kms of highway verges.

Combined efforts with Herefordshire Council and the Britain in Bloom committees throughout the County resulted in four gold awards and one silver-gilt award last year, helping to showcase Herefordshire as the beautiful county it is.

During the course of grass cutting works, workers have found that cars parked on the verges can cause considerable damage to the verge and prevent access to the mowers. This means they may have to leave a particular area uncut, which then results in the area looking shabby and unkempt. If people could be aware of this and keep cars off the grass verges this would assist workers greatly.

A particularly unpleasant aspect of grass cutting is dog mess. The dog mess ends up being strimmed or stepped in by the operatives and if dog owners can be aware of this and remove any fouling to dog bins, this will make the grassed areas more pleasant for all to use, and greatly assist the teams in their task. The constant desire to have litter put in bins rather than left lying on grassed areas will also reduce the time teams need to spend litter picking before grass cutting.

Grass cutting is a challenging task, greatly influenced by the weather. Amey Wye Valley are ensuring that teams are fully staffed during the growing season of May and June and hoping that last year’s above average rainfall experienced in July, August and September does not repeat itself.

However, this awareness of the variations in weather patterns has ensured that this year AmeyWye Valley has improved capacity by restructuring our and they are confident we will be better equipped to get back on track should the weather be against us.

Anyone who would like more information regarding grass cutting in your area, or have any feedback to give, please call 01432 845900 or email wyevalley@amey.co.uk

Posted : 27/03/2009 15:02:45

Council helps residents monitor energy use
Herefordshire Council is helping local residents beat the credit crunch by offering them the chance to loan free energy monitors and smart plugs which will help them reduce their utility bills.

These devices, available for free at all Herefordshire Libraries from April 6 2009, including both mobile libraries, will allow residents to see how much energy their household appliances are using and costing in real energy terms and the cost to the pocket and the environment.

There are two types available – a sophisticated monitor that tells you the whole usage in your house and a smart plug which measures just one electrical appliance.

Kate Murray, Herefordshire Council’s assistant cultural services manager, said: “The monitors have been purchased with funding from the Energy Saving Trust and, working with the council’s sustainability unit, are being distributed through libraries. They can be reserved, borrowed and renewed just like a book, using a library card.

“We hope people will take advantage of these devices as they really will show people how to save money through simple measures such as switching to energy saving lightbulbs and turning off appliances and lights when not in use,” she added.

For more information on how the council is approaching climate change and energy efficiency – check out the council’s website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk and you can calculate your whole carbon footprint and get advice on how to reduce it and save money at www.myherefordshire.com

Posted : 26/03/2009 13:10:56

Out-of-hours number changes
The out-of-hours number to contact a doctor or dentist outside office hours is changing on April 1st 2009.

The new number is 0330 1239309 and will be charged at a local rate. The service is for all residents as well as visitors to the county. Lines are open between 6pm and 8am Monday to Friday, during weekends and on public and bank holidays. Anyone with an urgent query about adult social care can also use this number between 5pm and 9am.

Doctor Ian Williams, Director of Integrated Commissioning, said, “The out-of-hours service is there to help people who have an urgent medical or dental concern while their GP or dental surgery is closed.

“The Primecare team will give advice and will be able to arrange access to a healthcare professional at one of our primary care centres in Herefordshire, or a visit from a doctor, if it is needed.

“A leaflet containing the new number and information about doctor and dental services in Herefordshire is being sent to every home in the county during the next ten days. We would urge every resident to read and keep this leaflet safe.”

The service is provided by NHS Herefordshire, in association with Primecare. Primecare’s fully-trained, dedicated team help around 3000 people each month with urgent health problems. This rises to as many as 4,500 during December.

Calls dealt with by the team range from severe abdominal pain and collapse to general enquiries about flu and vomiting. The top ten symptoms the team deal with are vomiting and diarrhoea, cold and cough, sore throat and earache, urinary tract infections, head, back and joint pains.

The leaflet with information about the new telephone number, as well as other useful healthcare information and numbers is being sent out to every home in the county with this year’s council tax leaflet. The new number is also being promoted by doctor and dentist surgeries and Hereford city buses will also carry advertising to promote the number.

Posted : 20/03/2009 12:27:51

Do you have a long term health condition?
The Expert Patients Programme is a potentially life-changing course run by the NHS to help people with long-term health conditions improve their quality of life.

The course is completely free and available to anyone with any long term health condition (for example arthritis, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease).

Participants attend a two-and-a-half-hour session once a week for six weeks, learning ways to manage their condition more positively and take control of their life.

Sue Tobey, Expert Patient Programme co-ordinator for NHS Herefordshire, said: “We have already held a successful course in Hereford this year with positive feedback from participants.

“It’s very rewarding to see for myself the benefits it can bring. The next courses start in Leominster on Wednesday, April 8, at Leominster Community Hall.

“I would be delighted to talk to anyone who is interested in attending or would like further information about the programme.”

Course sessions cover key topics such as managing symptoms, relaxation techniques, goal-setting, dealing with stress, depression, healthy eating, safe exercise and communication.

Tutors on the Expert Patients Programme are all volunteers who themselves have a long-term health condition and have been participants on the course, giving them first-hand experience of the difference it can make.

Participants who have attended the programme have been enthusiastic with their praise:

• “When I look back I realise I had given up hope of ever being able to live a normal life…now thanks to EPP I have a life!”

• “I feel more confident, less isolated and armed with a wealth of information to enable me to obtain a better quality of life”

• “I enjoyed the course very much…I manage a short bus ride now to visit my eldest son, whose home I have not been in for two years…that to me is a great achievement”

Anyone wanting more information about the courses or wanting to book a place should Sue Tobey on 01432 383568

Posted : 16/03/2009 12:57:12

Councillors back credit crunch budget package
Despite the recent cataclysmic changes to the economic environment, Herefordshire Council will finish the financial year within its targets for the fifth year running.

At its full council meeting today (Friday 6 March 2009) councillors backed a new budget package to fight the credit crunch and a 3.9 per cent increase in council tax – the second-lowest rise in the authority’s history. It means an increase of 85 pence per week on a band D property.

Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of the council, said the council recognised the impact of any rise on local communities and Herefordshire was facing huge pressures in providing more social care for vulnerable and older people, a section of the population that is growing rapidly. The council is also facing an 80 per cent reduction in income from its investments due to the fall in the bank rate.

Councillor Phillips announced that later this month he is to meet with Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to lobby for more money for schools as Herefordshire still receives 19 per cent less than the national average educational funding for unitary authorities. The council also gets 17 per cent less in government funding per head of population than the average. Councillor Phillips warned that Herefordshire needed to fight to ensure rural counties were not further penalised.

Councillors heard that despite big challenges in the local, national and global economies, the council has driven out £5.5 million in efficiency savings in the last year, and through prudent management had secured day-to-day reserves of £6.7 million. The council will commit £1 million from the reserves to meet immediate pressures on services.

The council will also put in new funding to help local families and encourage enterprise. It is providing nearly £600,000 for a mortgage rescue scheme over the next four years to help families with money difficulties to stay in their own home. For the same period another £500,000 will help people gain a foothold on the housing later. Over £200,000 is earmarked to encourage owners to bring empty properties back into use and £250,000 will go in grants to help adapt homes to help disabled people live independently.

Another £1.5 million goes to improve the Rotherwas business park and extra money is being secured to investigate the revitalising of the Buttermarket in Hereford, to showcase local produce and culture. Funds will go into relocating the city’s traditional open retail market into High Town, otherwise councillors heard, the market could be no more in 12 months time. In addition, the council will put £1.5 million into supporting its smallholdings over the next three years. And there will be an extra £20,000 to support the Citizens Advice Bureau as its services are likely to be in greater demand during the economic downturn.

To safeguard children and vulnerable adults, the council is spending an additional £230,000 to ensure checks and support systems are in place.

The council is planning to achieve nearly £1 million in annual savings by renegotiating its contract with Amey for highways and maintenance work. And it will invest to ensure it can maintain its popular weekly rubbish collections and provide kerbside recycling for 90 per cent of households in the county to avoid huge landfill penalties. Money will also go on local construction contracts to refurbish Halo leisure centres and provide enhanced youth services, with a new youth centre planned for Leominster.

Tributes were paid to the council’s financial management, which moved quickly to restructure its medium term financial plans to take account of the dramatic changes in the economy. The council also prudently avoided investing in Icelandic banks, which has cost many other local authorities millions of pounds and cuts to jobs and services.

Posted : 06/03/2009 17:02:38

Are you a budding David Bailey?
Herefordshire youngsters who would like to follow in the footsteps of world famous photographers such as David Bailey or Lord Snowdon are being urged to first try their hand in a police photographic competition.

The photo competition is part of a series of events to mark the official opening of the refurbished and extended Divisional Police Headquarters in Bath Street, Hereford in August this year, and is open to all pupils of both primary and senior schools in the county.

Primary school pupils can enter two categories (either or both). The first category requires entrants to show in photographic form what policing in Herefordshire means to them. In the second category, pupils should depict what they like about where they live.

In the senior section, entrants can again display what policing in Herefordshire means to them but the second category asks for a photograph that encapsulates the very essence of the county - the Heart of Herefordshire.

There are £100 prizes for the winners of each category, with £50 and £25 for 2nd and 3rd places. The school attended by the winning student in each category will also receive a prize of £500.

The last date for entries is midnight on Tuesday 30th June 2009. The winning photographs will be determined by a panel of judges including Ch. Supt. Mark Turner (Divisional Commander), Cllr Bernard Hunt (Chair of the Local Policing Board and Police Authority member) and Mr Graham Richards from Frame-Up in Widemarsh Street, Hereford.

Ch. Supt. Mark Turner said, "This is an excellent opportunity for our students to tell us in pictures how they see the police in their locality, and will of necessity require them to engage with their Local Policing Teams and other officers in order to get the right photographs."

"The winners' work will not only be framed and put on display in police stations across the county but will also be used by our Press Office when preparing leaflets, posters and other literature. I would encourage all our young people to have a go and see if they can portray Herefordshire Police and/or Herefordshire itself in just one photograph."

Entry forms for the competition are available from the school secretaries of all the counties schools or from the Press Office at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000.

Posted : 05/03/2009 20:53:54

Bank Holiday event near Leominster
Full details of the spectacular two-day outdoor-activity event, scheduled to take place in Herefordshire over the May Bank Holiday weekend, have been announced.

Set to take place in the grounds of Hampton Court, near Leominster, over the weekend of Sunday, May 3 and Monday, May 4h, the second annual University of the Great Outdoors is being heralded as the only regional event focusing exclusively on outdoor activities, where visitors can pay a one-off entrance fee, which will then enable them to circulate within the grounds, and enjoy unlimited taster sessions in a choice of around 30 different activities.

As such, it's the opportunity in The Midlands this year for anyone to come and "have a go" at a new and exciting outdoor activity. The action-packed sessions available include grass-sledging, orienteering, canoeing and kayaking, mountain boarding, pony trekking, abseiling, archery, bungee, trampolining and zip-lining along the longest wire in the UK.

A Central Arena, meanwhile, will have a full programme of events to keep the whole family amused: from a birds of prey display to Perry McCarthy giving a talk about his life as 'The Stig' on BBC TV's Top Gear.

Full details are now featured on the website www.visitherefordshire.co.uk, as well as in a free University of the Great Outdoors leaflet (Tel: 01432-260621).

The event also offers less-energetic visitors to the county an opportunity to get involved in a range of activities including wine tasting, green woodcraft, photography, tai chi and belly dancing.

Exhibitors and leisure equipment suppliers will also be on hand throughout the event to provide expert advice, and essential kit, to anyone interested in taking the taster sessions on to the next level.

The University of the Great Outdoors will be open to participants from 10am to 5pm on both Sunday and Monday. Prices for one day are £8 (adult), £7 (concessions), £5 (child) and £28 (family – two adults, three children). Two-day tickets are also available. "Spectator" entry fees, are just £4, £3, and £2 respectively.

The entry fee includes entrance to the gardens of Hampton Court, including the sunken gardens and maze.

Promising to be even bigger and better than last year, the showcase occasion is aimed at reinforcing the county's proud boast of being one of the very best activity holiday destinations in the whole of Britain.

Posted : 02/03/2009 22:01:59

Chinese themed fun for Herefordshire youngsters
Herefordshire Council’s museums and libraries are running ten days of Chinese themed activities during the Easter holidays called Destination China.

The events, which run from April 7 to 17, follow on from the highly successful Destination Japan event last year which saw 395 people involved in workshops ranging from Manga to Taiko drumming.

This year’s events focus on the arts and culture of China and will include painting, martial arts, dance and storytelling.

Sarah Laws, Herefordshire Council’s arts learning officer, said: “Destination China aims to provide creative learning opportunities and celebrate Chinese culture.

“We are holding the event during the Easter holidays to provide a low-cost and fun activity for families and also help us to promote what our libraries and museums can offer to children,” she added.

Events are:

April 7 to 17: A display of the Chinese collections at Hereford Museum Resource and Learning Centre, Friar Street, Hereford (HR4 0AS).

April 7: Open day at Hereford Museum Resource and Learning Centre with China Painting from 11am onwards for children aged eight and above. Move Like Jackie Chan (Martial Arts Breakdance) will be held from 11am until 12.30pm for the eight and above. All of the activities are free but must be booked in advance.

April 7: Move Like Jackie Chan (Martial Arts Breakdance) at the Bromyard Centre (HR7 4EB) from 5pm until 6.30pm for ages 10 and over. Tickets cost £3.

April 8: Chinese storytelling at Ross Library (HR9 7AN) from 10.30am until 11.30am for children aged five and over. Tickets £3.

April 8: Traditional Chinese dance at Ross Library for children with Fenfen Huang for ages five to eight and from 2.30pm until 3.30pm and for ages eight and above, 3.30pm until 4.30pm. Tickets £3.

April 8: Chinese art workshop at The Market House Heritage Centre, Ross (HR9 5HD) from noon until 2pm for children aged five or over. Tickets £3.

April 8: Chinese storytelling at Ledbury Library (HR8 2AA) from 2.30pm until 3.30pm for children aged five and over. Tickets £3.

April 9: Chinese storytelling at Leominster Library (HR6 8BN) from 2.30pm until 3.30pm for ages five and above. Tickets £3.

April 9: Readings by Chinese author Tina Freeth at Leominster Library (HR6 8BN) for adults from her books Lychees and Bingo Balls, Cupboard Love and Growing up on the Land, 6pm to 7pm. Tickets £3.

April 14: Chinese crafts workshop for families at the Market House Heritage Centre, Ross (HR9 5HD) from 10am until 1pm. Tickets £3.

To make bookings and for further details contact:
• Hereford Museum Resource & Learning Centre: 01432 260692.
• The Bromyard Centre: 01432 260280.
• Ledbury Library: 01531 632133
• Ross Library: 01432 383280
• The Market House Heritage Centre, Ross-on-Wye: 01432 260675


Posted : 27/02/2009 11:07:24

Go bananas for Fairtrade Fortnight
Herefordshire Council is encouraging people to support Fairtrade Fortnight with a visit to the growing number of county shops and restaurants serving and selling Fairtrade products.

In May 2006, the authority took the decision to support Fairtrade produce, which benefits small farmers in developing countries, and achieved Fairtrade County Status.

Fairtrade Fortnight runs from February 23rd until March 8th and events in the county include a Go Bananas stall in High Town, Hereford, on Friday March 6th from noon until 2pm when people will be given fair-trade bananas to eat as part of a national record-breaking effort. The bananas are being donated by local supermarkets.

People have a chance to learn more about Fairtrade products at a special evening being held at Leominster Community Centre on Friday, March 6 at 7.30pm. Trish Marsh, Herefordshire Council's sustainability manager, will be talking about her experiences of buying only local or fair-trade food for a year. Janet and Les Hardy will also talk about their visit to Peru to see Fairtrade businesses.

As part of this evening, hand-made Peruvian, Alpaca good and Traidcraft snacks will be for sale.

There will also be a Fairtrade Day at Tupsley's St Paul's Community Centre on Saturday, March 7th from 10.30am until 1.30pm.

The county website, at http://www.herefordshirefairtrade.org.uk, includes a full directory of suppliers and the latest Fairtrade news.

Herefordshire Council serves Fairtrade tea and coffee at all its public meetings and encourages other organisations to follow suit.

In September 2004, a young co-operative calling themselves Harambe was set up at Lady Hawkins' School in Kington to sell Fairtrade products and to raise awareness of the benefits of Fairtrade. The name Harambe is a Swahili word which means working together.

Posted : 20/02/2009 23:31:18

Info In Herefordshire wins Charter Mark
Herefordshire’s residents receive excellent customer service from Herefordshire Council’s Info Shops and Info by Phone and as a result, they have been awarded a charter mark for the sixth year running.

Charter Mark is the UK national standard of customer service excellence for public sector organisations. To meet charter mark standards, the council had to submit an application showing evidence of improvements made over the past year and receive a two day assessment visit in January.

Charter mark assessor, Pat Broad, was very complimentary about Customer Services during her visit to the Hereford Centre, Garrick House. After interviewing council staff to check that the required standards were being met, she praised the team for working in partnership with others to provide co-ordinated services, using resources well and being positively involved in the community. She was particularly impressed with the Golden Ticket Scheme which is currently being piloted at the Hereford Centre where an appointment is made for new benefit claimants and as long as all documentation is received at that appointment, the claim will be processed within 48 hours.

Councillor June French, cabinet member for corporate, customer services and human resources, said: “I’m delighted to learn that the team have met the standard once again and offer them my heartiest congratulations.

“It is very important that residents are able to access local services and be able to talk to someone from the Info customer services team who is helpful and knowledgeable. All the employees working in our Info Shops and Info by Phone have received extensive training and are able to provide a wide range of information on all the council’s services.

The council has Info Shops in Hereford, Bromyard, Kington, Leominster, Ledbury and Ross on Wye. In addition, information can be obtained by ringing Info by Phone on 01432 260500.


Posted : 13/02/2009 21:27:59

Not just stamping books …revisited
Staff at Leominster Library are putting together an exhibition to give borrowers a glimpse into their lives away from work.

It follows on from a successful exhibition held in January 2000, titled ‘Not just stamping books’.

The staff who work at the library have a diverse range of interests and hobbies and the exhibition will include examples of their photography, artwork, knitting, ceramics and even a decorated cake.

The exhibition will run from Tuesday, February 24th until Friday, March 6th in the Leominster Library exhibition room and will be open during normal library opening hours. Entrance is free and all are welcome.

Posted : 11/02/2009 11:36:19

Young Farmers Hedging Match
A total of 52 members from 10 Clubs in Herefordshire demonstrated their hedgelaying skills at the Annual County Hedging Match on Sunday 25th January. The Match moved to the north-west to Upper Wall End Farm, Monkland, Leominster HR6 9DE by very kind permission of Mr and Mrs R H Marfell and family.

Competitors were required to stake, pleach and heather a specified length of hedge in the time allowed. All the stakes were kindly donated by B and J Davies of Bucknell. The annual Match offers young people the chance to learn this valuable and traditional countryside skill and to put their craft to the test in this popular Young Farmers competition which first started in 1948. The pairs aided class saw 9 teams given the chance to improve their skills on the day with hands-on assistance from more experienced hedgelayers.

Mr Clifford Price, Chairman of the Competitions Committee, commented "the Hedging Match is one of my favourite competitions and it is very gratifying to see a well-laid hedge finished to a high standard".

Trophy results were as follows:-
The Agricultural Valuers Association Trophy awarded to the Club gaining the highest marks in all classes
1st Craswall YFC
2nd Ledbury YFC A
3rd Welsh Newton YFC

The Pencombe Agricultural Society Cup was awarded to the Club gaining the highest marks in Classes 2 and 3
1st Longtown YFC
2nd Craswall YFC A
3rd Craswall YFC B

Individual class results were as follows:-

Class 1 (U26 singles)
1st Matt Gardner - Ledbury YFC
2nd Graham Richards - Craswall YFC
3rd Ben Pritchard - Longtown YFC

Class 2 (U26 pairs)
1st Adam Price and Mark Lewis - Craswall YFC
2nd Nigel Box and James Prosser - Ledbury YFC
3rd James Leighton and Alec Brazier - Pencombe YFC

Class 3 (U21 pairs)
1st Elliot Pritchard and Haydn Lloyd - Longtown YFC
2nd Josh Christopher and Greg Christopher - Craswall YFC A
3rd Rebecca Watkins and Harvey Powell - Craswall YFC B

Class 4 (U26 aided)
1st Harry Pritchard and Sam Whistance - Longtown YFC
2nd Johnny Cross and William Layton - Craswall YFC
3rd Alex Lawrence and Jack Williams - Allensmore YFC

For more information and a programme of events click on the County website at www.hfyfc.org.uk or contact Lucinda at the County Office on 01432 274187 or e.mail countyadmin@hfyfc.org.uk.

Event dates in March
Pantomime Festival week Monday 16th - Thursday 19th February 7.15 pm and Finals Night on Saturday 21st February at 6.30 pm at the Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School
Sports Competitions Day - Sunday 8th March at St Richards School, Bredenbury 11.00 am
Fashion Fix and Mini Treats evening - Friday 13th March at Hereford Town Hall 7.30 pm


Posted : 10/02/2009 23:36:49

Snow In Herefordshire - Update
As the situation in Herefordshire has eased, Herefordshire Council has stood down its emergency information line. Over the last two days nearly 2000 calls have been made to the line but further information can be obtained from the council's switchboard on 01432 260000 and the council's website – www.herefordshire.gov.uk

Herefordshire Council is monitoring weather conditions and has the emergency service on standby for the weekend, together with its usual highways services, volunteer agencies and rest centre teams.

The council has a week's supply of road salt, assuming that gritters are covering the main roads and priority routes two times a day. Over the last week, gritting has sometimes been carried out four times a day to keep routes open. Each gritting costs around £9,000 and this winter has seen the introduction of a different type of salt, which although slightly more expensive, goes further and lasts longer on the roads. This has helped Herefordshire avoid some of the salt shortages that have hit other parts of the country.

The council has secured almost all A roads in the county after gritting teams worked first to treat roads with road salt in advance of this morning’s heavy and widespread snowfall, and then again with snowploughs throughout the early hours. The council will continue to plough and treat the roads as necessary – particularly problem spots such as Fromes Hill on the A4103 Hereford to Worcester road.

The main problem this morning, other than on the minor roads, has been the A49 by Much Birch and also on Blackfriars Bridge. Although this is the Highway Agency's responsibility, the council has worked in collaboration to ensure that the main roads in Herefordshire are passable.

The council confirms that several bus companies are not running a service today, and these include DRM, P W Jones, Newbury, First Midlands and IandF Coaches, and operating a limited service are Yeoman, George Young and Stagecoach. Travellers are advised, however, to call the bus companies direct for information as this may change.

Apart from school closures reported earlier today, the Saturday morning Herefordshire Music Service at Bishops High School has been cancelled.

Posted : 06/02/2009 14:01:13

Update from Herefordshire Council
Herefordshire Council reports that it has secured almost all A roads in the county after gritting teams worked first to treat roads with road salt in advance of this morning's heavy and widespread snowfall, and then again with snowploughs throughout the early hours.

The council will continue to plough and treat the roads as necessary – particularly problem spots such as Fromes Hill on the A4103 Hereford to Worcester road. Gritting teams were pleased to receive a much-needed delivery of road salt this morning.

However, the council advises motorists to avoid the A465 between Hereford and Abergavenny which is impassable and the A40 between Ross and Monmouth as several lorries have broken down and are blocking the road at this time. Although the A49 north of Hereford is passable, the A49 south of the city remains a problem. All available snow clearance contractors are working on roads across the county.

Herefordshire Council received several hundred calls to its emergency information line on 01432 260260 from residents requiring updates on local road conditions and school closures. Yesterday the information line took nearly 1000 calls from residents between 6am and 10am. Traffic on the council's website www.herefordshire.gov.uk increased significantly as local people sought updates on school closures.

Several schools have decided to close in Herefordshire today. These are:

Almeley Primary
Ashperton Primary School, Ledbury
Aylestone High, Hereford
Barrs Court School
Bishop of Hereford Bluecoat School
Blackmarston School, Hereford
Bosbury Primary
Brampton Abbotts C E Primary School
Bredenbury Primary
Bridstow C E Primary School
Broadlands Primary
Burghill Community Primary School, Hereford
Burley Gate Primary
Canon Pyon C E Primary School
Cleehonger Pre-School
Clehonger C E Primary School
Clifford Primary School, Hardwick, Hay-on-Wye
Cradley Primary
Credenhill Primary
Eastnor Parochial Primary School, Ledbury
Eardisley Primary
Ewyas Harold Primary
Fairfield High School, Peterchurch
Garway Primary
Gateway Nursery, Bartestree
Goodrich C E
Gorsley Goffs Primary
Hampton Dene Primary
Hereford Sixth Form College
Holme Lacy Primary School, Hereford
Holmer C E Primary School, Hereford
John Kyrle High
John Masefield High School, Ledbury
Kings Caple Primary School, Hereford
Kingsland Primary
Kingstone & Thruxton Primary School
Kingstone High School
Kington Primary School
Lady Hawkins' High School, Kington
Ledbury Primary School
Lee Primary
Llangrove C E Primary School
Longtown Primary School, Hereford
Lord Scudamore Primary
Lugwardine Primary School
Luston Primary
Madley Primary
Marden Primary School, Hereford
Michaelchurch Escley Primary School
Monmouth Comprehensive
Mordiford Primary
Much Birch Primary
Much Marcle Primary
Orleton Primary
Our Lady's R C Primary School, Hereford
Pembridge Primary
Pencombe C E Primary School
Pendock CE Primary School
Peterchurch Primary School
QE High School, Bromyard
Shobden Primary
St Francis Xavier's R C School, Hereford
St James’ C E Primary School, Kimbolton
St Martin’s Primary School, Hereford
St Mary's C E, Fownhope
St Mary's RC High School
St Michaels Bodenham
St Pauls Primary, Hereford
St Peter's Primary School, Bromyard
St Thomas Cantilupe, Hereford
St Weonard's Primary School
Staunton-on-Wye Endowed Primary School
Steiner Academy, Much Dewchurch
Stretton Sugwas C E Primary School
Sutton Primary
Walford Primary
Wellington Primary
Weobley High School, Hereford
Westfield School, Leominster
Weston Under Penyard Primary
Whitecross High School and Specialist Sports College, Hereford
Whitbourne Primary
Whitchurch Primary
Wigmore High
Wigmore Primary
Withington Primary

Generally, residents are asked to consider very carefully whether their journey is absolutely necessary, look in on elderly or vulnerable neighbours, be aware of where your children are if they are playing in the snow today and use the famous Herefordshire community spirit to help each other out, particularly in the more remote areas of the county.


Posted : 06/02/2009 10:01:24

Update from Herefordshire Council: 10am on 5 Feb
The council’s emergency information line, which opened at 6am today, is closing at 10am after taking nearly 1000 calls from residents anxious to hear about local road conditions and school closures.

Calls were also coming in from neighbouring areas that do not have a similar service. However, calls to the line have now virtually stopped, and further updates are available on the council’s web site – www.herefordshire.gov.uk - and the council’s normal switchboard will also be providing information on 01432 260000.

A decision whether to reopen the emergency information line will be taken according to how weather conditions develop.

Herefordshire Council’s gritting teams have been out gritting all priority routes this morning and also placed emphasis on areas of steep gradients and those subjected to heavy snowfall - but many side roads are potentially dangerous to drive down. The council does have enough road salt to deal with this current snowfall but, due to the national shortage and suspended salt deliveries, has to manage its stock levels carefully.

The council’s strategic partner Amey has worked long hours through the night and also diverted labour from sub contractors, grounds maintenance and street cleansing to undertake hand salting from 3.5 tonne trucks and utilise pushable hand spreaders. Priority was given to high usage footways and risk areas such as the footpath by the hospital. Rural steep banks, where it was unsuitable for large gritting vehicles, were also targeted by the two men and truck teams. There were individual rescues undertaken by the teams, including that of a French lorry driver who skidded off the road.

The council apologises but due to potentially dangerous conditions on most side roads, the today’s household refuse collections are being postponed.



Posted : 05/02/2009 12:06:10

Update from Herefordshire Council: 9am on 5th Feb
The council has opened its emergency information line – 01432 260260 – to update residents on road conditions and school closures. BBC Hereford and Worcester is also providing regular updates and the council's website – www.herefordshire.gov.uk - also has information. And if you put in the word 'grit' in the site search box you will find maps showing all the roads included in the council's gritting programme, or go directly to:
http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/transport/road_path_maintenance/3231.asp

Herefordshire Council's gritting teams have been out gritting all main roads and secondary routes this morning and they are doing all they can to keep the county moving in today’s snowy conditions. Focus has also been placed on areas of steep gradients and those subjected to heavy snowfall but many side roads are potentially dangerous to drive down. The council does have enough road salt to deal with this current snowfall but, due to the national shortage and suspended salt deliveries, has to manage its stock levels carefully.

The council apologises but due to potentially dangerous conditions on most side roads, the today's household refuse collections are being postponed.

Some Herefordshire schools have decided to close today due to the weather conditions and concerns about getting children home safely. So far we have heard from the following schools that they will be closed today:

Ashfield Park Primary
Ashperton Primary
Aylestone High
Barrs Court School
Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School
Blackmarston School
Bosbury Primary
Brampton Abbots Primary
Bredenbury Primary
Broadlands Primary
Brockhampton Primary
Brookfield School
Burley Gate Primary
Colwall Primary
Cradley Primary
Goodrich Primary
Hereford Cathedral School
Hereford College of Technology (both Campuses)
Hereford Sixth Form Centre
Holme Lacy Primary
John Kyrle High School
John Masefield High School
Kimbolton Primary
Kings Caple Primary
Kingstone High school
Kingstone and Thruxton Primary
Lord Scudamore Primary
Lea Primary School
Ledbury Primary
Leominster Junior
Leominster Infants

Little Dewchurch Primary
Llangrove Primary
Lugwardine Primary
Michaelchurch Escley
Monmouth Comprehensive School
The Minster College, Leominster
Mordiford Primary
Much Birch Primary
Much Marcle Primary
Peterchurch Primary
Queen Elizabeth High School
Royal Forest of Dean School
St Francis Xavier RC Primary
St Joseph's Primary
St Mary's Fownhope Primary
St Mary's RC High
St Mary's Credenhill Primary School
St Paul's Church of England Primary
St Peters Bromyard Primary
St Thomas Cantilupe Primary School
St Weonards Primary
The Steiner School
Stoke Primary School, Leominster
Sutton Primary
Walford Primary
Westfield School
Weston Under Penyard Primary
Whitchurch Primary
Whitecross High
Wigmore Primary
Wigmore High

Parents are advised to contact schools direct to check opening arrangements for tomorrow. A multi-agency emergency meeting – including police, fire and rescue, ambulance services, the primary care trust and the council – also decided to issue the following advice:

Generally, residents are asked to consider very carefully whether their journey is absolutely necessary, look in on elderly or vulnerable neighbours and use the famous Herefordshire community spirit to help each other out, particularly in the more remote areas of the county.

When preparing to drive in wintry conditions:
• Check the local and national weather forecasts
• Listen to local and national radio stations for up to date travel information
• Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive
• Make sure you have warm clothes, food, drink, boots, a torch and a fully charged mobile phone in case you break down
• In snowy conditions carry a spade
• If severe weather strikes, don't make any unnecessary journeys

When driving in bad weather conditions:
• Motorists should keep well back from the vehicle in front
• If steering becomes unresponsive it may mean water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually
• Rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen, motorists should reduce their speed and clearly indicate at roundabouts and junctions

Vehicle condition is also a vital part of road safety. Motorists are advised to:
• Keep lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from snow and ice
• Make sure the car battery is fully charged
• Add antifreeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles
• Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order and used
• Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth (the legal minimum tread depth for car tyres in the UK is 1.6mm across the centre three quarters of the tyre) and are maintained at the correct pressure
• Make sure the brakes are working correctly
• Make sure that you understand the meaning of all warning displays on the vehicle instrument panel: do not ignore warning signs, they could indicate a dangerous fault developing


Posted : 05/02/2009 11:46:15

Way ahead for Leominster relief road
A meeting between representatives of Herefordshire Council and Leominster Town Council has resulted in a joint agreement to pursue plans for a much-needed East-West Relief Road for the market town.

Local ward councillors met in late January with the leader of Herefordshire Council Roger Phillips and cabinet member for highways and transportation Councillor Brian Wilcox. They all agreed that a Leominster relief road would reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in the Bargates area and in the town generally. The most realistic way forward was for the relief road to be funded by the private sector, linked to a major residential housing development.

The option is to be pursued through the county’s new Local Development Framework, which is replacing the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) for Herefordshire. The UDP contains the council’s official planning position and already identifies transport constraints in Leominster imposed by the town’s infrastructure - and any significant housing growth in the future would require the construction of a new road. Leominster could accommodate a proportion of the housing growth being set out for Herefordshire in the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy. If the new homes are built on land to the south west of Leominster, their development would be dependent on the construction of a new road from the B4321 Hereford Road to the A44 south west of Barons Cross.

However, Herefordshire Council will need to review the technical evidence provided by landowners and potential developers and will, over the summer and autumn of this year, further consult on options in its overall core strategy. This strategy feeds into the Local Development Framework, and shapes Herefordshire until 2026.

The use of public funds to finance the construction of a relief road has been effectively ruled out as the project would not meet the Department for Transport’s criteria, so other funding such as the infrastructure levy will be explored. Herefordshire Council is also exploring opportunities for financial support from the Welsh Assembly as the West Midlands Regional Assembly is keen to prioritise strategic transport links with mid Wales.

“During a very positive meeting, we also agreed that traffic management changes would be required in the Leominster town centre to stop any use of the town as a rat run”, said Councillor Brian Wilcox. “This would also be accompanied by measures to support sustainable transport such as walking, cycling and public transport, but Leominster Town Council and local people would play a major part in the consultation leading up to preferred options”.

Councillor Richard Westwood, deputy mayor and chairman of Leominster Town Council’s finance committee, said: “We are delighted that Leominster Town Council’s efforts to raise the profile of the need for the relief road have been recognised and we will continue to work enthusiastically with Herefordshire Council to pursue our joint aim”.

Posted : 04/02/2009 11:35:02

Council works round clock to keep roads safe
Herefordshire Council, together with their contractors Amey, have been working round the clock this week to make sure the county’s roads are safe for motorists during the heavy snowfalls.

Some 1,700 tonnes of salt was spread on the county’s roads on February 1, 2, 3 with operations focusing on major and secondary routes to keep these clear. 115 people were involved in co-ordinating and delivering the gritting operation.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “I would like to thank all of the people who have ensured motorists have been able to safely use all of the county’s major routes and also drivers for taking care in the difficult conditions.

“Even though the snow is now starting to melt, I would still urge motorists to keep driving sensibly as there is still a further risk of ice and snow throughout the week.

“We are replenishing our stocks of salt and have all of our gritters on standby in case the snow returns,” he added.

Posted : 04/02/2009 10:39:34

Free swimming for younger and older people
Herefordshire residents under 16 or over 60 years of age will get free swimming from 1st April. Herefordshire Council has secured nearly £200,000 a year from the government to pay for the two-year scheme, which aims to promote better health and wellbeing.

The Herefordshire scheme means more children and young people will have the chance to get proficient at swimming and involved in sport by 2012, when the Olympics are hosted in London. The council and the primary care trust also hope older people will be encouraged to take a more active part in local activities and live longer, enriched lives as a result.

“We feel that this scheme will be popular right across the county”, said Councillor Roger Phillips, leader of Herefordshire Council.

“We have a high level of swimming provision in Herefordshire and by removing charges for children and young people under 16 years of age, we can provide a very positive activity that keeps them fit and safe in the water”.

Added Dr Akeem Ali, Herefordshire’s director of public health: “Swimming is an easy and enjoyable means for improving health, wellbeing and general quality of life, especially if you are over 60 and get together with friends or neighbours as part of an active day out”.

The free swimming will be delivered by Halo and available at the Halo swimming pools in Hereford, Leominster, Ledbury and Ross-on-Wye. Eligible people will be will be asked to register for the scheme and will be issued with a free swimming card, which will allow them unlimited free access to swimming. The scheme covers public access swimming but does not include swimming lessons. To register your interest in the scheme please contact your local Halo centre on 0845 1300 842.

There will be a pre-registration process publicised before 1 April and an announcement will be made to all Herefordshire residents starting from 16 February in Herefordshire Matters – the magazine that promotes council and primary care trust services available to local people. The magazine will ask people to contact their local Halo centre to register their interest.

There will also be posters and leaflets, a website, adverts in the local press, information in libraries, info shops and museums, in doctors and dentists surgeries, via schools and there will be an official launch event in April.


Posted : 03/02/2009 18:42:46

Young Farmers Hedging Match
Members from 11 Clubs in Herefordshire will be demonstrating their hedgelaying skills at the Annual County Hedging Match on Sunday 25th January. The Match is moving north-west to Upper Wall End Farm, Monkland, Leominster HR6 9DE by very kind permission of Mr & Mrs R H Marfell and family.

Competitors are required to stake, pleach and heather a specified length of hedge in the time allowed. All the stakes are being kindly donated by B & J Davies of Bucknell. The Match offers young people the chance to learn this valuable and traditional countryside skill and to put their craft to the test in this popular annual Young Farmers competition which first started in 1948. There are classes for individuals or for a team of two working together. The pairs aided class has attracted 10 teams and offers members the chance to improve their skills on the day with hands-on assistance from more experienced hedgelayers. The unaided pairs classes for under 26s and U21s will see a further 21 teams competing.

Mr Clifford Price, Chairman of the Competitions Committee, commented “the Hedging Match is one of my favourite competitions and it is very gratifying to see a well-laid hedge finished to a high standard”.

The Agricultural Valuers Association Trophy will be awarded to the Club gaining the highest marks in all classes. The Pencombe Agricultural Society Cup will be awarded to the Club gaining the highest marks in Classes 2 and 3.

Hedging will begin at 9.00 am and hedge sections should be ready for judging early afternoon. Admission is completely free - this is a chance for anyone to come along to watch and learn about hedgelaying. Light refreshments will be available at the Match.

For more information and a programme of events click on the County website at www.hfyfc.org.uk or contact Lucinda at the County Office on 01432 274187 or e.mail countyadmin@hfyfc.org.uk.


Posted : 21/01/2009 00:34:52

Have your say on climate change
Herefordshire Council is offering county residents a chance to find out more about climate change and come up with ideas that will make a difference.

A series of discussion meetings are being held throughout the county and everyone is welcome to attend.

Antonia Fitch, Herefordshire Council’s sustainability officer, said: “No background knowledge of climate change is needed and we want people to share their own experiences about how the issues are affecting their own families.

“We are working hard to raise awareness of the issues but also want to hear directly from county residents so we can target our actions to meet what they need.

“Tickets to the events are free but should be booked by contacting the library where the session is being held. Ledbury tickets are available from Ledbury library or the Info offices which are just next door,” she added.

There will also be a meeting in Hay-on-Wye to cover the Herefordshire parishes of Cusop, Clifford, Eardisley and Brilley but details of this have yet to be finalised.

Anyone wanting more information should contact Antonia Fitch on 01432 260132.

The Leominster meeting will take place at the Leominster Library on January 23rd between 2pm and 3.30pm


Posted : 16/01/2009 12:58:53

Getting fresh in Herefordshire
A major campaign to put local food on local plates is gaining momentum following a key meeting between Herefordshire Council, the Duchy of Cornwall and the Bulmer Foundation.

The three organisations, along with other partners, are committed to drawing up a food strategy for the county which will guarantee more locally produced food appearing on menus and dinner plates across Herefordshire.

It will encourage all public sector organisations, county restaurants and pubs, food outlets, catering facilities, stallholders and cafes to use more freshly grown, locally produced food in their menus.

“It’s good for the local economy, good for the environment as we’ll be cutting food miles, and better for your health as the food will be farm fresh,” said Cllr Adrian Blackshaw, cabinet member for economic development and community services.

“What good does it do the county if we don’t support our local growers – forcing them to find markets for the produce many miles away – while we instead import food which is less fresh and has travelled many more miles from the field to the plate.

“It makes sense on all levels to develop this strategy which will have countless benefits,” added Cllr Blackshaw.

Herefordshire Council is already committed to promoting the use of local produce within the county through such initiatives as the Food Festival and its support of the regular farmers markets in Hereford city and the market towns.

The Duchy of Cornwall is already working with a number of local growers to make sure their produce ends up in a number of school meals.

One of the examples is the Duchy’s work with Kingstone and Thruxton Primary School where a Duchy farmer has been “adopted by” and is working with the school to encourage youngsters both to develop seasonal menus and to enjoy local produce, grown just a stone’s throw from the school.

David Curtis, Land Steward for the Duchy of Cornwall, said: “We established the Local Food Partnership in 2007 to increase the proportion of local and seasonal food in school meals. By engaging with the farming, catering and distribution communities, we feel we can help deliver real benefits to the rural economy in Herefordshire”.

And in April of last year the Bulmer Foundation hosted the first Herefordshire Food Vision Conference to bring together different parties with an interest in local food, and a County Food and Drink Working Group has been established to build on one of the county’s key strengths.

Peter Norton, Bulmer Foundation Projects Manager, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in drawing up a food strategy for the county.

“Supporting local producers is fundamental to local sustainable development, and setting out a framework for how the county supports its local food industry has the potential to make a huge impact,” he added.


Posted : 13/01/2009 22:04:18

Council helps residents cut energy bills
Herefordshire Council has already given out 500 grants to help people reduce their energy bills.

Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council's energy champion, said: “I am delighted so many people have taken advantage of the Special Energy Efficiency Scheme (SEES) grants which offer up to £500 towards energy saving measures such as improving home insulation.

“We still have some funds left and have recently extended eligibility to Herefordshire Homeowners and private tenants over 60 years of age and I would urge anyone who feels they can benefit to contact Domestic and General Insulation, who this year operate as a partner with the council, on telephone 0844 543 0043,” he added.

With fuel prices continuing to rise, residents are also reminded that there are central Government backed schemes which can also help to make homes more energy efficient.

Anyone who receives an income or disability benefit may be able to gain help with installing or repairing a broken down by contacting Warm Front on 0800 3162814.

There are also utility company funded schemes to help with loft and cavity wall insulation and Domestic General or the resident’s own energy supplier can provide further information.

Councillor Cutter added: “People can also look towards renewable energy as a way of reducing their energy consumption.

“Central Government grants are available for installing renewable technologies such as solar panels, woodburning stoves and heat pumps. People should contact the Low Carbon Buildings programme on 0800 9150990 for further details.

“I would also remind people they can reduce their bills by taking simple measures such as using low energy lightbulbs, switching appliances and light switches off when they are not in use and ensuring their homes are well draughtproofed,” he added.

As well as helping to reduce bills, Herefordshire Council also offers a concessionary parking scheme for all people over the age of 65.

By buying a £5 parking disc, over 65s can enjoy two hours free parking every day at any of the council run car parks throughout the county.
Herefordshire Council's Welfare and Financial Assessment Team can also help older people, people with an illness or disability and carers to check that they are getting all of the benefits that they may be entitled to and, where appropriate, provide help with claiming these benefits.
To find out what benefits you may be eligible for contact the Welfare and Financial Assessment Team on 01432 363756 or email welfarerights@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 12/01/2009 16:55:12

Peter and the Wolf in half-term visit to county li
Visitors to Herefordshire’s libraries are in for a treat during half term holidays next month with the visit of Sealegs Puppet Show’s “Peter and the Wolf”.

The familiar tale will be brought to life in seven performances at libraries in all corners of the county.

The performances will take place on:

Monday 16th February: Leominster library 10am-11am
• Monday 16th February: Bromyard Centre 3pm-4pm
• Tuesday 17th February: Hereford library 10am-11am and 2.30pm-3.30pm
• Wednesday 18th February: Ross library 10am-11am and 2.30pm-3.30pm
• Thursday 19th February: Ledbury Burgage Hall 10.30am-11.30am

Tickets for the shows, costing £3, must be bought in advance and are available from libraries.

Spaces are limited to people are being encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

Posted : 09/01/2009 15:45:27

Interest Rate cut to 1.5%
The Bank of England has just announced an interest rate cut of 0.5%.

The Bank of England Base Rate is now 1.5%, the lowest rate in over 300 years.

Posted : 08/01/2009 12:02:58

There’s no need(le) to waste Christmas trees
Herefordshire Council is encouraging people not to put their Christmas trees into landfill this year but instead recycle or re-use them.

Millions of Christmas trees are disposed of in early January every year but people could instead take them to the household waste sites where they will be chipped, shredded and used for compost.

Laura Preece, Herefordshire Council’s recycling officer, said: “There are also living tree schemes where people can bring a real, potted tree into the house and then plant it back outside once the festivities are over.

“Another option is to buy an artificial tree which can be re-used every year. Unlike a real tree, it won’t help to offset global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide but in comparison to a Christmas tree that is sent to landfill after just a few weeks, it will use fewer resources in terms of transportation, felling and waste disposal,” she added.

Anyone wanting to recycle their Christmas tree in Hereford should take them to their nearest household waste site and leave them in the large composting bins.
Household waste sites can be found at:
• Hereford - Chapel Road, Rotherwas
• Ross-on-Wye - Station Approach
Leominster - Bridge Street
• Ledbury - Little Marcle Road
• Bromyard - Linton Industrial Estate, Leominster Road


Posted : 05/01/2009 16:42:17

Council encourages waste resolution
Herefordshire Council is urging people to install food waste disposers in their kitchens as part of a new year waste prevention campaign.

Food waste disposers (referred to as Waste Disposal Units, Food Waste Disposal Units or brand names) are machines that fit under the kitchen sink to grind up and shred waste food and send it into the waste water system.

Examples of food that can be disposed of via the machine include turkey bones, eggshells, tea bags, potato peelings, apple cores, banana skins and food leftovers – a useful tool for residents without a compost bin.

The council, working with partners Worcestershire Council, is continuing to offer residents in Herefordshire a financial stimulus of up to £80 cashback for every household that purchases a waste disposal unit - good news for anyone considering upgrading their kitchen.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing, said: “With money tight in many people’s pockets, we hope this cashback scheme will encourage more of our residents to buy food waste disposers. Thousands of people in Herefordshire have already done that and we hope this promotion will have the effect of reducing the amount of food waste we send to landfill.”

For more information about food waste disposers and Worcestershire County Council’s cashback scheme please call 01905 766883 for a leaflet and claim form or download them from www.sinkyourwaste.com

Posted : 05/01/2009 16:37:32

Woolworths store closure date announced
Administrators for the doomed retailer Woolworths have announced that the Leominster store will close on 27th December 2008.
Posted : 22/12/2008 16:06:57

Council bid to prevent BT from removing phone box
Herefordshire Council has fired the first shots in a battle to prevent telecom giant BT pulling the plug on a telephone box damaged by a tractor.

The council was horrified to hear that BT did not intend to replace the public telephone box at Ashton, near Leominster, after it was damaged in an accident.

“Following an initial consultation, Herefordshire Council objects to the removal of this telephone box and is urging BT to repair the telephone box as soon as possible,” said Anthony Bush, the council’s parish liaison and rural services officer.

“This telephone box, in Eye Lane, must be kept due to the poor and, at times, non-existent mobile telephone coverage in the Ashton area,” added Anthony.

He said the telephone box must be kept as it stands near a stretch of the A49 which has been the scene of many accidents.

“In addition, the telephone box is near Berrington Hall, which attracts thousands of people every year. This is a busy location and the telephone box must be kept,” he added.

Cllr John Stone, Chairman of Herefordshire Council and ward councillor, said: “We cannot afford to lose this telephone box.

“Living in the area I am all too aware that mobile telephones can’t be relied on because of the patchy coverage. This telephone box is a vital asset to the community and I would urge as many people as possible to lodge their objections with the council so they can be used to overturn BT’s plans to get rid of it.”

The council has to follow a set procedure to register its objection to BT’s decision not to replace the telephone box.

It has already sent a “first notification” to the Secretary of State, and needs more comments from local people which will form part of a further submission.

People can send their views to Anthony at: abush@herefordshire.gov.uk or by post to him at Plough Lane PO Box 4 Hereford HR4 0XH, by January 16 2009.

They will then be collated before being sent on as the second stage of the council’s stand against the plans to remove the telephone box.

Posted : 19/12/2008 13:15:49

Wanted – rented accommodation
Herefordshire Council has put the call out to landlords, agents and developers who may have properties available to rent in the county.

The council needs a variety of properties to make available to an increasing number of people who are struggling to find good quality accommodation – a problem being made worse by the “credit crunch”.

“We operate a number of schemes that make use of the private rented sector and work closely with landlords to ensure that empty properties are utilised to meet the accommodation needs of the people of Herefordshire,” said Richard Gabb, Head of Strategic Housing Services.

“However, due to the current demands for rented housing, we’re seeking landlords, agents and developers who have properties available to rent, to come forward to discuss the various schemes that are available,” added Richard.

“Whether you just want to benefit from the council nominating a tenant to you, or whether you would prefer to lease your property for a longer period of time for a guaranteed rent, there could be a scheme to suit your circumstances.”

The Council is particularly looking for one-bedroom properties in Hereford and the market towns but will consider all properties that are made available.

For more information, please contact the council’s housing needs and development team on 01432 260269 or email enablinggeneral@herefordshire.gov.uk.


Posted : 04/12/2008 15:03:58

Road restrictions for major repair works
Herefordshire Council is having to restrict the A44, Barons Cross Road from Pierrepont Road to Morrisons roundabout for two evenings at the start of December.

The restriction is needed to allow major repair work to be carried out.

Works will be carried out on Thursday, December 4 and Friday December 5 and the work will not start until 6pm to keep disruption to a minimum. The road will remain open but traffic will be controlled by a convoy system whilst the work is carried out.

Clive Hall, Herefordshire Council’s network manager, said: “I would ask motorists to bear with us while this necessary work is carried out.

“By starting at 6pm we are reducing the inconvenience to commuter traffic and I would also ask residents to put up with the noise due to evening working, in order to get an improved road surface,” he added.

Posted : 25/11/2008 18:21:06

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas …
Herefordshire Council is calling on residents to recycle this Christmas and give the county the gift of a cleaner, greener future.

Throughout the country enough rubbish to fill 400,000 double-decker buses will be produced by the festive season.
Half of this could be recycled but 70 per cent is needlessly binned, including up to one billion Christmas cards and 83 square km of wrapping paper and more than eight million Christmas trees. Britons will also get through 24 million jars of pickles and sauces over Christmas. If these were recycled it would save enough energy to boil water for 60 million cups of tea.

Laura Preece, Herefordshire Council's recycling officer, said: "At the moment we are not able to collect glass through our kerbside collections so I would urge everyone to make sure they take their used bottles and jars to one of the household waste sites or bring sites.
“People who benefit from a kerbside collection should put their empty cans, plastic bottles and paper in their recycling bags.
“Next year, however, our new waste collection contract will be in operation and we will be able to collect glass and other recyclables from the kerbside,” she added.

Top Ten Christmas Recycling Tips

1. Buy drinks in large bottles rather than lots of smaller ones.

2. Buy your Christmas fruit and vegetables loose not pre packed. This helps you buy only what you need and reduces the amount of packaging in your bin.

3. Crush aluminium cans before putting them into the recycling bank as this increases the amount of cans able to fit into one bank, meaning less energy is wasted in transport.

4. Say no to unwanted shopping bags and reuse the ones you already have.

5. Buy recycled wrapping paper and Christmas cards.

6. Set yourself a challenge this Christmas - how empty can you keep your bin?

7. Send an electronic Christmas card instead of posting one.

8. Buy gifts that don't have much packaging like vouchers or gift experiences.

9. If you buy a real tree make sure you replant it or have it shredded after Christmas.

10. Compost all your vegetable peelings


Posted : 24/11/2008 23:08:03

Construction of storage building at Upper Hill app
Plans for the continued use of land as a yard and construction of a storage building at Cross Cottage, Upper Hill, near Leominster, were approved by members of the northern area sub-committee at their meeting on Wednesday, November 19th.

The building will be used in connection with a haulage business. The applicant already has an operator licence for the site.

Herefordshire Council’s conservation manager and transportation manager had no objection.

Leominster Town Council recommended approval.

Birley with Upper Hill Parish Council objected to the scheme because it would have an adverse effect on the landscape.

A letter of objection was received concerned at the visual impact and another letter was received saying they had no objection. Another letter was concerned the building would be prominent in the landscape and easily viewed from the footpath at the scheduled monument, Ivington Camp.


Posted : 21/11/2008 17:49:53

Antiques and collectables comes to Leominster
Collectors of antiques and collectables will be hot-footing it to Leominster next year when a new regular market begins.

Herefordshire Council’s markets, fairs and street trading service is to introduce an Antiques and Collectable Market in the town’s Corn Square in spring next year.

A photo of Hereford Antiques FairThe market will initially operate alongside the established Spring Garden Fairs to be held on April 7th, May 12th, and June 2nd and 30th.

The Antiques and Collectable Market will then continue to operate on its own on a monthly basis on July 14th, August 11th and September 8th.

Dependent on the success of these three events, the market could continue through to Christmas on October 13th, November 10th and December 8th.

“The Antiques and Collectable Markets have been run in Hereford for two years and Ross-on-Wye this year with resounding success,” said Cllr John Jarvis, cabinet member for markets, fairs and street trading.

“I believe Leominster will benefit from an additional monthly attraction, particularly town businesses,” he added.

New traders are always welcome and anyone interested should contact Elaine Hawkins on 01432 260095.

Posted : 20/11/2008 15:13:16

International Day of Disabled People
Herefordshire Council is planning to celebrate this year’s International Day of Disabled People (December 3 2008) with lots of fun activities, workshops and information stands around Hereford and Leominster.

Events are suitable for everyone, whether disabled or not, and aim to celebrate the achievements of the county’s disabled people and raise awareness of services available to them.

In Hereford’s All Saints Church, the GreenEyed Monster Company will offer free drop-in Christmas wreath and swag-making sessions for all ages and abilities, children welcomed. For those who prefer to relax, reflexology and Indian head massage will be available courtesy of the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre and Herefordshire Council’s recruitment team will be available to offer advice on careers at the council. The council will also be keen to hear from people who have views on the Blue Badge scheme.

Information stands will be available to provide information about local services including Shopmobility and Marches Family Network. St Peter’s Church Hall, Hereford will be the venue for “The Red Dress”, a powerful small-scale puppet production suitable for family audiences from six years upwards. This will be performed from 2-2.30pm by the About Face Theatre Company and is free of charge.

Deaf Direct on Broad Street in Hereford will be running a British Sign Language beginners workshops from 1-3pm, again free, but places need to be booked (01432 357741).

In Leominster Leisure Centre, there will be free taster sessions in accessible yoga (suitable for all ages and abilities) at 12.30 and 3.30pm, and the About Face Theatre Company are presenting The Red Dress puppet show from 11.30-12.00. Information stands will be available too, including Leominster shopmobility, Herefordshire Mind, the Fire Service, and the Blue Badge team. An exhibition of work by disabled artists will be on display at the ECHO shop at 40 West Street, Leominster.

In addition, on the following day, 4th December, the artwork produced by the community mosaic project will be unveiled at the Kindle Centre, from 3-5pm.

Harriet Yellin, the council’s diversity officer says, “In Herefordshire we are very keen to celebrate some of the amazing achievements of the county’s disabled people and generate awareness too which is why we’ve organised activities that everyone can participate in.

“We hope people will enjoy this special day and come away from it with a greater appreciation of the range of facilities and services available for disabled people and their families.”

Posted : 17/11/2008 22:07:44

Nursery children make a plea to parents of teenage
Nursery and primary school children in Leominster are making a heart-felt plea to local teenagers to stop vandalising their school.

Because of the thoughtless actions of some young people regularly gathering on the school site, the children from the school’s nursery are unable to play in their outdoor playhouse.

Wooden panels have been smashed, and fires have been lit inside rendering the floor unsafe. A brand new storage shed was put on site last Friday, and by Monday the inside of the shed was covered in obscene graffiti, gazebos and picnic benches have been broken, some beyond repair. Almost daily staff and parents are having to pick up broken glass from playgrounds.

Mrs Meta Philpotts, head teacher of Leominster Infant School, said: “We are working hard to make the school site a happy and safe environment for the children in school, but there is a regular group of unruly teenagers who come on site in the evenings, drinking lager, and leaving damage to property and dangerous litter behind them.

“We are therefore asking parents to think about where their teenagers are and what they’re up to. Please, know where your child is and, if they are out and about, please ask them to behave in a proper manner and not leave mayhem and destruction behind them.”

Posted : 15/11/2008 14:55:01

Premise licence reviewed after under age sales
Herefordshire Council has reviewed the premise licence of the Somerfield store in Dishley Street, Leominster, after sales were made to under age persons on two separate occasions.

The regulatory sub-committee at their meeting on Tuesday, November 4 decided to suspend the store’s licence for a period of 24 hours. The suspension will not come into effect for 21 days, giving the store time to appeal.It was also agreed to impose two extra conditions on the licence being:

• All staff engaged in selling alcohol be trained in alcohol awareness in strict accordance with the training regime annexed to the letter from Blake Lapthorn dated 7 November 2008.
• Operate a Challenge 25 policy

The review followed three separate test purchase operations carried out by the council’s trading standards section and West Mercia Police since December 2007 and sold to under age persons on two of these occasions.

People who made the sales were issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Councillor Brigadier Peter Jones, chairman of the regulatory sub-committee, said: “It is always disappointing when premises sell alcohol to under age people, but the fact this store did so twice means we have to take action.

“I hope the suspension of the licence, together the imposition of other conditions, will ensure the store doesn’t break the law again,” he added.


Posted : 06/11/2008 18:19:59

Matisse Exhibition in Hereford
Some of the last works of art created by celebrated French artist Henri Matisse are going on display at Hereford Museum and Art Gallery.

The “Drawing with scissors” exhibition is on show from November 29th, 2008 until January 4th, 2009 and the prints give a brilliant overview of Matisse’s late works, including some of his iconic images such as The Snail and Blue Nudes.

Throughout his life Matisse (1869-1954) created vast numbers of vibrantly coloured paintings and prints.

Matisse continued to paint into his eighties while very ill with cancer and, at this time, he started to experiment with the paper cuttings that feature in this exhibition.

Confined to bed by illness, Matisse created most of these works using scissors to cut out the shapes.

Reproduced in colour lithography, the works were created by the artist in gouache paper, cut with scissors and glued.

Under Matisse’s direction, the first lithographic plates were prepared during 1954, just a few days before his death. The finished work was completed in 1958 and published in a limited edition artist’s book.

Matisse: Drawing with Scissors is a National Touring Exhibition from the Hayward Gallery featuring 35 lithographic prints of Matisse’s famous cut-out prints.

Admission to Hereford Museum & Art Gallery is free with access for visitors with disabilities. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am until 5pm. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

For more information please contact Peter Young, museum design and display officer, (01432) 383 592 or email: plyoung@herefordshire.gov.uk

Posted : 03/11/2008 18:01:12

Tearoom Of The Year
Monkland Cheese Dairy Cafe has won the Flavours of Herefordshire Awards "Tearoom of the Year" award for 2008 (sponsored by Heart of England Fine Foods).
Posted : 03/11/2008 16:26:02

Chilling drama aims to raise road safety awareness
A powerful drama aimed at raising awareness of road safety among teenagers will be staged across Herefordshire schools.

Herefordshire Council’s road safety unit and the Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia have teamed up with Liverpool-based Tiny Giants Theatre Company to bring “Perfect” to the county’s high schools.

The 50-minute production, performed by professional actors, is aimed at year 8 and 9 pupils and will be staged at nine different schools between November 3 and 7.

The play is a tragic comedy that follows the tale of Anne, a 13-year-old girl who is severely injured in a car crash and had to have over 300 stitches to her face and head. Her injuries would have not been so serious if only she had been wearing her seatbelt.

It also covers issues around peer pressure, driver distraction and teenagers drinking especially on the streets.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation said: “Last year we had 163 passengers injured as a result of road traffic collisions of which 35 were children. We do not know how many of these casualties were not wearing seatbelts, what we do know is that seatbelts save lives and reduce injuries.”

Ann Mann, road safety officer for Herefordshire Council said: “Without doubt drama is a very powerful educational tool. This drama looks at the effect a road traffic collision can have on people’s lives, not just the families involved but also the friends of the victim.

“We have used theatre in education before and it works very well with this age group, getting the very important road safety messages home in a way that makes the pupils think,” she added.

The play will be at schools all over Herefordshire, including The Minster College, Leominster, on Wednesday, November 5th at 1.30pm


Posted : 03/11/2008 15:59:50

Display poster and ward off trick or treaters
West Mercia Constabulary is reminding residents who do not wish to take part in the Halloween celebrations on Friday night to display a specially designed poster in their front doors and windows.

The ‘Sorry No Trick or Treat’ poster clearly gives the message that they do not wish to participate and that they will not open the door to trick or treaters.

The posters are being distributed by Local Policing Teams across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire and will be available from police station front counters. A PDF version is also available from the West Mercia Constabulary website at www.westmercia.police.uk

Trick or treaters should not call at houses where the ‘Sorry No Trick or Treat’ posters are displayed or cold call on strangers. Not only does cold calling on strangers put young people at risk, it also intimidates and upsets some householders, especially those who are elderly, living alone or who are vulnerable.

Ian White, Force Crime Risk Manager at West Mercia Constabulary, comments: “We are urging everyone who wishes to celebrate Halloween this Friday to respect the wishes of those in their communities who do not wish to take part. We want everyone to have fun on Halloween night without putting themselves or others in danger and trick or treaters are therefore asked not to call on households displaying the Sorry No Trick or Treat posters.”

Children should be accompanied by a responsible adult when out trick or treating, and ideally should only call at the homes of family members and friends. For safety reasons children should never trick or treat alone or go into strangers’ homes. Parents may want to consider having a fancy-dress themed Halloween party at home as an alternative to trick or treating.

Advice for residents

  • You have the right to say no to trick or treaters
  • If you do not wish to take part, display the ‘Sorry No Trick or Treaters’ posters and do not open the door
  • Do not open the door to anyone you do not know
  • If you open the door, always use the door chain

Safety tips for trick or treaters
  • Never trick or treat alone – always go with an adult
  • Do not talk to strangers
  • Stay in well-lit areas and make sure you are visible
  • Only go to houses where you or your friends know the residents and let them know what time you plan to call
  • Do not knock on doors where there is a sign saying ‘Do not disturb’ or ‘Sorry No Trick or Treat’

Posted : 30/10/2008 11:21:00

Kington Choral Society
St Mary’s Church, Kington, was packed for Kington Choral’s recent stirring performance of Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH on 18th October. This was the first time that soloists Elisabeth Wingfield (soprano), Frida Osterberg (alto), Richard Strivens (bass/baritone) and Georgina Pochin (soprano), have sung with KCS, and there was a welcome return for Michael Clee (tenor) and the superb organist Peter Dyke (from Hereford Cathedral).

The next KCS dates for your diary are Saturday 20th June 2009, when KCS and guest soloists will be performing a triple bill of Gounod’s Mass of St Cecilia, Elgar’s From the Bavarian Highlands, and E.J.Moeran’s Songs of Springtime. Moeran has Kington connections so the choice of his music is apposite.
The autumn concert will be on Saturday 17th October 2009 featuring Beethoven’s Mass in C-major and Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. Don’t miss them !!

KCS is a large (75-strong) choral group which meets each Monday night in Kington for rehearsals. New singers will always be welcome, both experienced and those new to choral music – just telephone the Music Director Maureen Twiddy on 01544 370 666

Posted : 28/10/2008 11:27:30

Herefordshire Council to inspect roads
With temperatures forecast to be below zero degrees tomorrow morning (October 28), Herefordshire Council’s highways engineers will be inspecting the county’s roads tomorrow morning and will carry out any necessary treatments.

The aim of the inspection is to minimise the risk to the travelling public from the hazardous effects of ice and snow on highway surfaces.

Clive Hall, Herefordshire Council’s network manager, said: “Motorists are warned to take extra care tomorrow as there may be some ice on the roads.

“If temperatures do fall below zero, then we will make sure the roads are gritted but motorists should still make sure they drive according to the conditions,” he added.


Posted : 27/10/2008 16:12:40

New support for Herefordshire’s home businesses
Herefordshire Council has launched a new Home Business Network which will offer training and advice to the county’s home-based workers and businesses.

Many work in isolation and often do not know where to go for advice and support.

“If you’re working from home and struggling with your tax return or finding it hard to devote time to your business, we’re planning to hold training sessions to help you,” said Andy Dawson, Herefordshire Council’s creative industries co-ordinator.

He added that the network will also offer e-mail alerts to keep home businesses up to date with developments.

The first two-hour training sessions kicks off at 4pm on Thursday, November 20. It will be held at Evans Easyspace, located on Holme Lacey Road at Rotherwas, Hereford.

Anyone wanting more information should contact Andy Dawson 01432 383064 adawson@herefordshire,gov.uk


Posted : 24/10/2008 15:11:37

Storyteller to be at county libraries
Storyteller Sal Tonge will be visiting two of Herefordshire Council’s libraries during the half-term holidays.

She will be running two animated storytelling sessions aimed at entertaining under fives and enthusing parents with practical ideas for their own storytelling and sharing books together.

Sessions will be held in Leominster Library and Hereford Library on Wednesday, October 29th.

Sarah Chedgzoy, Herefordshire Council’s principal officer for young people and learning, said: “We are holding this event to highlight storytelling as part of the National Year of Reading and to encourage under 5’s membership of the library and participation in the Bookstart Book crawl.

“The sessions will offer children a lively and engaging storytelling experience and it will give parents ideas and confidence in reading to their children at home and sharing books together,” she added.

Tickets are available in advance but spaces are limited. Contact Hereford Library on 01432 383600 or Leominster on 01432 383290 for further details and availability.


Posted : 20/10/2008 21:45:07

Herefordshire Council cutting cost for motorists
Herefordshire Council is cutting the cost for motorists by using a new material for gritting the county’s roads.

Safecote, a proprietary coating to salt, has been successfully trialled at the Bromyard depot for a number of seasons and this year its use will be rolled out to the whole of the county.

Clive Hall, Herefordshire Council’s network manager, said: “This material has many advantages in that not as much material is needed and as a result has less impact on the environment.

“One of the major benefits, however, is that this material causes less corrosion to cars and this, we estimate, represents a saving of £340,000 in associated costs for the county’s motorists over each winter.

“Using Safecote in Herefordshire will also cut the costs of winter maintenance because the tonnage used will be reduced by 28 per cent each winter.

“With less corrosion we also hope extend the working life of the council’s gritters from eight to 10 years and we estimate that using Safecote instead of our traditional salt will save us £46,500 each year, on a like for like comparison, from our winter maintenance spend,” he added


Posted : 10/10/2008 16:49:54

2008 Herefordshire Food Festival
The many and varied “Flavours of Herefordshire” will go on show at the 2008 Herefordshire Food Festival, at Hereford Racecourse, over the weekend of October 25th and 26th.

An annual highlight for a county aspiring to Slow Food status, it also presents visitors with the opportunity to meet more than 100 producers who rear, grow, make and sell some of the finest local produce.

But that is just one ingredient in a lively two-day programme which is featured on the website www.herefordshirefoodfestival.com.

Highlights for this year's festival include:
  • The appearance of TV's Hairy Bikers
  • The launch of Tyrrells latest Ale and Cheese flavour of potato chips (featuring local Dorothy Goodbody's Ale), and their own brand of vodka
  • Cookery demonstrations using only the finest local produce
  • A "Back from the Brink" display by the Marcher Apple Network
  • The Herefordshire Bee Keepers Association's annual honey show
  • The launch of Just Rachael's pear and blackberry ice cream
  • The launch of Three Counties Gourmet new cocktails
  • The first appearance of “Once Upon A Tree,” who produce an entirely different type of cider (to be drunk like wine)
  • A special “Festival Food Trail” for youngsters

“We're encouraging people to 'love it, live it, try it…',” said Herefordshire Council's cultural services manager Jane Lewis.

“But it's only an opportunity to get a flavour of the fantastic food grown and produced locally, it's also an early Christmas shopping opportunity,” she added.

Festival admission prices are adults £5, concessions £4.50, under 14s £1, and children under three free. The special ticketline number is: 01568 797842.

Opening times are 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday, October 25th; and 10am to 4pm on Sunday, October 26th.

For further information, visit www.herefordshirefoodfestival.com.


Posted : 08/10/2008 11:06:11

Chatterbook groups to launch in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council’s libraries service is launching two new “Chatterbook” groups for children aged between eight and 12 years old.

One is in Leominster and starts on Saturday, October 11 after their author event with Cat Weatherill.

The other is in Ledbury and starts on Thursday, November 6 from 4pm until 4.45pm.

Emma Stevens, library learning officer, said: “Chatterbook groups are a fun way for children to share books, stories and meet other children.

“The aim is to encourage a love and enjoyment of reading as well as having a great time in the library.

“Youngsters don’t have to be bookworms to join in as there are plenty of games, stories and exciting things to be involved in as well as collecting stickers, pencils, folders and other goodies,” she added.


Posted : 08/10/2008 11:00:42

Motorists warned to take care this winter
As the nights start to draw in and with the winter weather on its way, Herefordshire Council is urging all motorists to take extra care.

Figures in the county reveal there is an increase in accidents on the county’s roads after the clocks go back and especially when ice or snow occurs and overall temperatures reduce.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Motorists need to be aware that while we grit the county’s roads to prevent ice from forming, it will not prevent them from suffering reduced levels of grip due to lower ambient temperatures combined with wet/greasy conditions.

“This will have a significant effect on overall tyre grip and stopping distances at this time of year.

“Anyone driving in icy or snowy conditions is urged to lower their speed and allow longer for their journeys. People should also plan their routes so they go along the county’s roads which have been gritted.

“Flooding may also be a problem in the winter and motorists are urged never to drive through floodwater because they don’t know how deep it is or whether there are any hidden dangers lurking underneath.

“Driving fast through standing water can also result in a hefty fine and between three and nine penalty points if police believe someone was driving without reasonable consideration to other road users,” he added.

Motorists should also make sure their cars are in top shape for the winter and look at:
  1. Batteries: Lights, heaters and windscreens out high demands on car batteries and it is a good idea to get them checked now and replaced if necessary. Drivers should also avoid running car electrics longer than necessary.
  2. Antifreeze: Make sure antifreeze levels are topped up. Antifreeze costs only a few pounds, but a cracked engine block will cost hundreds of pounds to repair.
  3. Windscreens: Dazzle from low sun during winter months can be a problem for drivers and they should improve their vision by making sure the windscreen is clean inside and out. Air conditioning should be used for faster demisting. Keep the windscreen and other windows clear because you could be fined if your vision is obscured through dirt or snow. Number plates must also be clearly visible.
  4. Headlights: Headlights must be used when visibility is reduced and motorists should make sure all bulbs are working and the lights are clean and aimed correctly.
  5. Tyres: Check all of your car tyres for condition, pressure and tread depth. At least 3mm of tread is recommended for winter motoring, and certainly no less than 2mm.



    1. Posted : 08/10/2008 10:59:10

      Road closed for resurfacing works
      Herefordshire Council is having to close the A44 in Leominster from the traffic lights at Bengrys filling station to the mini roundabout opposite the Hop Pole public house at the junction with the B4361 for three evenings later this month.

      The closure is needed to allow major resurfacing work to be carried out.

      Works will be carried out from Wednesday, October 29 until Friday October 31 and the work will not start until 6pm to keep disruption to a minimum. The road should be re-opened by 5am the following morning, in time for commuter traffic.

      Clive Hall, Herefordshire Council’s network manager, said: “I would ask motorists to bear with us while this necessary work is carried out.

      “By starting at 6pm we are reducing the inconvenience to commuter traffic and diversions will be well signposted,” he added.

      Posted : 06/10/2008 14:49:03

      Autumn fun at Queenswood Country Park
      As the leaves on the trees start to turn and autumn descends upon us where better to see some amazing autumn colour than Queenswood Country Park?

      October and early November is the best time to visit to see trees ablaze with colour and at the arboretum, especially in the Autumn Garden there are some really spectacular sights. Here the foliage of the Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum) display brilliant vermilions, purples, yellows and oranges.

      Discover these eye-catching autumn displays for yourself by joining one of the guided walks led by the Countryside Rangers at 2pm on Sunday October, 19 and Sunday, October 26 and Sunday, November 2 (meet outside the Tourist Information Centre).

      Also in October there will be a chance to find out more about fungi by joining the Queenswood Fungus Walks on Saturday, October 25 (10am-12.15pm) and Wednesday,h October 29 (2pm-4.15pm) led by local field mycologist Sheila Spence.

      See if you can find ‘Candlesnuff’ and ‘Cramp Balls’ or even a ‘Jelly Fungus’ along the way and learn about why fungi are such an important part of our environment. (Not suitable for children under 12.) These walks cost £3.50 for adults and £2 for children over 12 or you can purchase a family ticket (two adults, two children over 12) for £10.00.

      To book you place please contact Sheila Spence Tel: 01531 631736 or email: marchesfungi@btinternet.com for more details of other fungi events in the County visit www.herefordshire-fungi.org.uk

      Fun for kids
      If you are looking for fun things to do with your kids during the autumn half term then come and join the WildPlay Nature Rangers who will be at Queenswood on Tuesday, October 28 for some “Spooky Halloween Fun!”

      Create scary masks and lanterns…make a spooky apple head…create a gigantic monster and play ghoulish games! This event is free so come and find them in the Autumn Garden any time between noon and 2pm (all children must be accompanied by an adult).

      There will also be a Bertie Buzzard Autumn Trail to follow around the park during the half term holidays.

      And if you want to do your Christmas shopping in a calmer setting then Queenswood Tourist Information Centre will be open daily until December 23 with lots of Christmas gift ideas and stocking fillers. You can also contact the TIC to book an electric mobility vehicle for your visit Tel: 01568 797842

      Queenswood is Herefordshire’s only country park and has free car parking, toilets and a licensed café. There are three way-marked trails and easy access paths so that everyone can enjoy the park as well as a picnic and barbecue area, a popular adventure play area and a free ‘seaside style’ telescope at the view-point.

      Queenswood Country Park is on the A49 between Hereford and Leominster – follow the brown signs at the top of Dinmore Hill. Alternatively the 492 bus service departs Hereford and Leominster at regular intervals throughout the day.

      Posted : 06/10/2008 13:05:56

      Result of Leominster South ward by election
      Peter James McCaull (Independent) has been elected to Herefordshire Council following yesterday’s by election in the Leominster South ward.

      The result, following a 28.14 per cent out, is:

      Peter McCaull (Independent), 515 votes – ELECTED
      Keith Miles (Conservative), 397 votes
      Joan Thwaites (Green Party), 200 votes
      Matt Lane (Liberal Democrat), 131 votes
      Rejected votes, 6


      Posted : 03/10/2008 12:10:14

      Panels provide legacy of archaeological project
      Two new interpretation panels have been launched which will provide a permanent legacy of a major archaeological project carried out in the Lugg Valley.

      One of the panels is at Leominster Library and the other is at Bodenham Moor.

      Herefordshire Council’s County Archaeologist Dr Keith Ray launched both of the panels on Tuesday, September 30th.

      At Leominster Library, Dr Ray said: “This project was supported by five local heritage groups and we chose the library as a place for the permanent panel because it is readily accessible and also fitting because the former Librarian, Peter Holliday, was very knowledgeable on local history.”

      Peter Dorling, Herefordshire Council’s landscape archaeologist, said the panel at the library sets the scene on the history of the river Lugg, gives a brief overview of archaeology in the Lugg Valley and also describes the henge monument found at Stapleton, near Presteigne.

      A significant find from the project was a Neolithic enclosure in Bodenham dating to 3,500BC, so far the county’s earliest recorded monument, and the interpretation panel in the village has been placed at the Moor so people can see the actual site on a nearby hilltop while they are reading the information.

      The panel at Bodenham was designed by a local blacksmith Bromley O’Hare and features models of watermills that are a key characteristic of the Lugg Valley.

      Dr Ray said: “A big thank you must go to all of the groups who took part in this project because it wouldn’t have been achieved without them. Many of them also gave practical help on the excavations.”

      The publication “The Lugg Valley, Herefordshire: Archaeology, Landscape Change and Conservation”, by Peter Dorling which details the findings from the project was launched on the same day and copies will be available from the county’s libraries.

      A series of themed leaflets on the key archaeological features discovered in the Lugg Valley – cropmarks, water meadows, hillforts, watermills and Neolithic sites – were also launched together with general leaflets on sites to visit in the Lugg Valley and on local distinctiveness.

      The project ran from November 2005 through to October 2006 and was a community-based project funded by Leader+, English Heritage and Herefordshire Council.

      The five local heritage groups which supported the project were Arkwright Hall History Group, Kinsham; Kingsland Millennium Green Trust; Leominster Historical Society; Moreton-on-Lugg History Group and Bodenham Local History Group.

      For further information on archaeological sites in the county visit www.smr.herefordshire.gov.uk


      Posted : 02/10/2008 14:27:00

      Rest centre at Leominster
      A rest centre set up by Herefordshire Council’s Emergency Planning Unit working with Halo provided a temporary refuge for families who were evacuated due to the fire in Leominster on Tuesday (Sept 30th).

      The town’s Bridge Street sports centre became the rest centre during the afternoon when it was decided that around 20 to 30 homes in Green Lane had to be evacuated due to the threat of smoke, toxic fumes and exploding gas cylinders.

      Initially it was feared that a nearby sheltered housing complex would have to be evacuated which meant the emergency planners had to call on social workers and request that volunteers from St John Ambulance and the local clergy be in attendance to provide welfare and support.

      However, fire officers at the scene eventually felt the evacuation of the complex was not necessary.

      At the sports centre, council plans to turn it into a rest centre swung into operation; bedding and provisions were brought in and prepared.

      A total of around 15 people made use of the centre and were kept warm and fed throughout the afternoon and evening before overnight accommodation was secured for the families to spend the night with friends and relatives.

      The centre closed at 8pm.


      Posted : 02/10/2008 14:09:14

      Classroom politics in Herefordshire
      Six Herefordshire councillors will be taking democracy into the classroom during the next few weeks to show how relevant and important it is…even to youngsters.

      Herefordshire Council is taking part in “I’m a councillor, get me out of here” – an event which will see the cross-party group of councillors make a number of visits to schools to meet and discuss politics with youngsters.

      “This is a great opportunity to help youngsters understand what their local councillors do, how they could get involved, and make suggestions as to how their local communities could be improved,” said Cllr John Stone, chairman of the council who is leading the group of councillors.

      “Many people feel that politics is irrelevant – which is why so many don’t bother turning out to vote when we hold elections.

      “But the council provides more than 800 different services across all corners of the county and to people of all ages.

      “It’s by getting involved in local politics that you can really help to shape our communities and have a say on the kind of services the council provides,” added Cllr Stone.

      This is the first time Herefordshire councillors have participated in the local democracy event and the schools taking part have been sent teaching materials for groups to use when studying citizenship.

      Teachers will be encouraging their young people to question councillors on various topics both when they have them in the classroom, and also via a specially created website www.bigvote.org.uk during the first week.

      The councillors taking part – Cllrs Ursula Attfield, Patricia Morgan, Sally Robertson, John Stone, Alan Taylor and Julie Woodward – have already posted their manifestos on the website so the youngsters know what they stand for.

      Following a week of visits to schools and a week of on-line question sessions, the pupils will then vote for the councillor who they feel will best represent their views – with one councillor being voted off each day until there’s one councillor left standing.

      “It’s a bit nerve-wracking – none of us wants to be the first councillor voted off,” added Cllr Stone, “but it’s for a very good cause, and if we help some of youngsters understand better what councillors do, then we will have achieved our aim,” he added.

      Posted : 30/09/2008 11:47:51

      Erection of 10 homes at Bargates approved
      Plans to demolish garage blocks and erect 10 houses on land to the rear of Bargates, Leominster were approved by members of the northern area sub-committee at their meeting on Wednesday, September 24th.

      The site is located within Leominster Bargates Conservation Area and is currently occupied by 40 lock-up garages.

      The homes will be arranged in three blocks. The first is a terrace of five three-bedroomed homes and the second is a pair of two-storey three-bedroomed detached homes.

      The third block is a terrace of three one-bedroomed properties.

      A central parking courtyard will provide 15 spaces and each home will have its own cycle parking and bin storage area.

      Herefordshire Council’s conservation manager said the current garages on the site are of no architectural value and it was difficult to see how the development could fail to enhance the character and appearance of the area.

      Leominster Town Council objected to the scheme on the grounds that it represents over-development and there is no provision of social housing.

      Eight letters of objection were received concerned at congestion, increased pollution along Bargates and the loss of the garages as a valuable storage facility.


      Posted : 26/09/2008 15:25:46

      Council corrects front page by-election mistake
      Herefordshire Council has acted swiftly to correct a front page article in the Leominster Journal, published today, September 24th.

      The article suggests the forthcoming Leominster South Ward by-election, which takes place on Thursday, October 2, would happen the following day, Friday, October 3.

      Residents in the Leominster South Ward are being reassured that the election will take place on Thursday, October 2.

      The locations of the polling stations are:

      • The School Room, The Methodist Church, Green Lane, Leominster HR6 8QJ
      • The Moravian Church Hall, South Street, Leominster HR6 8JH
      • Ivington Village Hall (The Community Room), Ivington, Leominster
      • The Lounge, Leominster Leisure Centre, Coningsby Road, Leominster HR6 8LL

      The by-election is to be held following the death of veteran Herefordshire councillor Dick Burke, who died in the summer.


      Posted : 24/09/2008 16:32:11

      Council comes to rescue on composting
      Herefordshire Council is once again coming to the aid of all county residents struggling with their composting.

      A series of free Composting Clinics has been organised throughout Herefordshire for residents who want to learn more about turning their waste into a useful resource that they can use in the garden.

      The clinics provide practical support and advice to anyone who is having problems with their compost bin, and will answer any questions for those who are thinking of buying a compost bin.

      This should come in very handy for the thousands of residents that are still actively using the 80,000 compost bins bought since 2004 at a subsidised rate through the Herefordshire and Worcestershire composting scheme.

      Composting experts will be on hand to prescribe treatment to solve any compost ailments and help make better compost. During the event there will be displays on how to make compost as well as an opportunity to get individual advice.

      Viktoria Salisbury, project development officer for composting, said: "Composting is really important as it is a great way of reducing the amount biodegradable waste which gets sent to landfill.

      "We want to try to help anyone still having trouble with their composting so that we can ensure that residents continue to use their compost bins to their full potential," she added.

      Compost bins are available from as little as £12. Those wanting further more information should call the Mission Impossible hotline on 01905 766883 or visit www.wastemissionimpossible.org.uk

      Herefordshire Compost Clinics are being held at:
      • Saturday, September 27: Composting Bus, High Town, Hereford, 10am to 3.30pm
      • Monday, September 29: Morrisons Store, Ross-On-Wye,10am to 3pm
      • Tuesday, September 30: Composting Bus, St. Katherine's Car Park, Bye Street, Ledbury, 10am to 3pm
      • Wednesday, October 1: Composting Bus, Kington High Street car park, entrance off Crabtree Road, 10am to noon
      • Wednesday, October 1: Composting Bus, Tenbury Road Car Park, Tenbury Road, Bromyard, 1pm to 3pm
      • Thursday, October 2: Composting Bus, Corn Square, Leominster, 10am to 3pm



      Posted : 24/09/2008 11:12:52

      Design and build contract awarded for the Minster
      Stepnell Limited has been awarded the design and build contract for the new Minster College Building in Leominster.

      Herefordshire Council’s cabinet has approved recommendations to award the contract, worth more than £20 million, to Stepnell Limited after a long period of consultation and discussion over design with the college students, staff, governors, local community and the local authority.

      The new school will be built with sustainability in mind, incorporating a wind turbine and a sophisticated building management system to ensure energy efficiency.

      Stepnell Limited designed and built the award winning Whitecross High School in Herefordshire which was opened in 2006. Like Whitecross, the new Minster College will have a sedum roof which is a low growing, shallow-rooted succulent leaved flowering plant. Apart from looking attractive, it is low maintenance and has a number of environmental benefits: it reduces water run-off significantly and insulates the roof against extremes of hot and cold, reducing energy bills and taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

      The existing Minster College building has been developed in stages, with the oldest part dating back to the 1920s, the main block dating back to the 1950s and some newer additions. The new school building, fit for the 21st Century, will include a state of the art community theatre, and will give the building a civic presence off South Street, raising its profile as a community place of learning.

      Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Having met the design requirements within budget, we are pleased to awarded Stepnell Limited the contract to build the new facilities at Minster College. This will provide a much needed new school for the area’s young people and an environmentally friendly base for many community facilities.”

      A planning application has been submitted and if approved work will begin to prepare the site in October, with building work scheduled to begin in November 2008. The scheme is due for completion in December 2010.


      Posted : 16/09/2008 15:08:08

      Broadband – help us to help you
      Broadband is helping many individuals and businesses across Herefordshire and is bringing the world into people's homes.

      However, Herefordshire Council is aware that while many are enjoying fast broadband connections, there are areas which either have no broadband connection, or suffer a poor quality service.

      “The main areas which may be without broadband have been establishe