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10th February 2010 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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LOCAL RESIDENTS URGED TO ATTEND IMPORTANT MEETING TO HELP SAVE
TUDORVILLE YOUTH CENTRE

A campaign to save the Tudorville Youth Centre from closure is being launched by the local community association and a public meeting is to be held at the Centre on Saturday, 13th February, starting at 2 p.m. and local residents will be invited to give their views on proposals to save the Centre and put it on a secure footing for the future.

Colin Gray, chairman of the Tudorville Community Association, warned that if nothing was done the Centre would face closure in March and probably be knocked down. To avoid this happening it is proposed to approach the Herefordshire Council to hand over ownership of the Centre to the Community Association for a nominal sum. In return the association would provide a commitment to use the Centre in a responsible manner for the benefit of the local community. That would require more volunteers to strengthen the Community Association and the adoption of a business plan aimed at running the Centre as a viable business like other community centres and village halls in neighbouring districts.

Antony Lowther, and Councillor John Edwards, of the Ross Sports & Leisure Federation, have volunteered their support for the plan, which they believe will work well provided there is sufficient backing from the local residents. Councillor Edwards said the Federation was worried that there was already a shortfall in the provision of adequate sports and leisure activities in Ross, especially for the younger generation. It would be a disaster if the Tudorville Centre ceased to exist.

Mr Lowther said his experience with the Whitchurch Village Hall provided a model for what could be achieved with hard work from volunteers, committed to helping the local community. Although the Tudorville Centre needed some maintenance and repair work there was already some grant money available and a stable future could be achieved by matching expenditures with income generated by users of the Centre.

Herefordshire Council's Youth Service has decided that the Tudorville Centre is no longer suitable for its purposes and the Council estimates that it would cost over £220,000 in repairs and modernization, which is it not prepared to spend. However, it is believed the Council would not like to see the Centre closed down and would welcome the running costs being taken over by someone else on behalf of the local community.

Colin Gray noted that in order to agree to hand over ownership of the Centre, Herefordshire Council had to be convinced that there was sufficient support from the local community to run it properly. Local residents joining the Association, would be responsible for day to day control of running the Centre for the benefit of the local community. It was vital, therefore, that local residents came to the meeting on 13th February in large numbers to demonstrate their support, strengthen the Association and give their views on the proposed rescue plan. It was a real case of 'use it or lose it' he declared.

For further information, contact Colin Gray on 01989 567995.


MISSING PERSON: HAVE YOU SEEN ROS RUSSELL?

Roz Russell, who has been missing since last Friday.

Hereford Police have expressed their concern for the welfare of a 62-year old Hereford woman who has been missing since Friday, 5th February.

Ros Russell, is from Tupsley in Hereford and was last seen by a taxi driver around 12.30pm on Friday, when he dropped her on the A438 Ledbury Road, Lugwardine near the Crown and Anchor pub (close to the junction of Cotts Lane) She told the taxi driver that she was going for a walk.

Mrs Russell is described as white, 5'1" tall, of slim build with short brown, wavy hair with grey flecks. She was last seen wearing a blue anorak with pink lining, navy trousers and black boots. Both family and police have been unable to contact her on her mobile phone and concern has been expressed for her safety.

Anybody who may know the whereabouts of Mrs Russell is urged to contact the police immediately. Similarly, anyone with other information that might assist in the search for her should ring West Mercia Police on 0300 333 3000.


VOICE YOUR CONCERNS AT MONTHLY PACT EVENTS IN HIGH TOWN

Residents of Hereford and visitors to the city will now have an even better opportunity of meeting their local police teams (LPTs) and representatives from local council departments to express views and concerns with the advent of a monthly surgery. On the last Wednesday of each month, police and council staff will be on hand between 10am and 4pm in a marquee in High Town. Members of one of the seven Hereford 'City and Rural area' local policing teams as well as partner agencies within the council would like to hear about the things that you want addressed within your community.

The High Town surgeries, which are fully supported by West Mercia Police Authority, are a further extension of the PACT (Partners And Communities Together) process which aims to allow residents and workers in the county to express their concerns about neighbourhood issues that police, council and other partners can resolve together. The regular events are the brainchild of Sergeant Dave Evans from Hereford Police Station.

Sergeant Evans said, 'When we ran a PACT event in High Town recently, we had a high rate of callers to the marquee, including a large number from Leominster and the other market towns in the county. Whichever team staffs the monthly events in High Town from now, they will be pleased to give you details of any or all of the twenty local policing teams in the county and pass on your concerns to the relevant team so that they may take the appropriate action. Many of our partner agencies will join us on various days to maximize the information available and learn of your concerns. We have chosen to go for the last Wednesday in each month as it is easy to remember and the footfall in High Town will be higher, given that it will also be a market day.'

The first High Town surgery will be on Wednesday, 24th February from 10am until 4pm and there will be details of the force's campaign for February which will be focussing on Internet Safety Awareness.

If you would like to know more or would wish to discuss a local problem in your neighbourhood that the police or council departments could assist in resolving, please go along to the High Town surgery and see what they can do for you.


ENTER THE GREAT ROSS PANCAKE RACE

The Ross-on-Wye Association of Ross Traders along with Ross in Bloom have been busy organizing the Great Pancake Race, which will take place at Ross Market Place on Tuesday, 16th February from 10:00am until 12.00 Noon.

The race, which is open to members of the public, the local business community, Charities, Schools, Pubs and all other local organizations, is a simple 50m or 100m sprint. Each team is to provide their own frying pan and each person must wear non-slip shoes suitable for running and an apron. Pancakes will be provided and each participant will be required to toss pancakes at the beginning middle and end of the race.

All entrants must be under the canopy of the Market House by 10am for a full briefing of rules and race times. Entry fee is £1 per person. Any extra funds raised will be donated to the Mayors charity. There will be prizes for winners and special achievements and a separate prize for the best decorated pinnie. Prizes will be donated by Ross Retailers for the winner of each race.

The races include:

Men’s Race, Ladies Race, Team Race (4x4 relay), Partners Race (2x2 relay), Traders Individual Race, Traders Team Race (4x4 relay), Age 11-16 Children’s race, Age 5-10 Children’s race (with adult assistance if necessary).

Entry forms are available from Essential Sewing Services, 31, Gloucester Road, Ross on Wye. 01989 566606. The entrance fee is £1 per entrant. Please make cheques payable to 'The Association of Ross Traders.’


REAP IN THE REWARDS OF HAVING SOLAR PANELS INSTALLED

Herefordshire Council is encouraging residents to consider installing solar panels which can reduce the cost of their electricity bills and reduce the impact they have on the environment.

Residents have a double incentive to consider solar energy now, with grants available from Herefordshire Council to help towards installing the panels as well as a government announcement this week that people with solar panels will be able to sell the electricity generated. Solar electric panels or photovoltaics have been in the light this week as the government announced the clean energy cash back or feed in tariff scheme for small-scale electricity generation.

Councillor Phil Cutter, Herefordshire Council's energy champion said, 'Feed In Tariffs are to be introduced on 1st April and will provide financial incentives for households to install solar electricity panels. A guaranteed minimum payment for the electricity generated will be offered from your energy supplier. The added incentive is the solar generated electricity, used in the home for lighting and electrical appliances will help reduce electricity bills.

As a council, we can also help people with the cost of installing solar panels. Our SEES Renewables scheme still has funding for 10 grants of £500 available to private homeowners in Herefordshire, regardless of income, subject to funding, to help towards the cost of utilizing renewable energy in the home. The deadline for receiving SEES Renewable applications is the end of February, so I would urge people to get in touch soon.'

Measures included in the scheme are: solar thermal, solar electric, biomass boilers, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps. For further information on how to apply for the SEES Renewables scheme, please contact 01432 260398.


FIRST FRIDAY AT BROOME FARM

It was nice to get out to the 'First Friday' gathering of friends at Broome Farm and on Friday for the first meet up this year. January is usually the big first meet-up of the year at Ross Cider, for the Wassail but the 2010 event unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the snow. It was great to see everybody again and both Tina and I are looking forward to the musical events due to take place later in the year, and particularly, the Cider Festival in September.


A gathering of friends at Broome Farm in the Cider Cellar on Friday.

ROD MASON'S HOT FIVE TO PERFORM AT COLLEGE FOR BLIND

Ry.

Lovers of traditional jazz will be delighted to hear that Europe's No.1 cornet player, Rod Mason will be back in Hereford this spring celebrating 50 years professional playing and 25 years with The Hot Five.

The band are playing just a handful of venues on their brief UK tour including two nights at the Royal National College for the Blind; Monday, 15th and Tuesday, 16th March.

Rod formed The Hot Five after moving to Germany from the UK in 1985 and during their 25 years together they have been hugely successful, making regular TV and radio appearances and touring throughout Europe and as far afield as South Africa and the USA.

The band's broad repertoire is firmly rooted in classic jazz, featuring Mason's original arrangements from Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Seven, King Oliver's Creole Band and Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, plus a wide selection of material from other, sometimes unexpected, sources. Their live performances are an unforgettable blend of first-class jazz, musicianship, entertainment, professional presentation and exciting solos… all mixed with sheer good humour in the finest British tradition.

Rod says the band is looking forward to returning to the college for a seventh year and celebrating their 25th anniversary in Hereford. He said, 'We are especially thrilled to be able to help raise funds to improve facilities and opportunities for students at the college.'

Tickets cost £15 and are available by calling 01432 376372 or from RNC's Charity Shop, 26 Commercial Street and at The Outback, Church Street, Hereford.


SECOND PUBLIC EVENT TO HELP SHAPE FUTURE OF ROSS

Due to popular demand, Herefordshire Council has organized a second public event to give Ross-on-Wye residents the chance to take part in the important Shaping Our Place consultation, which will set the blueprint for the future development of the market town.

Following its road show in Ross on Tuesday, 2nd February, when planning officers spoke to hundreds of local people, the council has arranged an evening public meeting, which will take place at the Larruperz Centre, Ross on Tuesday, 2nd March at 7pm. Residents will be able to see displays of a series of possible options for building communities and enterprises over the next 15 years. The aim is to create better paid jobs, more affordable homes and stronger public services. Around 1000 new homes could be provided in Ross over the next 15 years and two options are suggested, in the north east and / or south of the town, next to the A40.

The new model farm business park at Ross is also set to attract high quality, knowledge based and creative industries and high-tech businesses, bringing exciting new employment prospects. 'The Shaping Our Place consultation is attracting responses from thousands of people across the county,' said Councillor John Jarvis, cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing. 'We hope people in Ross will make their views known. The market town is important to Herefordshire as the only significant settlement with direct links to the motorway network, and presents a key gateway for inward investment and tourism. Ross is bristling with enterprise and good ideas. We need to work together to ensure that we offer the best possible future for our bright young people, so that they do not move away for better prospects elsewhere, and for our older people too, so that we have the public services and resources in place to meet their needs.'

The Shaping Our Place 2026 consultation documents can be picked up at any time from the info centre in Ross, or downloaded from the council's website: www.herefordshire.gov.uk. Several villages in the area could see development designed to increase affordable housing and sustain essential services, including schools and new shops, along with rural transport improvements. The options are also to promote extended employment land and more enterprise centres to encourage the creation of new jobs, particularly creative industries and environmental technologies to boost the economic viability of villages. 'It really is up to local people to tell us what they think and help grow the right future for the county and the market towns,' said Councillor Jarvis.

The council is holding several exhibitions and road shows across the county in the coming weeks, as well as workshops in schools and colleges. People's views will be analysed and proposed policies developed and presented back to cabinet later in 2010 and publicized, before being submitted to the Secretary of State, who will arrange for a public examination and inspector's report with final adoption anticipated in 2011. It provides a chance for everyone to help finalize the Local Development Framework, which will be the blueprint for planning and developing Herefordshire for the future.

In parallel, the council is also running a consultation on the Local Transport Plan, which will be adopted by April 2011 and will drive the county's transport strategy for the next 15 years. The review of the transport strategy is intended to align transport policy with the wider needs of the county and will help co-ordinate support for growth. The Local Transport Plan consultation enables local people to let the council know what their priorities for transport are for the county, whether it is greater public transport investment, more cycle routes, better highway maintenance or further road safety improvements.


BIG BREAKFAST AT LLANGROVE RAISES FUNDS FOR LITTLE PRINCESS TRUST

200 breakfasts served at Llangrove.

Llangrove C of E Primary School raised £1,000 last Sunday by preparing and serving 200 cooked breakfasts for villagers from the surrounding area at their 3rd annual Big Breakfast. The majority of the money raised will be donated to Hereford based charity The Little Princess Trust which provides real hair wigs for children suffering from hair loss.

The Llangrove Big Breakfast on 7th February provided around 200 local people with a hearty Herefordshire breakfast in the school hall between 10am and 2pm and the event was a real community affair with children, staff, parents, Governors and others from local villages helping to prepare and serve food and wash up.

The event continues Llangrove C of E Primary School's impressive record of support for its local community. The school's links with the surrounding villages was rated 'outstanding' in their most recent Ofsted report. Headteacher, Catherine Beeks, who joined the large team of helpers said she was extremely proud that the event created such a positive link between the school and the local community. 'It was lovely to see everyone working so hard for such a worthwhile cause. Support from local people and businesses has been superb and has enabled us to raise a fantastic amount of money,' she said.

Neil Powell butchers provided 400 sausages, Bartonsham Farm Dairy donated 40 pints of milk and Waitrose in Monmouth gave bread, coffee and tea. Sainsburys and several pubs and restaurants including The Royal Arms, Llangrove and The Chase Hotel in Ross provided free meals and gifts as raffle prizes.


PARISH COUNCILS COULD WIN £5,000 TO INCREASE ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Herefordshire Council is running a village hall energy challenge and four parish councils will win £5,000 each to spend on energy efficiency measures.

Councillor John Jarvis, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for the environment and strategic housing said, 'The aim of the challenge is to raise awareness of the impact individuals have on climate change and the positive impact we can all make towards tackling it. The challenge involves parishes encouraging as many residents as possible to calculate their own carbon footprint, using the community carbon calculator on www.myherefordshire.com. After people have calculated their carbon footprint, they will then be given a number of recommendations which, as well as being beneficial to the environment, may help households make financial savings.

'We want to encourage as many households as possible to be aware of what they can do to reduce the impact their activities have on the environment and I would urge as many parishes as possible to join in. Winners will be the parishes who get the highest number of individual carbon footprints and they are divided into four categories based on the size of the parish. Each of the winners gets £5,000 which must be spent on improving the energy efficiency of their village hall, installing a renewable energy technology or for communal cycle parking facilities or pool bicycles. I would urge as many parishes as possible to take up this challenge, because if everyone does their own bit to reduce their carbon emissions, then we can make a huge impact across the county.'

The challenge, which starts on Friday, 5th March, is open to all Herefordshire parish councils with the exception of Hereford City, Leominster Town, Ross-on-Wye Town, Ledbury Town, Bromyard Town and Kington Town. Any residents who would like their community to enter the challenge are urged to contact their parish council.


JESSE RAISES £3,000 FOR NEW COUNTY DEBT COUNSELLING SERVICE

Jesse Norman, the local Conservative party candidate, has raised £3,000 towards a new Herefordshire debt counselling service. The new CAP Centre is a joint venture between the Challenge Community Church, the Christian Life Centre and St Peter's and St James's in the city, and will be located at the Challenge Community Church on Belmont Road in South Wye.

The service is being run by local financial adviser, Bella Rowe and will focus on advising people who are having problems dealing with debt and personal insolvency, helping them to budget and deal with bills and creditors. The service is free and open to all.

Commenting, Jesse said, 'With very low wages, high house prices and rising inflation, many people in Herefordshire face serious debt problems. And nationally, a new study shows that average household debt is more than one and a half times annual disposable income. The new CAP Centre adds a new resource to help local people who may be struggling with debt, and I am thrilled to be able to help with it.'

Martin Erwin, who has worked to set up the Centre at the newly refurbished Challenge Community Church said, 'I am delighted at this very kind contribution, which comes from John Lewis PLC, and we are all extremely grateful to Jesse for organizing it. The CAP Centre is now funded for two days per week over a first year of operations, and we are looking to expand the service further to meet the huge local needs.'


Jesse Norman with Bella Rowe and Martin Erwin.

YOUNG PEOPLE INVITED TO TAKE PART IN D OF E AWARD SCHEME

Herefordshire Council is inviting young people between the ages of 14 and 25 years to get involved in a number of expedition training days which can help them achieve a Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The council is the licensing authority for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in the county. Awards at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels require the completion of a programme to help young people improve existing skills and develop new talents. One of the activities is an expedition that must be planned and carried out by the participants.

Through its Open Award Group the council is offering the opportunity to register with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and take part in an expedition. The expedition training days are aimed at those who are trying to complete awards, although they are open to others interested in learning some new skills, meeting other young people and having fun.

Practice walks have been arranged in Bodenham on Sunday, 28th February, the Forest of Dean on Sunday, 28th March and the Black Mountains on Sunday, 25th April. There is also a camp craft and first aid training day at the Dinedor Centre in Hereford on 30th May.

Malcolm Mason of Herefordshire Council said, 'The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is all about setting yourself a target and working towards it. In the expedition section you have to work as a group to achieve your aims. As well as learning teamwork and problem solving, it develops initiative and leadership skills, but it is also a really enjoyable and unforgettable experience. Safety is paramount in all Duke of Edinburgh Award activities, so everyone receives full training and takes part in a guided practice expedition to prepare them for taking part in the final qualifying expedition.'

Drop in sessions have been organized at the Castle Green Training Centre, Hereford for young people interested in learning more about the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. These take place on Tuesday, 9th and Wednesday, 24th February from 3pm until 7pm. Alternatively contact the council's Duke of Edinburgh's Award team on 01432 383027 or at dofe@herefordshire.gov.uk


MAKING A DRAMA OUT OF A SACRAMENT

The new benefice of Ariconium to the east of Ross-on-Wye takes its name from a Roman mile station and its parishioners have written and are now producing a mystery play that takes another bit of Roman history and imagines it into the local scenery.

What if John the Baptist were busy using the waters of The Rudhall instead of the Jordan, and preaching repentance to characters like Sir Aston Ingham MP and the local drunk, Hope Mansell? We all have a chance to find out more when the finished mystery play, 'John and the Baptism of Christ' is performed at The Alma Tavern in Linton over the first May bank holiday weekend.

'Several churches in the benefice are dedicated to John the Baptist, so when we chose to create the second mystery play in the diocesan cycle it was a natural theme,' explained the Rector of Ariconium, the Reverend Neil Patterson. 'The process of mounting the play is as important as the finished product; bringing together folk from the six different congregations to share their faith, their creativity and lots of fun!'

Auditions are being held at Weston-Under-Penyard Primary School, HR9 7PA on: Wednesday, 24th February between 6.30pm and 9pm and Saturday, 27th February between 10am and 12.30pm. Under 18s are welcome to attend the auditions accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Ian Craigan and John Frith are the Snowball Mystery Cycle team responsible for helping local folk realize their dream. 'Writing the script releases an enormous amount of energy and ideas, far more than we can ever hope to harness in a single 45 minute show,' commented Ian. 'We're delighted that the local schools are so involved and the net has spread to include members of drama groups, dance groups and music clubs.'

As well as actors, singers and dancers, the producers are seeking help with costume, scenery, front of house and technical support. If you would like to help, please contact Reverend Neil Patterson on 01989 567229.

To request a copy of the script, (email free, paper £2 + P&P) call 01905 429151 or email info@puppettree.co.uk. Parishes in other parts of the diocese interested in using drama to create new opportunities for mission should contact Ian Craigan.


CELEBRATE WORLD BOOK DAY WITH HEREFORDSHIRE LIBRARIES

The library service is celebrating World Book Day in March with a variety of events and promotions. The events, which will take place in libraries across the county, include the popular bounce and rhyme sessions, story times and even a special appearance by the Bookstart Bear. Youngsters will be encouraged to dress up as storybook characters for a story time session at the council's newest library which opened in Peterchurch last month.

Jan Nesaratnam, Herefordshire Council's senior reader services librarian said, 'World Book Day is an opportunity for us to promote the wealth of books we have available at county libraries and get more youngsters to enjoy reading. Books are great fun and by holding these storytelling events and encouraging youngsters to dress up, we hope they will develop a lifelong love for reading.'

The events taking place are as follows:

On Monday, 1st March, a Bounce & Rhyme session for the under fives will be taking place at The Kington Centre from 10:30am until 11am.

Tuesday, 2nd March, there will be Three story time sessions at The Kington Centre for Reception and Year 1 children from the local primary school.

On Wednesday, 3rd March, Staff from Ross Library will be doing an Ugly Bug Story time at the afternoon Stay and Play session at the local Children's Centre and Hereford Library will be hosting a Bounce & Rhyme session for 0 to 3 year olds from 11.15am to 11.45am.

World Book Day Thursday, 4th March, local primary school children will be dressing up as storybook characters and going along to Peterchurch library. Meanwhile, Ledbury Library are holding a story time session for the under fives from 10am until 11am and a Bounce & Rhyme session will be held at Leominster Library from 10.30 until 11am. From 10:15 until 10:45am Hereford Library are hosting a Story time for those aged two years and over, then a Bounce & Rhyme for 0 to 3 year olds from 2.15pm to 2.45pm.

A book exhibition is to be held at The Bromyard Centre from 4pm until 5:30pm and at Belmont Library, Bookstart Bear will be welcoming under fives to the library for short Bounce & Rhyme sessions at 11am, noon and 2pm. He will also be gifting bookstart packs on production of your child's red health record book.

Herefordshire Council's Cultural Roadshow will be at Belmont Tesco from 10am until 3pm, promoting libraries and books to all ages and highlighting the service at Belmont Library.

On Friday, 5th March, staff from Leominster Library will be out doing story times for three reception classes at Leominster Infants School.

There will be an under fives story time at Ross Library on Saturday, 6th March, from 2.15pm to 2.45pm and Leominster Library Chatterbooks group (age 7-12yrs) will be dressing up as book characters from 2pm until 3pm.

The Bookstart pack gifting at Belmont Library will take place on Thursday, 4th March, between 11am and 3pm and children are invited to go along and collect any Bookstart packs that they may have not already received. The first Bookstart pack is usually gifted at 9 to 12 month reviews by health visitors. The second pack is usually gifted at the 24 to 30 month check, also by health visitors. If you have missed either of these checks, bring your red child health record along to Belmont Library on World Book Day to collect your packs. Alternatively, contact our Early Years Officer, Julie Goodwin for more information on 01432 261644.

If you would like further information about any of these events, please contact Jan Nesaratnam, Senior Reader Services Librarian on 01432 383285.


NEW WALK-IN HEALTH CENTRE TO BE BUILT AT COUNTY HOSPITAL

NHS Herefordshire has reached agreement with the Hereford Hospitals NHS trust to build a new, permanent £1.5million walk-in health centre next to the Accident and Emergency department. This is the preferred location of the new service because it will reduce the high workload of A&E and is easy to find for the majority of Herefordshire residents.

Patients not requiring A & E treatment will be able to use the new services whilst remaining registered with their own GP. They will be able to walk into the centre, without an appointment, to see a GP or nurse, seven days a week between 8am and 8pm. The new centre will open to the public in 2011 and will supersede the current temporary walk-in centre at the ASDA Health Centre, which opened in December and has proven popular with local people. The phone number for the service is the current number to call a GP out of hours - 0330 1239309.

'There is strong public support for a new, walk in health centre, which will supplement the excellent service already provided by our GPs in the county,' said Chris Bull, chief executive of NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council. The walk in health centre is likely to be used by the 20,000 people who commute to Hereford to work each day, or people who would normally go to accident and emergency for ailments that can be treated at the new centre. The extended opening hours increases access to a GP for everyone and supports NHS Herefordshire's aim to provide more choice, greater convenience and better and more responsive services that fit in with people's busy lifestyles and needs.

The preferred plans for the new hospital site supersedes a planning application to place the centre within the grounds of Hereford's Stonebow Unit, which is situated close to the Hereford Hospitals NHS Trust.


WHAT'S THAT SNAKE? LEARN ABOUT HERERFORDSHIRE REPTILES

The wildlife project for Herefordshire 'What's That Snake?' is again offering free training days to learn about and identify the snakes and lizards found in our county, and how to do surveys. The training will include illustrated talks about the animals, and then a visit to a special area local to the training venue to practice the skills learned.

The project is being run jointly by the Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (HART) and Herefordshire Nature Trust, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Wye Valley AONB and the Malvern Hills AONB. Reptiles are very much indicators of the health of our countryside and What's That Snake? will hopefully give us an idea of how these indicators are faring.

Training is free and tea and coffee is provided. Those taking part are advised that they need to bring their own picnic lunch, to dress warmly for outdoor conditions, and have their own transport. For further information or to book a place, contact the Herefordshire Nature Trust 01432 356872. There is a maximum of 25 people per course, so please book early to make sure of a place.

The training events will be taking place at Richard's Castle Village Hall on Thursday, 25th March and Wednesday 31st March from 10am until 3pm.


REOPENING OF ST PETERS A HUGE ACHIEVEMENT SAYS JESSE

Local parliamentary candidate Jesse Norman has congratulated all involved on the reopening of St Peter's in Peterchurch after a yearlong redevelopment. Jesse attended a packed service of celebration at St Peter's led by the Bishop of Hereford and local clergy on Sunday, in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire and the Mayor of Hereford.

St Peter's is a Norman church, whose first origins date back to the 8th Century and the time of King Offa. The redevelopment of the church has involved the removal of pews and installation of a new wooden floor and a gallery and kitchen block at the west end, enabling access to a new community library on the upper storey.

Commenting, Jesse said, 'The redevelopment of St Peter's into both a church and a community centre is a huge achievement, which has taken a great deal of planning and hard work over the past few years. Congratulations to Reverend Barbara Chillington, Reverend Simon Lockett, the architect,s Communion Design, the builders, William Powell and Sons, and all the other colleagues, helpers, donors and other supporters who made this happen.'


Jesse Norman with the Reverend Barbara Chillington at St. Peter's Church, Peterchurch.

LANDLORD TOLD HE MUST PAY £17,000 IN FINES

A judge sitting at Worcester Crown Court has told a Hereford landlord that he must pay fines totalling £17,000 which were imposed after he was found guilty of failing to comply with housing and fire safety laws.

Marc Mohan, aged 47, of Church Way, Holmer, was appealing against the sentence which was imposed after he pleaded guilty to a series of offences at a court case heard by a district judge at Hereford Magistrates Court on Friday, 20th March 2009. On Thursday, 4th February, His Honour, Judge McCreath, ordered Mohan to pay the £17,000 in fines by 1st September 2010.

He said, 'It is plain the premises posed considerable risk to tenants should fire break out and a responsible landlord would have put in fire protection measures. I am satisfied the motive was pure profit without any regard for the safety of his tenants.' The judge also said the costs awarded for the original case, jointly prosecuted by Herefordshire Council and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, should remain at the original figure imposed of £13,463, and he awarded an additional £2,350 in costs to cover the appeal hearing.

Mohan was fined £7,000 for not licensing his House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), £3,000 for failing to comply with a housing emergency prohibition order for fire, both under the Housing Act 2004, and £3,000 for failing to do a fire risk assessment and a further £4,000 for four other fire safety offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

On Friday, 20th March 2009, the court heard how housing and fire officers, after an anonymous complaint from a member of the public, found no fire safety measures installed when they inspected the four-storey, unlicensed HMO in Aylestone Hill, Hereford. The landlord, Marc Mohan, knowingly did not licence his property with the council, and then permitted tenants (most of them students from the local colleges) to sleep there in defiance of an emergency prohibition order for fire - issued by Herefordshire Council in cases of imminent risk to the health and safety of occupants.


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