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  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Cllr Gemma Davies | Cabinet Member - Commissioning, Procurement and Assets. At Hereford Voice our slogan has always been 'Having Your Say' and through our network we are going to give you the opportunity to ask your questions to some of our Councillors. Councillor Davies has kindly agreed to take part in our series of 'Councillor Sessions' and following her introduction which was recorded last night she will taking your questions. Please feel free to leave your questions below and Cllr. Davies will do her best to answer as many as possible over the coming weeks. Rules: Abuse will Not be tolerated and offensive comments will be deleted and may also result in that person being banned. Please ask sensible questions on any subject that Cllr Davies maybe able to address and answer in her capacity at Herefordshire Council. Please ask your questions, we have set out a few examples below; 🔹Council Assets (Town Hall | Shire Hall | Library & Museum) 🔹Waste Strategy (Recycling) 🔹Procurement and Commissioning Strategy 🔹Facilities Management (Maintaining Buildings etc) 🔹Public Toilets 🔹Maylord Orchards Please note: Hereford Town Hall scrutiny meeting took place earlier today, Cllr Davies recorded this video last night. Previous 'Councillor Sessions' follow our hashtag 👉 #hfdvcs
  5. Read the Herefordshire Council statement in response to the publication of an Ofsted letter following a recent planned visit of our children's services department Ofsted has published their letter this week following a planned visit of our children’s services on 7 July 2021, in line with the inspection of local authority children’s services (ILACS) framework. During the recent visit inspectors reviewed our arrangements for children in need and children subject to a child protection plan. They looked at a wide range of evidence, including interviews with staff, discussions with senior leaders and case discussions with social workers and team managers. They also looked at our performance management and quality assurance information and children’s case records. Ofsted identified three areas for priority action: Address inconsistent and variable social work practice to ensure that children are the focus of assessments, planning and interventions. The frequency and effectiveness of case supervision and the monitoring of children who are subject to child in need and child protection planning. Shortfalls in case-holding capacity for social workers, including newly qualified social workers, to allow them to respond effectively to children in need of help and protection. Inspectors recognised the significant changes recently made to the senior leadership for children’s services and stated the following: Councillor Diana Toynbee, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Safeguarding and Corporate Parenting and Catherine Knowles, Director for Children and Families, shared: You can view the full Ofsted report for the 7 July 2021 visit here. - We have also attached the pdf below If anyone has concerns about the way they, or someone they know, have been treated by Herefordshire Children’s Social Care services, you can contact us at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/careconcerns or email CareConcerns@herefordshire.gov.uk Herefordshire_Focused_visit_of_local_authority_childrens_services_July21.pdf
  6. Over the next few weeks, you may notice some bin collections are later than normal This is due to staff shortages. Herefordshire Council are working hard to make collections, so please only report a missed bin if it has not been collected by 5pm - before this time, a crew may still be on their way to you. The Council are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
  7. Leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr David Hitchiner, has announced changes to Cabinet Member portfolios, to take effect from 1 August 2021. Leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr David Hitchiner Councillor Pauline Crockett will step down from Cabinet due to personal reasons, but will continue her duties as a ward member. Councillor Felicity Norman is the new Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Wellbeing, and Councillor Jenny Bartlett will continue as Cabinet Support Member. Councillor Diana Toynbee’s Children’s and Family Services portfolio returns to the full list of responsibilities which Councillor Felicity Norman had when she had this portfolio, but with the addition of Councillor Kath Hey who is appointed as an additional Cabinet Support to support Young People’s Attainment, including post-16 education, training and skills development. This additional support role is important to reflect the responsibilities that Councillor Toynbee has concerning the Improvement journey in Children’s Services and also the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people and to ensure that the county’s education and skills are aligned and delivered effectively. The new Cabinet will come into effect from Sunday 1 August 2021: Councillor David Hitchiner - Leader of Herefordshire Council / Corporate strategy and budget Councillor Liz Harvey – Deputy Leader of Herefordshire Council / Finance, Corporate Services and Planning Councillor Diana Toynbee - Children’s and Family Services, and Young People’s Attainment Councillor Gemma Davies - Commissioning, Procurement and Assets Councillor Ellie Chowns – Environment and Economy Councillor Felicity Norman - Health and Adult Wellbeing Councillor John Harrington - Infrastructure and Transport Councillor Ange Tyler - Housing, Regulatory Services and Community Safety
  8. Reduce, reuse, recycle, recover – a new way for managing waste Reducing the amount of waste we produce, and reusing and recycling where possible, benefits the county and the environment, and is the aim of a new waste strategy for Herefordshire agreed at the council’s cabinet meeting today (29 July). The new waste strategy sets out the changes that will be taking place to the way that household and business waste is collected and then treated, and schemes that support and encourage a reduction in the amount of waste being produced. These include: Reduce – promoting schemes that reduce the amount we throw away such as community fridge schemes Reuse – supporting organisations that repair and reuse items, community share schemes and encouraging donations to charity Recycle – composting garden waste, supporting people to recycle more Recover – introducing a new kerbside food waste collection and producing energy from food waste The small proportion of waste remaining will only then go to landfill. The strategy also sets out changes to the black bin and recycling collections based on feedback from a resident consultation held earlier this year, when around 3,500 people told us what worked well for them and what could be improved about their kerbside collection service. A number of pilot schemes will trial these changes to see what works best, so that they can be introduced across the county in the most effective way.Cllr Gemma Davies, cabinet member commissioning, procurement and assets said: The new waste strategy, as well as the outcome of the rubbish and recycling consultation, can be found on the Herefordshire Council website.
  9. Council Tax set to rise by 4.99% as council faces long-term Covid-19 cost pressures on its budget 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: 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.
  10. Herefordshire Council fixed 2,927 potholes across the county during May 2021, If you see it, report it. Their pothole app makes it quick and easy to report potholes as well as other issues 👉 http://orlo.uk/Txjqh To follow the progress of road resurfacing, drainage and repairs click here #hvroads
  11. The rainbow flag will be flown outside Herefordshire Council buildings and offices to recognise Pride month, a festival of celebration and recognition of the role played by the LGBT community. You will see these flags appearing later on the Town Hall, Plough Lane Offices and Hereford Library and Museum
  12. A planning application to build a three storey apartment building on the site of the former Sportsman Public House Land off Widemarsh Common have been submitted by Reservoir Homes Ltd. Planning Application P211931/F A previous planning application which was eventually withdrawn by Reservoir Homes Ltd was submitted back in 2018 that we reported on here
  13. Hereford Council teams have recently completed a programme of resurfacing and drainage works on the U92211 - Watling Street, Leintwardine in Herefordshire.
  14. Herefordshire Council teams have recently completed a programme of resurfacing and drainage works on the U75016 - The Glibes, Michaelchurch Escley in Herefordshire.
  15. Controlling groups merge to form new alliance Two of the groups which control Herefordshire Council have strengthened their alliance by combining to form a new political group. Herefordshire Independents and It's Our County will now be known as Independents for Herefordshire. The two parties formed a coalition with the Green Party after the elections in 2019 to run the authority. Councillor John Harrington will chair the new group and described it as "practical and progressive". He said they will work together to fight the next council elections in two years time.
  16. DfE issues non-statutory Improvement Notice following recent High Court judgment Herefordshire Council has today (Tuesday 18 May 2021) received a non-statutory Improvement Notice from the Department for Education (DfE). The notice follows significant concerns raised in a recent High Court judgement which led to an urgent and thorough external review of Herefordshire Children’s Social Care Services. The Improvement Notice includes the appointment of Gladys Rhodes White OBE as an Improvement Adviser for a minimum of 12 months, and until such time that the Secretary of State is satisfied that she is no longer required. Mrs Rhodes White will provide advice to Children’s Social Care Services and Herefordshire Council, and she will chair the Improvement Board which is being established from the beginning of June 2021. Paul Walker, newly appointed Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council said: A review of Children’s Social Care services is underway to understand and address any failings and immediate actions are being taken to deal with any serious concerns. Herefordshire Council continues to offer residents the opportunity to report a concern following their experience with its Children’s Social Care services. A dedicated team, led by the Interim Director of Children’s Services, are working through these concerns and while we seek to understand the full extent of past decisions made within Children’s Services, we regret that we may find further instances that do not meet the required standards. 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 www.herefordshire.gov.uk/careconcerns or email careconcerns@herefordshire.gov.uk
  17. A new car parking charge structure that has been introduced across the county today (17 May) will make it easier than ever for you to make an informed decision about where best to park your car. The new structure, which divides the price of parking into bands relative to proximity to the City or town centre, gives you the option to balance spending less on parking with a short walk, and ensures there are plenty of spaces available in the centre for short term users. Parking is now free in all market towns on Sundays and after 6pm every day, while in Hereford parking is now free after 8pm every day. Prices have been frozen at Merton Meadow in Hereford which is our largest car park out of the town centre, while prices at St Martins (swimming pool) have been reduced from £1.20 to £1.00 per hour. The off-peak hours season ticket, which allows parking in any car park between 5pm and 9am for £75 per year or £25 per quarter, has also been extended to all Market towns. The new structure, along with details of charges at each location can be found on the Herefordshire Council website. Cllr John Harrington, Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said: Funds generated from parking charges are used to maintain local car parks, and any surplus funds provide vital contributions to other important services for local people, including school transport and public transport.
  18. Herefordshire have advised that on June 22 Home Point will launch its improved housing allocations scheme to make applying and bidding for properties easier, with more choice over the types of housing people in Herefordshire can apply for 👉 HERE
  19. At Hereford Voice our slogan has always been 'Having Your Say' and through our network we are going to give you the opportunity to ask your questions to some of our Councillors. Cabinet Member - Infrastructure and Transport Councillor John Harrington has agreed to be put under the spotlight to answer your questions in the first of our 'exclusive' Q & A sessions. Rules: Abuse will Not be tolerated and offensive comments will be deleted and may also result in that person being banned. Please ask sensible questions on any subject that Cllr Harrington maybe able to address and answer in his capacity at Herefordshire Council. Hereford Link Roads (Bypass) Turning Off Traffic Lights or making them Part-Time (Hereford Voice Campaigns) River Crossings Closure of the Old Bridge Pot Holes Maylord Orchards Shopping Centre Electric Buses Roundabouts Please ask your questions below 👇 and Councillor Harrington will answer as many as he can in a video which we will publish over the weekend.
  20. In an article written on their website The Victorian Society strongly objects to the Diocese of Hereford’s plans to demolish a historic rectory in Hereford. Photographs courtesy of the Victorian Society
  21. Herefordshire Council contractors Herefordshire Highways (Balfour Beatty Living Places) have been working collaboratively with Highways England and Kier to clear litter safely on a Highways England night closure of the A40 Monmouth bound on Friday 16th April. The teams worked through the night and removed 1100kgs of litter from the central reservation and the junction of the A4137 to the Ganarew Bridge Herefordshire.
  22. Over the next week more seating, planters & trees will be added creating a more attractive environment for residents, workers, shoppers & visitors to enjoy. Photograph courtesy of Herefordshire Council More info from Herefordshire Council 👉 http://orlo.uk/q2Fmg
  23. Statement from Claire Ward, Acting Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service, Herefordshire Council Claire Ward I am upset by this judgment and deeply sorry that we have failed this family. We have neglected the needs of the children and their Carers and deprived the parents of their rights. I am saddened that our actions deprived a Mother of her right to say goodbye to her child and my deepest sympathies are with the family on their loss. We will provide the family with any required support and care to rebuild relationships and to help repair some of the damage we have done. I have taken immediate action to address the serious issues highlighted by this judgment. There is a clear need for an urgent and thorough external review of Herefordshire Children’s Social Care Services. The attitudes, culture and professional practice demonstrated in this judgment is shocking and well below the standards we expect. Appropriate action will be taken on the conclusion of our investigations, in accordance with the council’s HR procedures, any relevant professional body requirements, and the law. It is evident that our previous commitments to improve our social care services for children have fallen sadly short of the standards expected and we have failed to provide the expected and appropriate support to this family. This is indefensible. The incoming Chief Executive, Paul Walker, has been working closely with the senior management team to ensure we make real and sustainable changes to our Children’s Social Care services. We have appointed Cath Knowles as Interim Director of Children’s Services, who is a qualified and registered Social Worker, to provide professional experience, leadership and assurance for the coming months. Our Social Workers continue to do their best, often in very difficult circumstances, to support families and protect vulnerable children in our community. We will ensure our staff have the support they need and the confidence and commitment to report any concerns as we make significant and lasting improvements to Herefordshire Children’s Services. We have notified Ofsted and we are working closely with regulators and partner agencies to ensure we protect and safeguard the children of Herefordshire. We have added further reassurance measures within Children’s Services to ensure appropriate checks are undertaken for decisions relating to children in our care. The judgment also identified incorrect legal advice being given to management. This advice was plainly wrong and there have been significant changes made to the management and staff within the Children’s Legal Team to ensure processes are observed and advice is sound. I requested a Department for Education review of our Children’s Social Care services to assess whether children in care are safe in Herefordshire. This review took place last week and found no immediate actions were required on the cases they reviewed but clearly further external reviews will be required to make sure our service is fit for purpose. While we seek to understand the full extent of past decisions made within Children’s Services, we regret that we may find further instances that do not meet the required standards. 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 www.herefordshire.gov.uk/careconcerns or email careconcerns@herefordshire.gov.uk If you are a child or young person and need someone to talk to Childline is free, private and confidential. Call 0800 1111 or visit Childline.org.uk The Samaritans are also available any time of the day or night - call 116 123 or visit Samaritans.org
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