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    Breaking News | Hereford Man Charged with Attempted Murder

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Charged.png.2b35af6375310376f44572b511893228.png

    Following on from our article yesterday here 👉 https://hfd.news/hwo Andrew Thompson, aged 52, Hereford, has been charged with attempt murder and will appear in Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court today (Thursday 29 July).

    He has been charged in relation to an incident that occurred in the early hours of Tuesday (27 July) in Dartmouth Court, Hereford.

    The cordons have now been released and we would like thank the community for their patience and help with our investigation.


    Breaking News | Hereford man arrested for attempt murder

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Officers have arrested a 52-year-old man from Hereford on suspicion of attempted murder.

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    The arrest was made after police were alerted to an incident at an address in Dartmouth Court at 2.12am on Tuesday 27 July.

    A man has received treatment for stab injuries to his neck and abdomen, he is now in a stable condition.

    A cordon remains in place at Dartmouth Court.

    The 52-year-old remains in custody while the investigation continues.

    We are asking for members of the public that may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area of Dartmouth Court between 2am - 3am on Tuesday 27 July to please contact us via the website or via 101 quoting reference 55i of 27 July.


    Water companies to raise prices due to Covid

    megilleland
    By megilleland,

    UK water firms can raise prices temporarily to offset Covid costs

    The UK’s water regulator is to allow utility companies to increase prices temporarily starting next year to offset higher bad debt costs because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Water companies from April will bear 25% of bad debt costs where these are more than 2% of non-household revenue, and non-household customers will bear the rest, the Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) said in a statement.

    The regulator added that the adjustments to price caps would apply for a minimum of two years.

    Utilities have been struggling with a sharp drop in water consumption by businesses as virus restrictions have moved people out of office buildings and into remote working, while defaults have also been rising.

    The largest water companies in the UK include Thames Water, United Utilities, Severn Trent and the South West Water owner, Pennon.

    “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term … as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of Covid-19,” said Georgina Mills, Ofwat’s business retail market director.

    _________________________________________________________

    I would have thought that if there is a drop in water consumption and people using meters to save water, I can't see why water companies can ask for more money, but it's no surprise. Same with all the other utilities - they have got the public over a water barrell.


    How much money are local authorities going to continue wasting

    megilleland
    By megilleland,

    Not only central government putting money into their friends' pockets, but together with local authorities bleating that they have no money due to poor financial control, things don't bode well for the future and for us citizens. Nobody really Cares because they have no Respect for the electorate, are thoroughly unAware of what is happening under their noses, all resulting in a complete lack of Pride for their surroundings. Years going by, nothing happening of benefit and money washing down the drain.


    Full Council approves budget and Council Tax for 2021/22

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Council Tax set to rise by 4.99% as council faces long-term Covid-19 cost pressures on its budget

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    Full Council has approved the 2021/22 budget today (12 February 2021). This includes the setting of Herefordshire Council tax rates which will come into effect from April 2021.

    The final budget takes into account the 2021/22 final local government finance settlement announced by central government. This includes:

    A new ‘Lower Tier’ Services Grant of £0.25m

    Revenue Support Grant funding of £0.6m

    New Homes Bonus funding of £1.7m

    Rural Services Delivery Grant of £5.3m

    The council is continuing to face long-term Covid-19 cost pressures on its budget. The council has looked first to find savings within its core activities to offset these costs. This has resulted in £11.2m in savings being identified across the council’s services – the largest one-year saving this council has ever had to make.

    Councillor Liz Harvey, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said:

    Quote

    “2020 didn’t turn out the way any of us expected, and none of us anticipated the impact the Covid-19 pandemic would have on us nationally and locally. The council’s 2021 budget has to address a shortfall of £15.1m in a base budget of £157m – that’s almost 10% savings in-year – whilst continuing to deliver on core and statutory public services.

    “We have managed to identify more than £11m of internal savings, but following consultation with the public and stakeholders, we do need to set a 4.99% Council Tax increase to bridge the funding gap.

    “We are mindful that this is a very challenging time for everyone, so alongside this tax rise we have also increased the Council Tax discount scheme to 100%, for those that qualify, and we are providing £1.9m to fund this alongside the council’s local assistance fund for others experiencing financial hardship.”

    Council Tax funds around 29% of the council’s budget. A 4.99% total increase to Council Tax has been recommended. This is an equivalent rise of £1.51 a week for a Band D property. The increase is made from a 3% increase to the ‘adult social care precept’ and 1.99% increase to ‘core Council Tax’. In total this will provide £3.2m towards the cost of council services.

    Residents on a low income may be eligible for help to pay their bill through the Council Tax Reduction scheme. Some residents will continue to pay no Council Tax at all, such as young adults who have left care and, with effect from 2021, also all the council’s Foster Carer families.


    Positive News | Bromyard Centre Reopens Today

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    The Centre, which is owned by the Council and managed by Social Enterprise and Registered Charity Halo Leisure was forced to close in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The original plan was to reopen in August 2020 along with all other leisure facilities, however, this wasn’t possible due to severe and deliberate damage caused to the roof of the Centre through vandalism.

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    Since then the contractors working on behalf of the Council have made the building watertight and repaired the substantial water damage caused by the vandalism. The Centre is now due reopening ahead of schedule today.

    Alex Haines, Halo Partnership Manager said:

    Quote

    "When the centre reopens it is going to be a real hub of activity with gym workouts, an exciting range of exciting group exercise classes, badminton, sports hall activities and library all under one (recently repaired) roof. Bookings are now open on the Halo Leisure Bromyard Centre app for gym and group exercise sessions".

    Cllr Gemma Davies, Cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, said:

    Quote

    “We have all been frustrated that The Bromyard Centre has had to remain closed for such a long time, and we are very sorry that needless vandalism prevented the Centre from re-opening much sooner. The benefits that come from such community assets, including boosts for physical and mental health, and community cohesion, are needed now more than ever.

    “Halo customers and the community in general have been anxious to see their Centre return to business, and we are delighted that it will be re-opening its doors this month, providing a great way for residents to get active and enjoy themselves this summer.”

     


    Hereford Cops Rescue 2 Dogs from Sweltering Hot Car!

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

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    In a post on their Facebook page Hereford Police wrote;

    Quote

    "We attended a report of 2 distressed dogs in the rear of a vehicle parked in an underground car park today. They had been there for 90 minutes and temps inside the vehicle still registering at nearly 30c even in the shade.

    We WILL take action to protect a dog in distress! Entry forced and 2 dogs checked over by a local vet with signs of a mild heatstroke but recovered well with some fresh air and water"

    Unbelievable that some people think it's okay to leave animals in vehicles, particularly in this extreme heatwave

     


    Hereford Road Project Spirals Out Of Control

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Cabinet members in Herefordshire Council are facing a slew of questions after the city’s major road project careered out of control.

    Furious residents want answers and have submitted numerous questions to the cabinet about the City Link Road which faces a £6 million overspend, jeopardising the Transport Hub and improvements the Commercial, Newmarket and Blue School Street elements, as well as flood mitigation measures in Hereford.

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    Image | Google 

    The ruling Coalition leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss the matter and have expressed grave concerns about the ‘casual culture of overspend’ they say was the hallmark of the previous Conservative administration's approach to the delivery of major capital projects. Cabinet member for transport, John Harrington, said

    Quote

    'the previous administration, which held power for 12 years before losing to the coalition of Herefordshire Independents, IOC and The Green Party in May 2019, seemed unaware, or unwilling, to get to grips with what was: ‘at best a lazy approach to procurement that simply sought to shift all projects out to Balfour Beatty to deliver, without anywhere near the tight internal project management and oversight we should have been exercising as a council’.

    At a public Cabinet meeting this Thursday, 22nd July, members will debate a report which they say highlights a litany of errors and possible cover-ups which took place at the council under the Conservatives between 2015-2019. The current administration say previous cabinet members and officers played down the ballooning cost of the compulsory purchase orders needed to deliver the road element of the Hereford City Centre Transport Package. Coun Harrington claims the public and opposition councillors who challenged promises that ‘the most expensive piece of tarmac in England’ was delivered on time and to budget, were misled.

    Coalition members committed themselves to unearthing the overspend on the city road scheme during a purge to improve project management and governance of major infrastructure projects in the council.

    Cabinet Member for Finance, Liz Harvey said:

    Quote

    ‘At exactly the same time as past Chief Executive, Alistair Neal, was providing assurances to the Council’s Audit and Governance Committee that lessons would be learned and the council’s project management culture would be improved following the £1m overspend on refurbishing the council's Blueschool House, the City Link Road project was careering off the financial rails. This is another Blueschool House - with bells on, with an overspend of over £6 million.’

    How Did Hereford’s City Link Road Spiral Out of Control?

    Investigations commissioned by the current cabinet into value for money around council capital projects have concluded that land block purchases at the station end of the road created an early £3.8m overspend on the Link Road. The Coalition administration say this hole in the project’s finances was masked by combining the original stand-alone City Link Road project with an entirely separate Marches LEP funded project intended to deliver a transport hub at the station, public realm improvements on Commercial Road, Blueschool Street and Newmarket Street, providing much needed safe walking and cycling routes from the city to the railway station. The GP hub and new student accommodation along the Link Road were included and the combined project was rebranded as the Hereford City Centre Transport Package. Coun Harvey said she believed that combining of separate projects: ‘allowed Peter to rob Paul, and spiralling City Link Road costs were paid for with budgets originally set aside for the transport hub and other public realm improvements.’

    Of particular concern to the current administration is the unusually high level, over 100, of 'compensation events', according to Coun Harrington, that saw contractors, Balfour Beatty Living Places, revise upwards their original bid to deliver the projects. Coun Harrington said: ‘I am not suggesting that BBLP deliberately underinflated their bid to secure the HCCTP contract, but so many compensation events during the delivery of a project raises questions about how the council managed this contract and how realistic BBLP's original bid was. We simply must not operate like this again in the future and, alongside senior officers, we have put in place procedures to ensure that all major capital projects are run by one corporate department from now on, with cross cutting responsibilities ensuring we do not ever again get the kind of silo working that I believe has led to some of the missteps that have dogged this project.’

    Prior to Thursday’s cabinet meeting to discuss the matter Coun Harrington said that

    Quote

    'the Coalition administration had been committed to improving project management in the council and that he was ‘extremely concerned’ when in early January 2021 officers told him that a compulsory purchase mechanism used to buy properties along the Link Road, a route of less than one mile, meant that the council had not yet finished paying for land acquired to build the road, despite the road being opened and the former administration claiming it had been delivered 'on time and in budget'.

    Coun Harrington said:

    Quote

    ‘I had to take a decision to allow already severely depleted existing capital left in the scheme’s budget to be used to pay landowner's final settlements or the council would have faced certain legal action. I made this decision understanding that another decision would have to be taken to add capital to the programme in order to deliver the remaining elements of the package, once we had worked out what we eventually had left in the pot. I was dumbfounded by the approach taken by the previous administration, which was to keep reducing the budget for the non-road elements of the Hereford City Centre Transport Package in order to pay for the burgeoning costs of a road that is less than one mile and will end up costing us in excess of £30 million. At what point did they realise that this was not sustainable and they would have to add more capital to the project? Why didn't they bring this out into the public domain before we came in as administration and began a thorough review? Was it because they were unaware of the major problems around the finances of this project or because they chose to bury the bad news until after the May 2019 local elections?’

    Coun Harrington added:

    Quote

    ‘In our first two years of administration, not only have we had to deal with the continued and severe effects of the national Conservative government's devastating austerity policy on rural authorities like Herefordshire, the worst floods in recorded history and an unprecedented global pandemic, but we have had to grasp and deal with structural issues, casual overspends and working practices within the council that the previous Conservative administration seem simply to have chosen to ignore for 12 years. To hear them now in opposition, pandering to the crowd and reinforcing the claptrap in some media outlets about the panacea of a western bypass, a road of several miles with an estimated cost of a quarter of a billion pounds, when they couldn't even deliver a road of less than one mile on time and on budget, just makes my brain hurt.’

    Finance member, Coun Liz Harvey, commented:

    Quote

    ‘It’s reassuring to see that the measures we have put in place to tackle project management and governance failures are flushing out these sorts of issues. What’s concerning is the plundering of other project budgets to hide overspends on land acquisitions via the back door, and that a worrying number of unscheduled changes to the road construction contract itself have been kept under wraps for so long. The most charitable view one can take is that the previous Conservative cabinet were just asleep at the wheel. If that’s not the case, then serious questions need to be asked of those in charge at the time over the misleading statements they made to the public, to council and to the LEP in hiding this mess.’

     


    Have you noticed anything different about your bus stops recently?

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Hereford’s looking up, with new bee-friendly bus shelters 🐝

    When you’re next out and about, you may notice that three ‘green’ bus shelters with living plants on the roofs have been installed at the Red Barn Drive stop on Yazor Road, and the Memorial and Victoria bus stops on Whitecross Road. 

    The roofs are planted with 16 different varieties of Sedum plants, which are known to have many benefits for the environment. As plants they help absorb CO2 and release oxygen, while their flowers are also great for bees providing a haven and a welcome food source for many different pollinators along the urban roadsides. 

    The sedum plants can also filter fine dust particles and so help to purify air, cutting pollution levels and they can help to capture rain water - all while bringing a little bit of nature into the City.

    Sedum1.jpg.7899d01c74d8191b8e218b8964accea2.jpg
     

    Cllr John Harrington, Cabinet member for Infrastructure and Transport, said:

    Quote

    “It’s marvellous to see the new sedum bus shelters in situ. They contribute to our efforts to tackle the Climate & Ecological emergency by absorbing CO2 and cutting air pollution, they’re great for bees and other pollinating insects – and with their blend of plants, they look great, too.

    “We funded the shelters through the ‘greening the city’ strand of the Accelerated Towns Fund monies, and have identified shelters in prominent places that needed replacing. I’d like to thank Externiture for making this possible. They have installed quality shelters and been flexible enough to deliver the project on schedule despite several obstacles, none of which were of their making.”

    Read more about the Externiture City Haven shelters and their benefits at externiture.com

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    Herefordshire Council is also running a Bus Service Improvement Survey from Friday 16 July to Sunday 15 August.

    Quote

    “We need your views to help shape our Bus Service Improvement Plan, and therefore the future of safe, healthy transport that reflects the needs of local people,” Cllr Harrington added. “We’re looking for feedback from people who currently use buses, and those who don’t, so I’d encourage everybody to take a few minutes to complete the survey.”

    To access the consultation, please visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/bus-survey

     


    News | Fire Causes Train Disruption between Hereford and Worcester Foregate Street

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Disruption between Hereford and Worcester Foregate Street expected until 10:00

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    Ledbury Train Station

    A fire next to the track at Ledbury is causing disruption to journeys between Hereford and Worcester Foregate Street.

    Services may be cancelled, delayed or revised.

    Natioanl Rail anticipate disruption will continue until 10:00.

    Alternative travel advice for West Midlands Railway customers:

    Replacement road transport has been requested to run in both directions between Hereford and Worcester Shrub Hill, however, this is not expected to arrive at Hereford until at least at 08:30.

    📷 Wikimedia Commons


    Town Hall Presents Community Opportunity for Development

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    The future of Hereford’s Town Hall lies in the hands of those who love it, according to Coalition councillor Gemma Davies.

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    Councillor Gemma Davies

    Regarding news that Herefordshire Council can no longer afford the Town Hall, Councillor Davies said:

    Quote

    ‘As a Herefordian, I am as sad as any that austerity has led to the neglect of our precious civil buildings such as the Town Hall. Yet, under the present conditions Herefordshire Council cannot be a responsible landlord of the Town Hall.

    The Council simply does not have the money to maintain the building properly and it will only deteriorate further. We must find another solution.’

    ‘Herefordshire Council’s revenue support grant from central government has diminished from £60 million in 2010, to £600 thousand in 2021. The effect of that on the council’s ability to support civic buildings, never mind people and families at breaking point, has been catastrophic.’

    Councillor Davies said:

    Quote

    ‘If ever there was a time for a partnership between the Town Hall and the community it serves, that time is now. It is time for a group to emerge that can forge a cohesive plan for how this much loved building can best serve the people of Hereford.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the Town Hall is an asset of community value and I look forward to seeing how a plan for the building can develop and how Herefordshire Council can help facilitate a viable vision.’

     


    Trains delayed and cancelled in North Herefordshire following incident on railway tracks.

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    The B4362 between Orleton and Woofferton was closed at the railway bridge earlier this afternoon. Rail services between Leominster and Ludlow were disrupted and emergency services attended the scene. Unfortunately one patient sadly died.

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    The road is now open.

    📷 Google


    Positive Hereford | Resurfacing Works Completed at Dorstone in Herefordshire

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Herefordshire Council teams have recently completed a programme of resurfacing and drainage works on the U75235 - Browns Lane, near The Bage, Dorstone in Herefordshire 

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    Hereford Voice | 'Councillor Sessions' - Cllr Gemma Davies

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Councillor Gemma Davies - Cabinet Member - Commissioning, Procurement and Assets will taking your questions in our next Hereford Voice 'Councillor Sessions' over the next few weeks

    1323091471_HerefordVoiceCounillorSessionsSm.png.45a47e764a7ef141d91310b44cc38628.png

    See our previous sessions by following the hashtag 👉 #hfdvcs 

     

     


    Police appeal for witnesses after a man was attacked in Kington, Herefordshire.

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    The incident happened around 11.15pm last night (Friday 16 July) in High Street.

    209221807_HVWitnessAppeal.png.d97880723d4be61020f840428c181c88.png

    A 29 year old man attended hospital for lacerations caused by a knife.

    A 26 year old man and a 23 year old woman have been arrested on suspicion of assault and are currently in police custody.

    Officers are carrying out enquiries and appealing for witnesses, in particular two people seen on CCTV in the area at the time.

    Detective Sergeant Jim Moore, from Hereford CID, said: “We believe we have identified two people we have on CCTV who may have witnessed the assault and would ask they get in contact with us.”

    Witnesses can contact Hereford CID on 01432 347399 or alternatively online under the Tell Us About section of West Mercia Police’s website (quote reference 00192_I_17072021). If you do not wish to speak to police direct you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


    West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner, John-Paul Campion out with Hereford Police

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Good to see West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner, John-Paul Campion out on the streets with Hereford Police last night.

    1092135877_Screenshot2021-07-17at07_41_40.png.c881f9a87bbde8f02f52ee95201af7db.png


    Livestreamed documentary Rivercide to unmask UK’s water polluters tonight

    megilleland
    By megilleland,

    Livestreamed documentary Rivercide to unmask UK’s water polluters

    George Monbiot hosts innovative investigation naming the farms and water firms damaging Britain’s rivers

    Giant livestock farms and privatised water firms accused of polluting the nation’s waterways are to be named in what is thought to be the world’s first livestreamed investigative documentary.

    The crowdfunded investigation Rivercide, which will be broadcast online at 7pm on Wednesday, will be hosted by environmental journalist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot. Monbiot will travel along the River Wye, which flows between England and Wales, to collect water samples that will be analysed as the documentary unfolds.

    “This is a really shocking story of how our rivers are being devastated,” said Monbiot. “We’ll be revealing some serious wrongdoing.”

    Monbiot decided to focus on the River Wye after a disturbing canoeing trip last summer. He found the Wye, which was once prized for its salmon, had changed beyond all recognition over the course of a decade. “There hadn’t been any rain so it should have been crystal clear but you couldn’t see anything,” he said. “I made the mistake of going swimming. As soon as my nostrils got near the water I nearly gagged because it was so disgusting. When I got out, my whole body felt like it was coated in slimy snot. It was like something out of a 1970s science fiction film.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/14/livestreamed-documentary-rivercide-to-unmask-uks-water-polluters


    Breaking News | The 900th Hereford May Fair rescheduled for August has been Cancelled

    Hereford Voice
    By Hereford Voice,

    Hereford Voice understands today that the Showman's Guild have pulled out of bringing the May Fair to Hereford in August due to lack of its members willing to change their current commitments.

    825754377_HerefordVoice-MayFair.thumb.jpg.09433c71292d9439515b7c962d547afe.jpg.420c6f12468ab8011961f31009af18de.jpg 439596067_HerefordVoiceMayFair1.thumb.jpg.114a1660b3551003af9a46b582fd3767.jpg.c06239591efc7af76bfdf18864d20a2e.jpg

    We previously reported back in March here 👉 https://hfd.news/ry1 that due to the Coronavirus pandemic the original 900th May Fair was rescheduled to arrive in the city from Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th August 2021. 

    It was also due to arrive a few days earlier in Leominster from Thursday 29 to Saturday 31 July, which we understand has also been cancelled.

    The Hereford May Fair will celebrate the 901st anniversary as usual in May 2022.


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