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30th September 2009 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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ROSS-ON-WYE BRITISH LEGION ANNUAL CHURCH PARADE

Members of the Royal British Legion on Sunday.

Standards from four other Royal British Legion Branches joined the Ross-on-Wye Standard as the Branch celebrated their annual church parade at St. Mary's Church on Sunday, 27 September.

The Branch and guest members from other Branches paraded into church behind the Standards to mark another year of the Legion in Ross. The evensong service was conducted by Dr. Glover and Mrs. Davies, both Licensed Readers at St. Mary's, with readings given by the Ross Branch President Air Commodore Warrington and its Chairman Mr. Fred Jones.

Throughout the service the choir sang the psalms and anthems and the organist accompanied them and the congregation during the hymns.

Both choir and organ were up to their usual extremely high standard. The service ended with the National Anthem and Legion members then retired to the Prince of Wales for refreshments.

The next event in the Legion calendar is the annual Remembrance Day Service which this year will be on Sunday, 8 November at St. Mary's Church. There will also be the traditional silence marked by the Branch in the Market Place at 11.00 on Wednesday 11 November.

The next meeting of the Ross-on-Wye Branch will be the AGM on 18 November 2009 19.00 at The Prince of Wales.



COLWALL BRIDGE OFFICIALLY OPENED

Colwall's new bridge was officially opened by Councillor John Stone, chairman of Herefordshire Council, on Wednesday, 23rd September.

Councillor Stone said, 'I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for fast-tracking this new bridge, especially Network Rail and our own cabinet member Councillor Brian Wilcox. I also fully appreciate the amount of inconvenience this work has caused to motorists, local residents and traders and would like to thank them for their patience while the new bridge was being built. Network Rail did a fantastic job in keeping residents up-to-date on the project's progress and Carrillion carried out the construction work with great care and attention to detail, helped by Amey who maintained the temporary routes and signals when there were restrictions on the old bridge. Bill Wiggin MP must also be thanked for bringing together the parties involved, especially during the summit on the old bridge, and helping to solve problems with fast-tracking the project.'

To mark the official opening, a parade of Morgan cars was held. The Morgan Motor company is 100 years old - the same age as the old Colwall Bridge - and is based at Malvern, near Colwall, so it seemed fitting to have the cars on display. Councillor Brian Wilcox, who led the campaign to get the new bridge built as quickly as possible, also arrived for the ceremony in a Morgan car. The Malvern Chase Brass Band provided music for the opening. Refreshments were provided at Colwall School which also had an exhibition of its plans for the school on display.

Colwall bridge had been closed in August 2007 due to concerns over its strength. It had been reopened to light traffic in December 2007 following structural analysis and the installation of a safe route over the bridge. Herefordshire Council worked with Network Rail, the owners of the bridge, to fast-track the construction of the new bridge. It would normally take around three years for a bridge like this to be designed and built - the Colwall Bridge has been built in just half this time.

At a public meeting last year the council, along with Network Rail committed to getting this replacement bridge built as quickly as possible. Following the accelerated design, approval and procurement process, construction work began in January this year with the installation of a temporary footbridge and the closure of the bridge. Works were completed with the construction of the bridge deck, bridge parapets, safety fencing, surfacing and lighting. Some works to the lighting are still to be completed and this will be done at the earliest opportunity now that the bridge is open. The bridge reopened to traffic on 26th June.

The new bridge - which has a single lane controlled by traffic lights - includes wider footpaths on both sides of the carriageway to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to use.


Some of the Morgan cars which took part in the procession.

WEST MERCIA POLICE JOIN TRIAL 999 FOR DEAF PEOPLE SCHEME

One of the switchboard operators.

West Mercia Police is taking part in a national trial that aims to improve emergency 999 access for people who are deaf, who have a hearing loss or impaired speech. Those who register for the new service will be able to make emergency SMS contact (by texting from their mobile phone) with any of the emergency services from anywhere in the UK. Users will not be charged for using the service.

The new initiative, in partnership with the RNID, allows users to send a text to 999, which will then get converted into a call to the emergency call centres. This means that caller ID and location information are available to the emergency service in the same way as for other calls. The scheme is being supported by the Government, emergency services, Ofcom and the telecommunications sector (Vodafone, Orange, O2, 3 [Three[, British Telecom and Cable and Wireless and T-Mobile.

Guido Gybels, RNID's Director of Technology said, 'Access to 999 could literally be a matter of life and death, yet until now many people who are deaf or hard of hearing have found themselves unable to contact the emergency services while on the move. This pilot service therefore represents a major step forward and we hope that as many people with hearing loss as possible will register and take part. In doing so, they will help to make sure the best possible service is developed.'

Jolanta Czeren-Shorland, West Mercia Police's Force Contact Manager said, 'We are pleased to be taking part in this trial and are fully committed to making it work, with all our call takers briefed in how the system operates. It is important to West Mercia Police that its services are available equally to all the residents we serve and I would encourage local people who are deaf or have a hearing loss to sign up to the scheme as soon as possible.'

To register, text the word 'register' to 999. Then follow the instructions you receive. You can also register online at www.emergencysms.org.uk The pilot is a live, fully operational national service and people have been able to register since 14th September.

The service cannot be used from abroad, and will only work with the phone that has been registered.



SARAH CARR PLEDGES TO 'DO HER BIT' FOR THE BRITISH ARMED FORCES

Sarah Carr, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has pledged to do her bit for the British Armed Forces family.

Sarah Carr met with representatives from The Royal British Legion at the recent Liberal Democrat party conference in Bournemouth where she was presented with a copy of the Legion's manifesto for the next general election. The manifesto sets out priorities for the next Government to improve conditions for the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It encourages MPs and parliamentary candidates to 'do their bit' for Service Personnel and their families, the bereaved, veterans and dependants.

Kevin Shinkwin, from The Royal British Legion, said, 'We are really grateful to Sarah Carr for making the time to meet with us and listen to our concerns. Our message to every candidate standing at the general election is very simple: "It's time to do your bit". The entire Armed Forces family needs the support of politicians from all parties. 'Our manifesto outlines practical ways the next government can help, and we hope all the parties will give it serious consideration,' he added.

Sarah said, 'I was delighted to meet with The Royal British Legion. They have an important role to play in highlighting the needs of the whole Armed Forces family that is so well represented here in Herefordshire. My father, grandparents and many of my friends and family have been in the Forces. I have pledged to do my bit by supporting The Royal British Legion and backing their general election manifesto'.


Sarah Carr being presented with the Royal British Legion Manifesto.

LEDBURY SCOUTS GET BOOST FROM COMMUNITY POLICE FUND

Cubs and scouts in Ledbury got an unexpected boost to their funds in the form of a donation from the local constabulary's Community Police Fund, which is going towards some major improvements to the fabric of the building that they use.

David Snelling, Treasurer of the 1st Ledbury Scouts based in The Homend in Ledbury, said, 'The building we are using badly needed improvements in order to keep it fit for purpose. We had done some fund-raising ourselves and Ledbury Rotary Club very kindly donated 1,000 towards the repairs but we were still clearly short of the 8-9,000 that we needed'.

An application was made to Herefordshire Division's Community Police Fund to help out. The Fund's aim is to assist local community projects and is sourced from West Mercia Police Authority, who make monies available to such funds on each division. The application was successful and the Fund awarded the Scout Group 3,000. As a result, they have now been able to replace all the doors and windows with new uPVC fitments.

Financial assistance from other kind donors has allowed installation of a new heating system and a kitchenette. David added, '1st Ledbury Scout Group are so grateful for this additional help from the Community Police Fund, which allows us to continue building the Scouting movement locally.'

Inspector Jim McLaughlin, Geographic Commander for South Herefordshire, who presented the cheque to a delighted Cub pack, said, 'The Community Police Fund is an excellent way to ensure that local projects and groups, who do so much good work in and for the community, are able to continue and develop that good work. The money we were able to present to the 1st Ledbury Scouts will make their premises much better, and allow the group and the community to flourish.'


Inspector Jim McLaughlin presenting the cheque to Simon Brown (Akela) surrounded by young cubs.

POLICE WARN FARMERS TO BE ON THE ALERT

Herefordshire Police are warning farmers and agricultural workers to be on the alert for thieves who are operating across the county and targeting farms for equipment that is easy to remove.

Investigators have seen an increase in the number of thefts of power tools, radios, quad bikes and trailers being targeted by criminals throughout Herefordshire recently, with no one area being identified as a particular hot spot. It is appreciated that this is a very busy time for farmers and growers but there are several simple measures that can and need to be adopted to thwart the activities of these thieves.

Police urge farm workers to ensure that wherever possible, property that is attractive to thieves is locked away or kept in view. Keys to vehicles should be removed and kept in a safe place. Consideration should be given to marking property in some way, to make it more readily identifiable if recovered and less attractive to the thief to steal in the first place. Furthermore, all sightings of suspicious activity, persons or vehicles should be reported to police at the earliest opportunity.

Police patrols are on the road 24-hours a day looking for these offenders and a quick phone call about suspicious activity in an area may be just the break we need. Farmers are urged to report crime if it happens on their property or land as it will enable police to grasp the full extent of the issue and identify particular hotspots where targeted police activity may bear more fruit than in other areas.

Anyone with any information on the recent spate of thefts should contact the Public Service Desk at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


HEATSEEKERS TO HELP BOOST ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN THE HOME

As part of Herefordshire Council's campaign to make homes more energy efficient, revolutionary HeatSeekers vehicles are to hit the roads in the county. The award-winning energy efficiency detecting vehicle helps homeowners pinpoint escaping heat in their homes and, working in partnership with Herefordshire Council, will be in the county from the week beginning Monday, 5th October.

The unique HeatSeekers vehicle, with state of the art technology developed and mobilized by the Energy Saving Partnership, uses thermal imaging technology to identify homes that may benefit from improved insulation. Operating at night, during the colder months, each vehicle has the ability to assess up to 1,000 properties an hour. The thermal-imaging technology highlights where heat is escaping from a property and identifies if your property would benefit from further insulation. Once the area has been imaged, a dedicated team of energy advisors will carry out free surveys, talking to local residents about how they can improve insulation and take action to reduce both their energy bills and carbon footprint.

Keith Hewitson, Director of the Energy Saving Partnership said, 'The HeatSeekers thermal imaging vehicle has already created quite a buzz in the sector and we are delighted to see it in action. Our energy advisors are keen to spread the word about the grant funding which is easily available to all homeowners, which significantly reduces the cost of insulation improvements. The technology has already helped improve energy efficiency in thousands of homes across the country. The HeatSeekers vehicle is one of the key front-line weapons in the battle against climate change and is already playing an integral role in the plans to make UK homes more energy efficient.'

Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council's energy champion said, ' "I am delighted these vehicles will be helping us to pinpoint homes in the county which can benefit from a range of grants which the council can advise residents on to improve the insulation in their homes. As the weather starts to get colder and energy bills continue to rise, people need to think about making sure their homes are energy efficient and this scheme will help us to identify those most in need. '

In order to carry out the insulation generated from HeatSeekers, the project has teamed up with Mark Group, the UK's largest insulation and energy efficiency installation company. If any homeowner would like a free insulation survey on their property please call HeatSeekers on local rate number 0845 390 9390.


Thermal image of an energy efficient home.

Thermal image of a home that should be more energy efficient.

THE NUMBER OF DEATHS ON HEREFORDSHIRE ROADS CONTINUES TO FALL

The number of people killed or seriously injured on Herefordshire roads is continuing to fall, the Safer Roads Partnership's annual review conference was told on Monday, 21st September. Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation, said in his opening address that the number of people killed or seriously injured in the county had fallen to 93 last year compared with 133 in the previous year.

He said, 'Road safety is an issue that is not one person's responsibility but needs all of us to work together in partnership. Road improvements can have a major impact on the number of injuries but this won't work on its own and we also need to promote and support training for cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists so they put safety first. As a council, we offer cycle training for children and adults and we also subsidise courses for both new drivers and older motorists who want to build their confidence,' he added. 'Speed awareness courses are being offered to certain motorists caught speeding where they pay 60 and take one of these courses instead of getting three penalty points on their licence and, in just two months, we have had 1,000 people from Herefordshire taking these courses.'

Rod Reynolds, the Safer Roads Partnership manager, announced the launch of a new approach to speed enforcement in the county. This has included the review of all sites where enforcement currently takes place, introducing enforcement of entire routes where speeding has contributed to accidents and providing enforcement at sites where there is community concern about speeding. The community concern sites will link in closely with the council's Speed Indicator Device locations. Two sites in Herefordshire have been chosen as part of this community concern pilot scheme and will be launched in October.

Councillor Wilcox said, 'I am delighted two sites in Herefordshire are to pilot this important scheme which will mean communities can have a real say over what the Safer Roads Partnership does.'


Councillor Wilcox with speakers at the meeting, Julie Freeman, Katy Jenkins, Rod Reynolds, Malcolm Jones, John Partridge, Steve Proctor and Beth Fylan.

CABINET MEMBER BACKS PLAN FOR TWIN TRACK RAILWAY

Herefordshire Council is backing calls for the railway line between Ledbury and Hereford to be upgraded by making it twin-track. Councillor Brian Wilcox, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation, has commented on the draft West Midlands Rail Development Plan and called for significant rail improvements in the county.

He said, 'Reliability of trains between Hereford and Ledbury is hampered as a result of it still being only single tracked for the vast majority of its length. I would like it to be made twin-track or have passing loops introduced because improved capacity along this stretch of the rail line is crucial to Hereford's future growth.'

Substantial investment in rail in Herefordshire is likely to be a key component of the longer term strategy for the county's growth. 'A significant increase in housing over the next 15 years will put increasing pressure on the county's transport network and rail will have to play a greater role in future,' Councillor Wilcox said. 'The redevelopment of the Edgar Street Grid will present an opportunity to connect Hereford Rail Station better with the City Centre but substantial funding will be required to make this happen.'

In the meantime Councillor Wilcox also called for Hereford station to have improved access for people with mobility problems. He said, 'Hereford Station has the highest usage of all the region's stations without step-free access. This upgrade needs to be made a priority and addressed as soon as possible.'

Councillor Wilcox's comments have been passed on to transport authority Centro which is producing the West Midlands Rail Development Plan on behalf of the Regional Rail Forum.


TWOSHARE CELEBRATES FIVE YEARS OF CUTTING CAR COSTS

As fuel costs continue to rise, Herefordshire Council is urging motorists to cut the costs of their journeys by joining the county's car sharing scheme, Twoshare. The scheme celebrates its fifth birthday this month and has already helped hundreds of motorists to reduce the costs of their journeys by sharing cars.

Launched in 2004, Twoshare matches drivers and passengers who are looking to share their journeys. Membership is growing steadily and, to mark its fifth birthday, there is a major campaign to ensure that everyone living or working in the county knows about the benefits of car sharing and understands how they can use twoshare to find potential car-share partners for their journeys. The service is being advertised on the backs of buses in and around Hereford, there are twoshare banners in some of the key commuter car parks and special twoshare birthday cards and posters have been distributed to businesses and public buildings throughout the county.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'We have been running this scheme for five years now and each month, more new members are joining up and registering their journeys from all corners of the county and beyond. 'The map of current twoshare members shows that wherever you live in the county, there is a good chance of finding someone nearby with whom to share your journey. I would encourage people to consider doing so, as it both helps to reduce pollution and congestion on the roads, whilst saving people money on fuel bills and parking. We have also expanded the service so it covers cyclists as well who can post their journeys and find a BikeBudi which can help to make their journeys more pleasant.'

Twoshare.co.uk is a free service available to anyone living or working in Herefordshire. People don't even need a car to join but can use the scheme to find or offer a lift for your regular journeys. For further details about the scheme and to register log onto the website at www.twoshare.co.uk.


Twosharers - Paula McGivern, Councillor Stone, Geoff Hughes, Gary Williams, Steve Burgess, Andrew Ashcroft, Tina Kilner, Councillor Bowen and David Penrose.

MAN FINED FOR PUTTING BUSINESS WASTE IN HOUSEHOLD SACKS

A Herefordshire man was fined a total of 1,000 at Hereford Magistrates Court on Friday, 25th September after admitting putting shredded business papers into household recycling sacks. James Rogers, 43, of Whitehall Farm, Hampton Bishop, was also ordered to pay Herefordshire Council costs amounting to 470.92 and a 15 victim surcharge.

Mr Mike Jones, prosecuting on behalf of Herefordshire Council, told the court that Rogers put 40kg of business papers into purple recycling sacks which he then left outside a property in Hampton Park Road for collection. Mr Jones said that these purple recycling sacks are intended purely for household recycling and that Mr Rogers had been told in 2007 by the council that he needed to dispose of his trade waste through a registered carrier or use orange sacks which cost 57 for 50 bags.

The offence took place on 31st December 2008 when, the court was told, Mr Rogers put business papers into the purple sacks and, when they were not collected, he put them in his van with the intention of taking them to a supermarket recycling site. However, when Mr Rogers drove along Hampton Park Road he saw there were plastic sacks out for recycling and he left his bags with them. A neighbour noticed him doing this and contacted the council's community protection team. At interview, Mr Rogers admitted the offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Shane Hancock, Acting Regulatory Services Manager responsible for the community protection team, said, 'I am very pleased with this result. I hope that it will serve as a deterrent to anyone thinking about disposing of their waste, business or household, unlawfully. The community protection team will investigate all incidents that come to its notice with a view to robust action being taken against offenders.'


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