With the eagerly anticipated Brick History exhibition arriving in March, people of all ages are busy recreating our county’s most recognisable landmarks in LEGO®. We certainly have some amazingly creative people living in Herefordshire – if you get a chance to visit the exhibition this spring, please do so.
With around 70% of the council’s income coming from Council Tax, this issue of Herefordshire Now takes a look at how this money is spent to benefit the county’s residents.
Getting the best value for money is not only about how it is spent, but also about reducing waste where possible.
Our articles on energy saving projects and on the ‘hand it back’ campaign, encouraging the return of medical equipment that is no longer being used, show just a couple of ways we are aiming to reduce waste and save thousands of pounds each year.
We hope you find this issue of Herefordshire Now informative. Please get in touch and let us know what you think. Contact us: email@example.com
Warren Elsmore’s Brick History exhibition takes famous moments from history and imagines them in LEGO® bricks. From DNA and the Big Bang to Mozart, Martin Luther King and mobile phones, LEGO® artist Warren Elsmore and his team have created a celebration of our shared stories, struggles, and triumphs, made from everyone’s favourite Danish toy.
From tiny recreations of Concorde and the Titanic that could fit in your hand, to a 1.5m square medieval castle bustling with activity, there are models to make you smile, to make you think, and to inspire you to build a better world.
Journey through history in LEGO®
Cover photo: Lego® in Hereford
We have printed 3,000 copies of this magazine at a cost of £398
Parents and carers can keep up-to-date with any school transport disruption by registering for Herefordshire Council’s free alert service. Sign up for email and text updates by visiting the school and college transport page
School Transport Disruption Alerts
Register to vote at this year’s local elections: gov.uk/register-to-vote
Your vote is your voice
16 March – 18 May 2019
Brick History @ Hereford Museum and Art Gallery
Pivotal moments of history will be retold in LEGO®, and the exhibition is sure to delight all generations. Relive historical moments through inspirational models, an activity zone with soft bricks and LEGO® building and modelling for all ages, Hereford City LEGO® trail, free prize draw, plus special ‘Family Saturday’ and holiday activities.
Advanced booking is advised. Tickets: £3.50 adult, £2.00 child, under 5’s free, £8.50 family
School bookings also available at £60 per class.
Free online parenting courses
It’s not easy being a parent. From dealing with the terrible twos to potty training, every day can be a challenge. Herefordshire Council has invested in free online parenting courses to help families support a child from pregnancy until the age of 18.
The award winning courses are available to parents, grandparents, carers, foster parents, family members and friends – all you need is a Herefordshire postcode!
The three available courses are:
- Understanding pregnancy, labour, birth and your baby
- Understanding your baby
- Understanding your child
If you’re a parent or carer of a child aged 2 and above you may be entitled to up-to 15 hours of funded childcare per week.
Working parents and carers of a 3 or 4 year old could be entitled to up-to 30 hours of funded childcare in a nursery, school facility or at a childminders.
You can check if you are eligible by visiting www.herefordshire.gov.uk/nef
Are you eligible for free childcare?
Across the county, more than a thousand parish councillors regularly volunteer their time to support their community and plan services to meet local need. In January, representatives of 58 Herefordshire parish councils came together with Herefordshire Council and town councillors to explore ways to address some of the key challenges common to many communities, share good practice and offer mutual support.
A key topic for discussion included the development of talk community hubs, a place where people can go, close to their home, to find out what is going on in their community and get involved. It has been shown that people lead healthier and happier lives when they are engaged in activities they enjoy and build a social support network. It will be important for each parish to identify what needs to be in place for talk community hubs to work in their area, and the support needed to ensure they are really making a difference.
Talking community with Parish Councillors
Work is underway on a £7.3m transformation of Hereford’s historic Shell Store into a flagship business incubation and innovation centre.
The redevelopment of the former munitions site on Skylon Park, Rotherwas, will provide high quality accommodation and support services to new or young enterprises.
The Shell Store will provide employment space for up to 25 dynamic and innovative businesses, driving economic growth through the generation of around 128 new jobs by 2023 – rising to more than 450 by 2031.
The project is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Herefordshire Council and a loan from the Marches LEP’s Marches Investment Fund.
The centre is due to be completed in Spring 2020.
Work is set to start on-site in spring on the first phase of development of employment land at the new Ross Enterprise Park.
The council is working with its development partner, ENGIE, to develop 8.5 acres of serviced commercial land for businesses and developers to undertake their own commercial design and build. Works will include the construction of site access, internal roads, groundworks, utilities and drainage.
The first phase of the project alone is anticipated to generate up to 250 new jobs for local people and provide space for around 20 local businesses.
When complete, Ross Enterprise Park, positioned to the east of Ross-on-Wye in the Hildersley area, will provide up to 300,000 square feet of new commercial floorspace and up to 1,000 jobs. The business park has excellent transport links, including immediate access to the M50 and the A449 which links to the nearby M4 corridor.
Herefordshire is home to a wide variety of businesses, large and small. Herefordshire Council is working to develop infrastructure, build skills and encourage investment to promote economic growth and ensure the county's future prosperity.
Spring start for Ross Enterprise Park development
Business rates relief
Shell Store transformation
Bills for business rates will soon be sent out, but did you know that some properties are eligible for reductions?
A new business rates discount has been announced for eligible retailers which could reduce bills by up-to one third over the next two financial years. Eligible retail premises may qualify for additional business rate relief, which will be applied after the retail discount has been awarded. Other business rate reliefs available for eligible occupied properties are:
•Small business rate relief
•Rural rate relief
•Charitable rate relief
•Relief for pubs
•Discretionary business rates relief revaluation scheme
If the discount has not been awarded and you believe you should be eligible, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year we worked to: Keep children and young people safe and give them a great start in life
100% of early years’ group settings inspected were judged as good or outstanding
Your Council Tax funds many services across the county, from waste collection and road repair and maintenance, to looking after children and adults who may need extra support.
This year we need to increase your Council Tax by 4.9%, and we want to explain why.
Since 2010, the government has cut our core funding by around 99% - from £60.1m to £600,000 in 2019. Herefordshire Council has risen to this challenge by delivering substantial savings of £90m over the last nine years, reviewing services, increasing financial reserves and consistently delivering balanced budgets.
Yet there continues to be pressure on our county’s health and social care with an increasing demand for our services, particularly in helping residents to live safe, healthy and independent lives.
Central government funding will end completely by 2020. Council Tax is a vital way to raise money to fund the services we all use and keep investing in our communities.
77.6% of pupils in the secondary phase were in good or outstanding schools
We looked after 300 children in care
We taught 93.5% of children in primary schools judged by Ofsted as good or outstanding
How your Council Tax is spent
Last year we worked to: Enable residents to live safe, healthy and independent lives
We welcomed over half a million visits to our libraries
We supported around 1,600 people to live at home and remain independent for longer
We protected around 2,400 vulnerable adults and 1,000 children and young people
We provided care for 800 older people in nursing homes and residential care homes
If you are finding it difficult to pay your Council Tax, you may be entitled to money off your bill, or even pay nothing in certain circumstances.
You may be able to get help to pay your bill through Council Tax Reduction if you are on a low income. We will need to assess your financial situation and other circumstances to see whether you qualify.
• Single person discount
• Disabled person reduction
• Carer or care worker discount
• Student discount or exemption
• Apprentice discount
• Person aged 18 and eligible for child benefit discount
• Patient in care home or hospital discount or exemption
• Severe mental impairment discount
• Person in detention or prison discount
• Religious community discount
• Care leaver discount
If you receive help to pay your Council Tax bill, but are still experiencing financial difficulties, you may be entitled to a hardship payment. Visit
counciltaxhardship for more details.
Help to pay your Council Tax
Save time and go online
Last year we worked to:
Support the growth of our economy
In March, we’re sending out over 85,000 Council Tax bills. This means we will receive lots of calls to our customer service centre. But did you know that most of the reasons for calling can be done online?
Save yourself time - go online
By registering to access Council Tax online, there’s no need to wait for office hours to call. You can access your bill anytime, view your payment history and any due payments, apply
We checked 550 planning applications to ensure they didn’t affect rights of way
*with our partner Balfour Beatty Living Places
for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction - and all of your paperwork is kept online in one place.
Got something to tell us? If you’ve moved house or have a change in your circumstances that you need to tell us about, that’s not a problem. Tell us online and we will do the rest.
Pay your Council Tax by Direct Debit If you’re not on Direct Debit, now is the time! You can set up your Direct
Debit quickly and securely online and you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment again.
We seized over 111,960 illegal cigarettes and 19.25kg illegal hand rolling tobacco
We awarded 96.9% of establishments inspected with a food hygiene rating of 3 or better
We completed 446 bridge inspections, an average of 37 every month*
We resurfaced or dressed 65 miles of roads (105km)*
Herefordshire Council, County Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE
Last year we worked to:
Secure better services, quality of life and value for money
We carried out 32,194 road repairs including potholes*
Herefordshire Council’s website provides
a number of services you can access from the comfort of your own home, including:
01432 383600 How to use your Smartphone -
Introduction to the internet -
01432 260600 How to use your tablet -
Introduction to the internet -
01432 383499 How to use your smartphone -
16 April, 4-6pm Introduction to the internet -
21 May, 4-6pm
Leominster 01432 383290 How to use your tablet -
Introduction to the internet -
01432 383280 Introduction to the internet -
26 March, 5-7pm
Staying safe online -
23 April, 5-7pm
How to use your tablet -
28 May, 5-7pm
Help to get online
If you are not yet online, or would like to build your confidence in using the internet, there are courses available at libraries across the county. Please call the library to book.
*with our partner Balfour Beatty Living Places
with our partner FCC Environment
Report a problem including:
We carried out 2,891 drainage works to reduce road flooding*
We repaired 839 Signs and bollards*
We carried out 750 play area inspections*
We collected 76,234 tonnes of household waste, of which 39.8% was recycled or composted
Innovative research conducted by the council, in partnership with Balfour Beatty Living Places, suggests we need to change our perception of littering.
Time to bin our assumptions
The council was one of ten organisations nationally to secure funding from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to undertake an ‘innovative research’ project.
We wanted to understand how public behaviour is affected by the removal of litter bins in 11 urban, rural and roadside locations and whether or not this has a positive impact on reducing litter incidents.
Initial findings indicate that removing certain bins in some rural and urban areas may actually reduce litter and fly tipping by encouraging people to take responsibility for their waste, take it home and dispose of it.
The findings will be shared with WRAP and DEFRA to help inform any future research or policy development.
All bins removed during the trial have been replaced. It will be for Town and Parish Councils to consider what future action they wish to take to address littering and fly-tipping in their community.
Everybody can help in the fight against litter by making small changes to reduce the waste we all produce when ‘out and about’ – switching to reusable cups, having a car bin, taking rubbish home and buying items with less disposable packaging are all great ways to make a positive difference.
Recently completed energy saving projects are set to provide safer public spaces for residents, help the local environment and save thousands of pounds of taxpayer money.
New LED lighting has recently been installed at both Maylords Orchard car park in Hereford and Unit 3, Thorn Business Park in Rotherwas.
The bright uniform LED lighting reduces shadows, providing car drivers with more lighting improving visibility and helping users to feel safer.
In addition to providing better lighting, as the LEDs are much more efficient than conventional lighting they will also deliver both cost and carbon savings which will help to reduce running costs and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming.
The new lighting systems are expected to save a combined 135,000 kWh of energy per year and will result in an overall carbon reduction of nearly 50 tonnes of CO2 annually.
A new solar panel array has also been installed at Kingsland Depot, Street Lane, Kingsland. The installation is expected to generate roughly 15,000kWh of energy per year, and help to reduce annual carbon emissions by 8.4 tonnes of CO2.
The three projects are part of the council’s effort to reduce our carbon footprint by 40% by 2020, and will help to save the local taxpayer almost £20,000 every year.
Litter picking groups across Herefordshire are gearing up for the Great Herefordshire Spring Clean as part of the Great British Spring Clean campaign.
The Great Herefordshire Spring Clean
Energy saving measures completed
Herefordshire Council and Wye Valley NHS Trust have launched a ‘Hand it Back’ campaign to encourage residents to return unwanted medical equipment so it can be used by other people.
The ‘Hand it Back’ campaign was created because there are millions of pounds worth of equipment on loan in the community, some of which may no longer be needed or used.
Returning unwanted equipment is really easy. If you, or a relative or friend, has equipment supplied by Herefordshire Council or the NHS (via NRS Healthcare) that they no longer need, simply give it a clean first and then choose one of the following options for a free return:
The free collection service does not apply to walking aids. These items can be returned to the physiotherapy department at any hospital in the county or taken to NRS Healthcare at Rotherwas.
Return unwanted medical equipment for reuse
Each month, more homes and business across the county are benefitting from faster broadband thanks to Herefordshire Council’s Fastershire broadband project.
87% of properties in Herefordshire can order a superfast broadband service, and through a new contract Gigaclear is bringing ultrafast broadband at some of the fastest speeds in the country.
In Hereford city, Fastershire’s contract with BT is delivering an additional 2,200 homes and businesses with superfast fibre broadband.
In addition, Fastershire’s contract with Airband aims to provide faster
broadband access to 10 dispersed clusters of premises spread across the county.
To find out if your property can access faster broadband visit
Bringing faster Broadband to the county
From June this year the way people apply for affordable housing is changing. People will be able to apply to Herefordshire Council and also directly to housing associations with properties in the county.
These changes will give customers a better experience of applying for housing and more choice over the types of housing they can apply for. At the same time the council will be introducing a new allocation policy which will be used to assess housing need for people applying to the council’s housing register.
The current system will remain in place until the new online service is launched.
Affordable rented housing is changing
300 households in rural and urban areas of Herefordshire and Shropshire will soon be able to benefit from the National Grid Warm Homes Fund to install efficient affordable heating.
Led by Herefordshire Council, Keep Herefordshire Warm and Keep Shropshire Warm has successfully bid for over £1m to fund the installation of affordable central heating systems for households in fuel poverty.
Fuel poverty remains a significant issue in Herefordshire, with an estimated 11,043 households thought to be still affected.
Many people are unaware of the risks that living in a cold home present to their health. The risk of a stroke or heart attack rises, and other conditions such as colds and flu can become more likely. Just putting on another jumper or relying on one heater isn’t enough for many people.
In order to qualify for support through the project, householders will need to be in a privately owned or rented property, without a recognised central heating system, typically be low income and either be in receipt of certain qualifying benefits and/or vulnerable.
Funding secured for first time central heating systems
Tour de force
Cycling is on the up throughout Herefordshire thanks to the growing popularity of group cycling.
There are Cycle Club rides taking place across the county catering for all abilities and interests, ranging from starter and family rides, off-road and mountain routes, women-only rides, charity rides, to a range of more taxing routes for more competitive cyclists.
Many rides include stops for coffee and cake and even breakfast.
From March, the way your waste is collected may be changing. We will write to you directly if there are changes to the day of your collection but collection times could change for many more people.
Why is my waste collection changing?
Our crews have been looking to make their collection routes more efficient, and to prevent missed collections. Collection areas have been grouped together to ensure that all the waste in that area is collected on one day, rather than over several days.
In the long term, this will mean that we reduce vehicle emissions and save fuel, have more flexibility to cope with seasonal changes in the amounts of waste being collected, but also that we have more capacity to allow for future housing developments.
What do I need to do?
Always make sure your bin is out by 6.30am on your collection day, or the evening before. If your collection day is changing, then we will write to you so look out for notification in the post.
Waste collection changes
Herefordshire Council registered address
Herefordshire Council, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE
Telephone: 01432 260000
Ofsted review - significant improvements
A recent Ofsted review has found that Herefordshire Council is heading in the right direction to improve its children’s services.
Ofsted is the national body that inspects and regulates services which care for children and young people across England.
The planned visit on 22 and 23 January 2019, was a follow up to a routine inspection that took place in June 2018.
Ofsted’s feedback following the most recent visit highlighted that there has been significant positive improvements to the areas of the council’s children’s services that they reviewed.
Keeping Herefordshire’s children and young people safe and giving them a great start in life is the council’s highest priority.
The council recognises that there is still more to do to improve and has recently invested £1.6m in the services to enable good social work to flourish, so that the county’s children and young people receive a consistently good safeguarding service.
A team of wardens and volunteers worked throughout the winter months to provide a shelter for the county’s homeless at St Peter’s church hall.
Located in St Peter’s Square, Hereford, the night shelter opened
November - March providing a safe alternative to sleeping on the streets.
In addition to a warm welcome the team at the shelter also provided hot drinks and access to clean dry clothing, showers and washing machines.
Providing shelter through the winter months
Young people take on city redesign challenge
12 care leavers from across the county took on the roles of local government officers as part of a Council Takeover Day.
In a simulation workshop the attendees used their skills in problem solving, team working and communications to redesign Hereford city centre. The young people also created their own version of Herefordshire Now magazine with a focus on youth. At the end of the workshop the attendees took part in group presentations to talk about their projects.
The event was organised by Herefordshire Council to give the young people a valuable insight into the various roles in public services and provide them with the opportunity to experience what it feels like to work for an organisation.
Their ideas will be used to create an image of how they would like the city to look in the future to appeal to the younger members of the local community.