Hampton Ward Newsletter February 2018

Hampton Ward Newsletter – February 2018

Most of you will be aware by now of the recent commotion surrounding an ex member of the special-forces who found himself in need of a permanent home in Herefordshire.

A number of people quickly jumped on the bandwagon, having been egged on by a TV presenter and a well-known ex SAS soldier currently making a living as an author. None of these people had bothered to make any effort to discover the true facts of the case and large numbers of anonymous internet trolls immediately demanded the head of the Leader of the Council, as in their opinion the Council had failed to comply immediately with their calls to supply this man with a house.

Nothing is ever as simple as it first seems and I think it worthwhile to explain how housing is allocated in Herefordshire and of our stance with regard to our ex-service personnel.

As part of the council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, we prioritise housing for all former members of the armed services and they will always receive additional assistance to aid their applications. They’re also given an advantage on the housing waiting list by having their applications back-dated by 6 months. This will speed up the process of securing appropriate housing for them.

It’s particularly important to know that Herefordshire Council does not own any housing stock. ‘Council Houses’ are a thing of the past and all available social housing is held by a number of different housing associations, which is the preferred process used by many local authorities in the UK.

The council only operates the social housing register and will help local people to apply and bid for available homes from lists maintained by the housing associations. Once a bid has been placed for a particular house, the applicant will liaise directly with the housing association and not the council. However, the council continues to provide support for people who need to claim housing benefit.

We currently have 1,328 people and their families looking for social housing in Herefordshire and 13 of these have an armed forces background. Everyone registered for social housing is advised that the more flexible they can be with their choice of location, the quicker they are likely to receive appropriate housing.  For example, there are 24 one-bed properties available across the entire county and only three of these are in Hereford city.

We know that it’s often hard for people to ask for support, especially if their personal circumstances are difficult or distressing and our staff will always be sympathetic and supportive, but they must be seen to be fair to everyone who needs help.

The council continues to provide support for armed forces veterans across the county and we work hard to find suitable accommodation for any applicant needing it and it’s vital that anyone requiring support must be prepared to supply, in confidence, all the various personal details necessary for the application to be processed in a timely manner.

Finally, the Council is currently working in partnership with the Community Self Build Agency to build new homes in Leominster, specifically for ex-service personnel.

Cllr Bruce Baker

Hampton Ward

Hampton Ward Newsletter – January 2018

Hampton Ward Newsletter – January 2018

I thought it would be a good idea to start the new year on a positive note to help contradict some of the negativity we read in the local press. There’s a huge amount of positive news out there, generally ignored by the press, so I’ve listed some of the achievements made by Herefordshire Council over the past few years, in spite of the enormous cuts to our overall budget.

The Council remain on course to reduce expenditure between 2001 and 2020, by £97m and still maintain our statutory services. This is one of the greatest challenges for any local authority across the UK and was described as a ‘fantastic achievement’ by the external auditor last year.

Plans are now well in place for a new city by-pass, hopefully ending 40+ years of debate and disappointment. The newly completed City Link Road has opened up valuable development land for housing and business and will allow the introduction of a new transport hub by moving the bus station to a new site alongside the railway station. Plans are also being developed to build a new ‘blue light hub’ near the junction with the A49 Edgar Street, something that’s desperately needed by the police and the fire and rescue service.

The new retail centre on the site of the old cattle market has been a huge success, despite a great deal of political opposition during the planning stages. This is now the 5th largest growing retail area in the UK.

The new ‘energy from waste’ plant, built in partnership with Worcestershire Council, was on-time and on-budget and the majority of our household waste is converted to energy, rather than being dumped in expensive land-fill sites.

The recent improvement to some of our major ‘A’ roads was due to a successful bid to central government for £5m in funding. This resulted in 328 miles of road being re-surfaced, which equates to 19% of our total road network. Our contractors, Balfour Beatty, repaired over a quarter of a million pot holes in 2017 and the recent bad weather has added to the workload, but repairs will continue, no matter what comes our way.

Plans for the new university are well on track and we’ve recently been awarded £23m funding from central government. This will be the first new university in 21 years in England.

We were removed from Special Measures by Ofsted in 2014 and we now make Children’s Wellbeing our highest priority. The Council’s Children and Adult Services continue to face difficult daily challenges and we manage to keep over 750 children and young people safe 24/7. We currently ‘look after’ some 300 children in care and we support over 3,000 older people every day of the year. A recent national social care quality of life survey judged us to be the 5th best in England.

There’s so much more to shout about and I’ll continue to spread the good news via my newsletters and our hard-working Parish Councils.

I wish you and your families all the very best for a healthy and peaceful new year.

Cllr Bruce Baker

Hampton Ward

Ward member December Newsletter 2017

Hampton Ward Newsletter, November 2017

Some really good news for Herefordshire was announced last week and I apologise for spreading information you may already be aware of.

We have just been granted £15m to support the funding of a new university in Hereford, specialising in high-quality engineering courses. This is a great result and rewards all the hard work that’s been carried out behind the scenes by council officers and cabinet members.

The New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) aims to become the first new ‘greenfield’ university to be built in the UK for 30 years and will address the skills gap in the economy and the growing need for engineering talent in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and cyber security.

The only draw-back, in my opinion, is the dreadful name given to this exciting project. Maybe someone can come up with a more suitable title to reflect this 21st century facility.

NMiTE is taking a radical approach to training the next generation of engineers with a 50/50 gender balance target to help boost the number of female engineers, mandatory integrated work placements of between 6 and 12 months and to recruit students from non-traditional backgrounds, with a further aim to support 25% of the student intake with bursaries and scholarships to help support diversity and social mobility. Accelerated degree courses will also be available to allow students to complete their degrees in two years.

The new university will work closely with the university of Warwick and with businesses and potential large employers, to design a new curriculum to produce graduates who will be ready and better equipped to meet the demands of the modern job market. NMiTE aims to gain national significance as a centre of excellence which will benefit other local educational institutions.

Herefordshire has always been a cold-spot for higher education provision, leading to a brain-drain of 18-24 year olds who generally have no other option than to leave the area and study at universities elsewhere in the UK.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has been calling for a university in the city since 2009. He said, “this may well be the most significant development for Herefordshire since they built the cathedral. Economically, socially, demographically, I believe it will be transformative for tech and engineering education in the UK”.

Cllr Bruce Baker

Hampton Ward

Fastershire Rollout Update

Fastershire Rollout Update
Phase 1 of the Fastershire strategy has enabled 34,166 premises in Herefordshire to access a broadband connection greater than 30Mbps across with the project is now working to build on what has already been achieved. This is additional to the premises enabled in parts of Hereford, Leominster and Ledbury as BT’s own investment programme.
Phase 2 – Gigaclear
The project has now published the indicative build timescales for communities in the phase 2 rollout areas and individual residents can now use the Fastershire website address checker to see when work is likely to start in their area – www.fastershire.com
The rollout in these areas will be delivered by Gigaclear, who specialise in connecting rural communities and will install a brand new fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband network providing access to speeds up to 1000Mbps. The network build within a community could can take up to a year to complete, however, individual properties will be able to order a service as soon as their property is reached. By the end of this rollout Fastershire will have enabled over 95% of Herefordshire properties.
Business Grants
Through the Fastershire project Herefordshire along with Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin authorities have developed a £4.5m business broadband grant exclusively for businesses that have yet to access superfast broadband and are not in plan to receive access.
Grants of up to £25,000 of EU funding are available to access faster broadband and businesses can use the Fastershire website address checker to see if a business grant is an option – www.fastershire.com.
Viable Clusters Broadband Project
For some of those properties in Herefordshire that are not in plan for phase 2 and are yet to receive access to faster broadband, Fastershire has bid to secure more funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to extend superfast broadband further.
The project identified a number of viable property ‘clusters’ that could use this funding to provide superfast broadband and stage 4 of the Fastershire Broadband Strategy will be delivered in partnership with Gloucestershire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.
As soon as the funding is confirmed, Fastershire will seek to engage a supplier or suppliers to deliver this rollout.
The project has contacted those councillors directly whose areas are hoped to benefit from this funding.
Contract Extensions
For properties that are not in plan for phase 2 and do not form a viable cluster, the Fastershire project will explore the option of extending existing provider contracts to reach them. This will be subject to a value for money test unique to each property. Residents can help identify their properties for this process by using the Fastershire website address – www.fastershire.com.
Better Broadband Scheme
The Better Broadband Scheme, developed by the UK government is still available for those eligible properties with a download capacity below 2Mbps and are not included in plans to provide faster broadband.
The scheme will provide an eligible household or business with a unique ordering code that will cover most of the installation cost of a basic broadband service (up to £350) and aims to provide access to speeds of at least 2Mbps.
Advice for residents
Information about all elements of the Fastershire rollout can be found on the project’s website and individuals should use the Fastershire website address checker for updates – www.fastershire.com.

“Any opinion expressed in this e-mail or any attached files are those of the individual and not necessarily those of Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG), Wye Valley NHS Trust or 2gether NHS Foundation Trust. You should be aware that Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG), Wye Valley NHS Trust & 2gether NHS Foundation Trust monitors its email service. This e-mail and any attached files are confidential and intended solely for the use of the addressee. This communication may contain material protected by law from being passed on. If you are not the intended recipient and have received this e-mail in error, you are advised that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please contact the sender immediately and destroy all copies of it.”

 

 

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FasterFastershire Rollout Update: Marches & Gloucestershire Viable Clusters Broadband Project  

 

Hopefully you will recall that we recently outlined plans to secure more funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) to extend superfast broadband to those not currently in plan for delivery under phase 1 or phase 2 of the Fastershire project.

By looking at the current planned delivery under these two phases we were able to identify 22 property ‘clusters’ in Herefordshire that could, were Fastershire able to engage a supplier or suppliers, use this funding to provide superfast broadband

However knowing that the funding may not be enough to cover all of these clusters, it was important that we had evidence of demand to add to the data we already have to help allocate this funding fairly by ranking the areas in order of need, demand and potential.

As part of this process we wrote to every premise in each cluster to explain the situation, and how they can help us to understand the likely demand for superfast broadband by completing a survey or taking up a business review.

We have now reviewed the responses to the survey and used this alongside other data we hold to differentiate the clusters. EAFRD funds are awarded based on the economic impact they will have and therefore the clusters have been ranked on the basis of the number of different criteria, such as;

  • Number of businesses
  • Number of employees in those businesses
  • Existing fibre speed
  • Number of full time job prospects relating from investment
  • Cumulative turnover of businesses
  • Number of qualifying properties
  • Percentage of qualifying properties located in Local Super Output Areas (LSOA) that are in the bottom 10% of LSOAs in relevant county in regard to access to services
  • % of qualifying properties located in public transport cold spots
  • % of qualifying properties located in postcodes linked to demographic types B, C, D, I, J or O
  • % of businesses located in business rate paying properties which have undertaken a FasterBusiness Review
  • % of qualifying properties that would take a service were it available
  • Number of farms
  • % of qualifying properties responding to the online survey
  • % of farms responding to the Rural Hub Online Survey
  • % of home workers located in non-business rate paying properties

 

As the funding is finite, this ranking will be used to target the funding at those clusters which rank the highest. Please find below the 15 cluster areas in rank order:

Overall Rank Cluster Code Locality
1st H12 Foy Brockhampton
2nd H10 Eastnor Leddington
3rd H8 Dormington Lugwardine
4th H9 Putley Tarrington
5th H1 Brampton Bryan
6th H22 Staunton Stansbatch
7th H2 Richards Castle Little Hereford
8th H15 Whitchurch Symonds Yat
9th H21 South Kington Hergest
10th H3 Tedstone Wafre
11th H11 Mordiford Holme Lacy Fownhope
12th H18 Madley Credenhill
13th H19 Dorstone Bredwardine
14th H14 Hom Green Glewstone
15th H6 Cannon Frome Bosbury
16th H4 Bredenbury
17th H13 Linton Gorsley
18th H20 Clifford Whitney
19th H7 Monkhide Yarkhill
20th H17 St Weonards Three Ashes
21st H5 Cradley
22nd H16 Llangrove

 

Although the clusters have been given indicative locality names, the full list of premises identified in each cluster should be used for a fuller understanding of coverage. These were sent to you in August this year, but if you wish to have the premise lists sent again for any specific areas please email info@fastershire.com . The status of individual premises can also be found by using our address checker on www.fastershire.com

 

What happens next?

As outlined above the EAFRD funding may not be sufficient to cover every cluster, so funding will be initially be targeted at those clusters in the top ten, but we hope to extend funding further down the ranking. For any unsuccessful clusters, businesses can still apply for the one of our business broadband grants www.fastershire.com/business-grant, and for residents we will consider looking at the costs / benefits of bringing other areas into our existing contracts.

We have started the process of engaging suppliers in bidding for contracts to cover as many clusters as possible. This process consists of conducting a new Open Market Review to ensure that none of the properties identified are now included in commercial plans, followed by an industry consultation on the structure of the areas. It is hoped this part of the process will be complete early next year and this will give us a much clearer picture on whether we can cover more clusters than just the top ten. For those cluster areas that are successful we hope to award a contract/s in the Spring 2018. We will provide you with an update on the process early in the New Year.

Finally, we have now published the rollout timescales for the phase 2 deployment being delivered by Gigaclear. Individual premises can now use the address checker on www.fastershire.com to see when work will start in their area.

Yours sincerely

Fastershire Broadband Project

www.fastershire.com

 

      

 

 

Please consider the environment – Do you really need to print this E-Mail?

 

 

“Any opinion expressed in this e-mail or any attached files are those of the individual and not necessarily those of Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG), Wye Valley NHS Trust or 2gether NHS Foundation Trust. You should be aware that Herefordshire Council, Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (HCCG), Wye Valley NHS Trust & 2gether NHS Foundation Trust monitors its email service. This e-mail and any attached files are confidential and intended solely for the use of the addressee. This communication may contain material protected by law from being passed on. If you are not the intended recipient and have received this e-mail in error, you are advised that any use, dissemination, forwarding, printing or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please contact the sender immediately and destroy all copies of it.”

 

November Hampton Court Ward Newsletter

Hampton Ward Newsletter, November 2017

Some really good news for Herefordshire was announced last week and I apologise for spreading information you may already be aware of.

We have just been granted £15m to support the funding of a new university in Hereford, specialising in high-quality engineering courses. This is a great result and rewards all the hard work that’s been carried out behind the scenes by council officers and cabinet members.

The New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) aims to become the first new ‘greenfield’ university to be built in the UK for 30 years and will address the skills gap in the economy and the growing need for engineering talent in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and cyber security.

The only draw-back, in my opinion, is the dreadful name given to this exciting project. Maybe someone can come up with a more suitable title to reflect this 21st century facility.

NMiTE is taking a radical approach to training the next generation of engineers with a 50/50 gender balance target to help boost the number of female engineers, mandatory integrated work placements of between 6 and 12 months and to recruit students from non-traditional backgrounds, with a further aim to support 25% of the student intake with bursaries and scholarships to help support diversity and social mobility. Accelerated degree courses will also be available to allow students to complete their degrees in two years.

The new university will work closely with the university of Warwick and with businesses and potential large employers, to design a new curriculum to produce graduates who will be ready and better equipped to meet the demands of the modern job market. NMiTE aims to gain national significance as a centre of excellence which will benefit other local educational institutions.

Herefordshire has always been a cold-spot for higher education provision, leading to a brain-drain of 18-24 year olds who generally have no other option than to leave the area and study at universities elsewhere in the UK.

Jesse Norman, MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has been calling for a university in the city since 2009. He said, “this may well be the most significant development for Herefordshire since they built the cathedral. Economically, socially, demographically, I believe it will be transformative for tech and engineering education in the UK”.

 

 

Cllr Bruce Baker

Hampton Ward

Hampton Ward Newsletter October 2017

Hampton Ward Newsletter. October 2017

One of the most important roles undertaken by Herefordshire Council is the safeguarding of our ‘looked after children’ and elected Councillors share the collective responsibility for ensuring these children are safeguarded with the best possible outcomes for them.

There are currently over 300 children in the care of Herefordshire Council and during this time we become the child’s legal ‘corporate parents’. We also look after children from other areas, usually due to their extended family circumstances and we maintain reciprocal arrangements with other local authorities.

Children and young people can remain in our care until the age of 18, but if they continue on to further education or university, they can remain our responsibility up until the age of 25 – as would you with your children.

The operational structure within the Council starts with the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) who do exactly what it says on the tin. They liaise with various agencies, including the police and social services and will take immediate action to secure the safety of any child or young person who comes to their notice and are the first point of contact for Councillors, or the public if it’s suspected that a child is at risk of harm, or is in immediate danger.

They in turn will be overseen by the Herefordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board (HSCB) with the top tier being HM Inspectorate, better known as Ofsted.

These agencies will work closely with families to ultimately help children return to their family homes, but in cases where this is not possible or appropriate, the child can be placed under the ‘special guardianship’ of a relative, or in long or short-term foster care, or ultimately by permanent adoption.

The need for child protection can take many forms and will include the risk of significant harm from general neglect, emotional abuse and physical or sexual assaults, either within the immediate family group, or from outside.

An increasing number of children have become victims of physical or sexual abuse in recent years, but it’s been agreed that this may reflect a greater awareness of abuse following the publicity given by the media to a number of disturbing criminal cases involving the sexual exploitation of children by organised gangs, rather than an increase in this activity.

If, for whatever reason you believe a child may be at risk, or is the victim of abuse of any kind, either within the family or elsewhere, please do not hesitate to contact Herefordshire MASH, either by phone: 01432 260800, or on-line: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/MASH. These calls will all be treated in the strictest confidence. Failing that, please feel free to contact me at any time for help or advice.

Cllr Bruce Baker

Hampton Ward

Parliamentary Constituency Boundary

Parliamentary Constituency Boundary

I write to inform you about the next stage of the 2018 Parliamentary Constituency Boundary Review. I can confirm that we intend to publish our Revised proposals for new constituency boundaries on Tuesday 17 October 2017. We will consult on these proposals for eight weeks, until 11 December 2017. This will be the last consultation during this review of constituencies, and the last chance to contribute your views to the Commission on the best pattern of constituencies to recommend to Parliament when we conclude our review next year, as we are statutorily obliged to do.

As when we consulted on our initial proposals last year, we rely heavily on local authorities to assist us in publicising the consultation, so we can engage with as many citizens as possible. We will be working with the Local Government Association and preparing a partner pack full of resources for you and your colleagues to use – I would very much appreciate it if you could help us in any way to spread the message that this is the last chance for people to have their say on our proposals. Unlike last year’s consultation, we will not be hosting public hearings across the country – there is no provision to allow this in our governing legislation. All the information people need to see our proposals and contribute to the review will be on our website, at www.bce2018.org.uk, from 17 October 2017.

Boundary Commission for England

35 Great Smith Street | London | SW1P 3BQ

t: 020 7276 2124

e: roger.winter@boundarycommissionengland.gov.uk

w: www.bce2018.org.uk

 

 

Hampton Ward Newsletter August 2017

Hampton Ward Newsletter: August 2017

One of the most common complaints I receive revolve around the subject of planning and I’m sure most of my colleagues throughout the country receive similar complaints. No matter where you live, rich or poor, young or old; planning affects us all. The Council’s Core Strategy requires an additional 16,500 new dwellings to be built in the county between 2010 and 2031, so most of us will see new developments in our towns and villages. However, the main problems arise when plans submitted to the Local Planning Authority (LPA) are poorly presented and fail to comply with policies contained in the Core Strategy.

If you’re considering making a planning application, it’s vital you use an accredited agent, or architect, to prepare the plans for you and they should ensure that all the necessary and relevant information is included. Most domestic planning applications can be determined within 3 months, but a large majority suffer delays when planning officers have to continually ask for addition details missing from the original reports, or for clarification of the details already submitted. Pre-application planning advice is available – at a small cost, and is highly recommended if the proposed plans are unusual, controversial, or may be contrary to local or national policy.

The stress suffered by local residents when a potential site has been identified close by, is huge and is seriously exacerbated when it’s clear the planning application has no merit. But once submitted, all applications must go through the lengthy planning process, which in some cases can take many months. Even when an application has been refused, the applicant can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate for a review of the decision, which all results in ever more stress to the local residents.

Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) are now being prepared by many parishes in Herefordshire, which is a hugely time-consuming process for Parish Councillors, but fortunately financial and administrative help and support is provided by Herefordshire Council.

Once adopted these plans can help to ensure that inappropriate or unnecessary development within the parish is not permitted. The rules now state that when a local NDP has been approved and adopted, the planning authority (Herefordshire Council) must take full account of the parish’s recommendations.

On the other hand, the role of our town planners is not an easy one and most local authorities are usually short of trained planning and enforcement officers. We currently employ 20 planning officers and another 15 in technical support and with the LPA expecting a record 4,000 applications this year, the average number of ‘live’ planning applications being dealt with at any one time by our planning officers, is well in excess of 80, so if you have a planning application in the pipeline, you shouldn’t be surprised if you have trouble reaching your planning officer, so to avoid unnecessary delays, it’s vital your application contains all the necessary information, from the outset.

Some of the LPAs administrative problems are now being addressed and it’s hoped that the planning process can be streamlined and made more user friendly for our residents. This is now actively on-going and I’m confident that matters will improve, especially if we can attract more staff.

Maybe if you have children, or grandchildren, who are looking for an interesting and worthwhile degree course, you could suggest town planning as an option. At the very least they will be guaranteed a well- paid job, virtually anywhere in the country, following their successful graduation.

Cllr Bruce Baker

Hampton Ward