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WYENOT NEWS - ROSS-ON-WYE
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Wyenot News - The Weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 176 - Wednesday, 5th December 2007
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IN THIS ISSUE
Page 1 [WNTV NEWS presented by Tina - Christmas Light Switch-on - Last Apple Pressing - What's Happening in Ross]
Page 2 [Bridstow Christmas Fair - Visit Santa - A Tribute to Peter McCutcheon - Letters - Christmas Menus]
Page 3 [Local Heroes - SOFA at the Prince - Medieval in Peterstow - Art and History for Ross Community Hospital]

Page 4

[Filming Bats - John Kyrle Autumn Concert - Pussy needs a home - River Tales - Public Notices]
Page 5 [Long Service Awards - Tree of Remembrance - Advent Market - Psychic - Smoke free - Shopmobility - Weather]
Page 6 [News from around Herefordshire County]
HEREFORDSHIRE COUNTY NEWS

Ledbury pubs voice their approval for retail radio

PC Peter Askwith shows off the new retail radios and posters to Severn Stars landlady Nikki Baker
and Talbot Hotel landlord Andy Ward.

Ledbury’s successful retail radio scheme has expanded to include the town’s major public houses - making life for troublemakers and criminals even harder. The scheme sees shops and public houses joined together by handheld radios with each other and to Herefordshire Community Safety and Drugs Partnership’s CCTV control room and officers at Ledbury Police Station.

This means that shops and pubs can communicate with each other when trouble arises, as well as alerting the CCTV controllers, who can focus the camera network on the situation. This in turn can help guide police towards offenders as well as helping to ensure that crucial evidence is captured to bring the offenders to justice.

The scheme has already proved highly effective - in recent weeks there have been two incidents in which calls for attention over the radios have helped police make six arrests for shoplifting offences in the town centre. In one case the offenders made off in a car and, thanks to the efforts of store security guards passing details to the CCTV control room, the vehicle was tracked to Ross-on-Wye, where the occupants were stopped and arrested a short time later. All six people arrested were subsequently charged with a variety of shoplifting offences and a number of stolen goods were recovered.

By extending the radio network to the pubs in the town centre, it ensures that the night-time economy is also sharing in the benefits. By connecting through the radio networks, pubs can monitor troublemakers and alert police, which can in turn help prevent more serious incidents from developing and should also produce a great deterrent to offenders.

'The system is a great additional tool which will help landlords and police to ensure Ledbury remains a safe and enjoyable place to socialize,' said PC Peter Askwith, Local Policing Officer for the town. 'We have seen how effective the radio network has been in recent weeks with the existing retailers being able to alert us to shoplifters and, with the help of the CCTV cameras, we have been able to make quick arrests. Now, with the addition of many of the town’s pubs to the scheme, it can only become even better and help us to combat the small minority of people who engage in theft, disorder and criminal damage within the town'.

The addition of the pubs to the scheme also ties in neatly with Operation Christmas Presence, West Mercia Constabulary’s annual festive season campaign against alcohol-related disorder and antisocial behaviour. By highlighting that pubs and retailers are in communication direct with each other, the CCTV network and the police, it is hoped this will further discourage poor behaviour and allow everyone to enjoy the build up to Christmas and the New Year.

Brightly coloured posters have been produced and are on display throughout the town centre to further reinforce the message that offenders will be monitored and have action taken against them. Additional members to the retail radio scheme are always welcomed - retailers or publicans wanting to know more should contact PC Askwith at Ledbury Police Station.



Christmas Bus Timetable Released

Details of bus services in the county over the Christmas and New Year period have been released.

A normal timetable providing a full evening service will operate on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve with Herefordshire now being one of the few areas of the country where buses do not finish earlier than normal on these nights. No buses will run on Christmas Day or Boxing Day and the remainder of Christmas week will see a Saturday timetable operating on city services in Hereford, with a normal "Monday to Friday" timetable on country services.

"Market Day" services that would have run on Tuesday, 25th December or Wednesday, 26th December will be operated on an alternative day during that week. Unlike many other parts of the country where no buses operate, there will be a Sunday level of service in Herefordshire on New Year's Day and bus services will return to normal on Wednesday, 2nd January 2008.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation said, 'The fact our bus timetable for the festive period includes a full evening service on the main party nights of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve and a Sunday service on New Year's Day offers people in the county plenty of choice in how they travel around during this busy period. We urge people to use public transport and leave their cars at home over the festive period and our timetable will help people plan how to get home after their nights out.'

Full details of timetable changes over the Christmas period are contained in a special leaflet issued by Herefordshire Council and available from libraries, Tourist information Centres and Council Info Shops throughout Herefordshire as well as being downloadable from the Public Transport pages of the council's website www.herefordshire.gov.uk.


Thousands Apply for New Bus Pass

Senior citizens throughout Herefordshire, as well as many disabled people have been applying for the new English National Bus Pass from Herefordshire Council. The new pass will come into use on April 1, 2008 and the current Herefordshire Council local bus pass will be discontinued shortly afterwards.

To date, more than 8,000 applications for the new pass have been received at council offices and it is hoped to have helped all existing pass holders to apply for their new pass by the end of January.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation said, 'We are very grateful to everyone who has come forward so far to submit an application for their new bus pass. It is, however, vital that everyone currently entitled to free bus travel applies for a new pass before the end of January so that we can ensure that everyone receives their new pass in time. However, everyone should be aware that all passes are scheduled to be sent out in March 2008.'

The council is currently concentrating on ensuring that all existing pass holders have applied for their new passes before new applicants are invited to apply. The new English National Concessionary Bus Pass will allow anyone over 60 as well as many disabled people, to travel free of charge on local buses throughout England at off peak times as well as at all times of day within Herefordshire.

There is no charge for the pass and application forms are available from all Herefordshire Council Info Shops or from the Public Transport pages of the Council's website www.herefordshire.gov.uk. Further information about the new pass is available from the council's Info by Phone service on 01432 260500.


Walk to School Competition Results

Two primary schools, one in Hereford and one in Bromyard, have won this year's countywide campaign to get children walking to school.

Earlier this term, Herefordshire schools took part in a campaign to increase the number of children walking to school as part of this year's international walk to school effort. Herefordshire Council's road safety officers teamed up with school travel advisers to target primary schools in Hereford and the market towns, where lots of children already walk to school. The aim was to promote walking and cycling to school but also to stress the importance of road safety to children. All the schools taking part were judged on the highest number of children (as a percentage of the whole school) walking or cycling to school.

In Hereford city, the winning school is St James' CE Primary in Vicarage Road with 76% of pupils walking to school during the week.

St Peter's CE Primary in Bromyard won the Market Towns section with 79% of pupils walking to school during the week. Each school will receive a prize of Road Safety kit worth £600 and every child in the school will get a hi-viz bag. The prizes will be presented at school assemblies and road safety mascot, Spike the Hedgehog, will be on hand to congratulate pupils.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said, 'Herefordshire schools have responded incredibly well to this year's walk to school campaign. Well done to all those who have participated and congratulations to the winners.'


More Affordable Homes on the Way

There is good news for people wanting to set up home in the county as Herefordshire Council is on target with plans which will mean more than 800 new affordable homes will be built in the next four years. The homes are desperately needed to help tackle the growing divide between lower than average salaries and higher than average house prices in Herefordshire.

'This is driving many people out of the county as they simply can't afford to buy a house and live here. It is an important issue we take seriously and are tackling it,' said Councillor John Jarvis, cabinet member for environment and strategic housing. 'We hope to have 112 of these homes built during 2007/ 2008 and a further 718 by 2011.'

The homes will be built thanks to Herefordshire Council's housing needs and development teams negotiation's with developers across the county. Overall, the recently adopted blue print for land use in the county, the Unitary Development Plan, sets out a target of building 2,300 affordable homes in the 15 year period from 1996 to 2011. The Edgar Street Grid development will include a significant number of affordable houses. On top of this, the council's housing needs and development team is tackling the problem of empty properties and aims to bring 100 homes back into use during 2007/ 2008.

'Despite the level of development centred on Hereford city and the market towns, we must not forget rural communities, where the need for affordable housing is great but the opportunity to create these kinds of homes is more limited,' said Councillor Jarvis. 'To help tackle this issue, a rural housing enabler has been appointed to complement existing work by focusing attention on settlement villages and helping these local parish councils identify potential sites where affordable housing in rural communities can be built.

While we are seeing increasing numbers of affordable houses being built in the county, there is still much to be done. It was recently announced that there is funding available to build affordable housing in the region and we are doing all we can to ensure that Herefordshire gets its share. Indeed, Hereford has been accepted as a new growth point, which reflects our commitment to meeting the challenge given to councils by government to increase the supply of affordable housing.'


Colwall Bridge to Reopen for Light Traffic

Colwall Bridge is currently on target to reopen to light vehicles on Friday, 7th December, after an interim inspection report showed the bridge was able to take loads under three tonnes, though only on a specific route.

Engineers have used data from the inspection carried out in October to create a safe route for light vehicles that is supported by the internal beams to the bridge as these exhibit less deterioration than some other beams supporting the bridge. These beams are at an angle to the highway and so the route over the bridge takes an S shaped course. There will be traffic signals to control the flow of traffic (which is single lane) over the bridge and, to ensure vehicles are limited to the three tonne limit, there is a width restriction at each end of the bridge.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'I am pleased we can now open the bridge to light traffic and hope it will help the community and businesses of Colwall to get back to normal, especially in the busy run up to Christmas. As soon as we knew there was an opportunity to reopen the bridge to light traffic, we worked on designing the necessary traffic measures that are needed to be in place to allow for the reopening of the road.

The layout might result in some delays for motorists but this is considered far preferable to not reopening the bridge at all. I hope people will accept this short term measure as the only option available at the moment. We are unable to fully reopen the bridge to all traffic but when we have the complete results from our inspection, we and Network Rail will be in a position to decide on the best solution, with a bailey bridge still being an option for the medium term.'

The full report from the inspection will be available later this month.


Good News for Local Transport in Herefordshire

Good news for local transport in Herefordshire It has been announced today that Herefordshire will receive an extra £3.3m to support local transport schemes in addition to funding previously identified within in Council's Local Transport Plan. As part of the regional announcement Minister for the West Midlands Liam Bryne also praised Hereford's multi award winning Victoria Footbridge restoration project as an example of local transport projects that have already played their part in improving transport around the West Midlands. The extra funding will be made available over the next three years and is a result of a revision in the formula used to allocate highway maintenance capital funding. .

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'Confirmation of this funding over the next three years will give us far greater certainty to plan for the future and implement our Local Transport strategy. As part of this strategy we wish to encourage more use of public transport and get more people to cycle and, if Connect2 win the public vote on ITV1 for lottery cash, then we can start work on our Hereford scheme to provide a cycle and walking route from the north east of the city with Rotherwas.'

The money awarded has to be spent on transport improvements within the county such as road safety measures, better street lighting, highways maintenance and cycle lanes.


Last Chance to Vote for Connect2, a Vote for Hereford

The people of Hereford should pick up their phones from this Friday, 7th December to help secure part of a £50 million Big Lottery Fund grant for walking and cycling between Hereford and Rotherwas. A vote for Sustrans' Connect2, will help make it easier for people both locally and across the UK to walk and cycle for everyday journeys.

The number to call will be available from Friday, 7th December at www.thepeoples50million.org.uk. Calls will cost no more than 10p from a BT land line, however, calls from other land lines and mobiles may be higher. It's also still possible to cast an online vote at www.thepeoples50million.org.uk. All voting closes at noon on Monday, 10th December.

Each of the bids will be highlighted in programmes on ITV1 this week. To find out more about Sustrans' Connect2 tune into ITV1 at 11.05pm on Tuesday, December 4 and Friday, December 7, to see Lorraine Kelly's run down of how the £50 million would change the lives of 79 communities across the UK. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, 12th December.

In 79 schemes around the UK, Connect2 would build bridges, foot and cycle paths, and even reinstate a ferry, giving people easier and healthier access to schools, workplaces, shops and leisure areas. Connect2 is competing against three other organizations, with the winner being decided by public vote.

The Hereford scheme exploits an existing Welsh Water bridge over the river and ultimately offers a safe and environmentally friendly route out as far as the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Holme Lacy. Lorraine Kelly is leading the Connect2 bid, along with former minister Charles Clarke. Connect2 is also supported by author Bill Bryson, designer Wayne Hemingway and actor Alistair McGowan, amongst others. In Northern Ireland actor Steven Arnold, Coronation Street's Ashley Peacock is getting behind Connect2.

Alistair McGowan explains why he'll be picking up the phone for Connect2 this weekend: 'As someone who cycles everywhere I know the benefits being on two wheels can bring. Last summer I improved my fitness level enormously by cycling to and from the theatre in Stratford. But I also know the problems cyclists and walkers face when trying to negotiate busy roads, railway crossings, rivers etc. That's why I'm voting for Sustrans' Connect2. It will give me and at least six million others, healthier and happier journeys around our local communities. Please vote Connect2 now.'

Sustrans' Chief Executive John Grimshaw added, 'We need as many people as possible to use their land lines and mobile phones to vote for us to make sure some of that £50 million Lottery money benefits people here in Hereford. Log on to www.thepeoples50million.org.uk vote for Sustrans' Connect2, and get your friends, family and colleagues to do the same. There are so many great reasons to vote Connect2 and a minute of your time could make all the difference. If you don't have access to the internet, text Connect2 to 80010 or call us on 0845 058 13 73 and we'll send you the voteline number as soon as we know it on Friday.'


Study into Rural Transport for Teenage Learners

Herefordshire Council has contributed to a major study of rural transport for teenage learners which recommends major investment in post 16 travel. The report, entitled 'Rural Transport - Long Distance Learners?' has been developed by Norfolk County Council and Lincolnshire County Council with contributions from other rural county councils including Herefordshire.

The report, which has been submitted to the Department for Children, Schools and Families, focuses on the challenges faced by young people trying to access post 16 education in rural areas. Education for young people aged between 14 and 19 is in the process of reform, with government plans to raise the education participation age to 18 by 2015.

One of the major challenges faced by councils like Herefordshire in encouraging young people into post 16 education is the provision of good transport links. Although much work has already gone on in the county to make it easier to travel to and from colleges, sixth form centres and vocational courses, there is still a need for considerable funding from the government to improve these links, particularly if students are likely to have to travel between centres to receive the learning of their choice.

A recently published study funded by the Learning and Skills Council and undertaken by a partnership of county councils has identified the key issues facing local authorities when delivering and developing transport support policies. During the study, consultative work was undertaken with rural authorities, including Herefordshire, colleges and sixth form student support managers, staff working on 14 to 19 development, students from rural areas, bus operators and disability specialists. The exercise indicated that many students are spending too long travelling and that fragmented funding and the rising number of students was making rural transport difficult to maintain.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children and young people, said, 'This piece of work has highlighted the issues surrounding access to learning in rural areas like Herefordshire and provides a way forward for local and central government to improve access to learning for young people. It is important that young people living in rural areas are offered the same learning opportunities as students from urban areas. The government has provided us with tough targets to increase the percentage of young people continuing their education after secondary school, but we need to be able to resource this. I hope they will take note of the study's findings and recommendations for further investment.'

The report makes ten key recommendations, including the provision of free or concessionary transport for all young people in learning up the age of 19. It also recommends that agreements be made about responsibilities for planning and funding home to school transport in rural areas, particularly journeys necessary to access different courses under the proposed 14 to 19 diploma arrangements.


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