place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley
ROSS ROCKS - SO LETS CELEBRATEY.....
Plans for new festival, 'Ross Rocks' are coming together
very nicely and the organizers are delighted that sponsorship
for the event which, subject to licences being granted,
will take place on Saturday,
25th June, has already been forthcoming.
are to stage the event from 11am until 11pm with the aim
of not only putting on a free event for the people of Ross
but to show everybody what Ross-on-Wye has to offer and
that Ross Rocks.
local bands, traders, dance groups, theatre groups, youth
groups and charities etc. are welcome to apply to take part.
you are part of a local band and you would like to perform
at the Ross Rocks event, please email Steve French at email@example.com
to make arrangements for him to listen to your demo CD.
All stall holders, dance groups etc. should apply to Mel
at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to sponsor Ross
Rocks in any way, then please contact the treasurer, Andy,
at email@example.com. Your help will be greatly
committee would like to thank Ross
Old Books and Elite Catering for their generous sponsorship
and Dave and Jacqui Newman for allowing their meetings to
be held at the White
POLICE LEND A HAND TO BEAT ALCOHOL RELATED CRIME
A new scheme has been launched in Ross-on-Wye that sees
West Mercia Police and the licensing trade working together
to tackle alcohol related disorder in the town. The scheme,
called HAND (Herefordshire Against Night Time Disorder)
is a Pub Watch project that was launched on Tuesday, 1st
12 licensed premises throughout the town have agreed to
join HAND, which aims to enhance the safety of customers,
staff and visitors to the area. Chair of the Ross group
is Mike Pryor of The Mail Rooms and Secretary is Debbie
McNally of the Hope
& Anchor and they, along with all HAND members in
partnership with the Ross-on-Wye Local Policing Team, Herefordshire
Licensing Authority and the national Pub Watch organization,
will give guidance and ownership to the licensing trade
to deal with the small minority of people who drink to excess
and cause disorder in and around licensed premises. The
scheme allows publicans to meet on a regular basis to discuss
issues with particular troublemakers and then choosing to
ban them from all premises that are part of the scheme.
Mooney, West Mercia Police's Licensing Officer for Herefordshire
said, 'This positive and joined up approach will show that
Ross-on-Wye is a safe place to visit and socialise. For
too long Ross has suffered from a disproportionate amount
of low level disorder. West Mercia Police has taken positive
action, including imposing sanctions on a number of licensed
is the right time for the licensed trade in the town to
join forces with the local police to show they mean business
in dealing with the minority who can ruin things for the
majority. I would like to invite the other licensees in
Ross who have yet to join the HAND project to participate
and create a unified approach to alcohol related problems
in the town. Herefordshire
is a safe place to live, work and visit and operating HAND
in the county can only enhance this reputation.'
The start of the Ross-on-Wye scheme means five towns in
the county now operate HAND or similar schemes, covering
in the region of 80 licensed premises. HAND is owned and
run purely by the licensed trade, supported by the police
and the licensing authority.
Mike Pryor of the Mail Rooms, Debbie McNally of the Hope & Anchor,
Mark Willamot, Regulatory Servcies Manager and PC Paul Challenger
at the HAND launch.
ROSS CUSTOMER SERVICES MOVE INTO LIBRARY .
.. . ....
The first phase of Herefordshire Council's £500,000 scheme
to bring Ross library and customer services together on
one site in the town was completes on Monday, 28th February,
with Customer Services staff moving into the Cantilupe Road
building, transferring from their former base at Swan House.
will now begin on the second phase of the project, which
involves much more structural work in the main library area.
This includes installation of a ramp so the building complies
with the Disability Discrimination Act, works to the front
counter, creating the Dennis Potter exhibition space, staff
offices, work areas and a lift.
the second phase, which is due to be completed by early
May, the opening hours will change whilst the building works
are being carried out. The hours will be: Mondays, 8.45am
until 17.30, Tuesdays, 8.45am until 19.30, Wednesdays, 8.45am
until 17.30, Thursdays, 8.45am until 17.30, Fridays, 8.45am
until 17.30, and Saturdays, 9.30am until 16.00.
Councillor Adrian Blackshaw of Herefordshire Council said,
'Ross Library is one of our most popular, with some 12,000
visitors each month and by moving customer services into
the same building, we are providing a one stop service for
residents. Many other local authorities are closing down
facilities such as libraries but we are very much committed
to keeping them open. By
placing these services under one roof, they become much
more affordable and sustainable into future years which
will ensure front-line services in Ross are protected.'
SCHOOLS FORUM TO AGREE SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS .
.. . ....
School budgets will be under discussion this week when the
Herefordshire Schools Forum meets to decide how to make
savings of £1.5m to this year's education budget. Details
of the government's allocation for education in Herefordshire
didn't arrive until 13th December, leaving Schools Forum
and the local authority very little time to come up with
proposals to make the savings required.
Forum has a budget working group which comprises head teachers
from primary, secondary and special schools. This group
developed some proposals which went out to consultation
earlier this month. Since then, there have been many meetings,
much discussion and lots of feedback from schools, nurseries
and representatives groups. As a result, the Budget Working
Group has come up with a firm set of proposals which Schools
Forum will make a decision on this week, before making its
recommendations to the council. A package of cuts are recommended,
including proposals to reduce the amount of money allocated
per pupil to each school, to reduce the amount of funding
given to subsidize small schools and to make funding cuts
in early years provision run by the private, voluntary and
Griffiths, secondary head teacher representative on the
budget working group said, 'The budget working group has
listened to feedback from schools, nurseries and their respective
groups and tried to share the cuts out in as fair a way
as possible. Like other Schools Forums across the country,
we are faced with having to make some very difficult decisions
and in a very short time scale. Ideally we would have liked
more time to consult, but the government's late budget allocation
has meant we have been restrained by time. We have no choice
- the budget has to be set by the end of March.'
OPERATION IGNITE LAUNCHED TO COMBAT RURAL CRIME
Mercia Police have now gone public about an ongoing major
operation to tackle rural crime in Herefordshire that places
it at the heart of policing in the county.
targeted offensive, called Operation Ignite, came into force
in October 2010 and is a co-ordinated response to reducing
crime in rural and isolated communities, in particular by
travelling criminals. The main offences of concern are thefts
of plant and machinery, livestock, metal and fuel, but the
operation also tackles those who target vulnerable residents
or look to steal batteries, catalytic converters and other
Charles Hill, Herefordshire's new policing commander is
spearheading the operation. He said, 'Herefordshire has
a new command team and we have identified rural crime as
a priority. We have seen a recent rise in the recording
of these offences, which we put down to international price
increases in commodities such as fuel and metal.
Ignite is central to ensuring that our rural communities
feel protected and secure. It is not a one off, but an ongoing
project that we hope will ensure rural crime issues get
the policing response they deserve. Our officers will be
proactively targeting offenders who are travelling around
the county and committing offences. Because many of these
criminals travel in from other areas, we are working with
our colleagues from neighbouring forces in Dyfed Powys,
Gwent and Gloucestershire to co-ordinate our response and
share intelligence. We
will also look to improve how we engage with victims, witnesses
and rural businesses and provide them with reassurance.
We are working with others, for example the NFU, to better
understand what rural communities want from the police.
Ignite to be a real success we need the public's help; without
it we cannot do our job properly. Herefordshire is a big
patch, so we need to focus our efforts on where the criminals
are operating. Local people can really help out by reporting
crimes and any suspicious behaviour, particularly suspicious
vehicles. If they are not reported we cannot analyse where
the criminal activity is happening and support those areas
being targeted by criminals.
also need to know where the stolen goods are going: while
some will head elsewhere, even overseas, we need to know
if anyone has offered you goods at marked down prices. Did
you suspect they were stolen goods? And if so, did you call
the police about it? Please get in touch with us about any
suspicions or concerns you have on West Mercia Police's
non-emergency number, 0300 333 3000. You can also pass on
information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.'
are some examples of Operation Ignite successes so far:
22nd November, a lorry parked on the A49 was identified
as having had the fuel pipes cut and a large quantity of
fuel stolen. On the same night Operation Ignite police patrols
came across a silver estate car which made off at speed.
The vehicle was eventually stopped and three occupants were
arrested. All three were from south Wales.
11th January 2011, officers stopped a car with a man who
had been disqualified from driving. When the car was searched,
a number of tractor batteries were found. Further investigation
led to the recovery of some stolen power tools and the shell
of a Land Rover that was stolen in 2008.
25th January, three men from West Bromwich were arrested
in Hereford in a transit van having been seen to take a
copper boiler from a garden of a house. One man was charged
with this offence. Also in January, a warrant was executed
at a garage in Ross-On-Wye and officers recovered a stolen
West Mercia Police received some local intelligence, a lockup
near Hope under Dinmore was entered on 17th February and
officers discovered a number of items, including a lump
of melted down lead, tractors, generators and a number of
power tools that have been linked to crimes in Herefordshire.
A man has subsequently been charged with handling stolen
COUNCIL LEADER TO STEP DOWN AFTER EIGHT YEARS
Councillor Roger Phillips, current leader of Herefordshire
Council, is to announce at the next full council meeting,
due to take place on Friday, 4th March, that he is stepping
eight years of serving the county as leader of the council,
he has decided not to seek nomination for re-election as
leader after the local elections. But Councillor Phillips
will be standing on 5th May and hopes to continue to represent
his ward of Pembridge, Shobdon & Lyonshall with Titley.
Phillips said, 'Eight years is a long time to be a leader
and I feel that with the support of colleagues in the party
and in the council, I have made a strong contribution to
the quality of life in Herefordshire. Following recent health
problems I have decided it is sensible to take a step down
from the Leadership of the Council. I remain passionate
about Herefordshire and I aim to continue to champion at
all levels the concerns of our communities and the continued
improvement and value of our public services.
has been an enormous privilege to serve the communities
of this beautiful county and I am proud that Herefordshire
Council is now widely recognized as one of the most progressive
and innovative in the country, having formed a unique, successful
and groundbreaking partnership with NHS Herefordshire and
developed a range of joined up health and social care services
to help the most vulnerable members of our community. Since
becoming leader following the May 2003 elections I have
worked hard to champion Herefordshire's interests regionally
and nationally. Over recent years Herefordshire has consistently
punched above its weight for securing grant funding.'
successes have been the new flood defences in Hereford and
Ross and moves to safeguard the county's farming heritage
through the building of a new £7-million livestock market,
to be completed in the summer. A new £1.8-million museum
resource and learning centre has been built in Hereford,
a new £2.5-million swimming pool in Leominster, and several
new primary and secondary schools have been opened, including
Whitecross, Hereford Academy and Earl Mortimer College and
Sixth Form Centre in Leominster.
improvements have included the new Rotherwas Access Road,
the £4.5-million Roman Road extension, the new Bridge Sollars
crossing and the restored Victoria Bridge in Hereford, as
well as the upgrading of Eign Gate, High Town and Widemarsh
Street. A brand new crematorium has also been erected in
administration has set the scene for the regeneration of
the city, with a new multiplex cinema, department store
and food store scheduled to be built in 2014, and has paved
the way for superfast broadband to benefit rural and remote
parts of the county. The county was named Enterprise Capital
of the region in 2008 and business parks like Rotherwas
and Leominster have attracted new enterprises and jobs.
The successful introduction of wheeled bins and the retention
of the popular weekly domestic waste collection have boosted
recycling rates and, working closely with the police through
Safer Herefordshire, the council's community protection
teams have played their part in cutting crime and antisocial
of the key themes of the last few years' added Councillor
Phillips, 'has been the escalating financial costs of meeting
increased demand for social care, particularly from older
people. But I am proud of the fact that we have been able
to look after the people who needed help most and managed
well our finances, keeping council tax rises to a minimum.'
Phillips is one of the longest serving Leaders in the West
Midlands and is a former Chairman of the West Midlands Councils,
Regional Transport Partnership and joint Strategy and Investment
Board. He continues to be Vice Chairman of the National
Local Government Employers and the County Council Network.
Councillor Roger Phillips, who will be stepping down as Leader of
Herefordshire Council on Friday.
THE CENSUS THROUGH THE CENTURIES . . . . ....
An exhibition has just opened in Hereford,
revealing that while the 2011 census is about to drop through
people's letterboxes, the census is nothing new. The
exhibition, at the Herefordshire Record Office in Harold
Street, charts the history of the census back to the Domesday
Book with examples of the first modern census records from
the 19th century.
are fascinating and include details for Queen Victoria herself,'
said Archive Assistant, Marcus Buffrey. 'Some of the examples
from Herefordshire include the variety of occupations that
were listed during the 19th century, such as worm destroyer,
hedgehog catcher and grand cider drinker! We're trying to
show how the past census returns allow the character of
our ancestors to come through and give us a snapshot of
their lives, showing real people who we can relate to, thus
proving how useful they are to us. The same responsibility
for recording our own lives now falls on us; and who knows?
In centuries' time, there may be an exhibition showing some
of the information we will give in March.'
our descendants will be able to see our census returns in
100 years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will
keep them secure until then. Personal census data is protected
by law and cannot be shared with any other Government department
or local council. The exhibition is in the entrance hall
of the record office and is available to view during normal
opening hours, which are 9.15am to 4.45pm Tuesday to Friday.
ONS is taking the next census on 27th March this year. Questionnaires
will arrive in the post during March, and can either be
posted back or completed online at www.census.gov.uk. In
the meantime, statistics from the 2011 census will be used
to help plan the services that local communities need and
to decide the amount of national funding that will come
to Herefordshire. So make sure you take your opportunity
to be counted and help tomorrow take shape.
TEST PURCHASE OPERATIONS IN HEREFORSAHIRE
the last month, a number of test purchasing operations have
taken place right across Herefordshire. The operations,
which were lead by Herefordshire's Trading Standards team,
saw a number of licensed pubs and shops being visited in
order to test whether they have structures in place to ensure
that they challenge young people, where there is doubt about
their age, who attempt to purchase alcohol or tobacco.
latest wave of visits was the second of its kind; the previous
operations occurred in November 2010 when a total of 25
premises were visited. Ten of these premises failed to do
the necessary checks and that resulted in instant fines
for a number of members of staff. At least two of these
cases are now being considered for prosecution. The
more recent joint agency operations have seen officers visit
31 licensed pubs and shops across Herefordshire and, of
these, four failed the test. Fines have again been issued
in relation to these failed tests.
about the test purchasing operations, Jim Mooney, Police
Licensing Officer in Herefordshire said, 'Whilst it is good
news that the number of failures has gone down, it is still
disappointing that many premises do not appear to provide
training to staff or have the required structures in place
to record challenges with regards to age verification. The
licence holders have a legal responsibility to comply with
the law and the conditions of their premises licence, and
we will continue to do all we can to get this message across.
partnership with both Herefordshire Trading Standards and
Herefordshire Licensing Authority, West Mercia Police will
continue to undertake these operations because licensed
premises have a legal responsibility to undertake age challenge
verification on all occasions where there is doubt. Licensees
should be aware that the end result will be a fine or sanction
against those who make the unlawful sale. Ultimately though,
continued breach of the law may lead to a review of the
premises licence which could result in the licensee having
their licence suspended or revoked.'
FREE VITAMINS AVAILABLE FOR SOME COUNTY MUMS
Hundreds of pregnant women and more than 4,000 Herefordshire
children are missing out on a scheme that could improve
the health of women and young families across the county.
Start is a national scheme that can make a real difference
to the health of pregnant women, new mothers and very young
children in low income households. Those eligible can claim
free vitamin supplements from local pharmacies for themselves
and their children. The vitamin supplements have been specifically
designed for those important early years helping to make
sure children get the very best start in life. There is
also help with the weekly shop. Those who qualify for the
vitamins can also receive vouchers which can be used towards
the cost of healthy basic foods (fruit, vegetables and milk)
to value of up to £3.10 per child per week.
Forster, healthy lifestyle co-ordinator of NHS Herefordshire
said, 'You can get many vitamins from a healthy balanced
diet but if you're pregnant, breast feeding or you're very
young, you may need a boost to make sure you are getting
everything you need. The scheme has been around for a while,
but there hasn't been much take up, so we're increasing
awareness by working with midwives, health visitors and
children's centres across the county.
professionals are best placed to know who is likely to be
eligible for the supplements and are able to advise and
support them in applying for them. The application is assessed
by the national Healthy Start programme and takes about
three weeks to process. Eligible families will receive a
letter with their vouchers for fruit, vegetables and milk
and coupons which can be exchanged at some pharmacies for
pharmacies taking part in the scheme are, Benjamins in Ross-on-Wye,
Asda Stores Ltd in Hereford, Dudley Taylor Pharmacies Ltd,
Hereford, Colwall Pharmacy, L Rowland & Co in Kington and
Bromyard, Day Lewis in Ledbury and WS & B Rees Chemist in
pregnant women and existing mums aged 18 or under are eligible
for the scheme and are advised to liaise with their midwife,
health visitor or GP who will provide them with an application
form. Mums-to-be and existing mums can check out whether
they are entitled to the vitamins and vouchers at the Healthy
Start web site (www.healthystart.nhs.uk), or by talking
to their midwife or health visitor.
Staff at ASDA pharmacy stock up on the vitamins.
ARTS WEBSITE CELEBRATES 1,000 CONTRIBUTIONS
. . . . ....
Artery Online is an arts news web site which was set up
in 2006 by Herefordshire Council's arts team to give opportunities
to the local creative world and last week, their 1,000th
appeal for support was received.
usually feature jobs, contracts and commissions but for
this one, it's a chance to help artists develop their skills,'
said co-ordinator Andy Dawson. 'A life drawing group, based
at The Courtyard is calling out for new models for their
Thursday morning life drawing classes.'
further information about becoming a model and to fix a
start date, call Kate Dawson on 07956 857394 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
council run website has 600 subscribers and is specifically
designed to boost the local creative economy. Log onto www.arteryonline.co.uk
to find out more.
FUTURE OF COUNTY MUSIC SERVICE UNDER SPOTLIGHT.....
future of Herefordshire Council's Music Service comes under
the spotlight this week as Schools Forum meets to discuss
education budgets. Herefordshire Music Service is currently
consulting on options to change the way the service operates
so that it can meet the needs of the county's children and
young people now and in future years.
current service has been operating within a deficit budget
for the past ten years and since 2008, steps have been taken
to address the growing funding gap. Actions taken include
a redesign of the service, a reduction in management and
administration costs, more efficient purchasing and the
selling of surplus instruments. Further nationalizing of
accommodation requirements and the outcome of the current
consultation will add to this positive shift.
issues and challenges within this are the current contracts
of service staff and the low rate of charges for instrumental
lessons. Over 3000 pupils access the service each week which,
when operating at a loss, contributes to the financial challenge.
The service currently charges £29 per hour whereas the average
and regional rates range between £38-£40. Since 2008 the
yearly overspend has reduced from £123,000 to £30,000 so
the actions taken are having a positive effect, but the
cumulative deficit of £190,000 still needs to be addressed
and Schools Forum has been asked to help. Options
for the future design of the music service are laid out
in a consultation document which has been presented to staff.
These consist of a range of proposals based on alternative
music service models which are successful in other areas
of the country.
Roberts, assistant director for children's services said,
'Herefordshire Council and Schools Forum have many difficult
decisions to make at the moment. We are trying to protect
services like the music service where we can and make the
necessary savings by doing things differently. Schools Forum,
which is made up of representatives from local schools,
makes recommendations and decisions about how education
budgets are spent. As schools are the major beneficiaries
of the music service, the Forum has been approached for
financial assistance, and a view on the options available.
recent Henley Review of Music Services has identified the
positive benefits gained by children and young people engaging
in music activities and has gained government commitment
to provide grant funding for the next financial year, although
this will be reduced by 10 percent from April 2011. However,
this will not be enough to support the music service. Like
any business, the service has to change the way it operates
to meet the finances available to run it.'
Forum will meet today, Wednesday, 2nd March to consider
the request for financial assistance. At the same time,
feedback from the consultation is due to be collated and
considered so that the future of the service can be considered