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Wyenot News - The Weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 213 - Wednesday, 27th August 2008
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Page 1 [WNTV NEWS - Major Breakthrough for Flood Alleviation Scheme - What Happened to Peach - Post Office Closure]
Page 2 [GCSE Performers - Bayliss Reunion - Vintage Road Run for Macmillan - Wyenot Supporters - Sk8 Park Opening]
Page 3 [Hair Today - Thousands speak out about phone box closures - A great night at the White Lion]

Page 4

[Poly Tunnels Approved - River Wye Levels - Conservatives and Lib Dems on Post Offices - New Roles for Disadvantaged People - Learn to research your family - Successful Regatta - Raising Olympic Flag - Weather]
Page 5 [Police issue warning over stolen artillery part and the rest of the news from around the region]
Plans for Hom Green Polytunnels Approved

Members of the southern area planning subcommittee meeting on Wednesday, 20th August, were minded to approve planning permission to continue to erect and re-erect polytunnels at Homme Farm, Hom Green, Ross-on-Wye.

Officers, in consultation with the chairman, have been given delegated powers to approve the application, subject to this scheme being advertised as a departure to the UDP and no significant new material planning considerations being raised.

The whole of the application site, which extends to 377 hectares, is within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The application is for the erection of Spanish polytunnels to be used for soft fruit growing and they will be rotated around the holding. The frames are covered with clear polythene during the harvesting period and the polythene is removed from November to January. A Landscape and Visual Assessment said the plans would have a high impact on the character of the AONB but this would be mitigated by mature vegetation, including woodlands, on the site.

Up to 450 seasonal workers are employed at the soft fruit farm for picking and packing with another 33 full time employees and according to supporting information, the firm's business impact on the local economy is 26 million. A document containing 81 letters of support from customers and suppliers was submitted. The applicant carried out a public consultation in March 2008 when 86 people visited the exhibition and 76 made written comments to the committee.

The Environment Agency and Natural England originally made objections but following consultation, these were withdrawn subject to conditions being imposed.

Herefordshire Council's public rights of way manager had no objection but wanted no polytunnels to be erected within two metres of public footpaths.

Herefordshire Council's building conservation officer said the application had largely addressed the scheme's impact on listed buildings within the site and the only serious conflict surrounds the area north of Goodrich Castle but additional planting will, over time, go some way to resolving this. The meeting also heard that English Heritage had no formal objection to the application.

Herefordshire Council's landscape officer could not support the development because it would cause harm to the ANOB. However, if permission was granted a condition was recommended requiring the submission of a ten-year landscape management plan.

Walford Parish Council, Ross-on-Wye Town Council and had no objection, however, Marstow Parish Council objected to the application because of the effect of polytunnels on landscape and tourism.

Ninety five letters of objection were received concerned at the plans causing harm to the ANOB, polytunnels are highly intrusive, the adverse impact on Goodrich Castle, adverse impact on walkers using the public rights of way in the area and adverse impact on tourism.

One hundred and one letters of support were received, recognizing the importance of polytunnels to farmers and the structures are uncovered for much of the year. Four letters of a mixed response were received requesting conditions limiting the extend of polytunnels and length of time in situ.

The Wye Valley AONB Partnership expressed concern about the scale and landscape impact of the scheme. The Ramblers Association said the proposals did attempt to minimize the impact of polytunnels the ANOB. CPRE Herefordshire objected saying it was contrary to national and local planning policy.

Herefordshire Wye Valley ANOB Society objected because the scheme would have a damaging effect on the landscape and was contrary to policy LA1 in the UDP. Ross-on-Wye and District Civic Society recognized the problems posed by polytunnels but also acknowledged the economic case. Wye Valley Tourism Association urged refusal.

The County Land and Business Association supported the application, saying the business produces a high quality product. The National Farmers Union supported the application saying the continued viability of the farm is dependent on its soft fruit growing enterprise.

River Levels on the Wye

For those of you who hadn't noticed, it has been August for the past few weeks. For much of the time, it has seemed more like March, with gale force winds and heavy rain. So much for the 'Dog Days', when Sirius - the 'Dog Star' is overhead and the weather is supposedly guaranteed to be good.

We have not suffered serious flooding in Ross so far this year, as we did last, with flash floods in June and unpresedented high river levels in July, but river levels have certainly been high for summer months. I took the photos below on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday morning. Ref: DSC_DSC_5654

Thursday afternoon. Ref: DSC_DSC_5654

Conservatives New Plan to Support Post Offices

In the week that the government has announced it will close 11 Herefordshire Post Offices and scale back many others, local parliamentary candidate Jesse Norman has helped to develop new Conservative proposals which support Post Offices and help families with soaring energy bills.

The Conservatives have pledged to retain and extend Post Office Card Accounts, which have been under threat under Labour. This maintains an important public service, and allows many more families without bank accounts to benefit from the lower energy and water tariffs offered to customers who pay by direct debit.

The new proposals could cut the energy bills of up to 4 million Post Office Card Account (POCA) holders by up to 100 a year, including an estimated 8,000-10,000 people in Herefordshire. There are 8 million people in the UK who do not have a bank account or are effectively without a bank. Many of them use the Post Office Card Account instead. But because they cannot pay their bills by direct debit, they face higher prices for gas, electricity and water.

Under a Conservative Government, Post Office Card Accounts will be used for the first time to pay utility bills by direct debit. This proposal, which is supported by leading utility companies, will bring significant savings to energy companies through lower collection costs, which can be passed onto consumers in the form of lower bills. In addition, because state benefits are automatically paid into Card Accounts each week, customers will gain from a far more convenient way to manage their finances and paying their bills.

This policy could also generate up to 20 million a year in additional revenue for Post Offices, which could help keep Post Offices from going to the wall as a result of Labour cuts. By contrast, the Labour Party is planning to take the Card Account away from Post Offices, which will lead to more Post Office closures.

Commenting on the new proposals, Jesse explained, 'The government has taken many sources of income away from Post Offices, and is now closing Post Offices in Herefordshire because they are unprofitable! You couldn't make it up. These new proposals will help people struggling with rising household bills by letting them use their Post Office Card Account to pay their utility bills. They will bring in more revenue for Post Offices, helping to maintain the network and prevent a further round of closures. They will also help many of the poorest households in Herefordshire, who end up paying more for their energy and water bills because they do not have bank accounts and cannot pay by direct debit.

At a time when the cost of living is rising so fast, we badly need new ideas and new thinking.'

Sarah Carr to Lead Day of Protest Over Post Office Closures

Sarah Carr is urging all local communities to rise up in protest should their local post office appear on the closure hit list on Wednesday 27th August.

Mrs Carr has condemned the secrecy surrounding the consultation on the future of Herefordshire post offices with sub-postmasters and mistresses and Members of Parliament having had to agree to confidentiality agreements that they will not tell anyone about the closures in advance of this date.

Sarah said, 'It is ridiculous that sub-postmasters and mistresses have been banned from telling their local community that they are going to be shut and that even their local MP has been banned from disclosing which communities are on the hit list. Having spent the last 10 days with a team of volunteers delivering thousands of leaflets across South Herefordshire alerting local residents to the forthcoming consultation, I am also aware that there is huge distrust and cynicism that the consultation is a sham and that despite local protest the closures are set in stone.

I am urging that the government and Post Office Ltd listen not only to the pleas, but to the arguments that will be put to them to save our local post offices, which are based on facts, statistics and detail. If they do not listen there will be disastrous consequences on rural and urban communities in Herefordshire.

As soon the list is announced I will lead a day of protest against the closures, where I will visit every post office affected and listen to the views of local residents. It is very important to have the local community and its postmaster be seen to be pulling together to save their post office. The post office is a vital part of the local community and we must all fight tooth and nail to prevent its closure.'

New roles for disadvantaged people

The disabled people of Ross are paving the way in a new venture which will help smash any misconceptions of the past. Mr. Dennis Humble is heading and overseeing the project, that will soon see a second hand book shop, in Cantilupe Road totally run by the volunteer disabled people from the local area. The venture is a big step towards engaging disabled people into mainstream working and to use their skills at running a business.

The Book Shop has already been running for ten years, and the general public are using it to good effect. At present there are numerous disabled volunteers helping out. Mr Humble has a good enthusiastic team behind him, helping to take this new direction off the ground, whilst the volunteer disabled people themselves are quickly pursuing and adapting to running the shop by themselves.

A visit to the second hand bookshop will see you looking at well categorised titles in abundance, ranging from Murder Mysteries to Love and Romance stories, well know Auto-Biography books and even medical advancement literature, and there are memorabilia books on many subjects. Importantly as well, there is a good selection of books for toddlers, and pre-school infants. There is also a very good selection of children's books available including stories for girls as well as action packed adventure stories for boys, in fact, all types of books that would be of interest throughout their school years and beyond.

It is a policy of the group running the bookshop that all books are in a tidy condition, so a proper and stringent examination of each book is undertaken in the new premises below in Henry Street. The people with learning disabilities sort through the books, to see if they are deemed satisfactory to sell, then all the books are colour coded. This colour coding of the books helps to keep books in there correct category in the book shop itself, and for the people with learning disabilities the codes make it easier for helping the public find what they are looking for. Only these books that pass the scrutiny test, find there way onto the categorised shelves at the Cantilupe Road book swap shop.

The group are looking forward to this project being a successful venture, and are always very grateful for the general public's help. The shop volunteers express their thanks, especially to those who so regularly and kindly donate books that they have finished with, and wish for them to go to the new premises on Henry Street below the book shop, where volunteers will gratefully accept donated books. They are hoping, that the public at large will continue the valued support of the venture, taking books from the second hand bookshop and monetary donations in the box provided is all that it takes.

Shopmobility is also run from the Book Swap Shop premises, and for those that find walking around the shops too difficult, there are battery operated scooters available. To be a member of the Ross Shopmobility scheme, just call into the book swap shop in Cantilupe Road, where help and information can be obtained.


Learn to Research Your Family Tree at Ross Library

Herefordshire Libraries are running a series of local studies events as part of the National Year of Reading, and are hoping that these events which are being held at Ross, Leominster and Hereford libraries will inspire county residents to make more use of their library for carrying out research into their own families and the area they live in.

Paul and Heather Bufton from Herefordshire Family History Society are giving a talk on Starting you Family Tree at Ross Library on Wednesday, 10th September from 6pm to 7pm. Tickets are available at 3 in advance from Ross Library by telephoning 01432 383280.

Local historian and author Duncan James will be giving an illustrated presentation on timber framed buildings of North Herefordshire at Leominster Library on Friday, 19th September from 7.30pm until 9pm. Tickets at 3 are available in advance from Leominster Library on 01432 383290.

Then at Hereford Library on Wednesday, 24th September, local historian and author Heather Hurley will be giving an illustrated presentation on Barges, barrels and bark - river navigation on the Wye from Hereford to Ross. This will be held at the Woolhope Room, Hereford Library from 7.30pm until 9pm. Tickets cost 3 and are available in advance from Hereford Library on 01432 383600.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for community services and economic development, said, 'Researching your family tree and looking into local history are both popular pastimes and I am sure these events will prove to be popular. Our libraries stock a wealth of books on all imaginable topics, including local history, and I would encourage people to make full use of this valuable resource.

Anyone wanting help with tracing their family tree can also access the internet for free at libraries and staff are also on hand to offer advice and help.'

Regatta Weekend Unprecedented Success

Ross Rowing Club won an incredible 21 events over the four regattas which took place at the Rowing Club this weekend and the event was even blessed with great weather as the Ross club continued to dazzle on and off the water. This incredible performance resulted in the club taking a clean sweep in the Junior Victor Ludourm Competitions.

The Club teamed up with Gloucester Regatta held on Saturday and Sunday. Firstly The Brian Nelson / Doc Budd Challenge Trophy for the most successful Junior squad which the club won beating its closest rivals from Reading Rowing Club. This result was testament to the depth and strength of the Junior Academy.

The second competition that is run again with Gloucester was for the most successful club overall and the prize this time was a brand new sculling boat. It was somewhat surprising for the local club to win this bigger event as it restricts the entry of its members at its own regatta which means is has much less chance of being successful. Nevertheless the Clubs incredible performance at Gloucester regatta and its own Junior Veteran, supplemented by 4 the wonderful wins at its senior regatta resulted in it piping Llandaff and Dart Totnes to the title.

Raising the Herefordshire Olympic Flag at Ross Regatta

The Junior Veteran regatta at Ross Rowing Regatta on Sunday was honoured to host the Olympic Flag Raising ceremony, in combination with over 400 concurrent events around the country. The club event was the official Herefordshire ceremony and was attended by hundreds of rowers and many Councillors, Officials and members of the sporting community from Hereford and Worcester.

The ceremony was supported by Olympic athlete Charles Wiggin (Bronze Medal / Moscow 1980) who presented an inspirational speech about the meaning of the Olympics. The ceremony was crowned with the flag raising itself with Councillor John Stone Chairman of Herefordshire council along with Louise McQueen one of the areas high performance athletes targeted to achieve well in London 2012 in Judo. They were supported by Ed Surman and Ellie Blackwood, who are two members of the Clubs High Performance squad.

Club Captain Ian Howell commented 'It is a great honour to host this ceremony and the club is proud to represent Herefordshire. It is clear that if we are to make the most of 2012 then we must seize the opportunity today to get involved - We can all be part of it'. Overall, the regatta was an unprecedented success. With record entries and record visitor attendance especially on Bank Holiday Monday.

Club Chairman Bryn Hughes added, 'The success of the regatta is due to the tremendous teamwork and support that exists at the club. I wish to express my sincere thanks to all members, who spent the weekend supporting the event. You are a credit to the Club and the community of Ross making Ross Regatta again the Henley of the West'.

Raising the flag. Ref: DSC_DSC_6850

Moscow 1980 Olympic bronze athlete, Charles Wiggin presented an inspirational speech during the ceremony.
Ref: DSC_DSC_6845

Junior rowers raised the flag. Ref: DSC_DSC_6858

Xentricity singers entertain at the event. Ref: DSC_DSC_6856

The Olympic Flag.

Ross-on-Wye Weather Station Readings
Figures for week commencing Monday, 18th August 2008
n Mon. Tue. Wed. Thu. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Sunshine (hours) 4.4 3.7 2.4 7.9 7.8 2.9 7.0
Rainfall (mm) 13.8 0 2.9 2.0 0 4.5 0
Rainfall (inches) .54 0 .11 .08 0 .18 0
Maximum Temperature (C) 20 20 18 20 19 19 21
Maximum Temperature (F) 68 68 64 68 66 66 70
Minimum Temperature (C) 15 14 14 14 12 8 14
Minimum Temperature (F) 59 57 57 57 54 46 57
Soil Temperature at 10cm Depth (F) 63 59 63 61 63 61 63


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