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  1. Consultation to focus on Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) in St Owen's Street Herefordshire Council is encouraging local people to take part in a consultation around the details of improved measures for cyclists and pedestrians in St Owen's Street, Hereford. An earlier consultation on whether to introduce the contraflow proved that there is strong support for the proposed scheme. This consultation does not revisit that question but is a necessary next stage in the process where Herefordshire Council is legally required to consult on elements of the scheme. The St Owen's Street cycle contraflow scheme will create a safer cycle route from the east of the city, promoting sustainable and active travel, while at the same time improving safety for pedestrians and motorists. The scheme is part of ongoing improvements in Hereford city centre to create a more attractive environment for residents, visitors, shoppers, workers and local businesses, encouraging people into the city and ensuring they have a great experience when they are there. As part of the work to introduce the scheme, Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are required, which in turn requires a statutory consultation. The changes to the TRO cover the permitting of cyclists to travel in both directions on the one-way street, adjustments to parking, loading and bus stop layouts to incorporate the physical features of the scheme, and the introduction of areas of raised carriageway on St Owen's St. Cllr John Harrington, cabinet member infrastructure and transport said: “In these difficult times it is more important than ever to support businesses with measures that will promote the economic success of the city. The proposed improvements in St Owen's Street will hopefully be a boost to our measures to allow people to use alternatives to the car to travel into and through the City. Contraflows can decrease journey times for cyclists compared to those travelling by car by providing more direct, safer, travel routes, and can also reduce inappropriate cycling on the pavement. “We are asking for the views of local people around the specific details of the Traffic Regulation Orders, which are vital components of the street layout that will allow us to implement the scheme in the most effective way.” The consultation starts on 19 May 2022, and runs to 16 June 2022. People can find full details and take part in the consultation via the Herefordshire Council website. Alternatively, if you are unable to complete the online form, you can post a written response to: BBLP St Owen's St Consultation, Balfour Beatty Living Places, Unit 3 Thorn Business Park, Rotherwas Industrial Estate, Hereford, HR2 6JT. Responses to this consultation must be received on or before 16 June 2022. If you require any further information on this scheme, please contact by email: StOwensSt@balfourbeatty.com.
  2. A political row has broken out after plans to improve England’s most expensive piece of tarmac with tree planters was linked to council tax increases. Conservative Herefordshire councillor Ann-Marie Probert has slammed the proposals to install tree planters along Hereford’s City Link Road as ‘disgusting’, arguing that the money should be used for other purposes, including lowering council tax but Independent for Herefordshire's Cllr John Harrington said: ‘The City Link Road, which Coun Probert criticises, perhaps not realising was a Conservative led scheme, was badly designed and badly thought out and has cost £30 million for less than a mile of tarmac, with no segregated cycle path and a huge ugly central reservation.’ ‘We have managed to secure funding to put tree planters along the road that can be re-used when we are able to put in a proper tree planting system. This is not money raised through council tax, this is capital funding, raised and ring-fenced, that can only be used for this purpose - I know Ann-Marie is a relatively new councillor but she needs to get her basic facts right.’ The furore has been caused by calls from the Conservative councillor to ‘help residents first’. Defending the decision Coun Harrington said: ‘We have done exactly that. We have trebled the support for anyone who is struggling with council tax, but we cannot divert money from capital projects specifically for identified works, into revenue pots for running services. If Ann-Marie wants to help residents first then she should lobby her political masters in Westminster who have told councils they must ‘wash their own faces’ and ensure that services are funded by local taxes.’ ‘We've lost £100 million a year in revenue coming in when you compare 2022 to 2010 and both her Conservative MPs voted for those devastating cuts - has she expressed her disgust towards them? This is not our decision; this is Conservative Party policy. We know how hard increased cost of living will be for many and therefore set aside wide-ranging support for anyone struggling.’ Coun Harrington said that deadlines for spending £6 million budget, half of which was from a grant from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, for the city centre improvement scheme were looming. ‘I took the decision not to dig up High Town, as planned by the previous Conservative administration, because I couldn’t justify two years of disruption to traders as a building site moved around High Town simply to replace a surface, that needs minimal repair, with a complete excavation and relaying with several millions pounds worth of Chinese granite.’ Coun Harrington said he had instructed that some of the funds were diverted instead to make improvements to the Widemarsh pavements which ‘have long been overdue and which the Conservatives refused to address’. The funds also ensure the Cycle Contraflow proposals for St Owens Street go ahead and improve the street scene around Hereford. Tree planters were chosen as they could be moved for the May Fair in the City and would give planners time to consider where to plant the planned increase of trees in the ground. ‘This has nothing to do with council tax’ said Coun Harrington, adding: ‘every councillor should know that. This is about spending funds ring-fenced for specific jobs that are important to Hereford, have been identified as needing attention for many years, and will start the process of improving air quality and the aesthetics of the county’s important mother city.’
  3. BBC Panorama - Statement from Herefordshire Council following last night's programme which aired on BBC1 at 8pm. A statement from the Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council made to Panorama as part of last night's episode. I would like to apologise to children and families affected by the very serious failings in our Children’s Services. Since my arrival I have made it my top priority to ensure we make urgent changes so that children and families in Herefordshire get the quality of support they need. We are one year into our three-year plan to improve services for children and families, by reducing caseloads for Social Workers, recruiting more staff for home visits, providing better leadership and supervision for our staff, and by modernising our systems. We are committed to supporting families and protecting vulnerable children in our community. If you have any concerns about the way you or your family have been treated by Herefordshire Children’s Social Care Services, you can contact us at on our careconcerns webpage or or email careconcerns@herefordshire.gov.uk Paul Walker- Chief Executive, Herefordshire Council
  4. Significant investment will support continued improvements to Herefordshire Children’s Services Herefordshire Council Cabinet approved £11.49m funding at a meeting held on Thursday 31 March 2022, to support the ongoing improvements in Herefordshire Children’s Social Care Services. The funding will help to ensure the council’s Children’s Services are adequately resourced and can provide a more secure and resilient service to Herefordshire children and their families in the future. Corporate Director for Children and Young People, Darryl Freeman, said: “The £11.49m investment provides us with security to support our significant and lasting improvements to Herefordshire Children’s Services. “It means we will be able to offer our valued Social Workers a realistic workload, experienced managerial support and professional ways of working. It will help us to continue to build Herefordshire Children’s Social Care Services into a desirable place to come and work with a good work/life balance in a beautiful, family-friendly environment. “Previous funding has already led to increased stability of our workforce, reduced caseloads for some staff, increased levels of personal and case supervisions, and increased frequency of visits to children and young people and their families. This additional funding will allow us to make many more changes, more quickly to improve our social work practice to support the children and families in the county that are most in need.”
  5. The council’s achievements from the past year and upcoming priority areas of work are outlined in a new Delivery Plan 2022/23 Two years ago, the council set out its vision for Herefordshire in the County Plan 2020-24. How the council is progressing towards meeting these ambitions and its priorities for the coming year are outlined in a new Delivery Plan 2022/23, which has been agreed by Cabinet. The County Plan 2020-24 describes how the council will work to ensure a thriving county by building on the strengths of its people and places, particularly focused on the key areas of environment, community and economy. Key achievements over the past year have included: Boosting the support available to residents within their own communities through the opening of 46 talk community hubs and a talk community kitchen providing healthy meals; Supporting local businesses to grow and thrive with investment in new buildings such as the Shell Store business incubation centre, and helping hundreds of businesses access £46m of grant funding towards equipment, new premises and faster broadband. More than 1,000 independent retailers across the county benefitted from custom through the Shop Local prepaid card scheme funded through covid recovery monies Encouraging people to get more active in how they live, with free swimming lessons for around 10,000 children and adults; and how they travel, with dozens of new e-bikes for hire in the City and over 60,000 free bus journeys at weekends – all helping to improve overall health and wellbeing. Priorities for the coming year outlined in the Delivery Plan focus on: Environment - reducing the amount of household waste generated in the county; investment in Hereford to improve public spaces and travel in the City, reducing the carbon footprint of the council and the county Community – investing in services to improve the health and wellbeing of children, development of affordable housing and council-owned care facilities, supporting the opening of further talk community hubs Economy – supporting business opportunity and growth, implementing developments plans for the towns and City including the redevelopment of Hereford library and museum, helping to secure better accessibility to broadband throughout the county Full details can be found in the Delivery Plan 2022/23 Cllr Liz Harvey, Cabinet member finance, corporate services and planning, said: “We are now half way through our delivery of the ambitions we outlined in our County Plan, and despite the past two years being the most challenging any of us have ever experienced so much has been achieved. “We set out clearly how we aimed to protect and enhance our environment, strengthen communities and support our economy. Over the past two years we have supported some of our most vulnerable residents and helped create more resilient communities, invested in business and growth, and offered opportunities for people of all ages to get more active – to name only a few of the ways our activities have benefitted everyone in our county. And all at a time when we were also responding to a pandemic. “We have taken great strides but there is still more to do. We are realistic about the scale of the challenge - rising costs and changing demands means facing tough choices about where to focus resources. This delivery plans sets out how over the coming year council services will enable residents to get on with their lives day-to-day and provide them with support when they need it, invest in services for children, encourage and assist business to thrive, and how we will work to protect and enhance the beautiful county we live in.”
  6. Herefordshire Council are launching an incentive scheme to encourage parents/guardians to ditch single-use nappies in favour of reusable varieties. The scheme launches today (4 April 2022). Changing to reusable nappies will not only help the environment, it will also help parents/guardians save up to £1,000 per child. This figure could be even more impressive if reusable nappies are handed down to siblings or sold on to other users. In short, making the switch to reusables is one of the easiest ways a family with young children can reduce their waste while saving themselves a considerable sum of money. According to WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) a child typically uses between 4,000 and 6,000 disposable nappies by the time they reach 2.5 years of age. That equates to a ton of waste going to landfill or incineration. That waste could be avoided if reusable nappies were used instead of disposables. Making the switch will create savings the council can use to help fund the scheme. Herefordshire Council are offering a limited number of £200 vouchers to parents/guardians to use at selected suppliers to purchase nappies, liners and nappy buckets. Its webpage provides links to the organisations at which the vouchers can be used. They sell reusable nappies and related products in a range of sizes, styles, colours and materials to suit your babies’ needs. All Herefordshire parents/guardians with a child aged 18 months or younger living with them are eligible for the voucher scheme. Applicants need their baby’s birth certificate or MAT B1 certificate when they apply. The scheme aligns with the council’s ambition for the county to ‘protect and enhance our environment and keep Herefordshire a great place to live’. To do that it has promised to ‘minimise waste and increase reuse, repair and recycling’. Councillor Gemma Davies, cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, says: “It’s often said that simple ideas are among the best ones and this scheme is an excellent example of that. It’s a really great way for parents/guardians to save money in the long run as well as give our planet a breather by generating less waste. Herefordshire Council is committed to reducing waste in the county and, according to the NCT (National Childbirth Trust), ‘each year, parents/guardians throw away around three billion disposable nappies to landfill’. Herefordshire parents/guardians can play their part in reducing these astronomical waste figures. In doing so, they’ll be investing in a better environment for their own children and grandchildren.” Reusables have come a long way in recent years and now come in a wide variety of different designs, colours and fabrics to suit all needs. They are free of the chemicals found in some disposable types and soft natural fabrics are thought to be kinder to babies’ skin.
  7. Herefordshire Council continues on its improvement path with planned major investment in Children’s Social Care Services. A recommendation to Cabinet, published today, requests a £11.49m investment to help ensure Children’s Social Care Services are adequately resourced and that we provide the foundations for a more secure and resilient service for the future. Chief Executive, Paul Walker said: Corporate Director for Children and Young People, Darryl Freeman said: Previous investment in Children’s Social Care Services has already led to increased stability of workforce, reduced caseloads for some staff, increased levels of personal and case supervisions, and increased frequency of visits to children and young people and their families. The additional £11.49m funding will allow for significant and lasting improvements to reduce caseloads for Social Workers, provide more frequent and better supervision and management of our social care staff, and allow us to make more changes, more quickly to improve our social work practice for children and families in Herefordshire. Funding for the investment is being allocated from the Resilience Reserves, which is a fund to address unexpected organisational costs and help support the organisation in a time of need. The total amount currently held in Resilience Reserves is £16.7m. Herefordshire Council Cabinet will consider the decision at its meeting on Thursday 31 March.
  8. Hope Maintenance and its director, Garry Ridley, pleaded guilty to three charges at Hereford Magistrates court on 22 February 2022. The company and director were ordered to pay a total of £318.00 in fines and costs. The court heard that in June 2021, enforcement officers from Herefordshire Council investigated a report of fly-tipping on private land at Caplor Farm in Hereford, where Hope Maintenance is based. Officers found evidence of fly-tipping and carried out a full investigation. Garry Ridley was discovered to be promoting waste collection services on Hope Maintenance’s Facebook page. He admitted collecting waste from an address in Hereford for £25.00 in cash. He then dumped the waste in a field at Caplor Farm to save paying to dispose of the waste legally. Hope Maintenance received a fine of £100.00, was ordered to pay costs of £100 and received a victim surcharge of £34.00. Garry Ridley was fined £50.00 and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £34.00. Marc Willimont, Herefordshire Council’s head of public protection, says: “Although we are very disappointed with the low level of fines and costs awarded by the court, despite the evidence we provided, we are pleased this case was proven. We very much hope it will deter others from breaking the law by exploiting their own land to dispose of their waste. “Unlawful waste disposal and fly-tipping costs council tax payers tens of thousands of pounds every year. Businesses do this to avoid the cost of disposing of their waste lawfully. All businesses must ensure appropriate measures are in place so the waste they produce is disposed of correctly. Businesses must also have documentation to show who they have transferred the waste to and keep those records for at least two years. Anyone found fly-tipping waste will be prosecuted.” The maximum penalty for fly-tipping is a £50,000 fine and/or five years’ imprisonment. The council’s community protection team regularly carries out spot checks on waste carriers. The team investigates unlawful waste disposal and fly-tipping cases reported via Herefordshire Council’s website or by calling 01432 261761. Residents and businesses can visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk/rubbish-recycling for information about responsible, legal waste disposal.
  9. Herefordshire Council has appointed its new director of public health. Matt Pearce takes up the role that puts him in charge of the health of the population of Herefordshire. Matt brings considerable experience to the role, having worked in public health for over 15 years. His career has included roles with the NHS and local government. He has a strong background in building partnerships across the public, private and community sectors to improve people’s health and wellbeing. Matt led West Berkshire Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and played a key role in the integrated care partnership. A sports science graduate, he also holds a postgraduate diploma in sports development and a master’s degree in public health. Matt has a range of research interests and is visiting lecturer at the University of the West of England. He has been published in international, peer-reviewed scientific journals and has presented at national conferences. Matt Pearce says: “I am excited about joining Herefordshire Council as director of public health. The last two years have been very challenging and, as we move to the next phase of the pandemic, I am looking forward to re-focus our efforts on the general health and wellbeing of all Herefordshire’s residents.” Matt’s appointment means Dr Rebecca Howell-Jones will return to her role as consultant in public health for Herefordshire Council. Paul Walker, Herefordshire Council’s chief executive, says: “I’d like to welcome Matt Pearce as Herefordshire’s permanent director of public health and I’d like to thank Rebecca Howell-Jones for the remarkable job she did in stepping up to lead the Herefordshire Covid public health response over the last two years. This really was as big a challenge as any health chief could expect to face.”
  10. I was coming into the Council Offices this morning listening to the news from Ukraine, reflecting on the statements being made nationally and wondering what response was appropriate from us in the Council. We have real connections with Ukraine. For many years Herefordshire has relied upon workers from Eastern Europe, Ukraine included, to work here. Some have stayed and are bringing up their families here. Many of us travel internationally and might have visited Ukraine. We have a strong global presence in the security industry and there are workers from Herefordshire in Ukraine providing services. Given the seriousness of war breaking out in Europe today for the first time in over 80 years It is appropriate for me, on behalf of the Council, to send a message of solidarity and sympathy to all democratically elected representatives of the government and of councils across Ukraine and to the people of Ukraine whom they all serve and represent. The fabric and freedom of their society is under threat and our support, thoughts and prayers are with them all at this difficult and distressing time. On behalf of the Council I want to reach out to Ukrainians living in our County. Our thoughts are with you and our residents who have friends and family in the region. If we are able to support you, please let us know. #HerefordVoice | #HerefordNews | #Herefordshire
  11. Herefordshire Council is asking residents for their views on the introduction of measures to enforce moving traffic regulations. This includes stopping in yellow boxes at junctions, ignoring no-entry signs, making banned turns, contravening ‘access only’ routes and parking on yellow zig-zag lines outside schools. Traffic regulations act to make the roads safer for all users and to help keep traffic flowing in busy areas. Changes in Government legislation (implementation in full of Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004) mean that councils in England will have control of enforcement powers for moving traffic contraventions, previously held by the police. Measures to enforce moving traffic regulations include the installation of cameras and the issuing of penalty notices.Councillor John Harrington, Cabinet member transport and infrastructure said: To view the consultation, let us know more about the impact of driver behaviour, and for views on proposed locations for camera enforcement, please visit our website at: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/moving-traffic-consultation
  12. Herefordshire Council has today (4 March) adopted the total Council Tax precepts for all Herefordshire residents. As the billing authority, the council has a statutory duty to collect charges set by each parish council, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia and Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority. However, Herefordshire Council has no control over the level of increase or how these organisations choose to spend their budget. Herefordshire residents will be provided with individual bills based on their parish location. The raised precepts are needed to support the delivery of vital services across the county, with the average Council Tax bill for a Band D dwelling set at £1,774.84. This includes the council’s own tax charge of £1,701.70 (for a band D dwelling) which was approved by Full Council on 11 February 2022. The increase is needed to support the continued delivery of vital services across the county and our priority is to get the best possible value for every pound we spend on the people of Herefordshire. The precept for the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia rose by 3.94% to £249.66, an increase of £9.47. The precept for Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority rose by 1.96% to £89.40, an increase of £1.72. The discount on the council tax reduction (CTR) scheme for any struggling family which qualifies will remain at 100% for the coming year – irrespective of the price banding of their home. The budget made available to fund discretionary housing scheme payments for families just failing to qualify for CTR has also been trebled from £272,000 to £772,000. Additionally, some residents will continue to pay no Council Tax at all, such as young adults who have left care and also all the council’s Foster Carer families. More information and advice on reduction schemes and allowances can be found on the Herefordshire Council website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/counciltax
  13. Herefordshire Council is supporting an outbreak of avian flu on the Eastnor Castle Estate. The council is working with the APHA, DEFRA and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) West Midlands to respond to the incident. Immediate steps were taken by the APHA to limit the risk of the disease spreading. The council is working with the APHA and DEFRA to further limit the spread, with officers visiting properties in the surrounding area to inform and engage with residents who keep birds, to assess and report any risks that might exist. An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) in in place countrywide and it is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures. The national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone means that it is a legal requirement that bird keepers across the country must: House or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds Cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing Reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control Thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis Keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points Minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds Bird keepers should visit the gov.uk website for full details of the AIPZ and updated biosecurity guidance. Do not touch or pick up any dead or sick birds that you find. If you find dead swans, geese or ducks or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the DEFRA helpline on: 03459 33 55 77 Keepers should report any suspicion of disease to Animal and Plant Health Agency on: 03000 200 301.
  14. The Government wants to increase the supply of new housing and for Herefordshire, this means 850 dwellings per year over the next 20 years. Give your view on housing distribution across the county by Feb 28 here 👉 https://orlo.uk/626X4
  15. Following a period of public consultation held in the Autumn of last year, two full rounds of Scrutiny by the council’s three committees and Cabinet agreement, the proposals were today (11 February) approved by Council. The budget includes a council tax increase of 2.99%, made up of: A 1% adult social care precept which is ring-fenced to support the delivery of adult social care services A 1.99% increase in core council tax which will fund all other areas of council service This will increase the band D equivalent charge to £1,701.70 representing an increase of £0.95 per week (£4.12 a month). Councillor Liz Harvey, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: “It continues to be a challenging climate locally and nationally, and the pressure on Local Authorities across the country is as intense as ever. Council Tax makes up around a third of the Council’s budget, so this increase is needed to support the continued delivery of vital services across the county. “Our priority is to get the best possible value for every pound spent, but we acknowledge that it is a difficult time for many local households. This is why we have ensured that the discount on the council tax reduction scheme for any struggling family which qualifies will remain at 100% for the coming year – irrespective of the price banding of their home. “We will also almost triple the budget made available to fund the council tax discretionary hardship scheme from £272,000 to £772,000. Additionally, some residents will continue to pay no Council Tax at all, such as young adults who have left care and also all of the council’s Foster Carer families.” The final setting of Council Tax, which will include the precepts for all the county’s parishes plus Police and Crime Commissioner and Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority charges, will take place on 4 March. More information and advice on reduction schemes and allowances can be found on the council's website: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/counciltax. The proposed budget 2022/23 was approved with one agreed amendment, to delay the inflation uplift of 10p per hour on parking charges planned for 2022/23 and instead to implement an inflation uplift to parking charges in 2024/25. Cllr Harrington, Cabinet member for Transport and Infrastructure, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to find additional funds to delay the proposed inflation linked increases in car parking charges. I expect we shall soon be able to offer wider choices for reliable alternatives to travel for residents and visitors who travel within the county and between Herefordshire and our neighbouring areas.”
  16. Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed the proposed 2022/23 budget which will now be put forward for recommendation to Full Council on Friday 11 February 2022. Following a period of public consultation held in the Autumn of last year, and after two full rounds of Scrutiny by the council’s three committees, the proposals were yesterday (31 January) agreed by Cabinet. The proposals include a total council tax increase of 2.99%, made up of: A 1% adult social care precept which is ring-fenced to support the delivery of social care services A 1.99% increase in core council tax which will fund all other areas of council service This would increase the band D equivalent charge to £1,701.70 representing an increase of £0.95 per week (£4.12 a month). The proposed increase is needed to support the continued delivery of vital services across the county and our priority is to get the best possible value for every pound we spend on the people of Herefordshire. The discount on the council tax reduction (CTR) scheme for any struggling family which qualifies will remain at 100% for the coming year – irrespective of the price banding of their home. Cabinet also proposes to almost triple the budget made available to fund discretionary housing scheme payments for families just failing to qualify for CTR from £272,000 to £772,000. Additionally, some residents will continue to pay no Council Tax at all, such as young adults who have left care and also all the council’s Foster Carer families. The final setting of Council Tax, which will include the precepts for all the county’s parishes plus Police and Crime Commissioner and Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority charges, will take place on 4 March. Residents on a low income may be eligible for help to pay their bill through the Council Tax Reduction scheme. More information and advice on reduction schemes and allowances can be found on the Herefordshire Council website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/counciltax
  17. Development will be first under ‘Herefordshire Future Homes’ Herefordshire Council has agreed to purchase land in the Widemarsh ward with a view to developing the first new residential scheme under the Herefordshire Future Homes standard. In the County plan 2020 – 2024 the council has expressed an ambition to deliver 1000 new homes and protect and improve the lives of vulnerable people and to reduce the number of people in Herefordshire identified as homeless, and to develop its own housing stock. This development will enable the council to deliver on this ambition in a highly sustainable way, through: Seeking high levels of sustainability and energy efficiency in the construction and operating costs of new homes. Working with partners to minimise our carbon footprint in terms of methods of construction and in seeking the use of local materials and labour wherever possible. Reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable modes of transport - The central location of the land would allow individuals the opportunity to either walk or use public transport to move around. The purchase of site and the delivery of properties will add to the county’s housing stock and it is intended that they will be affordable in perpetuity allowing future households who share protected characteristics to have access to appropriate accommodation. The Herefordshire Future Homes Report was adopted by the council in November 2021, and sets out the environmental building design standards that will govern future housing developments on council-owned land and council retrofit schemes across the county. Herefordshire is amongst the first nationally to set such high environmental standards for housing on council-owned land, which reflects the council’s commitment to tackling climate change. Cllr Ange Tyler, Cabinet member for Housing, regulatory services, and community safety, said: “We are all aware that Herefordshire Council has set an ambitious target on developing new homes, so it is wonderful to see this purchase agreed, with a view to constructing some much-needed new housing in the city of Hereford. “Under the Herefordshire Future Homes standard, these new homes will generate as much renewable energy as they use, through a combination of energy efficiency measures and forms of renewable energy generation and storage. Not only is this good for the environment, it also increases the value of a house, meaning a greater return on investment for the council, for developers, and for homeowners.” To find out more please see the Herefordshire Future Homes report on the council website.
  18. Hereford City Council awarded an annual grant of £10,000 to the Hereford Citizen’s Advice Bureau, to help them continue providing their vital services. Hereford Citizen’s Advice Bureau work to give local people advice on issues which are causing them problems in life, whatever that problem may be. From unemployment and benefits, to relationship troubles and child support, Hereford CAB tackle issues in every corner of our community. When Hereford City Councillors last caught up with Hereford Citizen’s Advice Bureau in May 2021, they asked how their previous £10,000 grant had been put to use since awarded it in 2020. As expected, the pandemic had put a huge strain on the team, and enquiries had risen substantially. From people losing their jobs to housing evictions and money issues, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau had dealt with a variety of unforeseen circumstances, aiding those who had been hardest hit by the lockdowns. Sadly, many more people throughout 2021 have had to deal with these challenges. The team have dealt with a massive amount of cases, most of which were due to Covid-19. Many who had never had experience of the benefits system had been forced to claim universal credit after entering troubled times, and in a number of cases those people did not have access to the internet or knowledge of how to navigate the system. Now that the eviction moratorium has been lifted, the courts have a backlog of cases and the CAB maintain a desk at the court to offer advice, which often achieves last minute stays of action while better solutions are found. Roughly 44% of cases are related to benefits and 40% of claimants have a long term disability. People in crisis are currently desperate for help, and the City Council fully supports the work the CAB do in helping them. It was agreed by City Councillors that the annual grant of £10,000 be released to Hereford Citizen’s Advice Bureau to help these incredible efforts continue. For more information on Hereford CAB, visit: www.herefordshirecab.org.uk
  19. Hereford Voice asked Herefordshire Council for a breakdown on what car parking charges are used to pay for and got this helpful infographic sent to us. They told us that car parking charges are primarily used to control limited space in the City and towns to keep the churn rate high in the City and town centres, making sure there is availability for those that want to drive in to the centre – quick stop in Broad Street to go to the bank or quick stop in King Street to pick up from the King Street Kitchen - and that they use lower tariffs to encourage longer stay/commuters to use car parks on the edges of the City or the market town centres. They also use the valuable income from car parking (quite a lot from penalty notices too) to subsidise transport related Council services, particularly those, like school transport, that has suffered as a result of severe government cuts to local authorities like Herefordshire (one grant alone, the Revenue Support Grant has been cut from over £62 million in 2010 to £600k in 2021 – and yes, both our MPs voted for many cuts over the last decade. Jesse Norman - https://hfd.news/bzn Bill Wiggin - https://hfd.news/k69 🔹Do you object to paying a premium to park in the City or town centres? 🔹Do you prefer to park further out and spend longer in town? 🔹How does a Council manage limited spaces in the centres? Some commentators think free parking is the panacea that will revitalise High Street trading – do you think so too or is that too simplistic (and perhaps a deliberately provocative view)? Cwmbran is often cited as an example of a town that offers free parking. Aside from the fact that the parking is free because of a very large private shopping centre that allows unrestricted parking on its 3000-space carpark, is Cwmbran more attractive and prosperous than our very own local retail and historic cores? The parking team in Herefordshire Council have confirmed Christmas late night shopping and free Saturdays are still offered in the run up to Christmas and the City and Town Councils choose which days or half days suit them best. An emotive subject and one that presses many of our buttons. So is it time to stop complaining about paying less than many people spend on coffee in a day, or should we have free parking in Hereford and the surrounding market towns and the inevitable reduced public services that would follow?
  20. Council agrees ambitious new recycling and waste plans Changes made for a greener future Residents and business owners across Herefordshire will be provided with new rubbish and recycling collection arrangements from late 2023. The news follows a decision made by our cabinet members today (Thursday 25 November 2021). The changes include a new weekly food waste collection service and a fortnightly, seasonal garden waste collection service. Currently, 40 per cent of the contents of residual waste (black bins) could be recycled. We are planning to meet stringent environmental targets identified in our waste strategy and we are introducing the service after residents told us in a consultation on collection options that more needs to be done to help increase recycling. ♻️ New rubbish and recycling collections being introduced from late 2023 The enhanced service, providing much more recycling capacity, comprises the following collection “streams”, which will improve both the quantity and quality of recycling: ♻️ New bin. Paper and cardboard will be collected separately in new 240-litre wheelie bins ♻️ Existing green bin. Metals (tins and cans), most plastics (pots, tubs, trays and bottles) and glass ♻️ Existing black bin. Anything that cannot be recycled or put into food waste ♻️ Food waste. We will provide all households with a new, 23-litre food caddy and liners ♻️ Garden waste bin. Residents can opt for a seasonal garden waste collection Herefordshire Council wrote, we will work with managing agents, residents associations and people who live in flats to ensure they have a service that reflects their needs and provides maximum opportunities for them to recycle. As is currently the case, larger families, families using disposable nappies and those with medical needs will still receive additional capacity. These are considered on a case by case basis. The cabinet also agreed changes to our waste disposal contract that will see a 95 per cent reduction in waste being sent to landfill to just one per cent from April 2022. Welcome news News of the new waste arrangements was welcomed by Cllr Gemma Davies: “We have listened to our residents who told us they wanted more opportunities to recycle. Our new system provides more capacity to recycle from 2024. We know that for people living in flats or for larger families this will not be easy. We also will be looking for ways to help people in those circumstances and will say more about that in the future. “This is just one part of our ambitious plans for helping people to reuse more, recycle more and waste less. I am also very pleased to have secured savings on our waste disposal contract and greater protection for when recyclers want to send materials outside of Europe. I am delighted that we will be achieving a 95 per cent reduction in waste going to landfill from next April to just one per cent.”
  21. Herefordshire recycling and waste collections may change for a greener future Changes to the way they provide the county’s recycling and waste collection and waste disposal services are set to be considered at a cabinet meeting to be held next week (Thursday 25 November). With tough new environmental standards on the horizon, keeping things as they are now is not an option, after the council received over 3600 responses to its consultation earlier in the year. In response, 86 per cent said ‘more needs to be done to reduce rubbish and increase recycling’; while 60 per cent accepted ‘the need to change the current rubbish and recycling system’. Over half (56 per cent) of residents favour a separate food waste collection. If agreed, from late 2023, the changes will see a new weekly food waste collection service and a fortnightly seasonal garden waste collection service. Currently 40 per cent of the contents of the county’s residual waste bins could be recycled and residents have told us more needs to be done. Herefordshire Council are therefore proposing an alternate three-weekly collection service of paper and card on week 1, plastic, cans and glass on week 2 and all other residual waste of week 3. Separating paper and card from other recyclables will lead to more being accepted by recycling companies for recycling into new products than is the case now. Overall, residents will have much more recycling capacity and, if successful, will be part of an ambitious attempt by the council to achieve some of the highest recycling rates in the country. Changes to the way they collect recycling and waste underpin ambitious environmental targets agreed by cabinet last July to reduce household waste by 36 per cent to less than 330kg a year and more than double the county’s reuse and recycling rates from 40 per cent to 85 per cent by 2035. Herefordshire Council hope to end sending any waste to landfill at all by 2035. All this is part of their commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 The contract with the current waste and recycling collection partner is due to end in 2023 and cannot be extended. Cabinet will be asked to agree to readvertise the service to the industry. Cabinet will also be asked to exercise an option to agree extending the present waste and recycling disposal contract for a further five years. If agreed, this will drive further savings for the council on the cost of the disposal contract to help pay for the new collection service. The extension would also secure immediate environmental benefits. These include a 95 per cent reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill from 20 per cent to just one per cent from April 2022 and steps to ensure all recycled materials can be audited and traced if being sent outside Europe. As is currently the case, they will work with managing agents, residents associations and people who live in flats to ensure they have a service that reflects their needs but provides maximum opportunities for them to recycle. For very large families, or for people with medical needs, the council will continue to offer additional waste capacity as they do now.
  22. A group supporting women through domestic abuse has praised the way the service has been supported by Herefordshire Council Members of the council’s adult scrutiny body were given an update on Herefordshire’s Domestic Abuse Strategy in a report which highlighted that: ‘Domestic abuse is a complex and pervasive issue which cannot be addressed fully by any single organisation. The overall purpose of the strategy is to provide direction to partner organisations on how they can work collaboratively to prevent, identify and respond to domestic abuse.’ The strategy will also enable compliance with new legislation in this year’s Domestic Abuse Act. West Mercia Women's Aid has been involved in reviewing the Domestic Abuse Strategy. CEO, Sue Coleman, said: ‘Herefordshire Council has been supporting domestic abuse services for some time,’ adding that the services in the county were such that those escaping domestic abuse could be offered safe and secure accommodation. Over the past year support for services has significantly increased the capacity to support victims and their children in an enhanced safe accommodation offer, with specialist support for those with multiple complex needs. Referring to the new women’s refuge in Hereford Sue Coleman said that the refuge was: ‘As good as it gets across the country and we are very proud of it.’ She told the council’s Adult Scrutiny Committee that families who had used the refuge were very appreciative of the combined privacy and community support alongside the quality of service at a difficult time. West Mercia Women's Aid have also been working with Connexus and Herefordshire Council to develop satellite properties across the county that would allow greater flexibility and support for families escaping domestic abuse. Ms Coleman told councillors that any strategy must ensure that children are also considered as victims where domestic abuse has occurred and that the aid group was working with the council’s children’s department to ensure children got the right support when they needed it. The committee heard a first-hand account of how damaging emotional abuse can be, often with little evidence, and how counselling services must be made affordable as it was often through counselling that women were signposted to support services – and unaffordable counselling discriminated against the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
  23. Herefordshire community car club pilot 🚗 Funded by the Central Government Covid Recovery Grant, Herefordshire Council wishes to support up to six communities to establish community car clubs during an 18 month pilot. A community car club is a local, member-based initiative that provides access to pay-as-you-drive vehicles. Community car clubs are typically run by local groups to support their communities. Car clubs can improve accessibility to transport provision for residents particularly in rural areas. They can also help households reduce their carbon footprint by not owning a car and having more consideration about car use. An independent third party will be appointed to support the pilot car clubs, for example by: Purchasing and loaning up to six pre-owned cars Covering insurance, breakdown, MOT, servicing and repairs Providing online booking systems and other administration Herefordshire Council are inviting communities to submit an expression of interest by Thursday 7 October. Complete the form if you can demonstrate: Evidence you have a steering group in place and named volunteers willing to undertake key roles, for example membership co-ordinator, car keeper, scheme promoter Evidence that you have undertaken consultation and publicity and have at least three residents keen to join Complete the car club expression of interest form by following the 'Hereford Voice' unique link here ➡ https://hfd.news/sxs
  24. As world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for COP 26 to discuss co-ordinated action on climate change, Herefordshire leaders have agreed exemplary new standards that will revolutionise housing in the county. Herefordshire Future Homes aims to set standards for net zero carbon homes developed by the council, and its partners across the county and is aimed at all stakeholders involved in housing. Coalition councillors met last week to discuss how low energy homes would drive net zero carbon development in the region, create new jobs and skills, and support the local economy while building homes for those who need them would enable communities to flourish for years to come without trapping them in fuel poverty by reducing energy supply needs. Coun Ellie Chowns (Green Party) welcomed the initiative to develop passive houses in Herefordshire saying: ‘This signals our ambition to make real the concept of net zero affordable housing and how we will do that.’ ‘We know that new buildings have got to be net zero carbon – we’ve already got 85000 old homes in Herefordshire and retrofitting them to zero carbon standard is a massive challenge, we shouldn’t be adding to the housing stock by building new buildings that will need retrofitting down the line. This is about putting our policy where our mouth is and committing to zero carbon standards.’ Herefordshire Future Homes ambitions will ensure healthy, warm homes for residents – eliminating cold, mould and damp in healthy neighbourhoods with space for children to play, space for nature, and the provision of sustainable transport options. Proposals include One Planet Living frameworks designed to help people live well with the resources of the one planet we have. It has been used over twenty years in both public and private sector housing and elsewhere, and is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Coun Felicity Norman welcomed the proposals and said: ‘We absolutely need to provide quality housing that will help to ensure that our communities are healthier.’ Advisor John Christophers, from Zero Carbon House, told councillors that there was a policy vacuum in the UK at the moment but that Herefordshire was not alone in wanting to set higher standards for housing. Citing examples in Norwich, Exeter and Norwich, Mr Christophers said that as these standards became embedded in contractors minds the cost differentials would minimise and zero carbon housing would become the new norm. Springfield Meadows in Oxford is an example of Herefordshire’s housing ambitions. Designed to help residents lead happier and healthier lives with a minimal carbon footprint, the development engages with nature and creates a strong sense of community. It is a mixed development of 23 affordable and for-sale homes, built ‘tenure-blind’ to the same high standards throughout. The homes are built using local labour and natural materials with 90% reduction in embodied carbon emissions. All homes are zero carbon in operation, with solar panels and connection to green power for any surplus demand. A car-club operates with electric vehicles. Residents benefit from large gardens, giving the opportunity to grow their own food, a central green space to enjoy as a community, a wildlife pond, a community orchard, and herb garden. Homes account for over 26% of Herefordshire’s carbon emissions, and have increased by more than a quarter over the past twelve years.
  25. Beginning this Saturday (4 September), the council is pleased to announce that all bus travel within Herefordshire will be FREE AT WEEKENDS!! Thanks to investment as part of the Covid-19 Recovery Fund, anybody and everybody will be able to hop on and off any bus in the county, as many times as they like. No fares. The only condition is that the journey must be entirely within the county. To help people make the most of the scheme, there will also be additional services on Sundays, serving several locations including Bromyard, Ledbury, Leominster, Kington and Colwall.Cllr John Harrington, Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said: Free weekend bus travel is just one element of the Covid-19 Recovery Plan, which is providing funding of £6m to support the county in its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Cllr David Hitchiner, Leader of the Council, added: Bus travel will remain free to residents of pensionable age, and those with a qualifying disability through the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS). To help keep everybody safe, it is recommended that you continue to wear a mask when travelling by bus – and don’t forget to check timetables for your return journey before travelling. For more information, visit herefordshire.gov.uk/bus-it
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