HOME INFORMATION PACK RULE WILL HURT HOUSING MARKET SAYS JESSE
Local campaigner Jesse Norman has criticized new rules on
Home Information Packs, which come into force this week.
Home Information Packs (HIPs) are compulsory documents which
a house seller must now provide to a buyer free of charge.
the 6th April 2009 new rules require that homes cannot even
be put on the market until the HIP has been completed, adding
weeks of delay to the process for many sellers and town
halls have been instructed to start fining homeowners £200
a time if they do not follow the new rules.
said, 'The Government’s own research has found that there
is little public knowledge or interest in Hips The industry
thinks they are a waste of time, and will increase litigation.
They push up costs, and buyers are not bothering to consult
them but prefer to rely on their own inquiries. We are in
the midst of a serious economic slowdown, and these new
regulations just make the situation worse. If Ministers
really wanted to help homeowners, they would use their emergency
powers under the act to suspend Hips and provide a shot
in the arm to Herefordshire's housing market.'
HEREFORDSHIRE COUNCIL IN BID FOR FAIR DEAL FOR COUNTY SCHOOLS
Herefordshire Council is lobbying for a better deal for
the county's rural schools and recently took part in discussions
with Secretary of State Ed Balls, as the government reviews
the methods it uses to fund all schools in England. Councillor
Roger Phillips, leader of the council, and Councillor Jenny
Hyde, cabinet member for children's services, are working
with other poorly funded local authorities, known as the
F40 group, to drive for a better financial settlement.
a meeting in Ed Ball's Wakefield constituency, they talked
with the secretary of state, and with Stephen Kingdom, the
head of funding at the Department of Children, Schools and
Families. Under the present scheme, Herefordshire's schools
lose out badly. The county is the third worst funded in
the country per pupil, receiving on average £3,830 per pupil,
compared with the national average of £4,218 per pupil and
the highest funded authority, which is Tower Hamlets in
London, which gets £6,523 per pupil.
large number of local authorities in the F40 group are rural
counties, where the cost of education is higher, due to
there being smaller schools serving sparser populations
with higher transport costs,' said Councillor Phillips.
'This makes it all the more unjust when counties like ours
are funded poorly compared to more urban areas. For example,
over half of our schools in Herefordshire have under 109
pupils. However, there may be some grounds for hope on the
horizon. The government is gathering evidence into the summer
and plans to launch formal consultations with 7,000 schools,
including all high schools and some primaries. New fairer
arrangements could come into effect in the 2011/12 financial
government have commissioned consultants to undertake detailed
research into a number of key areas. This includes taking
account of the additional costs of running small schools,
primary or secondary, in sparsely populated rural areas,
where the schools exist out of necessity, but recruiting
and retaining teachers and maintaining high overheads for
small numbers is a challenge, and it is not appropriate
to transport children over long distances. The funding for
high cost pupils, with special educational needs who need
considerable support, need to be provided centrally and
outside the normal devolved budgets to local areas. Supporting
schools with pupils with additional educational needs also
requires a different approach to funding, with a formula
worked out according to specific and various needs.
important point is that every child matters, and every community
matters,' said Councillor Phillips, 'and we are pressing
government to reflect this fairly in a new funding system.
There are some signs that the government is now listening
and taking action, although we must wait and see the results
of the consultation and the nature of the new funding arrangements
when more details are announced.'
BALD CIGARETTE SELLER ARRESTED
Detectives investigating a series of distraction burglaries
in the Tupsley area of Hereford at the end of February 2009
have caught their man. Hereford Police have confirmed that
a 25 year old male was recently arrested in the North East
of England and was subsequently interviewed by detectives
from the West Mercia, Dorset and Gloucestershire forces
in connection with a string of such offences.
the beginning of March 2009, police appealed for witnesses
after a man, described as a Duncan Goodhew look-a-like,
conned his way into three homes of elderly residents in
the Tupsley area on the pretext of selling cigarettes at
knock down prices. The arrested man has admitted all three
Hereford offences and will ask for them to be taken into
consideration when he is sentenced at Crown Court later
in the year.
Sergeant Tim Powell of Hereford CID said, 'Distraction burglaries
are crimes that we are not prepared to tolerate in this
county and we will do all in our power to identify and bring
to justice all those that engage in such activities. We
would particularly like to thank the public for being so
community-spirited in keeping a watchful eye on vulnerable
neighbours and in providing us with detailed witness statements
which enabled us to track down the person responsible for
these three crimes.'
VICTIMS OF SHOBDON MICROLIGHT CRASH NAMED
Herefordshire Police have named the two men who died when
their microlight aircraft crashed as it was attempting to
land at Shobdon airfield in North Herefordshire last Saturday
afternoon. The men have been identified as Mark Christopher
Taylor, aged 45 of Berryhill, Coleford, Gloucestershire
and Rex Antony John Paddock aged 56 of East Batch, Coleford,
Gloucestershire. The Coroner has been informed and an inquest
is expected to be opened and adjourned this week.
Inspector Martyn Barnes from Hereford CID led the early
stages of the investigation, before formally handing over
primacy to the Air Accident Investigation Board based at
Farnborough, Hampshire on Sunday. He said, 'This is a very
tragic case which is now being fully investigated by the
AAIB. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the families
of these two flying enthusiasts as they try to come to terms
with what has happened. In support of the AAIB, West Mercia
Constabulary has appointed a Family Liaison Officer to offer
the families support and assistance.'
Barnes added, 'There were several other microlight flyers
present at Shobdon airfield who we believe took off shortly
afterwards. Some of these pilots may well have seen the
crash. I would urge anyone who witnessed the incident and
has not yet given their details to police to contact me
as soon as possible.'
with information should contact DI Martyn Barnes at Hereford
CID on 0300 333 3000.
POLICE ADVISE GARDNERS TO NIP GARDEN CRIME IN THE BUD
Spring has well and truly and sprung, Easter weekend is
almost here and millions of people will be taking the opportunity
to get to work in their gardens and allotments. With this
in mind, West Mercia Constabulary is urging green-fingered
residents to help it 'weed out' garden crime by reviewing
and improving their shed security.
often sees an increase in thefts from garden and allotment
sheds and although crime is low across Shropshire, Worcestershire,
Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin, approximately 1,000
shed burglaries take place every year across West Mercia.
It is therefore important that people take the time to ensure
their valuables are stored securely. Later this month thousands
of packets of seeds will distributed to the public across
the force. They come packed with handy tips on how people
can make their gardens and sheds more secure and prevent
burglars from breaking in. Garden
security is part of the force's Safe & Secure campaign,
which provides people with advice about how they can make
their homes, gardens and cars more secure. The force has
produced a leaflet that gives further security advice, which
is available to download from the force website (www.westmercia.police.uk)
and from garden centres and police stations.
Ian White, the force's Crime Risk Manager, said, 'While
many people take steps to protect their homes and the property
inside them, they often leave valuable equipment such as
power tools, mowers, garden tools and bikes in sheds in
their gardens or allotments. Often they are unsecured or
not strong or secure enough to defend against thieves. We
are advising people to look at how to secure their gardens
and allotments and if necessary make some adjustments. Allotments
in particular are becoming more and more popular, so now
is a good time to advise those who are taking them on of
a few simple steps they can take to reduce the risk of being
targeted by thieves.'
White advises gardeners of the following:
Gates, fences and walls should be kept in good repair to
stop intruders getting in your garden
Grow 'defensive planting' (prickly plants, bushes and shrubs)
close to vulnerable areas such as windows, fences, boundary
walls and drainpipes.
Most sheds are not designed for safe storage and should
not be used to store expensive equipment such as garden
tools, mowers and power tools. Never leave such items in
an allotment shed and put up a sign to let potential thieves
know it is not worth their while attempting to break in.
If you have nowhere else to store expensive equipment at
home, take measures to secure your domestic shed by using
a closed shackle padlock and screws that cannot be undone
from the outside. Chain together tools to heavy items so
they are harder to steal.
Battery-powered shed alarms are inexpensive and can be bought
from hardware shops, DIY stores or locksmiths.
Don't leave ladders and tools lying around in your garden
- these could be used to break into your home.
Mark your tools and equipment using Smartwater or with your
postcode using a UV pen. Make a note of the serial numbers
on your equipment.
further advice or information, contact your local policing
team via 0300 333 3000.
HEREFORDSHIRE HORSEWATCH WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS
In recent times, Herefordshire Horsewatch has undergone
something of a transformation and they are now hoping to
open their doors to lots of new members. Herefordshire Horsewatch
will be holding its AGM at 7.30pm on Friday, 17th April
2009 at the Coronation Hall, Kingsland near Leominster.
Both old and new members will be made welcome. For those
wishing to join Herefordshire Horsewatch, annual membership
is a bargain at just £5.
is strongly supported by West Mercia Constabulary and will
regularly keep members updated of crime and other incidents
of an equine nature, to ensure that everyone knows what
is going on in their area. Horsewatch also offers advice
and guidance to all those involved with horses on safeguarding
their animals and property, tack, equipment, trailers and
lorries against theft.
Sharon Wilson of Kington Police Station will be present
at the AGM. PC Wilson is the police liaison officer for
Horsewatch in Herefordshire. Herself a keen horsewoman,
she will be on hand to answer any equine crime queries you
you are unable to make the meeting but are still interested
in joining Herefordshire Horsewatch, please contact Tara
Heinemann on 01544 318038 or visit their web site at: www.freewebs.com/herefordshirehorsewatch/index.htm