Leominster Town Council Update
2020/21 Budget and Precept Update
At the Full Council meeting held on Monday 27th January 2020 Leominster Town Council resolved to request a precept of £557,574 from Herefordshire Council for 2020/21, which will result in a Band D charge of £151.58.
At the same meeting the Council adopted the 2020/21 budget that had been developed by a Task & Finish Group appointed specifically to develop the budget. A full public consultation exercise took place during November 2019 and the results of that informed the final budget.
The Town Council continues to invest in a number of projects including the refurbishment of the Central and Grange public conveniences, the development of the Secret Garden as an outdoor events venue and new visitor and welcome signage.
To help support the grass cutting in Leominster the Town Council will be renting a larger depot to improve efficiency. Now in its second year the initial teething problems have been ironed out and the service will improve.
The Chart below indicates how the money will be spent:
Further investment in the Festive Lights and CCTV in the town centre will be made and it is hoped that a refurbished CCTV system, which is overseen by Herefordshire Council, will be implemented during 2020.
The Town Council will continue to support Grange Court, the Community Centre and the provision of a dedicated Citizens Advice Bureau in Leominster. There is also funding for small grants of up to £1,000, but this is limited and there will be continued investment in Youth projects.
An income of around £80,000 has been projected and many of the refurbishment projects will be funded from the loan taken out for that purpose. In 2020/21 a spend of £123,000 has been projected to enable the refurbishment projects to be undertaken.
A few words from our departing Town Clerk
It has been an incredible privilege to be the Town Clerk to Leominster Town Council for the last five years. Following the General Election in 2010, when the Coalition Government came to power, the landscape of local government began changing significantly. By 2014 local authorities throughout the country were beginning to feel the financial pressure due to austerity measures introduced, and in Herefordshire the Unitary Authority, Herefordshire Council, was looking to devolve a range of services to town and parish councils.
Leominster Town Council embraced the challenge wholeheartedly and actively sought to save a range of services that were being threatened, as well as taking responsibility for a number of additional services.
When I arrived for my first day on Monday 17th November 2014 I began working with a very pro-active Town Council to ensure that many of the services under threat continued. In February 2015 the Friday Market was devolved to the Town Council and by the middle of 2016 the freehold of the Grange, Pinsley Mead, Sydonia and the Linear Park (now known as Ginhall Green) had been transferred to the Town Council alongside Grange and Central car park toilets. In addition to these the Tourist Information Centre, previously supported by grant funding, was taken in-house.
The purchase of 11 Corn Square was completed in August 2017 and refurbishment began in earnest. The building was to house the new Tourist Information Centre, the Town Council Offices, provide a gallery for local artists and organisations to display their works and two local charities, HVOSS Community Transport and Marches Family Network made it their Leominster base.
Although I had a role in overseeing much of this development it could not have been achieved without the incredible support from staff and Councillors. The staff here are absolutely fantastic and so committed to making Leominster a better place to live, work and visit.
The Town Council continued to invest and in May 2019 completed a holiday flat to encourage visitors to stay in the town centre. Toilet facilities are currently nearing completion to the rear of 11 Corn Square and the “Secret Garden” will be hosting a range of events during 2020.
There is still confusion as to who does what regarding local government services. The Town Council now undertakes the majority of grass cutting in the town but all the verges beyond the main conurbation of Leominster is still the responsibility of Herefordshire Council via its main contractor, Balfour Beatty. The Town Council only has one statutory duty to provide allotments. Every other statutory duty is the responsibility of Herefordshire Council, from libraries to highways, adult social care to safeguarding children and young people.
The Town Council is in good hands and I am sure it will go from strength to strength under the leadership of its new Clerk, Julie Debbage.
I am going to miss everyone here. As I have said, the staff and Councillors are fantastic and I am very glad that Leominster will be my last big Council. Thank you to everyone for making this such a memorable and rewarding experience. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure.
Council and Committee Meetings
Meetings take place at 7pm at the Town Council Offices at 11 Corn Square, Leominster, unless otherwise indicated. The Council Chamber is located on the second floor – lift access is available for those who need it.
March 2020 Meetings:
Monday 2nd – Planning & Highways Committee
Monday 16th– Environment & Services Committee
Weds 18th 11.30am - Communications & Events
Monday 23rd – Planning & Highways Committee
Monday 30th – Full Council
Leominster Town Council Update
As many of you will know, Leominster Town Council has declared a Climate Emergency and is currently working towards developing an action plan to reduce its carbon footprint.
In Herefordshire workshops have been organised to help councils begin to develop action plans. These have been organised by the Herefordshire Green Network under the title “The Great Collaboration”. The workshops are free and the Leominster event will be held on 6th February at the Talbot Hotel, West Street beginning at 6.30pm.
In declaring this climate emergency, the Town Council aims to:
• Commit to an accelerated reduction of our carbon emissions, with the aspiration to become a carbon neutral community by 2050 at the latest in accordance with CCC recommendations.
• To work with local partners to produce a carbon reduction plan and an action plan covering all relevant council strategies during 2020.
• To work with our local community to enable them to take all possible measures to match or better our efforts, and to support our community at both an individual and business level to demonstrate, inspire and share best practice both within the parish and further afield.
• To ensure our community buildings only use 100% renewable energy and lowest carbon where this is not possible.
• To focus on local key issues, including public and community transport, recycling, management of our open spaces to help protect and enhance biodiversity, and other areas where we can have a positive role to play.
• To strongly encourage Herefordshire Council, and departments within it, to act in accordance with wider international agreements relating to climate as an absolute minimum.
• To help provide the necessary resource to deliver on this carbon reduction commitment, and to monitor and report annually on our progress.
Tourist Information Centre Update
Here at Leominster Tourist Information Centre, we are getting ready for the 2020 season. Our brochures, leaflets and guides for attractions and destinations, both near and far, have begun to arrive. Please come in and visit us and begin planning your adventures for the coming year.
February is a great time of year to enjoy some of the countryside we have in North Herefordshire. Snowdrops coat the ground, the days become longer, so why not pull on your walking boots and explore the area in which we live? We stock a wide range of walking guides and maps. Such as the Kittiwake range of books covering mainly circular walks in the Leominster & Hereford area (from £4.99). Our range of Ordnance Survey maps also cover our area and beyond (£8.99). If you are looking at joining an organised walking group, come in and we will be able to advise you on some of the groups running in the area.
Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us. We stock a great range of locally made jewellery, including items of cutlery crafted into bracelets, enamelled jewellery and wire jewellery. For those who enjoy a little tipple, we have a wide range of locally produced alcoholic drinks. Including our new Framboise, produced in nearby Lyonshall. Not forgetting ciders, ales and much more.
Leominster Tourist Information Centre is open Monday to Saturday, 9.30am until 4pm.
Through the Wardrobe, the annual Christmas event put on by Leominster Town Council for the children of Leominster, took place on Saturday 14th December. 540 people bravely faced the poor weather conditions to enjoy our winter wonderland. A huge thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and services and to everyone who ventured “Through the Wardrobe”.
We are hoping to put Through the Wardrobe on again in early December 2020. We will announce in Leominster News, on social media and in the TIC the date in due course. Tickets will be available, first come first served, in the autumn.