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The 74th Ross Horticultural Show took place at the Larruperz Centre on Saturday and there were a staggering amount of beautiful exhibits on display.

We were unable to attend the event ourselves this year, but our friend Paul Randell very kindly took some photographs for us. Apparently, there was the usual high standard of home-made cakes and preserves, floral displays, Bonsais and miniature gardens and, we note some very interesting looking potato men. We have not yet been informed of any results but the exhibits in these photographs all look to be potential winners to us.

A beautiful floral arrangement.

A gorgeous flowering Fuscia.

An impressive Bonsai Oak bearing acorns.

A Bonsai Sloe exhibited by Paul Randell.

Some wonderful potato people in the foreground, with some fine examples of home-made jams at the top.


Super cyclist Dominic Chambers stopped off at West Mercia Police HQ on Friday, 7th August as part of his gruelling challenge to visit every police headquarters in England, Scotland and Wales. Dominic, who is the charity manager for Child Victims of Crime, was met by Assistant Chief Constable Simon Chesterman at Hindlip Hall, Worcester.

The cycle ride, dubbed Tour De Force, takes place between 1st and 23rd August and Dominic is using pedal power to raise awareness of the charity and its objectives and also highlight the value of police officers working in this field. He said, 'I came up with this idea in a moment of madness which was, unfortunately for me, overheard and approved by the trustees very quickly due to its originality. The support we are able to offer vulnerable and traumatized children is limited only by the amount of funding we have available. We remain deeply indebted to all police forces and volunteers from around the country who continue to support our work through fund-raising activities and donations of their time, expertise and money.'

Dominic has the benefit of being trained by Gary Foord, who's career as a professional cyclist took him on the Mountain Bike World Cup circuit and then to the Atlanta Olympics. ACC Simon Chesterman said, 'We were happy to welcome Dominic to West Mercia as part of his epic trip around the UK and we wish him all the best for the rest of his journey. We hope he raises plenty of money for Child Victims of Crime as it is such a good cause.'

Dominic is hoping to raise £60,000 for the charity. If you would like to donate to the cause, please visit

For further information about the cycle ride or to read the Tour De Force blog please visit

Child Victims of Crime is the only National Police Children's Charity and was founded by the British Police Rugby Section in 1993. Its purpose is to support children whose lives have been affected by crime.

TReady to ride to raise money for Child Victims of Crime.


'h.Art,' Herefordshire's festival of artists' studios will take place from Saturday, 12th to Sunday, 20th September and this year will feature the highest number of venues in the event's eight year history. A total of 131 studios and exhibition spaces will be located across this inspiring border county, from the Cathedral lanes of Hereford to the orchards below the Malvern Hills; the banks of the River Wye to the hilltops of the Welsh border.

Calligraphy, land art, banners, automata and paper cuts are just some of the more unusual artworks on show during h.Art 09, alongside a wealth of high quality painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, ceramics, jewellery and more. Open Studio events give visitors exclusive access to artists' studios and workshops, offering a chance to meet the makers in relaxed, informal surroundings, learn about their techniques, watch a demonstration and possibly buy an original work of art or have a go at creating your own.

This year there are lots of artists taking part for the first time as well as many favourite regulars. Their locations include unusual houses, churches large and small, waterside gardens, a field, woodland, the Bishops Palace, a castle, a castle tump and a shepherd's hut, all marked by the unmistakable bright pink h.Art roadside signs. New for this year, in response to visitors' comments is that the majority of studios and exhibitions will be open Every day of the festival, from 11am to 5pm, making it much easier to plan a route taking in several venues.

The h.Art Open Exhibition will run for seven weeks from 12th September to 31st October, at Hereford Museum & Art Gallery. Selected from artists' submissions in June, this show will offer a taste of the range and quality of fine art currently made in Herefordshire. Further details will become available soon.

Full h.Art information, including a fold out map plus pictures and directions, can be found in the colourful h.Art Guide, available free from libraries and tourist information centres. To request a copy, telephone: 01568 797842 or email: For extra news, images and downloads, browse the website at


Shops campaigner and local Conservative candidate, Jesse Norman has strongly criticized the Government’s new proposed changes to planning rules, which will reduce local planning powers to control out-of-town retail development.

A new report from the cross-party House of Commons Communities Select Committee has warned that the Government’s proposed changes to planning rules on retail development will result in 'many more out-of-town superstores.' This comes as a separate nation-wide survey by the British Retail Consortium has found that 1 in 10 of all town centre shops are now vacant -- three times as many as last autumn.

The Government is proposing to scrap the ‘needs test’, which requires developers to prove the ‘need’ for additional out-of-town development. Herefordshire Council will then be forced to observe the new rules when assessing planning applications. The small print of the Government’s proposals shows the changes would lead to an 'overall increase in [out-of-town] development, which could have environmental implications', 'more [out-of-town] development proposals coming forward through the planning process'", and 'additional unplanned proposals outside town centres.' The Government's own consultation exercise found that the changes would 'undermine regeneration schemes by allowing development outside town centres.' Now the influential Communities Select Committee has warned that the changes will create 'unnecessary risks to town centres.'

Jesse Norman has led the countywide Support our Small Shops campaign, and last year published a book on How to Set up a Food Co-op. Commenting on the news, he said, 'Given the number of shops that have closed in Herefordshire over the past year, this new legislation is the last thing we need. These proposals threaten to undermine shops in Hereford City still further, as well as our market town and village high streets. But it is vital for local communities to retain the power to curtail foolish out-of-town expansion and to promote town centre regeneration.'

Copies of the Small Shops of Herefordshire directory can be obtained from Jesse at 49 Broomy Hill, Hereford HR4 0LJ.


All set for the Dragon Boat Race.

Ross Rowing Club have teamed up with the local Adventure Holiday company, PGL, to host a Dragon boat event that will take place at the Rowing Club on Saturday, 29th August between 12 Noon and 6pm. Some of the proceeds from each boat entered will be donated to the Mayor, Councillor John Edwards' nominated charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Mayor Edwards commented, 'It is absolutely fabulous one of Ross's finest businesses can team up to support one of Ross's strongest sporting clubs and in addition to that they were willing to support our fund raising efforts. This fun event will kick of the Regatta weekend where the town will host again 1000's of rowers from all over the country and I am sure they will get a warm welcome from all.'

PGL are integral to the highly successful regatta this year, being the prime sponsor which includes providing the dragon boats for this preliminary event on Saturday, 29th August. Entries are invited from any organisation, club or group of people that want to muster a boat. Fees are £100 per boat ( Maximum of 10 persons per boat.)

Entry forms are available from the rowing club website - Get your entries in fast, as they are limited.


Permission for alterations and an extension to Ross library was granted by members of Herefordshire Council's planning committee at their meeting on Friday, 7th August. The library in Cantilupe Road is a late 20th century building within the conservation area and permission was sought for a two-storey extension to the rear and alterations to the existing building. The council has set aside £1.2 million from capital funds and work will start in early 2010. The library will temporarily relocate while the work is being completed, which is estimated to take around nine months.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw said, 'The plans are intended to give the people of Ross an improved library and will also bring the existing Info centre under the same roof so residents have a one-stop place to access all council services. The first floor of the library will become a public area to provide extra space to improve the use of the building and there will also be improved computer areas. The Dennis Potter room will be housed in a much improved community room in the new extension and a separate exhibition area will be on the ground floor near the entrance.

We have consulted widely with the public on these plans, including holding discussions with existing library users, and I'm sure everyone welcomes the fact permission has now been given and work to improve the library and Info services can now start.'


Herefordshire Council is advising residents to start expecting delivery of their wheeled bins as the start of the county's exciting new recycling service gets ever closer. The bins, either 240-litre or 120-litre will arrive at properties in September and October but residents are asked not to use them until the new collection service starts on 2nd November. In the meantime please continue with the current plastic sack system.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing said, 'More than 70,000 bins are being delivered to households throughout the county ready for the new recycling service. The council wants to ensure as many households as possible have a wheeled bin before the scheme starts on 2nd November and they need this two-month period so they can ensure every part of the county is covered. We have also offered people a choice of bin sizes and this means some people may get their bins before others, depending on the type of bin requested.

Where bins are not suitable we will write to residents to inform them of the recycling sack scheme that will be introduced at the same time. I would urge residents to continue using the existing plastic sack and blue box recycling service until the new scheme starts in November. At the moment, we have a recycling rate of 34 per cent and we want this to continue rising so I would urge residents to carry on using the existing recycling services until November. When the wheeled bin system comes into operation, people will be able to recycle glass for the first time from their kerbside and they will also be able to place all of their recyclable materials into one container. By making recycling easier, we hope our recycling rates will continue to rise and we can meet the government target of 40 per cent by 2010.'

An information pack will also be delivered with each wheeled bin which not only explains how the service works but also includes the new collection calendar as well as a sticker to place on your bin. People should check this pack carefully as their collection day and time may change. Residents will keep their weekly plastic sack collection for household waste that cannot be recycled and a six-month supply of bags will be delivered to every household in the county. Green garden waste cannot be put into the wheeled bins but instead people should compost at home, take it to household waste sites or continue using the green bags which can be bought from the council and should be placed outside with the black sacks for collection.


Channel 4's popular Time Team, together with presenter Tony Robinson, was in Herefordshire last week to record a programme for their forthcoming series. Working with Herefordshire Council's archaeological service, the Time Team have been investigating a possible hillfort overlooking the River Lugg. Tony Robinson said, 'I always enjoy coming to Herefordshire which is a wonderful county to explore and have enjoyed working with the county's archaeological team again. The programme is likely to be screened in February or March 2010 and I'm sure it will be of interest to everyone living in the county.'

Dr Keith Ray, Herefordshire county archaeologist said, 'The dig did reveal evidence of an Iron Age hilltop enclosure on the site, but of an unusual and fascinating kind. We are now waiting for the results from analyses of soil and carbon samples taken on site to help further inform our conclusions. "We will be revealing some interim thoughts at our annual symposium being held at the Courtyard Centre for Arts in Hereford on Saturday, 17th October. This event should be of interest to people from across the county as we will also be covering recent digs held at the Prospect in Ross, St Katharine's in Ledbury and at Credenhill Iron Age hillfort.'

Time Team has worked with Herefordshire Archaeology in the past when investigating Freen's Court, near Marden in the late 1990s and also The Weir (National Trust) as part of the Big Roman Dig live broadcast in 2005.

Ian Bapty archaeologist, Time Team presenter Tony Robinson and Neil Rimmington, at the site of the dig.


Sarah Carr, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire today responded to the findings of a national report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Sir Paul Kennedy, that local authorities across the United Kingdom have been abusing the Regulation of Investigative Powers Act (Ripa) to spy on local residents.

Sarah is calling on Herefordshire Council to release information about Herefordshire Council's use of Ripa to reassure the people of the county that they have not been the victims of unnecessary spying. Sarah said, 'The Regulation of Investigative Powers Act, which was supposed to be used for anti terrorism and matters of national security, has been used by councils across the UK to spy on individuals with no regard for individual privacy. I am therefore calling on Herefordshire Council to release the data regarding their use of the act to local residents and have submitted a Freedom of Information request to get the facts.

Sir Paul Kennedy's report found 595 'errors' where a wrong phone number or email address was supplied, leading to the wrong person being investigated. The report also showed that one in every 78 adults in the UK had been spied on in 2008 alone. This will reassure us that they have not been abusing Ripa. Local people will want to know that their private communications remain private and are not being spied on by the council. The Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to individual privacy and are campaigning for the immediate introduction a Freedom Bill reversing New Labour's relentless attack on civil liberties, as shown by their discredited policy on Identity Cards. The findings of the report are shocking and a further demonstration of the government's insistence on constant surveillance of our lives.

We can only hope that Herefordshire's Conservative led council has avoided using Ripa for the same sinister purposes as other councils across the country - spying on local residents. The only way for them to do this is to release the information regarding their use of Ripa to local residents without delay.'


New figures just released show the number of people taking the plunge in Herefordshire rose by 50 per cent in June, thanks to the Government's free swimming initiative. Under the scheme, launched in April this year, children under 16 years old and people over 60 can swim for free at Halo swimming pools in Hereford, Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury and Leominster. The figures show that since April, nearly 40,000 people have taken advantage of free swims in the county with nearly 28,000 of these being under 16.

The huge numbers of people taking advantage of free swimming in the county puts Herefordshire in the top 10 per cent of local authorities nationally for 'take up' of the scheme. The number of over 60s taking advantage of the scheme from April to the end of June was 11,180 and the number of under 16s in the same period was 27,952.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw said, 'I am delighted our decision to take part in this scheme has resulted in so many people taking up swimming which is wonderful exercise for people of all ages. This scheme allows people to hone their swimming skills, get fit and have fun without having to worry about the cost.'

Jon Argent from Halo Leisure said, 'We were keen to join this scheme because we want as many people in the county as possible to enjoy the benefits of regular swimming. We knew the scheme would create a big splash in Herefordshire but it has been an even bigger success than we could have imagined.'

For further information about free swimming, visit or To register, fill in a registration form at your local Halo centre.


Herefordshire Council has just printed a leaflet aimed at helping county residents to cut their energy bills as well as reducing carbon emissions into the bargain. The leaflet, which is available at all county libraries and Info Centres, explain a variety of grants that are available to help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council's energy champion said, 'Many people do not realize how poorly insulated homes and inefficient heating systems can substantially increase fuel bills. Simple measures such as ensuring there is enough insulation in lofts, installing cavity wall insulation or updating heating systems can make a huge difference and, as a council, we are able to both directly provide grants and help people access government funded schemes as well. I I would urge anyone who knows someone who could benefit from these grants to contact Domestic and General Insulation on 0844 543 0043 for further details.'

The Special Energy Efficiency Scheme (SEES) offers a £500 grant to homeowners and private tenants who heat their homes by storage heaters, electric central heating, LPG central heating, oil-fired central heating or room heaters, people who pay for their fuel use with prepayment meters, homeowners and private tenants aged over 60 and people on benefits. Measures covered under the SEES scheme are loft insulation, cavity insulation, draught proofing, thermostatic radiator valves, room thermostats, hot water cylinder thermostats and tank jackets.

Private homeowners and private tenants with less than 60mm of existing loft insulation between the joists are also eligible for a loft insulation top-up to 270mm depth. Any private household who does not meet the SEES criteria is able to get discounted rates for installing loft and / or cavity wall insulation under the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) initiative. For further details contact Domestic and General on 0844 543 0043.

Government funded Warm Front grants are also available, providing up to £3,500 for homes with gas-fired heating systems and up to £6,000 for off gas heating systems. Measures included under this scheme are central heating systems, boiler replacements and insulation measures. To qualify for a Warm Front grant, applicants must be on benefits. Anyone not on benefits but over the age of 60 may be able to claim a Warm Front £300 rebate towards the cost of repairing or installing a heating system. Herefordshire Council also offers a Warm Front top-up grant of up to £1,500 which is means tested and only available to people who have confirmation of receiving Warm Front grant funding.

For further information, contact Warm Front on 0800 3166011.

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