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4th November 2009 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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REMEMBER REMEMBER THE 7TH NOVEMBER - LIONS BONFIRE NIGHT

Ross Lions Club will be holding their annual Bonfire and Fireworks display on Saturday evening at the Chase Hotel. Not only is this a spectacular event, it is also the Lions' biggest fund raising event of the year, which raises money for many local charities.

The bonfire will be lit at 7pm by Ross Cubs and Scouts and the fireworks display will begin at 7:30pm. There will be plenty of food available throughout the event including a pig roast and a barbecue and there will be light sticks and wands for the children to wave around as they enjoy the evening.

The entrance fee to this great event is £4 per adult and £2 per child. Please note that all of the proceeds go to local charities and good causes, not to the Hotel.

Hopefully the weather will be kinder this year, as the heavy rains cut short last year's event. Here's hoping that the Ross Lions' Bonfire and Fireworks Night goes with a bang!


A photograph taken at a previous Lions' Fireworks display.

ROSS TRADERS TO GIVE AWAY £1000 IN CHRISTMAS DRAW

A.R.T, the Association of Ross Traders have organized a Grand Raffle with a cash prize of £1000. The winning ticket will be drawn on Sunday, 6th December between 3:00pm and 4:00pm at the Market House.

The free tickets, which are available from early November to 6th December can be obtained from over 40 different independent shops in Ross-on-Wye when you spend a specified amount in the shop (look for the posters in the participating shops for details). The more you shop locally, the more chance you have of winning! The prize draw will bring to a close this special Christmas shopping day when most independent retailers will be open from 11am and will offer customers a special Ďone offí incentive to come in and shop.

Other activities will centre around the Market House where there will be stalls selling local crafts, and charity Christmas cards etc. plus stalls selling crepes, preserves, pies, sauces and other festive foods. Special events include a road-show presented by the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, offering craft activities for children. Children can have their faces painted and several musical presentations are being organized including The Ross Choral Society and The Penyard Singers. The Tourist information centre will also be open offering local crafts, foods and Christmas gifts.

Donít forget that parking is free in Ross-on-Wye on a Sunday, so donít worry about Christmas Shopping, come to Ross where you will really feel the Christmas spirit.

If you would like further information or you would like to have a stall, please contact: Richard Mayo of Truffles by emailing richard@trufflesdeli.co.uk


HALLOWEEN FUN AT SAINSBURYS RAISES MONEY FOR CHARITY

A Hallowe'en fun day was held at the Sainsbury's in Ross-on-Wye on Saturday to raise some much needed funds for the store's chosen charity, the League of Friends. The League of Friends provide essential health care equipment and a range of services for Ross Community Hospital, which the NHS can't afford.

Staff dressed up as witches, wizards and vampires and ran competitions during the day, whilst members of the League helped with bag packing and sold some of their Christmas cards and stationery. There were also lucky dip boxes for children outside the front of the store. Deputy Manager, Ian Griffiths said, 'It was great to hold our first joint fund-raising venture with the League of Friends and we are very pleased with the relationship we are developing. A great day was enjoyed by everyone and we are delighted with the support we've had from all of our customers.'

Competition winners will be notified soon and all proceeds will be given to the League of Friends.


The staff at Sainsbury's all dressed up to help the League of Friends raise much needed funds.

NOT IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD WEEK

West Mercia's 'Not in my Neighbourhood Week' began on Monday, 2nd November, during which Local Policing Teams, along with members of their partner agencies have been and will be out and about, demonstrating to communities how they are endeavouring to keep their counties safe.

A 'Not in my Neighbourhood' event will taking place in The Maltings, Ross-on-Wye on Wednesday, 4th November, from 10am. Why not go along and meet your Local Policing Team, the Public Protection Team and the other partnerships who are all working together for you?

'Not In My Neighbourhood Week is now in its third year and this Home Office campaign is designed to raise public awareness of the work being carried out to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour at a local level.


CARDS FOR GOOD CAUSES NOW OPEN

Cards for Good Causes 2009 was officially opened at Ross Heritage Centre on Tuesday by Councillor Jo Lane, Deputy Mayor of Ross-on-Wye and a whole range of charities are set to benefit from the sales made. During the past five years charities have received over £20 million via Cards for Good Causes, representing at least 75 pence in every single pound spent on the quality Christmas Cards, wrapping paper and gifts available.

Cards for Good Causes helps over 320 national and local charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support, Mencap, NSPCC, the British Heart Foundation, R.N.I.B., The R.N.L.I., and many charities dear to people's hearts. Why not go along and see what is available and help your favourite charity at the same time.

Cards for Good Causes is open during Heritage Centre opening times until Sunday, 29th November.


Marilyn Aylmer, Ann Clark, Anne Jones, Mary Sinclair-Powell and Councillor, Jo Lane at the opening of Cards for Good Causes.

PUBLIC CONFIDENCE KEY TO POLICING

Herefordshire Police Division is working hard to further improve public confidence in their services is the view of Herefordshire Policing Board, which meets regularly with Herefordshire's Divisional Commander, Mark Turner, to discuss the Division's performance.

Councillor Bernard Hunt, Chair of the Herefordshire Policing Board said, 'Chief Superintendent Mark Turner is right to be proud of his team. Herefordshire Division, at all levels, is working hard to deliver services to the standards set out in West Mercia's Policing Pledge. In particular, a wide range of activities have been undertaken, many with partners, to provide reassurance, safety advice and engage more with local communities.

In addition, the volume of crime in Herefordshire continues to fall. Total crime has been reduced by 10% over the past two years, which means 200 fewer victims of crime in this year alone, and detection rates have been significantly improved for certain types of crime. Herefordshire Police Division is certainly playing its part and rising to the challenge set by the Government to improve the level of confidence in the Police and Council in tackling antisocial behaviour and crime issues in their area.'

The Herefordshire Policing Board is made up of West Mercia Police Authority Members, Councillor Bernard Hunt, Councillor Richard Smith, Paul Deneen DL, JP and Peter Dunford. They meet regularly with Chief Superintendent Mark Turner, who is responsible for policing in Herefordshire, to monitor delivery of the West Mercia Policing Plan at Divisional Level. Their focus is on performance, community engagement and partnership working.


WHY NOT GO ALONG TO THE HERITAGE CENTRE AND SEE
DENNIS MORGAN'S ROSS RAILWAY EXHIBITION?

Local collector of Ross memorabilia and old photographs, Dennis Morgan is giving train enthusiasts the chance to visit Ross Heritage Centre and view his vast collection of Ross train photographs. The last passenger train left Ross Railway Station, heading for Monmouth on 4th January 1959 and the theme of Dennis's exhibition is, the Ross to Monmouth, Ross to Hereford and Ross to Gloucester lines.

The exhibition runs from 3rd to 29th November during winter Heritage Centre opening times and is well worth a visit. In the photo, Dennis is pointing to his photo of the Stephenson's Locomotive Society Special, leaving Ross for Monmouth back in 1959.


Dennis Morgan at Ross Heritage Centre on Tuesday.

CHOOSE THE NAME FOR FLAGSHIP BUSINESS PARK IN ROSS-ON-WYE

Can you help choose a name for Herefordshire's newest Enterprise Park? Herefordshire Council is placing a contract for surveys and roadside signage for the county's flagship business park, formerly known as Model Farm in Ross-On-Wye and are inviting members of the public to come with a name for the development.

Cabinet member for resources, Councillor Harry Bramer, is asking local people if they can come up with a suitable new name that reflects the spirit of enterprise and innovation that the county is famous for. The Enterprise Park will attract investment from high-value, knowledge-based companies to create quality employment for local people, putting Ross-On-Wye on the map through its innovative design. The design of the layout and infrastructure on the site has already begun and various surveys, including archaeological, ecological and topographical, have already been carried out.

Councillor Bramer is putting up the prize of a £50 book token to the person who comes up with the name that is finally adopted for the scheme. He said, 'We are looking for suggestions that reflect the exciting future that the enterprise park will represent. Names such as 'Ross Enterprise Park' may be a little bland, but there is bound to be a creative person who lives locally who could put forward a name that will help us market to, and attract, enterprising companies from across the country, as well as from within the county.'

The top quality office and workshop space will be built to meet very high, energy-efficiency standards and the park may include an area set aside to combine live/work units to reduce costs for start up businesses. Various forms of renewable energy generation are being investigated to power and heat the offices, meeting rooms and small workshops. The new business park is an exciting prospect and will set the benchmark for employment developments in the future.

A decision on the name will be made during November, but in the meantime please forward your suggestion to Joanne Watkins of Herefordshire Council at Brockington, 35 Hafod Rd, Hereford, HR1 1SH, or email: JWatkins2@herefordshire.gov.uk


VACCINATIONS BEGIN TO PROTECT AGAINST SWINE FLU OUTBREAK

Work has begun to administer the swine flu vaccination to health workers who face an increased risk of getting the H1N1 virus and could transmit it to vulnerable patients. Throughout November front line staff will be invited to have the vaccine, which will help prevent them becoming infected with the virus and means that much needed health and social care services will continue to be provided across the county.

Now that stocks of the vaccination are beginning to arrive in the county, NHS Herefordshire, along with Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust, Herefordshire Council and GP surgeries have begun contacting the following priority groups for vaccination:

∑ People aged over six months and under 65 years in current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at-risk groups
∑ All pregnant women
∑ Household contacts of people with compromised immune systems e.g. people in regular close contact with patients on treatment for cancer
∑ People aged 65 and over in the current seasonal flu vaccine clinical at-risk groups.

These groups, totalling approximately 25,000 people in the county, have been identified nationally by the Department of Health (DoH) because they are at the highest risk of severe illness should they contract the swine flu virus. The DoH will also decide on the subsequent use of the vaccine in the wider healthy population, including children, however, this will depend on how swine flu outbreak develops.

Dr Akeem Ali, NHS Herefordshire's director of public health said, 'The swine flu vaccine has been rigorously tested and has been licensed by regulatory body the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), which approves medicines for the whole of Europe. This means that the EMEA is satisfied that the vaccine is both safe and effective. The good news is that batches of the vaccine are starting to arrive and we have begun a programme to administer priority groups with the swine flu vaccination. However, it's important that those people who have been invited to have their routine seasonal flu vaccination do so. The swine flu vaccination does not replace it and those who are invited should have both vaccinations.'

The reason for this is that each year the seasonal flu vaccination is upgraded to incorporate inoculations against all the strains that have been circulating previously, which also means that swine flu will be incorporated into next year's seasonal flu vaccination.

Alison Budd, Hereford Hospital NHS Trust's Medical Director said, 'We're encouraging our staff in the priority groups to be vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families and our patients. This will help to keep services working throughout the winter. Our occupational health department is working together with NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council to ensure that priority workers in health and social care can access the vaccine as soon as possible and we look forward to being able to offer it to all of our staff as supplies come in.'

The swine flu situation is escalating in Herefordshire in line with the national trend. There has been a 34 per cent increase in the number of assessments undertaken by the National Pandemic Flu service since September. During October around 950 people were assessed; of every ten individuals assessed seven were clinically diagnosed to have swine flu, and of every ten clinically diagnosed swine flu cases, seven collected their antivirals.

The general advice is to follow good respiratory and hand hygiene practice:

1. Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue where possible
2. Dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully
3. Maintain good, basic hygiene e.g. washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of a virus from your hands to face or other people.,
4. Cleaning hard surfaces e.g. door handles frequently, using a normal cleaning product,
5. Make sure your children follow this advice.

People with flu-like symptoms are advised NOT to visit their local GP surgeries, pharmacies or hospitals but to stay at home and contact the National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS) on 0800 1 513 100 or visit www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu to access antivirals. Alternatively, call the Flu Information Line on 0800 1 513 513, visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk, click on www.directgov.uk/swineflu or visit the Department of Health web site at www.dh.gov.uk.


Staff nurse Carole Vanter receives her swine flu jab from Julie Davis, senior occupational health nurse manager at Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust.

MOTORISTS FACE THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME OF THE YEAR

This is the most dangerous time of the year for motorists on the county's roads and Herefordshire Council is urging them to take care to avoid becoming another grim statistic. The nights are drawing in fast, temperatures are dropping and poor visibility makes pedestrians, other vehicles and road signs difficult to see. The next few months are officially the worst time of the year for road deaths, yet many could be avoided by taking a few minutes to check lights, tyres and brakes.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'This time of year is particularly dangerous because many people suddenly find themselves driving home from work or doing the school run in the dark. This big change to driving conditions always takes some getting used to. Behind every road death statistic there is a tragedy that families never recover from. Please try and stay safe on the county's roads this winter.'

Here are Herefordshire Council's top ten tips for staying safe while driving or cycling during the darker months:

1. Cut your speed and allow more time for your journey. Listen out for the weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
2. Clean your lights. A quick wipe-over means you'll see better and be seen more easily too, and carry a spare set of bulbs. Dip headlights when traffic is approaching you. Cars with defective driver-side front or back lights can look like motorbikes in the dark, a potentially fatal defect, that may be caused by just a blown fuse.
3. Clean the inside and outside of your windscreen. A smeared windscreen will cause glare when driving at night or when the sun is low in the sky.
4. Make sure your screen wash is working and top it up with the correct fluid, and check your wiper blades
5. Make sure your tyres are at the correct pressure, that the rubber is in good order and that the treads meet minimum requirements - 1.6mm for cars, vans and light trailers and 3mm when it's wet.
6. And don't forget the antifreeze. It costs only a few pounds, but a frozen engine will cost hundreds of pounds to put right.
7. Battery failure is the number one cause of breakdowns in winter. Modern car electrical systems put big demands on the battery and, a bit like people, they suffer from old age. Replacing batteries near the end of their life (about five years) can save putting yourself at risk at the side of the road in the dark.
8. If you feel tired - pull over and rest for half an hour
9. Cyclists should ensure their lights and reflectors are clean and in working order, and use them when visibility is poor.
10. Cyclists should also wear high visibility clothing so that you can be seen clearly by other road users.

For further information about road safety, contact Herefordshire Council on 01432 260947. Don't forget, the council offers courses for drivers who have just passed their test and for those over the age of 70.


YOUNG INSPECTORS TRAINED TO CHECK OUT LOCAL SERVICES

Young people in Herefordshire are being given the opportunity to inspect the services they receive and recommend changes to how they are provided in the future. Herefordshire Council has been given the thumbs up to run a new programme for young inspectors called Youth4U.

The programme aims to give young people the chance to look at services available in their area and tell the people in charge of them what they think. It is being run by the Look Listen Change consortium which is made up of the National Children's Bureau (NCB), the British Youth Council (BYC) and KIDS Charity. This programme is for 13 to 19 year olds (or disabled young people up to the age of 25) who, because of their background or life experiences, haven't had the opportunity to speak out and get their views heard.

They will be trained to look at anything from information, advice and guidance services at schools and colleges, to transport, health services, sport and leisure facilities or youth and community services. As well as gaining valuable training, they will be paid £75 for each inspection they undertake, and have the opportunity to achieve a national accreditation too.

Andy Preedy, of Herefordshire Council said, 'The purpose of the programme is to increase the number and quality of opportunities for young people living in Herefordshire to influence services and activities that they access. It's also to help young people to connect with their peers and shape local policies and services across a wide range of areas including health, transport and community services. This is a great opportunity for 13-19 year olds to get involved in assessing local services and make a real difference to the way they are provided in the future.'

To get the programme started, Herefordshire Council is looking for ten young people for the first round of training and inspections which will begin before Christmas. Anybody wishing to nominate a young person who appears to fit the bill is encouraged to get in touch with the council's youth involvement team on 01432 383008.


CHILDREN IN HEREFORDSHIRE ARE BLOSSOMING

Children are blossoming in Herefordshire and services continue to improve despite the current recession and budgetary constraints. That was the message Herefordshire Council shared with national politicians and chief executives when children's services attended the national children and adult services conference in Harrogate last week.

Putting Herefordshire on the map, officers and cabinet members showcased the county's plans to make a positive difference to all Herefordshire's children and young people. Plans include moving towards integrated locality teams so that services are designed around the child and family; promoting strong partnerships with the police, GPs, private and voluntary organizations through the Children's Trust and making sure the entire workforce is trained well and that safeguarding really is everyone's business. In addition, the county's unique council and primary care trust partnership interested many visitors who were keen to hear about how such strong partnerships are streamlining and improving services.

The conference is an established event that sees an audience of around 1200 high-level attendees coming together for three days to discuss and debate the latest issues affecting children and adult services. The theme for this year was 'rising to the challenge: brighter futures for all' which attracted major national keynote speakers such as Sir Roger Singleton, chair of the independent safeguarding authority, and national politicians including Ed Balls and Tim Loughton. Christine Gilbert, chief inspector for Ofsted led plenary sessions with the focus on changes to school inspections, particularly around safeguarding and process. People visiting the stand included Ofsted inspectors, chief executives and recruitment agencies, all interested to learn about Herefordshire's approach to ensuring that every child really does matter.

Councillor Phillip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and achievement said, 'Working in a rurally dispersed county is challenging as we are expected to deliver the same level and quality of services as larger urban councils, but with fewer resources. Therefore we have to be creative and innovative in our thinking and the conference gave us an opportunity to share our aspirations and progress to date with others. We want people to understand that although we are the third worst funded county in the country, we achieve some of the best results in the region. We care passionately about the services we provide for our children and young people, and are working hard to make sure the people employed in the children's workforce are some of the best in the UK.

It's good to be a child in Herefordshire and life is good for those who make the move here. We clearly want to continue to attract strong, ambitious and talented people to join the new children's services leadership team and help us make our county excellent and a place where services keep our children, safe, healthy, happy and well educated.'


Councillor Sebastian Bowen, Councillor Jenny Hyde, Chris Baird, and Councillor Phillip Price at the conference in Harrogate

COUNCIL TO PROVIDE CHARGE POINTS FOR ELECTRIC CARS

Herefordshire Council is planning to introduce 'juice points' to enable the public to charge up electric vehicles, it was announced at the 350 Climate Change event which took place in Hereford on Saturday, 24th October.

Councillor John Jarvis, cabinet member for environment and strategic housing, said the council planned to install at least two charge points in the city where electric car drivers could 'fill up'. One of these is likely to be on the new ESG development and the other outside the council and primary care trust offices in Plough Lane, Hereford. The charging points cost around £3,300 each and would be funded by the council, as part of a range of measures to encourage their use.

Councillor Jarvis was speaking as part of an international day of action on climate change at Hereford Town Hall, together with environmental experts debating Herefordshire's response to the current global climate situation. He said, 'Electric vehicles are gaining popularity and they are ideal for mixed city and rural driving.' Although capable of lower speeds than petrol and diesel models, they have comparable acceleration and produce zero tailpipe emissions. They are exempt from road fund tax, but Herefordshire Council wants to do more to make them more attractive for local people. I am particularly interested in making their support a feature of the city's new retail and leisure development, which will be served with a wide range of other environmentally friendly measures, such as more cycle ways and foot paths, as well as a new public transport hub, to help cut down the amount of emissions from transport.'

Transport provides nearly 29 per cent of Herefordshire's carbon emissions, said Councillor Jarvis, who also wants to introduce a pool of electric vehicles to encourage employees to leave their own petrol and diesel driven cars at home. Staff coming to work on public transport would use the electric cars to drive between premises to attend meetings with residents or other staff.

Herefordshire Council has adopted an ambitious target to reduce carbon emissions per head of the population by 13.1 per cent by March 2011. It needs a cut of 1.2 tonnes per person from energy use in homes, transport and business. The target is more demanding than other targets, such as the 10:10 campaign to cut emissions by 10 per cent at the end of 2010.


NEW AND IMPROVED CHRISTMAS PARK AND RIDE SCHEME

The popular Saturday Park and Ride scheme run by Herefordshire Council to tempt shoppers into Hereford during the busy run up to Christmas is being operated again this year, from 14th November to 19th December inclusive. This year shoppers can choose between two free car parks on the outskirts of the city and enjoy a comfortable bus ride to the heart of Hereford for a nominal fare.

People driving from the north of the city can park at Hereford Racecourse, off Roman Road, and those travelling from the south can park at another site on the A49 (Ross Road) at Grafton. For the first time, there will be two bus stops in the city for passengers to use too. The north service will stop at the Shire Hall and the Maylords Centre, while the south service will call at the city bus station by Tescos, as well as Broad Street.

The service aims to take some of the stress out of Christmas. Motorists using park and ride will not have to search for a parking spot or drive through congested streets. The service will also encourage increased trade for established shops, markets and business in the city. Buses will run every 15 minutes from the car parks, starting at 9am. The last return bus leaving the city centre will be at 5.50pm to Grafton and 5.55pm to the Racecourse. Fares are £1.50 for an adult return and £3 for a group of three or more adults travelling together, with accompanied children travelling for free. Parking is free at both sites and security staff will be on patrol to ensure cars are safe.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'Hereford has a wide range of high quality shops, from the national household names to independent outlets, selling something for everyone, as well as host of good cafes and restaurants. The run-up to Christmas is the busiest time of the year, but it need not be the most stressful. Our popular park and ride services will take away the hassle of having to find a parking space, helping visitors to enjoy a full day's Christmas shopping in Hereford's attractive medieval centre.'


JESSE HONOURED TO OPEN NEW GERRY WEBER SHOP IN BEWELL SQUARE

Local shops campaigner and Conservative candidate, Jesse Norman congratulated local businessman Philip Fowler last week on the opening of a new shop just off High Town in Hereford City.

The new independent store is located in Bewell Square, just behind All Saints, and sells high quality ladies' clothing from the German fashion house, Gerry Weber. The store joins Basler and Symonds and Co. on Widemarsh Street, both also owned by Philip Fowler. Commenting on the opening, Jesse said, 'It is a huge honour to be able to open Gerry Weber, and I congratulate Philip and his team on making it happen. These are very tough economic times, with so many small shops closing across the county, and the big chains ever more dominant. So it is great to be able to welcome another small and distinctive independent retailer to Herefordshire.'

Jesse has led a countywide Small Shops campaign all year, with some 200 shops nominated across Herefordshire by 1,000 people. The campaign's Directory of Small Shops of Herefordshire is now in its second printing, and will go on release in November.


Jesse Norman opening the Gerry Weber store watched by proprietor Philip Fowler and friends.

PAY ON EXIT CAR PARKS WILL BOOST CITY TRADE SAY COUNCIL

Herefordshire Council is to bring in new 'pay on exit' parking on a number of key city car parks to encourage more people to spend more time in Hereford. The move, which is likely to be popular with city shops and businesses, as well as visitors, will be introduced in the spring of next year.

Councillor Brian Wilcox, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said that pay on exit technology will be a major boost for the local economy. 'We want to make it easier and more convenient to come and shop in Hereford,' he said. 'Without motorists having to worry about getting back to the car park on time, visitors will tend to linger in the shops or cafes, and explore and enjoy more of what the historic core of the city has to offer.

Pay on exit enables shoppers and visitors to drive straight into a car park without the need to buy a pay and display ticket. Barriers will be installed to control entry and exit and motorists pay for parking on their return, based on how long they have stayed. An assessment of each car park will be made to establish how pay on exit would best benefit visitors and local shops and businesses.'

Detailed work is now underway to identify up to four car parks where this system can be installed over the coming months. The move is described as 'a massive step forward' by the Hereford City Centre Forum, part of the Chamber of Commerce.

Wyenot News opinion

In principle, the idea of 'Pay on Exit' car parks is a good one for shop keepers and café owners etc. Think of all the extra, much needed money that could be made, whilst shoppers linger in the stores without a care in the world or the worry of racing back to the car park. Until that is, shoppers return to said car park and find themselves paying a lot more than they would do under the current system. The County Hospital and other sites operate a 'Pay on Exit' scheme and we have personally found the costs horrendous and look for cheaper, alternative parking wherever possible. No doubt others will follow suit when the true cost of leisurely shopping becomes apparent.

Maybe a permanent, compulsory Park and Ride scheme would suit both shopkeepers and their customers, as visitors would still be able to shop at their leisure, but would be fully aware of how much it is going to cost them.


SMS TEXT TO REMIND YOU TO PUT OUT YOUR RECYCLING

An SMS text messaging service to ensure that people don't forget to put out their recycling for collection was launched by Herefordshire Council on Monday, 2nd November to coincide with the launch of the council's new recycling scheme. The service is available by texting hcrecycle to 80800*. People who register will then receive a text alert to remind them when their wheeled bins or plastic recycling sacks are being collected.

Councillor John Jarvis said, 'I am aware many people lead busy lives and can easily forget when their recycling is due to be collected. This service, which is already used by many other local authorities, means people will get a simple reminder about when they should put their recycling out for collection This should help people to recycle more as well as preventing recycling from being left uncollected, with all of the associated problems that that can cause.'

If you would like to receive an SMS reminder the night before your recycling collection is due, please subscribe to this service by texting hcrecycle, your postcode and the first line of your address to 80800. Once you have subscribed you will receive texts at no cost. Your details will only be used to send information about our recycling services and will be held confidentially.


NATIONAL ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN COMPETITION FOR BUTTER MARKET

Herefordshire Council is to launch a national architectural competition to create a design concept which will improve and revamp the Hereford's iconic Butter Market. The Butter Market Steering Group, comprising Butter Market traders and the council, has agreed to seek ideas that reflect a traditional Victorian style for the market, which has popular appeal for local people.

Recently, nearly 1000 people gave their views on the future of the landmark building, which started trading in 1860. They completed questionnaires in shops and businesses, libraries and information centres, and took part in an online survey. Nearly two thirds favoured a traditional Victorian interior, while 17 per cent preferred a 'more modern style'. Almost all of the responses (95 per cent) were from people who live in Herefordshire, half of which visit the market about once a week. Most people spend £5 or less each visit.

The council believes the upgrading of the interior market would help underpin its future as well as other markets and independent shops in the city centre, as well as encourage more shoppers to come and spend more in the historic core of the city. A number of projects are designed to boost the attractiveness of the city centre, in parallel to the new leisure and retail attractions planned for Hereford, so that a unique heritage and modern image will bring in shoppers from around the county and beyond.

'An architectural competition is a tried and tested approach,' said Councillor Adrian Blackshaw. 'Although we hope to receive entries from Herefordshire, we want a national profile for the competition so that we may secure the best ideas possible for what is a very important building for Herefordians.'

The Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) Competition Office in Leeds will be retained to run the architectural design competition. It offers a national service and profile and follows a professional process. Preparation work undertaken by the council and its contractors Amey will present a clear brief for entrants. Herefordshire Council will put together a judging panel to assess the ideas, although architects will not be identified by their entries.

'People love the Butter Market but feel it could be improved and made more attractive,' added Councillor Blackshaw. 'Particularly as a focal point for the sale of locally produced products and services in a traditional Victorian setting. The council agrees strongly that this landmark building needs to be safeguarded, promoted and polished as 'the jewel in the crown' for High Town. This is an integral part of the council's overall vision for enhancing Hereford as a shopping experience and we are looking forward to discussing with traders and other groups how we might move forward to act on the results of the consultation.'

The council is also developing a new look to adjacent Widemarsh Street in the city centre, which is a key gateway to the Butter Market. The pedestrian friendly route will encourage visitors to the city to move between the historic core and the new retail and leisure development.

The Butter Market public consultation report has been published on the council's website. People can access the report by selecting the Residents' Views section after going to www.herefordshire.gov.uk/research. The specification for the architectural design competition will also be placed on the Herefordshire Business Portal, set up by the council to promote opportunities for local businesses.

To access the portal, visit the council's website on www.herefordshire.gov.uk and select the Business section.


Councillor Adrian Blackshaw is campaigning for Herefordshire residents to support local produce.

SARAH CARR SLAMS THE £2.40 PENSION INCREASE AS PITIFUL

Sarah Carr, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has criticized the planned £2.40 increase in the basic state pension as pitiful and not enough for the majority of pensioners to cope. A recent poll by Age Concern suggests that 5.2 million of the nationís 13 million pensioners will go cold at some point this winter as a result of cutting back on gas and electricity.

Sarah said, 'The extra 34p a day will not cover the inflation rate for most pensioners who face the double whammy of mounting food and fuel costs and soaring council tax bills. It is evident that the government is doing little to challenge the poverty many face in old age. By delaying action on restoring the earnings link to state pensions until 2012, the government is failing to address the urgent needs of many pensioners.

More than two million pensioners live in poverty in the UK today and 2 out of 3 of pensioners are forced to claim benefits to make ends meet. The urgent need is to restore the earnings link now, not wait for another Parliament.'


ARCHIVES SERVICE TO TACKLE CARTOGRAPHY CATALOGUE

Herefordshire Council's Archives Service is to catalogue its collection of large-scale maps of Herefordshire, dating from the 1950s onwards to make them easier to work with for the growing number of people interested in local history.

The archive service will carry out this work during its annual stocktaking closure which will take place from Monday, 23rd November to Monday, 11th December inclusive, whilst improving amenities and resources, and developing work programmes for the service's army of volunteers. The temporary absence of researchers will also mean that numerous essential building works will be able to take place during the closure.

Chief archivist, Elizabeth Semper O'Keefe said, 'Our annual closure for stocktaking is an essential part of our calendar. It means that we can devote quality time to sizeable projects that would otherwise be left undone. Our map project this year will make an increasingly sought after resource available to the public.'

All telephone, email and postal enquiries will be answered as normal during the closure.

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