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 . The status of individual premises can also be found by using our address checker on


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, 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 to see when work will start in their area.

Yours sincerely

Fastershire Broadband Project





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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: 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, from 17 October 2017.

Boundary Commission for England

35 Great Smith Street | London | SW1P 3BQ

t: 020 7276 2124





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

Herefordshire to welcome OVO Energy Tour of Britain in September

Press Release
24 July 2017

Herefordshire to welcome OVO Energy Tour of Britain this September

This September will see the world’s top professional cyclists racing through Herefordshire, as the OVO Energy Tour of Britain races through the county, taking in Ledbury, Dormington, Mordiford, Holme Lacy and St. Weonards.

Britain’s biggest professional cycling race will pass through Herefordshire on Sunday 10 September, as the final stage of the eight-day event heads from Worcester to the overall finish in Cardiff.

54-kilometres of the 180-kilometre stage will be in Herefordshire, a distance the professionals are expected to cover in around 75-minutes with the route marshalled using a rolling road closure, keeping disruption to a minimum.

The race will enter the county from Worcestershire after a challenging climb of the Malvern Hills, heading to Ledbury on the A449 before the A439/A438 in the direction of Hereford. The stage will skirt to the south of Hereford via Holme Lacy and then south on the A446 towards the Welsh border.

Ledbury will also be the location of one of three intermediate Eisberg Sprints on the stage route, where riders compete for bonus seconds and points towards the red Eisberg Sprint Jersey. The sprint will take place on the B4214/The Homend in Ledbury at around Midday.

Councillor Paul Rone, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Roads, said:
“Herefordshire Council is pleased to welcome the OVO Energy Tour of Britain to our beautiful county as the elite cyclists complete the 180-kilometre long final stage from Worcester to Cardiff. This is one of the biggest sporting events to come to the county, and we look forward to showcasing our stunning Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – that of the Malverns and the Wye Valley – as the tour passes through. There will be little to no inconvenience to the people of the county, and we would encourage everyone to support the event, especially the excitement of the Ledbury sprint.”

A series of rolling road closures will guide the Tour, which will feature 20-teams of six riders, along its entire length, with roads being closed around 15-to-20-minutes ahead of the peloton, and re-opening as soon as the final vehicles in the convoy have passed through.

Full details of the Stage Eight route, including detailed timings, can be found on the race website here

OVO Energy, the UK’s top rated independent energy supplier was announced as the title sponsor of the Tour of Britain at the end of April.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step, taking place between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September 2017.

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

Stage One Sunday 3 September Edinburgh to Kelso 188km
Stage Two Monday 4 September Kielder Water & Forest Park to Blyth 211km
Stage Three Tuesday 5 September Normanby Hall Country Park to Scunthorpe 172km
Stage Four Wednesday 6 September Mansfield to Newark-on-Trent 175km
Stage Five Thursday 7 September The Tendring Stage Individual Time Trial 16km
Stage Six Friday 8 September Newmarket to Aldeburgh 183km
Stage Seven Saturday 9 September Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham 186km
Stage Eight Sunday 10 September Worcester to Cardiff 180km

About the OVO Energy Tour of Britain

Re-launched in 2004 after a five year absence from the calendar, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep. The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is the UK’s highest ranked professional stage race and the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event, organised annually by SweetSpot Group.

Ranked at the 2.HC level by the UCI, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain attracts the world’s top cyclists, including Olympic and World Champions and Tour de France stage winners, to compete on British roads each September, with three-hours of live coverage a day on ITV4.

For further media information please visit

Hampton Ward Newsletter June 2017

Hampton Ward Newsletter June 2017

When I was elected to the Council in 2015, I was appointed to various committees and outside bodies, including the River Lugg Internal Drainage Board. I knew nothing about this organisation, or what they did. So, if you’re still with me here, please read on as you may find it interesting.

An Internal Drainage Board (IDB) is a local public authority that manages water levels. They are an integral part of managing flood risk and land drainage in England and Wales. They manage drainage districts in areas of special need which are determined by the local hydrology, not by political or county boundaries.

An IDBs’ primary role is to manage water levels and reduce the risk from flooding within their district. Much of the work involves the maintenance and improvement of watercourses and related infrastructure such as pumping stations, weirs, sluices, culverts and embankments.


Under the Land Drainage Act, the IDB exercises a general power of supervision over all matters relating to water level management with its district. Anyone who wishes to construct or alter a bridge, a weir a culvert or an embankment, must first obtain permission from the IDB, before undertaking any work.

IDBs’ also have a series of by-laws relating to the management of watercourses and can designate features and structures within the district that relate to a flood risk. This will prevent an owner of a structure from altering, removing or replacing the structure, without the consent of the IDB. They also advise the Local Planning Authority with regard to planning applications with the IDBs area and will advise and facilitate the drainage of new developments, to help reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

With over 50k farms within IDB districts in England, they are a key component of maintaining the security of the food supply in the UK and with some 600k people living or working within IDB boundaries, including 880k properties – domestic and commercial, they play a key role in reducing the flood risk to these communities.

The expenditure for the essential work carried out by IDBs’ is met via the drainage rates levied on agricultural land occupiers and by other special charges paid by district and unitary authorities on behalf of non-agricultural land occupiers within the district. IDBs’ can also seek funding for major capital works through a Flood Defence Grant from the Treasury or voluntary funds.

Further information can be found at the ADA’s web site:

Cllr Bruce Baker

Hampton Ward