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17th February 2010 NEWS FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
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HAVE FUN DURING FAIR TRADE FORTNIGHT IN ROSS-ON-WYE

Fair Trade Fortnight is running from Monday, 22nd February Sunday, 7th March this year and Ross Fair Trade Steering Group is proud to announce an exciting series of events in the town during this period.

On Friday, 19th February the Ross-on-Wye Fair Trade Treasure Hunt will be launched and the forms will be available from local retailers. When completed these should be handed in or posted to Ross Town Council offices at The Corn Exchange, High Street by Friday, 5th March. The prize is a hamper full of Fair Trade goodies.

On Sunday, 21st February a Fair Trade service is to be held at Christ Church, Edde Cross Street, from 10:45am. The church is also hosting a coffee morning on Saturday, 27th February.

On Monday, 1st March visitors to Court House, Archenfield Road will have the opportunity to see some of the ETHOS range of Fair Trade products during their coffee morning, which will take place between 11am and 2pm. There will also be a collection for the children of the Shakti Orphanage in Nepal, which is supported by ETHOS.

Mary Sinclair-Powell of Ross Heritage Centre will be entertaining visitors to the Friends Meeting House, Brampton Street with some 'Tales of Old Ross' on Wednesday, 3rd March from 7pm. Entrance to the event costs £3.50 in advance or £4 on the door, which will go towards the Mayor's charity, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Fair Trade group. Fair Trade refreshments will be provided.

On Saturday, 6th March a coffee morning will be held at the Friends Meeting House from 10am until 12 Noon, then from 2pm until 4pm there will be a Strictly Fair Trade Tea Circle Dance. All are welcome to try out Circle Dances from around the world and enjoy some Fair Trade snacks and treats.

For further information on Fair Trade Fortnight, please contact Jane Roberts on 01989 563299, 07931 561553 or by email at janedotroberts@tiscali.co.uk


Some of the children from the Shakti orphanage.

A mother spinning at the Shakti orphanage in Nepal.

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL FUND RAISING YEAR FOR MACMILLAN

Macmillan Cancer Support held their AGM at Ross Conservative Club on Monday evening and Chairman, Mrs. Pauline McRae reported yet another successful year of raising funds towards the much needed Macmillan Renton Unit at Hereford County Hospital. The ward will make life much easier for cancer sufferers and their families who live in Herefordshire as they will no longer need to travel to Cheltenham for treatment. It is expected that the ward will be open later this year.

The Ross branch of Macmillan Cancer Support work tremendously hard, holding a variety of fund-raising activities throughout the year, including quizzes, the Macmillan Big Coffee Morning, their popular August Market, collections at local supermarkets and other events. This year, the charity have had the unstinting support of Ross Town Mayor, Councillor John Edwards and his wife Sue, who selected Macmillan as their chosen charity. During the meeting Mrs. McRae thanked all involved in the success of the past year, including the committee, associate members, friends and supporters, without whom none of the fantastic results could have been achieved.

Thanks were extended to many local people, the press and local businesses for putting on events and allowing collection boxes to be left at their premises.

Mrs McRae went on to say, 'Thank you everyone on the committee, your family and friends for all you do for Macmillan and for all your support. We look forward to another successful year of fund-raising.'

The Mayor's sterling effort has not yet been published, but it is believed that it will give quite a boost to the total raised, for which Ross Macmillan are extremely grateful.


Committee members and supporters at the Macmillan AGM.

At the Macmillan AGM.

JESSE AND SARAH CONCERNED OVER POLICING CUTS

Two Parliamentary candidates for Hereford, Ross and South Herefordshire, have voiced their concern over plans to close the front counter service at two local police stations.

Both Jesse Norman and Sarah Carr have been approached by local residents who are concerned at the impact the relocating of the front desk service at Peterchurch and South Wye to Bath Street will have on them.

Jesse has already taken up the issue and will be meeting personally to discuss it with Superintendent Kevin Purcell, who has recently been appointed to take over from Superintendent Mark Turner in charge of Herefordshire policing. He said, 'Local residents are always concerned about cuts to front line services, and these plans could restrict access to the police for members of the public.

There are serious problems of antisocial behaviour in South Wye. And is it realistic to ask Peterchurch residents to go all the way into Bath Street to speak to a police officer? But the bigger issue is the huge funding gap affecting local policing as a whole. A recent study which I have commissioned shows that West Mercia Police ranks 24th out of 31 shire police authorities and is relatively under-funded by some 10 per cent every year. That equates to a funding gap of 2 million per year in policing for Herefordshire; enough to pay for these counter services, and a good deal more besides.'

Sarah said, 'The police do fantastic work in our communities, but they cannot do that if they are handcuffed by having too few officers. In Herefordshire we are fortunate to live in a low crime area but I remain concerned about any reductions in police front line services such as this planned closure of police station front desks and any news of less police out on the beat reassuring local people.

I want to make sure that our local Police service is not suffering from national Government funding cuts. I want to help our local police force in serving our communities and give them support in lobbying national government to get the financial support they need to keep our communities safe.'


LAST CHANCE TO HAVE YOUR SAY ON SHAPING HEREFORDSHIRE'S FUTURE

Residents of Herefordshire have just a few public meetings left to ask questions and have their say now on how the county, the city and the market towns will be developed in the future. The Shaping Our Place consultation aims to help turn Herefordshire into a new land of opportunity, with more and better paid jobs, more decent and affordable homes, and better transport links. Launched by Herefordshire Council in January, the consultation is due to finish on Thursday, 12th March and will affect everybody who lives and works in the county.

The consultation sets out options for the locations of new communities in the city and the county's towns and villages, as well as where new employment land could go and how transport might be improved, including whether the Hereford relief road should go to the east or west of the city. The council has undertaken road shows or events in Hereford and all the market towns, as well as workshops in schools and colleges, business briefings and several public and parish council meetings.

The next two weeks see the last few big public events, which are at St. Katherine Street Car Park, Ledbury from 10am until 1pm on Tuesday, 23rd February, then at Aylestone School, Hereford from 6pm until 8pm on the same day. Ewyas Harold Memorial Hall Car Park is the venue on Wednesday, 24th February from 10am until 1pm and on Tuesday, 2nd March a meeting is to be held at the Larruperz Centre in Ross-on-Wye, starting at 7pm.

'This is the most important consultation ever to be undertaken in the county, and I am pleased to see so many local people getting involved in the issues,' said Councillor John Jarvis. 'However, it is so important that the silent majority finds its voice and helps to shape the county they live in, so I hope everyone will find the time to please look on the council's website, pop into a council info shop, look out for simple questionnaires in the local press or join in the discussions at one of our public events.'

The consultation is driven by the need to grow the county. Herefordshire has below average wage levels for the region but above average house prices. There are 5,000 people on the county's housing waiting list and demand is high for homes that are decent and affordable. Herefordshire is recognized as providing a good education, but without a university, or sufficient higher education to build skills and qualifications, or good career prospects, the council knows young people are more likely to find better prospects elsewhere. The county also needs more enterprises, offering high quality jobs. More space for employment land has to be found. Growth in the county will provide stronger markets for local firms to thrive and prosper - and safeguard local essential public services.

Sorting out Hereford's traffic problems is a major priority. Previous consultation shows that most local people feel that a blend of public transport improvements and a new relief road and second river crossing is the preferred solution. However, the route, either to the west or the east of the city, needs careful consideration and the consultation details the implications of either option. Leominster is also identified as requiring a southern relief road.

The strategy for the market towns is to further promote their roles as service and economic centres for their rural hinterlands but also improve links with Hereford. Several villages could see development designed to increase affordable housing and sustain essential services, including schools, and new shops, along with rural transport improvements. 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.

The consultation 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.

'Herefordshire has the room and freedom to grow, while retaining its special heritage and environment,' added Councillor Jarvis. 'But it is up to local people to help grow the right future for the county, the city and the market towns. The local development framework sets the planning blueprint for the next 16 years and I hope everyone will look at the options and make their views known.'

Members of the public wishing to comment can access the consultation documents and complete a questionnaire on the council's website www.herefordshire.gov.uk. Literature can also be picked up from council info shops.


COUNCIL TO HELP MEET CHALLENGES OF BROADBAND

Herefordshire Council is seeking to work with communities and businesses to improve broadband coverage in the county. The council recognizes broadband coverage and speed is a key issue for the county, with communities and businesses potentially losing out on the opportunities of electronic communication. In response to this need, a community broadband conference has been organized for anyone interested in looking at solutions for the county. The conference, which will have a mix of presentations and workshops will take place at the Three Counties Hotel on Thursday, 18th March from 4.30pm until 7pm.

Councillor Roger Phillips, Leader of Herefordshire Council said, 'We are using the conference to gauge a national and regional perspective on what is possible in Herefordshire, but we are also keen to create a forum for discussion and debate involving communities and businesses.' One of the ways forward is to work closely with local communities to look at localised solutions to address broadband coverage, and the conference will include a presentation by the Community Broadband Network with examples of how local areas have worked together to improve services. Additionally, businesses have challenges not just on coverage but also bandwidth and this will also be a topic for the conference.

Natalia Silver, Herefordshire Council's head of economic and community services said, 'The concern is that as a county we could just wait for market forces to improve coverage, however the problem facing many rural areas is that there are not enough customers for companies to justify the investment. However, we need to make sure businesses and communities do not lose out, and that companies do not decide not to locate to the county because of its limited broadband coverage.'

The conference is suitable for community representatives, local businesses, internet service providers, providers of internet content, community services, e.g. rural shops and community centres, councillors and statutory and voluntary sector organizations. The event is free, but early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

To register, please contact 01432 260638 or email to kamos@herefordshire.gov.uk no later than Friday, 12th March 2010.


AN EXHIBITION OF WORK BY GLYN GRIFFITHS, FORMER HEREFORD ART TUTOR

Herefordshire's Heritage Service is putting on an exhibition of a selection of works by the late Glyn Griffiths, an artist who taught at Hereford's College of Art and Design. The exhibition will open on Tuesday, 23rd February and the work will be displayed on the stairs leading from the foyer of Hereford Library up to the museum and gallery, housed in the same building. The exhibition will run until Sunday, 11th April.

Glyn Griffiths, (1926-1999), was born in Treorchy in the Rhondda Valley and studied at Cardiff School of Art under the inspirational direction of Ceri Richards. After service in the Royal Navy at the end of the Second World War he joined Birmingham College of Art and Crafts as a tutor in illustration where he is best remembered for his artistic integrity, his mastery of media, and the dynamic vigour of his teaching.

Later, Glyn taught at Bourneville School of Art, Shrewsbury College of Art and from 1987 until 1993, Hereford College of Art and Design. Glyn has exhibited in London, Cardiff, Birmingham and many other galleries in the Midlands, and his work has been purchased by the Contemporary Arts Society of Wales, Birmingham University, Newport Museum and Art Gallery, The National Library of Wales and numerous private collectors.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw said, 'Glyn was a Welshman with a passion for Wales and Welsh culture and he was part of that generation of artists emerging after the war teaching in art schools throughout the country who gave post-war Britain a confidence and expression in design and painting so essential to the British style. It is also nice that work produced by an artist who has inspired so many of the county's future artists is on view again in the county.'

The exhibition can be viewed during library opening times, which are: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am until 5pm, Sundays (from April) and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10am until 4pm. The library is closed on Good Friday, Sundays (until April) and Mondays, (except Bank Holiday Mondays).


Clifton.

CHANGES IN COUNCIL STRAY DOGS PROCEDURE

Herefordshire Council is set to change the way it manages its stray dog procedure with effect from Monday, 1st March, to help responsible dog owners avoid unnecessary charges. The changes will mean that responsibility for dogs collected as strays will pass to the owners, allowing the council's dog wardens to spend more time carrying out enforcement or educational work around responsible ownership and dog fouling rather than transporting dogs around the county.

Fees associated with administering this service will also rise as a part of this change to more closely reflect the actual costs incurred. Owners of dogs seized as strays will be required to pay an administration charge of 50, a statutory fee of 25, plus 8 per night for each night their dog is boarded at kennels. The administration charge will be reduced to 30 in cases where a dog can be returned directly to an owner without being boarded at kennels.

Shane Hancock, regulatory services manager with Herefordshire Council said, 'In future, an owner whose dog has been collected as a stray and taken to a kennels for safety will have to collect their dog from the kennel and pay a fee for its return. A big advantage of this is that it will release time for the dog wardens to actively promote responsible dog ownership and carry out enforcement where education is not working. The vast majority of dog owners are very responsible and do not incur any charges because they keep their dogs under proper control.

Dogs that are not kept under control and are left to wander unsupervised in public are a hazard. They can cause a danger to traffic, they may attack people or other animals, they may foul in public areas and they may also get injured or killed. It is only right that responsible dog owners and non dog owners do not disproportionately fund, through their taxes, a service that has to be provided because of the actions of a minority.

It is acknowledged, however, that on occasion, dogs can 'escape' the control of even responsible owners. In such cases, charges may be avoided if owners comply with the legal requirement that dogs must wear a collar giving the name and address of the owner when in a public place. A telephone number is also useful. This allows a finder to contact the owner direct without the council stray dog service being involved.'

Anyone wishing to report a stray dog or a lost dog should contact Herefordshire Council's INFO in Herefordshire service on 01432 260500.


CHANGE4LIFE HELP HEREFORD RESIDENTS TO DANCE THEIR WAY TO HEALTH

Hereford city centre will be the focus of Change4Life later this month as residents are encouraged to walk, dance and eat their way to a new, healthier way of living.

NHS Herefordshire is organizing lots of exciting activities to get people moving on Saturday, 20th February, as Hereford's High Town gets set to be taken over by dance mats, Tai chi taster sessions, healthy food ideas, and fats, sugars and salt displays. The event will start with a led walk from Hereford Cathedral at 10.30am which will finish 30 to 45 minutes later in High Town, where, from 11am onwards, families will be encouraged to begin making small but meaningful changes to their lives by eating well, moving more and as a result, living longer.

The city centre will become a dance fest as shoppers and sightseers will be encouraged to have a go on some state-of-the-art dance mats. 'Lets Dance with Change4Life' is happening across the country on Saturday, 6th and Sunday, 7th March and on March 6th, Halo Leisure will be offering free dance mat sessions to families at Leominster Leisure Centre and Hereford Leisure Pool, courtesy of NHS Herefordshire. However, families can have a free try out session on Saturday, 20th February.

Lisa Purslow, healthy lifestyle co-ordinator said, 'We know the dangers of childhood obesity and want to help families with young children get into good habits early on in life. There are lots of activities available to help our children get physically active and eat more healthily and we want to introduce some of these to local families. Dance mats are an excellent way of getting fit and moving more - they're great fun too.

We know that many people go on diets after Christmas or start new fitness regimes but these can be hard to maintain in the long term, so we want to show everyone that there are small changes we can all make to help keep our family healthy and fit. Being healthy does not have to be about completely changing your life but introducing healthier eating and moving about more.'

Anyone can turn up for the walk which is also suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. The Change4Life team will be pleased to meet and greet you at 10.30am outside the Cathedral. They'll be hard to miss in their bright yellow t-shirts.


POLICE WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH GROUPS

A local policing team in Hereford is inviting local residents to an open evening at South Wye Police Station in an effort to stimulate more Neighbourhood Watch groups in the area.

Belmont Local Policing Team are actively encouraging local residents of Belmont, Newton Farm and Hunderton to take control of the communities in which they live. One way of achieving this is through the formation of Neighbourhood Watch groups. There are several schemes already in existence throughout Belmont ward but more are needed.

For some while, Belmont Local Policing Team has been receiving enquiries from residents in the area about how Neighbourhood Watch actually works and how could they establish one in their area or street. In response to this, a Neighbourhood Watch evening has been arranged between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday, 24th February at South Wye Police Station in Goodrich Grove, Hereford. Those interested in forming a Watch can come along and hear from those who have set one up and learn more. It is also an ideal opportunity for local residents to meet their local policing team.

It is hoped that the meeting will identify potential Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators as well as being an informal networking event between police and residents. Local councillors will also be on hand to discuss issues. Light refreshments will be provided. If you live in the Belmont, Newton Farm or Hunderton areas and are thinking of joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch, come along and hear of the benefits to be had.

If you would like to give something back to the community and offer your services as a volunteer but would like to do something other than be a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, Rosie Nunnery from the Police Personnel Department will also be present at the meeting to show attendees how they could join the Police Volunteer Scheme in Herefordshire and help local policing teams and Neighbourhood Watch with their activities.


DID YOU WITNESS BUS INCIDENTS?

Herefordshire Police are appealing for witnesses to two separate incidents, both of which occurred on buses in the county recently.

The first happened on a bus in the Commercial Road Bus Station in Hereford at around 2.40pm on Wednesday, 3rd February. A woman on a Number 10 bus was assaulted by another woman following a heated argument. There were a number of people on the bus at the time and at least one came to the assistance of the victim, who suffered a cut under her eye, a nose bleed and various grazes.

Police would like to speak to everyone who was on that Number 10 bus. Anyone with information should contact PC Lawrence Smith from Leominster Police Station on 0300 333 3000.

The second incident occurred on a Number 39 Stagecoach bus running between Brecon and Hereford on Monday, 8th February. The vehicle left Brecon at 11.10am to arrive at Hereford at 12.50pm. On the journey, an incident occurred between a 17-year old girl, dressed in a brown tartan short jacket and black jeans and a 62-year old man wearing a grey suit and carrying a distinctive walking stick. Again, police would like to hear from anyone who was on that bus who may have seen what took place between the girl and the elderly man. Anyone with information should contact PC Tonya Barnett at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000.

If you would like to give any information on either case, anonymously, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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