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    Farmer John Price Loses Appeal And Is Returned To Jail

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Photo: SWNS

    Judge Nicholas Cole at Worcester Crown Court this afternoon slammed the farmer for his 'outrageous behaviour' but reduced his sentence by 2 months down to 10 months.

    The farmer from Kingsland was sentenced to 12 months in jail by a district judge last month following the destruction of 1.5km of the protected River Lugg in 2020

    May Fair Pay Herefordshire Council £50,000

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Photograph courtesy of Jon Simpson

    Following a 'Freedom Of Information' request made by Hereford Voice we can now outline the costs the Showman's Guild (May Fair) pay to Herefordshire Council (flat fees) for the duration of the May Fair in both 2022 and 2023 Hereford and Leominster;

    • Hereford - £43,000
    • Leominster - £7,000
    • Total £50,000

    The prices are paid are for each year 20220/2023 - £100,000 in total.

    The Showman’s Guild do not pay for the removal of street furniture.

    In 2022 the costs for the temporary relocation of street furniture and their return was £8,331.88. The costs of this for 2023 are not yet known at the time of writing. The cost associated with the removal of street furniture is always paid via the Public Realm contract. 


    Appeal following collision at Hereford Country Bus Station yesterday

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    West Mercia Police are appealing for witnesses following a collision between a car and pedestrian at Hereford Country bus station yesterday afternoon.


    At around 4.45pm yesterday (Monday 15 May) a grey Ford Mondeo collided with a pedestrian at the junction of Union Walk and the exit of the bus station.

    The pedestrian, a 76-year-old man, was taken to hospital with injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening.

    We’re keen to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time and may have seen the collision or have dash-cam footage.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact Insp Darren Godsall on 07976939109 or darren.godsall@westmercia.police.uk quoting incident reference 376i of 15 May 2023

    Valuing Our Roadside Verges

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Herefordshire Council and its partner, Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), are working together this spring and summer to maintain roadside verges in a way that will ensure the safety of road users while improving local biodiversity.


    Road verge flora is deteriorating in many parts of the UK, with the decline, in part, down to the way we cut and manage verge habitat. Across the UK, cutting generally begins in the spring and is repeated in the summer so that few plants have a chance to set seed before the mowers return.

    Combined with the practice of leaving cut vegetation to rot down in situ, this has caused a decline in roadside species and an increase in weed species such as nettles, cow parsley and hogweed, which is bad news for wildflower numbers and diversity.

    It is also bad for populations of bees, beetles and butterflies that rely on these plants for food, and for the birds that eat these invertebrates.

    A rural county like Herefordshire has the opportunity to value our verges by encouraging the verge to become a natural habitat for a wide range of plants, flowers, insects and other animals.

    Ross Cook, Herefordshire Council Corporate Director of Economy and Environment, said: “The council and BBLP have been working with the group Verging on Wild for a number of years to improve how we manage our roadside verges. We first and foremost need to keep our roads safe, but it’s possible to do this in a way that also promotes biodiversity.”

    You can report overgrown verges that are affecting visibility via the council website or by calling 01432 261800.

    New NHS Community Diagnostic Centre To Open In Hereford

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    The new Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) will have the capacity to do 38,000 tests, examinations, and scans annually will open in Hereford later this year, the Government has confirmed.


    Six new community diagnostic centres to deliver more than 500,000 lifesaving checks a year.

    New CDCs to open in regions across the UK, adding to the 106 centres already up and running and helping to cut NHS waiting lists.

    Tens of thousands of patients across the country are set to benefit from six new community diagnostic centres (CDCs) opening this year – with the ‘one-stop shops’ due to deliver more than 500,000 additional tests, checks and scans a year.

    Cutting waiting lists is one of the government’s key priorities and the six new CDCs will offer patients a wider range of diagnostic tests closer to home, reducing the need for hospital visits and getting them the care they need sooner.

    Regions including the East of England, Midlands and the South East will benefit with all new centres open to patients before the end of the year – with the government investing £2.3 billion to deliver up to 160 across England by 2025.

    The new centres include:

    • North Lincolnshire CDC – situated in a car park in Scunthorpe town centre, the facility will offer more than 146,000 additional checks a year. This will include ultrasound checks, blood tests and CT and MRI scans.
    • Pitsea CDC – opening in the next few months it will provide up to 46,000 tests, checks and scans a year. Located in a retail park, it will boost the number of endoscopy rooms in the regions for cancer patients and offer potentially life-saving CT and MRI scans
    • Ilkeston Community Hospital (Walton) CDC – providing more than 100,000 tests, checks and scans per year It will be based at Walton NHS Community Hospital and give patients access to ultrasound checks, X-rays and cardiology and respiratory diagnostics.
    • North Solihull CDC - Set to open in Winter 2023, the new CDC will be based on a commercial retail site in Chelmsley Wood, North Solihull. It will offer access to MRI, CT and X-ray scans, along with cardiology and respiratory diagnostics – delivering 116,000 tests, checks and scans a year.
    • Hereford City CDC – opening in winter, the new CDC will be based on an NHS community hospital site in the city. It will offer MRI, CT and X-ray scans, alongside ultrasound and respiratory checks, alongside blood tests – delivering 38,000 tests, checks and scans a year.
    • Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CDC - the facility, a refurbishment of Livingstone Community Hospital in Dartford, will offer access to ultrasound checks, blood tests, along with CT and MRI scans. Opening in Autumn 2023, it will deliver over 96,000 tests, checks and scans.

    Following a referral from a GP or consultant, patients will be able to get their symptoms checked much closer to home and receive a diagnosis for a range of conditions such as cancer, heart or lung disease, rather than travelling to hospital. This is not only more convenient for patients, it is also more efficient for staff and will free up clinician time to help further cut the waiting lists.

    So far, 106 community diagnostic centres are open across England, including three temporary sites, in a variety of settings including shopping centres and university campuses, and the CDC programme has delivered over 3.8 million additional tests, checks and scans since July 2021. 32 other facilities are due to open before the end of the year.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

    “I have pledged to cut waiting lists and these new Community Diagnostic Centres will do exactly that. By offering checks, tests and scans closer to home, we can speed up the diagnosis of illnesses like cancer and heart disease and ensure patients get their treatment quickly.

    “These centres revolutionise the way the NHS delivers care and crucially, they are saving lives.”

    Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:

    “We know early diagnosis and treatment leads to better outcomes for patients, which is why these centres are so vital.

    “Based in the heart of communities, they are making it easier for people to access life-saving checks and cutting out unnecessary hospital visits.

    “They have already made a huge difference, delivering nearly four million tests, checks and scans since the programme started in July 2021, helping to deliver on the government’s commitment to cut waiting lists.”

    Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS Medical Director for Transformation, said:

    “The NHS delivered a record 2.3 million diagnostic tests in March, up more than 128,000 on the previous monthly record, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff.

    “These new CDCs will continue to increase access to care by providing vital scans, X-rays, endoscopies and blood tests closer to patients’ homes, building on the progress we have already made to drive down the longest waits and diagnose cancer earlier.”

    As a result of this, and wider measures, the government successfully met the first target in its Elective Recovery Plan to virtually eliminate waits of over two years and has cut 18 month waits by over 91% from the peak in September 2021.

    Further action to cut waiting lists and offer patients quicker access to healthcare include the government’s publication of its Primary Care Recovery Plan which will get rid of the 8am rush for GP appointments, enable patients to get prescriptions and medication directly from a pharmacy without a GP appointment, free up around 15 million GP appointments over the next two years and improve patient access to their own medical records through the NHS App.

    Change Of Administration At Herefordshire Council

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    After the unexpected Herefordshire election result, everything changed at the top.


    Following yesterday's (May 4) elections, the Conservatives defied the national trend to become the largest party in Herefordshire, but they still lack a general majority in the county.

    In the 53-seat council, the party gained 21 seats, up from 14, but fell short of the 27 needed for an absolute majority.

    Two Herefordshire men handed prison term for assault

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Two men have been sent to prison for an assault that happened in 2018

    Darren Sutton, 30 years-old, of Dry Thistle Close in Bromyard in Herefordshire was sent to prison for four years.

    Samuel Walker, 27-years-old, C/o HMP Hewell - formerly of Kenwater Close in Leominster in Herefordshire was sent to prison for 30 months.


    Both men were both found guilty at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday 26 April after a 7-day trial.

    The court heard how the two men attacked the victim at his house in Leominster in the early hours of 4 September 2018, during the attack they kicked the victim to the head and body leaving him unconscious with a fractured eye socket and ribs and heavy bruising to his whole body.

    Investigating officer Police Constable Stefan Hawes, Hereford Safer Neighbourhood team said: “This has been a long and drawn-out case with delays due to covid and other extenuating circumstances, so we are pleased to finally close this case. This was a violent attack that caused serious injuries to the victim. We are pleased that these two dangerous individuals have now been put before the court for these charges. Incidents like this have no place in society and we won’t hesitate to apprehend and seek prosecution those responsible and, in this case, however long it takes!”

    Private security are patrolling the Mayfair

    By Cambo,

    It’s seems that there are private security personnel patrolling around the Mayfair…who’s employing them & paying for it…is this not the job of the police to do?….another question is could this be the future for our streets on a Friday & Saturday night where private security firms deal with the anti social behavior that sometimes occurs on city streets at the weekend instead of the police?

    Natural England and Environment Agency launch joint legal action in response to River Lugg damage.

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Banks of the River Lugg were damaged in December 2020 causing suspected significant and long-term ecological harm.

    • Natural England and the Environment Agency are today launching legal action against the landowner
    • The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which means permissions need to be granted before work can take place

    Natural England and the Environment Agency have announced today they are beginning legal action against a landowner for damage to a protected area of the River Lugg in Herefordshire.

    This follows a joint Natural England and Environment Agency in-depth investigation into ecological harm to the 1.5 kilometre of the protected stretch of the River Lugg. This investigation followed reports of unauthorised activity including dredging and changing the shape (profiling) of the riverbank in Kingsland in Herefordshire in December 2020.

    This has been a serious and complex investigation which has taken a considerable length of time to complete.

    The charges being brought against the landowner relate to:

    • Unconsented operations and causing damage to a Site of Special Scientific Interest
    • Carrying out activities within 8 metres of the River Lugg which were likely to cause damage to or endanger the stability of the river
    • causing a water discharge activity, namely a discharge of silt into the River Lugg
    • Failing to take reasonable precaution to prevent agricultural pollution from land management and cultivation practices on agricultural land
    • Wilfully disturbing spawn or spawning fish, or any bed, bank or shallow on which any spawn or spawning fish may be
    • Breach of a stop notice

    The charges also relate to further works which are alleged to have been carried out by the landowner in December 2021.

    Court action will now follow at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court.

    Oliver Harmar, Chief Operating Officer at Natural England said:

    "The decimation of this section of the River Lugg has been devastating to the local environment and to local people, destroying the habitats of iconic wildlife such as otters, kingfisher and salmon. It was heart-breaking to see this beautiful riverside illegally damaged"


    The River Lugg in Herefordshire, pre December 2020

    The River Lugg, post 2020

    The River Lugg, post 2020

    Local Election Results

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,


    🟩 Ledbury West ward - Justine Haslewood: GREEN GAIN
    🟩 Leominster South ward - Mark Woodall: GREENS RETAIN
    🔷Three Crosses ward - Jonathon Lester: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES RETAIN.
    🔷 Leominster West ward - Allan Merlyn: CONSERVATIVE GAIN
    🔷 Kings Acre ward - Robert Geofrey Charles Williams: CONSERVATIVE GAIN.
    🔶 Red Hill ward - Dan Powell LIBERAL DEMOCRATS GAIN
    🔶 Widemarsh ward - Polly Andrews: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS RETAIN.
     Tupsley ward - Jim Kenyon: INDEPENDENT RETAIN
    🔶 Newton Farm ward - Jacqui Carwardine: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS GAIN 
    🟩 Ledbury South ward - Stef Simmons: GREEN GAIN
    🔷 Bromyard West ward - John Stone: CONSERVATIVE RETAIN
     Stoney Street ward - David Hitchiner: INDEPENDENTS RETAIN 
    🔶 Ross East ward - Ed O'Driscoll: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS GAIN.
    🔶 Ross West ward - Louis Stark: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS RETAIN.
    🟪 Whitecross ward - Dave Boulter: IT'S OUR COUNTY RETAIN.
    🔷 Hampton ward - Bruce Allen Baker: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES GAIN.
    🔷 Weobley ward - Nicholas Mason: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES GAIN.
    🔷 Penyard ward - Harry Bramer: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES GAIN.
     Hagley ward - Ivan Glenn James Powell: INDEPENDENT RETAIN.
    🔷 Golden Valley North ward - David Phillip Price: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES GAIN.
    🟩 Leominster East ward - Jenny Bartlett: GREEN PARTY RETAIN
    🔷 Kerne Bridge ward - Simeon Wood: CONSERVATIVE GAIN.
    🔶 Saxon Gate ward - Aubrey Oliver: LIBERAL DEMOCRAT GAIN.
     Golden Valley South ward - Peter Charles Jinman: INDEPENDENT RETAIN.
    🔷 Old Gore ward - Barry Alan Durkin: LOCAL CONSERVATIVE RETAIN 
    🔷 Mortimer ward - Carole Gandy: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES RETAIN.
    🟩 Hope End ward - Helen Ruth Heathfield: GREEN PARTY GAIN.
    🔷 Llangarron ward - Elissa Jane Swinglehurst: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES RETAIN
    🔶 College ward - Ben Proctor: LIBERAL DEMOCRAT GAIN
     Credenhill ward - Bob Matthews: INDEPENDENT RETAIN
    🔷 Castle ward - Robert Arnold Highfield, LOCAL CONSERVATIVES GAIN.
    🟩 Greyfriars ward - Diana Toynbee: GREEN PARTY RETAIN.
     Eign Hill ward - Elizabeth Mary Foxton: INDEPENDENT RETAIN.
    🔶 Belmont Rural ward - Mark Eden Dykes: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS GAIN.
    🔶 Ross North ward - Chris Bartrum: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS RETAIN.
    🔷 Bircher ward - Dan Hurcomb: CONSERVATIVE GAIN.
    🔷 Bromyard & Bringsty ward - Peter John Stoddart: LOCAL CONSERVATIVES RETAIN.
    🟩 Bishops Frome & Cradley ward - Ellie Chowns: GREEN PARTY RETAIN.
    🔷 Backbury ward - Graham Russell Biggs: CONSERVATIVES GAIN.
    🔷 Wormside ward - Richard John Thomas: CONSERVATIVES RETAIN.
    🟩 Central ward - Catherine Ruth Gennard: GREEN PARTY RETAIN.
    🟥 Aylestone Hill ward - Adam Spencer: LABOUR PARTY GAIN.
     Bromyard West ward - Clare Davies: NO POLITICAL PARTY RETAIN.
    🔶 Hinton & Hunderton ward - Kevin Tillett: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS RETAIN
    🟩 Birch ward - Toni Anne Fagan: GREEN PARTY RETAIN.
    🔷 Dinedor Hill ward - David Eirian Davies: CONSERVATIVE GAIN
    🔷 Holmer ward - Frank Cornthwaite: CONSERVATIVE RETAIN 
    🔶 Bobblestock ward - Robert Charles Owens: LIBERAL DEMOCRAT GAIN
    🔶 Kington ward - Terence Morgan, James: LIBERAL DEMOCRATS RETAIN.
    🔷 Roger James Phillips: CONSERVATIVES RETAIN.


    Man Sentenced To Life For Murder Of His Friend.

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    A 36 year old man has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years for the murder of his friend in Ross-on-Wye in October 2022.


    Kestutis Lekunas, 36, of Bluebell Close, was sentenced today, Thursday 4 May at Worcester Crown Court.

    He was found guilty of murdering Nerijus Liukpetris on 28 March 2023.

    On 2 October 2022, Lekunas stabbed his friend, 40-year-old Nerijus Liukpetris, on Bluebell Close in Ross-on-Wye following a disagreement.

    The pair had been at a party at Lekunas’ house that evening and after stepping outside became involved in an argument.

    Following the argument, an altercation took place where Nerijus assaulted Lekunas. Lekunas then went back into the house and came back outside with a knife, where he delivered the fatal stab wound to Nerijus’s neck.

    Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Steve Cook, said: “I’m pleased that the case has concluded today and that Lekunas will now pay the price for his actions on that night back in October.

    “This case is a devastating example of the consequences which can come from a split-second decision when tensions are high.

    “Our thoughts remain with Nerijus’s family at this difficult time.”

    Ludlow Man Given Prison Sentence For Poisoning Disabled Child

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    A Ludlow man has been sentenced to 32 months in prison after the court heard how he deliberately gave amphetamine to a disabled 9-year-old boy who had been left in his care.


    Leon Daniel Weaver, 40-years-old, of Middleton Sidings in Middleton appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Wednesday 26 April and pleaded guilty to the charges of Cause assault, ill treatment, neglect, abandonment of child/young person to cause unnecessary suffering/injury and possession of a controlled drug of Class B.

    The court heard how the offence became known when Weaver had been filmed covertly due to suspicions he had been cheating on his partner. In the video shown in court he is seen dropping amphetamine into a can of drink before shaking it and saying to the boy “Do you want some of this little man?”

    On handing Weaver a prison term Judge David Hale said: “To deliberately give amphetamine to a nine-year-old, grossly disabled child is unforgivable. I expect that you now are horrified that you did it and cannot understand how you could come to do it or what you were thinking. But you did it. “It was a deliberate disregard for his welfare. It is beyond belief. It really was unbelievable conduct.”

    The boy’s mother Terri Smith, 38-years-old of Wheat Common in Ludlow also appeared in court and pleased to guilty to charges of Assault, ill treatment, neglect and abandon a child/young person to cause unnecessary suffering/injury. The court heard how she did not take the boy to hospital until the next day.

    Smith was sentenced to a community order for 18 months which, as part of its terms, included completing 6 months of alcohol abuse treatment and completing 20 days of rehabilitation which will involve completing various activities set by the Probation Service.

    Investigating officer Detective Constable Karena Evans, Protecting Vulnerable People team, said: “This was a horrifying incident and hard to comprehend that someone would do something so awful to a disabled child. Thankfully, the little boy has survived his ordeal and he has now been safeguarded.”

    WITNESS APPEAL | Young Girl Assaulted In Hereford

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    West Mercia Police are looking for a key witness to come forward after a little girl was assaulted in Hereford.


    At around 7.15pm on Saturday 29 April police were called to an incident of public order near to the Tesco store in Bewell Street in Hereford.

    A man was arrested for drunk and disorderly and assault and remains in police custody.

    During the incident a little girl aged 4/5-year-old, who we believed was with her father, was assaulted. We are appealing for this man who intervened in the incident to please come forward and speak to us or anyone who was in the area at the time who saw what happened to contact us.

    Anyone with information is asked to please contact PC Thomas Henry on 07773 052979 or by email Thomas.henry@westmercia.police.uk

    If you have information but do not feel comfortable speaking to police, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers. It is 100% anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call or I.P address. You can contact them online or by calling 0800 555 111.

    Herefordshire Goes To The Polls On Thursday.

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    District ward and parish, town and city council elections take place on Thursday 4 May 2023

    Polls open on Thursday 4 May 2023 for the local government elections.


    Councillor elections for all 53 district ward seats which make up Herefordshire Council will take place.

    Thursday will also see elections for Herefordshire’s parish, town and city council elections.

    Due to the number of contested district and parish elections, counting of the votes will be on Friday 5 May 2023. The district election vote count will be completed in the morning, followed by the parish council vote count in the afternoon.

    Local government elections select councillors who are responsible for making decisions on running services in your local area. These include housing, education, transport, highways, planning, social care and waste management.

    Polling stations open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 4 May 2023. All polling stations in Herefordshire are accessible and polling station staff are trained to help in any way they can. A magnifying glass, a blind selector device and a copy of the ballot paper in large format are available in every polling station. These elections will be the first time that voter ID will be required to be shown by all voters at a polling station. This has been introduced under the Elections Act 2022.

    Postal votes must be received by 10pm on Thursday 4 May 2034. If you miss the post, you can hand it in to the electoral team at Hereford Town Hall or at any polling station in the electoral area before 10pm on Thursday 4 May 2023.

    Find out who is standing for election in your ward or parish on the Herefordshire Council website www.herefordshire.gov.uk/elections-1/elections-4-may-2023

    Further information about voter ID can be found at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/voterID

    BREAKING NEWS | Green Light Given To Accommodate 120 Asylum Seekers At Three Counties Hotel In Hereford.

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Hereford Voice have received these reports today and we have also received further unconfirmed reports that Hereford Medical Group have agreed to take on all 120 people during a meeting today.

    We are expecting an official statement from Herefordshire Council to be released tomorrow (Tuesday 7th).

    Once a 'go live' date is agreed, we could see people arriving at the hotel within 24-48 hours.

    You can read our original 'Breaking News' article on this story by following our Facebook link HERE or on these forums HERE

    Three Counties Hotel Belmont Road Hereford.

    'Remember Where You Heard It First'


    Contractor Appointed For Works To Iconic City Building

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Friends of Castle Green CIC is delighted to have appointed a contractor to carry out the refurbishment works to the Pavilion. 

    Local building construction company Vision BD has been appointed to commence work in May, after a lengthy tender process. The company will realise Friends of Castle Green’s vision to restore and refurbish this iconic building. With Towns Fund funding of £1.5 million from #StrongerHereford, the Pavilion will become a new and much needed thriving and sustainable community hub, a defining visitor attraction in the city and a source of pride for residents.

    Building Contract 1 from L to R: Bob Heath FOCG Director; Mark Hubbard FoCG Director; Oliver Steels Architect, Errand Studio; Paddy Nugent FoCG Director and Chair; Tom Cooke Vision BD Director, Charlie Wheeler Vision BD Project Director; John Crooks, John Crooks Associates Quantity Surveyor; Katie Bott FoCG Operations and Project Manager

    Planning permission has been granted by Herefordshire Council to revitalise the building by providing cafe facilities and flexible community meeting space, as well as the opportunity to celebrate local arts and heritage and a revived home for the Hereford Youth Canoe Centre (HYCC). 

    A Grade II listed Georgian pavilion atop medieval foundations, the building has had a variety of uses over the years, most recently as an art college and a training centre. Friends of Castle Green took over the building from Herefordshire Council in 2018 in a Community Asset Transfer and is working to restore the building to its Georgian splendour. In the meantime, it provides a public space for the local community.

    Work to the building is anticipated to begin in Mid May, with completion and re-opening in Summer 2024.

    According to Paddy Nugent, Chair of FoCG, “This is a major milestone for a small community group such as Friends of Castle Green. Our team has worked tirelessly over the last three years to get to this stage and we are now on the cusp of realising our ambition of a revitalised and restored building for the community, we very much look forward to working with Vision to achieve this.”

    Building Contract 2, from L to R: Vision BD Director Tom Cooke and FoCG Director and Chair Paddy Nugent sign the building contract.

    Managing Director of Vision BD, Tom Cooke says, ”As a well established local building and development company, we are delighted to be involved with the regeneration of this iconic City-centre building. We bring with us extensive knowledge and experience of the industry and the highest levels of professional workmanship. We are excited to bring to the community a much needed flexible community meeting space, as well as other major benefits to the City.”

    #StrongerHereford is a Town Deals Board that has been awarded £22.4 million by Central Government to put towards the assigned projects outlined in their Town Investment Plan. The Pavilion is one of fifteen projects to have successfully applied for the funding.

    Three Counties Hotel - Public Statement

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Three Counties Hotel - frequently asked questions about asylum accommodation


    Updated 27 March 2023

    In February 2023, the Home Office informed Herefordshire Council that they intended to use the Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Hereford as accommodation for asylum seekers. Read our full Three Counties Hotel statement.

    While we appreciate local concerns, please be mindful that not all of the individuals being accommodated at the hotel will understand English and they may have had a very difficult experience before arriving here. Thank you for your patience and understanding at what will be a worrying and confusing time for them.

    We know you will have a lot of questions about this situation and what the council's involvement is. We have put together a number of responses to some frequently asked questions below which will hopefully help in understanding what's going on. These have been updated to reflect questions from the public including those raised at the Belmont Rural Parish Council open meeting on 17 March 2023.

    Why have asylum seekers been placed in the hotel?

    The Home Office recently told us that they intended to use the Three Counties Hotel as temporary accommodation for people awaiting the outcome of their asylum application. This is due to the number of boats that cross the English Channel continuing to rise, which means that not all asylum seekers can be accommodated in specialised migrant processing centres. The use of hotels is happening across the country and not just in Herefordshire.

    If you have any questions about the use of the hotel, please contact the Home Office by emailing public.enquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk or calling 020 7035 4848.

    Was Herefordshire Council asked if the hotel could be used for this?

    No. The Home Office makes the decision on which hotels are used as contingency accommodation and where they place those seeking asylum.

    Is Herefordshire Council receiving any funding for this?

    No. The council receives no funding as it has no role in operating or supporting the hotel. This is being managed by a Home Office contractor called Serco. We do not have information on the cost of this.

    The exception to this is if there are unaccompanied children identified in the asylum seekers arriving at the hotel. The council will have responsibility for providing accommodation for them and social care support. The government will provide some funding to the council if this is the case.

    Will other hotels in Herefordshire be used?

    The Home Office has told us that they have no plans to use further hotels in Herefordshire.

    Who is responsible for the day to day running of the hotel?

    The Three Counties Hotel is responsible for the day-to-day running of its premises, such as meals, cleaning, maintenance of the external areas and refuse collection. Serco have housing officers on site to provide support to those resident at the hotel.

    Will the people being accommodated be single persons or families?

    It is anticipated that all arrivals to the hotel will be adult males. This is based on need and pressures in the asylum system.

    How long will they remain in Herefordshire?

    At the moment, we do not know how long the hotel will be used but the Home Office has signed a 12 month contract with the owners. Length of stay for individuals will depend upon the progress of their application. They may also be moved from the hotel to other accommodation elsewhere, during this process. It is understood that most applications are currently being concluded within six to twelve months. This means that those staying in the hotel will change over time.

    Will people seeking asylum have access to local health services?

    Yes, they will be able to access local health services in the same way as any person visiting Herefordshire on a temporary basis would do. They will be registered with Hereford Medical Group. Each patient will have an initial health assessment. For all future appointments required, people staying at the hotel will request these in the same way as for all other patients. There is a small amount of funding being provided to allow some additional locum cover to be sourced.

    Will school-age asylum seekers be placed in local schools?

    Were children to be placed in Herefordshire, they would be given access to education. This could be through attendance at local schools and colleges or through other ways depending upon the needs of those placed here. However, no impact is anticipated for local schools, given the likelihood that the asylum seekers will be adult males and no family groups.

    Will there be costs to the council's social care services?

    Given the profile of those arriving, it is unlikely there will be costs associated with social care services. This will depend upon the needs of individuals, once they have arrived. There is no direct funding from government towards the cost of any social care services, with the exception of unaccompanied children who may be identified when they first arrive at the hotel.

    What essentials will be provided to asylum seekers at the hotel?

    Serco will provide a range of essential items, including toiletries. Meals are provided at the hotel. Asylum seekers will receive £9.10 per week. They will not be given mobile phones.

    Will they be given ID?

    An Application Registration Card (ARC) which is a credit card-sized plastic card is issued by the Home Office to individuals who claim asylum. It certifies that the holder is an asylum claimant and can remain in the UK while their claim is pending.

    Can asylum seekers claim welfare benefits?

    Asylum seekers are not able to claim welfare benefits.

    Will people seeking asylum be able to work?

    People seeking asylum are not normally allowed to work in the UK while their claim is being considered. They are instead provided with accommodation and support to meet their essential living needs if they would otherwise be destitute. The Home Office may grant permission to work to those whose claim has been outstanding for more than 12 months through no fault of their own.

    Asylum seekers are encouraged to volunteer while their claim is being considered. By volunteering for an organisation in the voluntary and community sector, asylum seekers can support their local community, and this will also assist with their integration if they are granted leave to remain in the UK.

    Will people seeking asylum be free to leave the hotel?

    Those staying at the hotel are free to come and go from the hotel, should they choose to do so, but are expected to live in their assigned accommodation while their application is being processed. If there were any concerns about missing persons, Serco would report this to the relevant authorities.

    What additional security has been put in place?

    Serco are providing staff to ensure 24-hour on-site security cover at the hotel, seven days a week. The security presence is in place for the safety and security of those staying and working there and for the property.

    What is being done to ensure their behaviour inside and outside the hotel?

    All arrivals receive an induction and information about UK culture, values and law. This includes information on British values, such as respecting and obeying the law, respecting the rights of others and treating others with fairness.

    Specific risks have not been identified and police will be working with council and other colleagues to promote community cohesion and prevent crime in the local area. Feedback from other areas where asylum seekers have been accommodated is that there have been low levels of crime and disorder during their stay.

    The council is in regular contact with Serco, which will enable us to raise any concerns and monitor issues as they arise. Any concerns about noise and anti-social behaviour from the hotel should be emailed to refugeesupport@herefordshire.gov.uk where it will be raised with the hotel and relevant partners.

    Any concerns about anti-social behaviour in the local area should be reported to the police. The police will deal with any such reports or concerns as they would normally do, supporting the victim and dealing with the perpetrator. If you have a crime to report, please contact the Police in the usual ways by either calling 101 or using their online reporting form. Only use 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger or if the crime is happening right now.

    How long will the asylum seekers have been in the country and where will they have come from?

    We do not know this, and the Home Office does not comment on individual cases.

    We anticipate that most of the asylum seekers will be newly arrived in the UK and others may have been in the UK for some time while awaiting a decision on their asylum claim.

    Asylum seekers come from many parts of the world. Government statistics indicate that in the year ending June 2022, the top five countries were Iran, Albania, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea. The number of refugees and people seeking asylum goes up and down, depending on what is happening in the world. Conflict in several countries has swelled recent figures, for example.

    The nationality of those residing at the hotel, therefore, will vary and they will have different backgrounds and experiences. Specifically, the issue of military experience or training is not known to be an issue anywhere within the asylum programme.

    Why don't people seeking asylum stay in the first safe country?

    There is no legal requirement for an asylum seeker to make their claim in any particular country. Most do stay in the first safe country with 80% of the world's asylum seekers and refugees living in countries neighbouring their country of origin.

    While women and girls make up about half of any asylum seeking, refugee or internally displaced population, they may be left in refugee camps in neighbouring countries while the men leave the camp to take the often risky trip to another country. Their families may stay behind and wait until the men have applied for asylum and the rest of their family will then follow in a much safer way. This is often facilitated by the British Red Cross.

    The number one reason that asylum seekers give for continuing their journey to the UK is that they have family ties here. This covers over 50% of cases. Others are more practical, for example, if they speak the language. It is also not uncommon for asylum seekers to also state their belief that the UK is a safe, tolerant and democratic country and refer to previous links between their own country and the UK.

    What about bogus/illegal asylum seekers?

    There is no such thing as an 'illegal' or 'bogus' asylum seeker. Under international law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country, that has signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim. It is a legal process.

    How many refugees and people seeking asylum are there in the UK?

    According to statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of November 2022 there were 231,597 refugees and 127,421 pending asylum cases (these figures include recent Ukrainians arrivals). This is 0.5% of the UK's total population. In the year ending June 2022, 76% of initial decisions on applications for asylum resulted in a grant of asylum or other form of protection.

    How can I help?

    If you would like to volunteer your time to support people seeking asylum or are a voluntary organisation or community group that can offer help, please contact hvoss, a local support service for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups, email volunteer@hvoss.org.uk or call 01432 343932.

    Definition of terms used in these FAQs


    Migrant is a general umbrella term for someone who changes his or her country of usual residence, irrespective of the reason for migration or legal status.

    Asylum seeker

    An asylum seeker is someone who has arrived in a country and asked for asylum to change their country of usual residence due to fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, social group, or political opinion. In this sense, asylum seekers are generally counted as a subset of migrants. Until they receive a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee, they are known as an asylum seeker. In the UK, this means they do not have the same rights as a refugee or a British citizen would. For example, people seeking asylum are not allowed to work.


    Refugee has a specific definition in law and is defined by the 1951 Geneva Convention, as someone who is forced to leave their country due to persecution based on their "race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion." Governments undertake a legal process to determine if someone should be given refugee status. Gaining this status is a requirement to the grant of asylum in the UK. If an asylum seeker did not come directly to the UK from the country where their life was threatened and their application is successful, they will be granted 'temporary refugee permission to stay' for a minimum of 30 months. The exact amount of time depends on how their application is assessed.

    First Phosphate Credits Awarded In County.

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    In the first major success for the innovative Phosphate Credits scheme, planning permission has been granted for the development of 8 new ‘nutrient neutral’ homes in the River Wye & Lugg catchment area. This means that, when built, no additional phosphate will be added to our rivers.


    In a world-first, the council is in the process of creating a number of Integrated Wetlands specifically for the purpose of removing phosphates before they reach our rivers, which will enable the damaging ban on development in a large area of the county to be lifted. The wetlands will create ‘Phosphate Mitigation Credits’ for developers to use.

    The new Phosphate Credit Trading system enables developers to buy credits generated by the reduced pollution from operation of the wetlands. This will mitigate the phosphate generated by new developments. In this way it is possible to ensure that the overall effect of new development is what’s called ‘nutrient neutral’

    The Wetlands are not just about helping new development. Twenty percent of the reduction has been reserved for river betterment. The Council still expects all polluters to meet their fair share of reductions and is working with statutory partners and the agricultural industry for the right tools and regulatory arrangements to enable this to happen.

    The development of 8 new self-build homes to the West of the B4361, Luston, was submitted by the award-winning local construction company, Border Oak, and will be the first such ‘credit-based’ approval.

    As well as being nutrient neutral, the development will be built from natural, low carbon materials, and have super high insulation values, with additional water conservation and efficiency measures. Air source heat pumps, underfloor heating and electric charging facilities will also be provided. The project also includes a new native orchard, made up of locally historic varieties of fruit trees, the provision of additional habitat features including native hedges, new trees, wide grass verges and wild spaces – designed to support wildlife and integrate the scheme into its edge of village location.

    Merry Albright, Creative Director at Border Oak, said: “Border Oak are thrilled to be the first scheme to pay for the wetland credits and are very proud of the local construction industry who have always been willing to pay for the wetlands in their entirety. We are also delighted to support a nature based solution that delivers wider ecological benefits for biodiversity and carbon and thank all those who worked on this proposal over many years.

    “We support the council’s work to find more meaningful actions to reverse the failing catchment by tackling the larger sources of pollution but appreciate the release of some housing while this work takes place.”

    The Cabinet Commission for the Restoration of the Wye is also continuing to work closely with neighbouring counties and partner organisations to help develop a long term plan to reduce nutrient pollution and restore the county’s rivers.

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