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