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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. 202 - Wednesday, 11th June 2008
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IN THIS ISSUE
Page 1 [WNTV NEWS - CAB - Gardeners' Question Time - Open Gardens - Money for Bands in the Park and Ross Live!]
Page 2 [Cider and Blues Night at the Farm great success - Letters]
Page 3 [More Chicken Shed than Zeppelin - JKHS New Zealand - Castle Dance - Women of Spirit - C.S. Bliss]

Page 4

[Henry and Cheryl - Hi to USA Friends - Kate Humble - Goodrich - Nature Photography - Buggy Route - Weather]
Page 5 [Praise for Computer Clubbers' art work and the rest of the news from around Herefordshire]
HEREFORDSHIRE COUNTY NEWS

Praise for Computer Clubbers' Art Work

Two pupils from St Michaelís C of E Primary School in Bodenham have been rewarded for their artistic abilities by their local Policing Team. Peter Morris and Joshua Collin created the winning designs in a competition to advertise posters for a special school holiday computer club which is being set up in school holidays.

The idea for the computer club grew out of the Community Access Point (CAP) in the village, which provides for community use laptop computer equipment, complete with internet connections and webcams. Regular sessions are held at Brockington Golf Club with no charge to use the equipment.

To engage young people, special computer sessions were held by the school in term time as part of their IT learning package. The teachers transported a small group of pupils to the golf club every Thursday afternoon and set them tasks to complete on the CAP laptops. The sessions were run by CAP volunteers Katy Wrathall and Harry Jenman alongside Community Support Officer Stephanie Annette from the Bromyard Rural Local Policing Team, with everyone giving up their free time to help guide the children. The sessions proved popular and the idea for a club to run in school holidays was born.

'Between myself and school head teacher Mrs Potts we set the children a task to design a poster and give a name to the new venture,' explained CSO Annette. 'The children really entered into it and there were lots of colourful designs, from which we chose Peter and Joshuaís as the winners, while the name Kidz Computer Club was one that the children liked best. Everyone involved has been amazing, from the teachers at the school to the volunteers from the Community Access Point and the staff at Brockington Golf Club. A lot of time and support has been devoted to the children to give them a club they can call their own.'

For their efforts in creating the winning designs, Peter and Joshua were this week presented with special certificates and creative colouring kits by CSO Annette.

The Kidz Computer Club will be running for the local children during the summer school holidays - with the winning posters helping to promote the sessions to the children at the school.


St Michaelís C of E Primary School pupils Peter Morris and Joshua Collin show off their certificates and prizes, watched by teaching assistant Lavinia Edwards, Community Access Point volunteer Harry Jenman and Community Support Officer Stephanie Annette. Unable to be at the presentation was CAP volunteer Katy Wrathall.

Public Given Chance to Voice Concerns on Crime

The first of a new style of meetings to allow the public to ask questions about crime and policing in their local area got off to a strong start in Hereford last week and residents in the north and south of Herefordshire will have their chance to attend further Policing Matters meetings later this month.

The 'Policing Matters in North Herefordshire' meeting will be held from 7pm to 9pm, on Thursday 12th June 2008, at the Minster College, South Street, Leominster and the 'Policing Matters in South Herefordshire' meeting will be held from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday 26th June 2008, at the Larruperz Centre, Grammar School Close, Ross-on-Wye.

Members of the public who attended the 'Policing Matters in Central Herefordshire' meeting were addressed by Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Mark Turner, as well as local Police Authority member, Councillor Bernard Hunt.

Included in the packed presentation was a 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' style quiz to find out people's perceptions of crime levels, plus an overview of policing in Herefordshire giving information about Local Policing Teams and the role of Community Support Officers.

The audience also heard how the police work with partners and local communities to address issues affecting the quality of life of residents and details about the role of the Police Authority. The meeting also introduced to Nick Semper as the new Inspector for the Hereford City and Rural policing district, before concluding with a 'question and suggestion' session.

Councillor Bernard Hunt, who chaired the meeting, said, 'We are lucky to live in a low crime area, where levels of reported crime continue to reduce even further year on year for many types of crime. For example, domestic burglary is down by 52% in 4 years to less than one a day for the whole of Herefordshire. Clearly there is a disproportionate fear of becoming a victim of crime in this area. Whilst I acknowledge that there are some 'hot spot' areas, the reality is that knife and other serious violent crimes are not common.'

A further short presentation during the meeting heard from Acting Inspector Phil Edwards, who gave details about the launch of the Hereford Volunteer Cadets Scheme which had its first 'passing out' parade last week. 'We should be proud of our young people. In this county the 16-24 age group are doing more voluntary work than any other age group and of the 20 antisocial behaviour orders none have been issued to anyone under 21. The cadet scheme is an excellent example of partners such as the police, fire and youth agencies working together and getting young people back involved in their communities,' commented Councillor Hunt.

'We should take responsibility for helping to improve the area we live in. Residents can make sure local problems are addressed by attending their quarterly Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meeting and if they see a problem they should report. I suggest people put the police non-emergency telephone number 08457 444 888 into their mobile as they never know when they might see something.'


Campagne to keep 100 skilled local jobs at the
Tax Office gathers speed

Conservative hopeful Jesse Norman brought a team of volunteers to High Town on Saturday to campaign to keep the tax office in Hereford open. They joined a group of HM Revenue and Customs employees and helped gather over 700 signatures in a few hours, underlining the growing public support for this issue.

The campaigners were joined at lunchtime by Paul Keetch MP and LibDem candidate Sarah Carr, making the issue a real example of cross-party co-operation. The HMRC has published proposals to "withdraw services" from Broadway House in Hereford, retaining only the Enquiry Centre. Staff would relocate to other HMRC offices, subject to reasonable daily travel.

HMRC employ 96 staff in Hereford, only a handful of whom will remain. Thus the withdrawal of HMRC services will mean potential loss of over 90 skilled jobs in Hereford, worth nearly £2 million in salaries to the local economy.

Jesse first brought the office closure to public attention in April, and has been fighting against the closures since then. He said, 'The loss of 90 skilled jobs in Hereford would be absolutely disastrous for the city and for the county. It would deprive local taxpayers and businesses of an important public service. Yet again it shows how little interest the government has in our county.

HMRC should be investing in Herefordshire, not taking jobs and public services away. In fact, if you look at the national picture, it clearly suggests that these cuts are politically targeted. My own analysis suggests that only 4 of the over 70 constituencies targeted for job losses are marginal Labour seats. Yet Labour has over half the seats in Parliament!

We know from the national press that Labour has been using "heat maps" which show the effects of possible school and hospital closures on its marginal seats. It very much looks as though these cuts are being targeted in the same way.'


Lib Dem MP, Paul Keetch and Lib Dem candidate Sarah Carr join Jesse and his campagners at lunchtime.

Council Saves £4 Million Without Cutting Services

Herefordshire Council has achieved over £4 million in efficiency gains in the last financial year without cutting services. By improving its performance in children's and adult's social care, by cutting the proportion of household waste that is buried in land fills and by making its benefits transactions more efficient, the council has avoided the need to cut services and has helped to keep council tax rises to a minimum.

This figure brings the total to nearly £14 million saved over the last three years and the council is exceeding targets set by government to improve its performance in how it buys and manages public services.

'Looking for and capturing opportunities to save money is now part of the council's culture,' said cabinet member for resources Councillor Harry Bramer. 'These are ongoing efficiencies, not one off savings, and while other local authorities may be cutting services, this council is able to maintain the help it provides, particularly to the most vulnerable members of the community, and this is part of our strategy for prudent and forward looking financial management.'

Of the £4.1 million saved through efficiencies in 2007/08, around two thirds, or £2.67 million, were 'cashable', which means it is funding that can be released for use elsewhere, such as holding down council tax and reinvesting in front line services for the public. The rest of the savings are termed 'non-cashable', which means the council is able to deliver more in service for the same or less money.

Councillor Bramer added, 'Despite added pressure on social service budgets, unexpected flood expenses and continued government under funding in education, the council under spent on its day to day budget by nearly £600 thousand.'

The news came as Herefordshire Council reported its financial performance for last year, when the authority came in under budget for the fifth year running.


Full Steam Ahead for the Cotswold Line

Herefordshire Council has welcomed confirmation from the Office of Rail Regulation that a £48 million scheme to reintroduce double track on the "Cotswold Line" that links Hereford, Oxford and London, can go ahead.

The line was reduced to single track in the 1970s and in recent years rail passengers have suffered delays on the single-track sections of the line. The limited capacity of the line has also meant that plans to increase the number of trains have had to be put on hold.

Under the proposal, 20 miles of double track will be installed between Charlbury in Oxfordshire and Evesham in Worcestershire and approval of the funding removes the final obstacle to the scheme.

On hearing the news, Councillor Brian Wilcox, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said, 'This is good news for the future of the line. Although the actual work will take place outside the county, Herefordshire residents will benefit from greatly improved reliability of service and the potential will exist for more frequent trains between Herefordshire and London in the future.

I am pleased to see that the many years of hard work by the Cotswold and Malverns Transport Partnership, of which the council is a member, has now paid off. Regrettably, future provision of double tracking into the county is not yet one of the government's proposals.'

Network Rail envisages that double-tracking will allow nine out of ten trains to run on time, making it one of the most reliable lines in the country. Completion of the project is expected by 2010.


Full Steam Ahead for the Cotswold Line

Herefordshire Council has welcomed confirmation from the Office of Rail Regulation that a £48 million scheme to reintroduce double track on the "Cotswold Line" that links Hereford, Oxford and London, can go ahead.

The line was reduced to single track in the 1970s and in recent years rail passengers have suffered delays on the single-track sections of the line. The limited capacity of the line has also meant that plans to increase the number of trains have had to be put on hold.

Under the proposal, 20 miles of double track will be installed between Charlbury in Oxfordshire and Evesham in Worcestershire and approval of the funding removes the final obstacle to the scheme.

On hearing the news, Councillor Brian Wilcox, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said, 'This is good news for the future of the line. Although the actual work will take place outside the county, Herefordshire residents will benefit from greatly improved reliability of service and the potential will exist for more frequent trains between Herefordshire and London in the future.

I am pleased to see that the many years of hard work by the Cotswold and Malverns Transport Partnership, of which the council is a member, has now paid off. Regrettably, future provision of double tracking into the county is not yet one of the government's proposals.'

Network Rail envisages that double-tracking will allow nine out of ten trains to run on time, making it one of the most reliable lines in the country. Completion of the project is expected by 2010.


Congratulations to Business Award Winners

Congratulations to Pmbridge company, Kingspan Insulation, who have been awarded the coveted Business of the Year in the 2008 Chamber of Commerce awards for enterprises in Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, cabinet member for economic development and community services, congratulated the company, saying that not only is Kingspan Insulation, which is not only a successful global player but that it has a strong commitment to the local community and environment.

Councillor Blackshaw went on to say that, 'Herefordshire is on a roll. The county has been named Enterprise Capital of the West Midlands; Hereford United is competing in League One next season; and several of our businesses have triumphed in this year's Chamber Awards. The council also congratulates our chamber of commerce for organizing an event that so professionally showcases the fantastic business talent we have across the two counties.'

Half of the business award winners for the two counties, which were announced at Eastnor Castle last Thursday evening came from rural Herefordshire.

Councillor Blackshaw added, 'The fact that there was a record number of entries for this year's competition should also give Herefordshire that extra boost of confidence to show the rest of the West Midlands region and beyond that the county nurtures highly creative companies and niche competitors on a global scale, and is a great place to invest and grow your business.'

Kingspan Insulation of Pembridge, is a world leader in their specialist area of insulation, and scooped Chamber of Commerce's the Business of the Year award. International Business of the Year was MilSys (UK) Ltd of Rotherwas, Hereford, which makes rapidly re-deployable expeditionary equipment for civilian and military use. Employer of the Year was Peter Prosser Hairdressing of Hereford. Green Business of the Year was innovative architect practice Architype of Hereford. And the Award for Excellence in Food and Drink was won by Weston's Cider of Much Marcle.


Qualifications for Young Mums to Be

A group of young Herefordshire parents have successfully completed a unique course which prepares them for parenthood.

Herefordshire has one of the most successful YMTB (young mums to be) programmes in the country with its learners gaining well above average levels of achievement. The programme is designed to prepare young prospective parents for birth and parenthood, encouraging their independence, boosting their basic skills, motivating them to breast feed their babies and helping them plan for their future education, employment and training.

Based at the Green Croft Children's Centre, partnership agencies work together to successfully deliver individual parts of the programme. Midwives, health visitors, youth workers, housing and family support workers are all involved in helping the young mums complete the course, put together their portfolios and achieve a Skills for Life Competence award from the national awarding body, NCFE.

Three of the mums are now training to become peer breast feeding supporters, one is a registered childminder and one has gone back to college full-time. Two young mums from one of the groups have been into a secondary school with the school nurse to tell the pupils about the realities of young parenthood.

The young mums, who have to complete 12 units of the programme say they benefit from the course and feel better able to cope with parenthood as a result. The units include sections on money management, communication skills, healthy lifestyle, and life skills related to parenting, as well as future planning with regard to training, education and work.

The latest course members to complete their portfolios of work will be presented with their awards by Dr Sharon Menghini, Herefordshire Council's director of children's services on Wednesday, 11th June at 10.30am at the Left Bank Conference Centre.

Councillor Jenny Hyde, cabinet member for children and young people, said: 'The young parents who get involved in the programme are inspirational. Not only have they learned new skills, they have been eager to give something back by helping other young people and challenging the stereotype of teenage parenthood.

Many of them have formed strong friendships with others on the course and continue attending the postnatal group which is run by health visitors once their babies have been born.

We are very proud of the successes of our young people and I look forward to meeting some of them at the award ceremony next week.'


Teenagers Cautioned over Graffiti in Ledbury

Five teenagers from Ledbury have received police cautions for criminal damage as a result of spraying graffiti around the town.

The teenagers, four of whom are aged 17 and one age 16,- were identified as being responsible for graffiti on buildings at John Masefield High School, Ledbury Cricket Club and at Little Marcle Road, after some good detective work by the Ledbury Town Local Policing Team.

The story began to unfold with a chance discovery by a member of the public, who handed in a backpack they had found in woodland off the Vetís Field. CSO Carol Marsh noticed that the bag had a small graffiti tag drawn on it, while the contents indicated that it belong to a school pupil.

Enquiries with the school confirmed the owner of the bag, who admitted being responsible for the graffiti when challenged by PC Peter Askwith, as did several of his friends who came forward voluntarily to admit that they too had played a part.

'All of this happened as a result of public-spirited person handing in the backpack and shows how the police do need - and get - the co-operation of the community,' explained PC Askwith, the Local Police Officer for Ledbury Town. 'We have been aware of the appearance of a small amount of graffiti in the town recently, and made sure we were familiar with the tags that were being sprayed. When CSO Marsh saw that the bag was decorated with one of these tags, that was the breakthrough we needed to be able to identify those responsible.

When challenged, the bagís owner readily admitted his responsibility as did several of his friends who then came forward to admit that they too had sprayed the graffiti. This was the first time any of them had been in trouble with the police and so they received a caution and some strong words of warning - but they know now that we do take the issue of illegal graffiti spraying seriously and make every effort to identify those responsible. If they do cause more criminal damage in this way, they can be assured that they will in future be dealt with through the courts.'

While the Local Policing Team is keen to make sure those responsible for illegal graffiti spraying are identified and sanctioned, they do recognise that graffiti can be a legitimate and creative art form when undertaken in the correct way.

During the half term week a free graffiti workshop for young people was run at Ledbury Youth Centre, which the Local Policing Team provided a significant proportion of the funding for. 'We certainly donít want to stifle young peopleís creativity and have helped to provide the facilities for them to do that properly - so there really can be no excuses for painting unlawful graffiti elsewhere around the town,' added PC Askwith.


Sports Ground Bund to Finally Be Removed

Herefordshire Council has blown the final whistle on a sports club that built an earth bund containing rubble and waste without planning permission.

After years of trying to persuade Hereford City Sports Club, of Grandstand Road, Hereford to comply with planning regulations, the council has offered to remove the 600-metre long bund itself. However, the club will need to repay the £30,000 required for the work, over a period of up to five years.

The bund first appeared in 2005 but without planning permission. The club later submitted two retrospective planning applications, but these were rejected because the construction was out of character and a hindrance to emergency vehicles.

The club appealed but an independent planning inspector backed the council's decision.

'Apart from defining the extent of the land managed by the sports club, I fail to see what function the remodelled bund would perform,' wrote the inspector. 'I consider that the bund will still represent an angular alien feature within the greater expanse of open land forming the racecourse.'

The council had previously offered to remove the bund and pay upfront back in August last year.

'I regret it is necessary to take this stance,' said the council's head of asset management and property services Malcolm MacAskill. 'However, the council has a responsibility to uphold planning law and has provided every opportunity over a long period of time to the club to respond and remove the bund.'


Archaeological Investigation for Masters' House

Herefordshire Council has organized an archaeological evaluation at the Masters House in Ledbury, which is the site of a £2.9-million library and community complex for the town.

Before the design brief for the library is finalised, the council is engaging an archaeological investigation company to dig a 20 square metre trench to search for any possible remains. Work began on Monday, 8th June 2008 and is likely to take a week, with an evaluation report presented within a further two weeks.

Herefordshire Council is planning a new library with access for disabled people within the St Katherine's area of the high street, together with a new information centre, a tourist information centre and visitor attraction with a focus for local history and culture, as well as further space for use by the community.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, cabinet member for economic development and community services, said, 'The archaeological investigation is routine for any development in a site of historic interest like St Katherine's. Any find will be assessed with a view to adding interest and value to the plans for a new showcase library and community complex, which will help further encourage more visitors to boost the economy of Ledbury for the benefit of local people.'

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