The Local Plan

WHAT ARE THE CONSERVATIVES DOING IN HEREFORDSHIRE?

Employment
The difficult economic circumstances of recent years have presented huge difficulties but Herefordshire is finally beginning to feel a real positive impact. The Office for National Statistics report from January 2014 shows that the number of people in Hereford and South Herefordshire who are in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance fell 31% in the previous year, whilst the number of people aged 18-24 receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 40%. Herefordshire and its people are gaining more and more opportunities to drive the economy of the county forward.
Old Market Hereford
The Conservatives are committed to improving Hereford and attracting more tourism and more trade into the city and county. Despite intense local political opposition, our councillors had the foresight to push forward with the entirely private sector funded new £90 million development in the Old Cattle Market.

Herefordshire is now reaping the rewards. As many as 1,100 new jobs in the city are thought to have been created. Popular outlets such as Waitrose, Debenhams and a six-screen Odeon have come to the city, alongside an impressive range of new restaurants, such as Miller and Carter and Nando’s. This has helped to ensure that shoppers stay in Hereford, and visitors from other towns choose Hereford as a shopping destination.

A University for Herefordshire
The former Chancellor George Osborne approved a plan for a new University in Herefordshire in the last Budget. A plan backed from the beginning by both Conservative councillors and Jesse Norman, the aim is to create a modern university which is closely integrated with the economy of Herefordshire, focusing on defence, engineering and other regional strengths of the area. The end product will not only be to bring talent into the county, but also to encourage our young people to stay and settle here. Find out more on the University’s website.
Hereford Buttermarket
To support the Council in refurbishing the cultural and vibrant Buttermarket, Hereford Futures commissioned Royal Institute of British Architects to run an Open Ideas competition, from which Austin-Smith: Lord emerged as winners. In August 2011, Wrenbridge and Trebor were chosen as the Development Partner in this exciting project and the process of mapping out a new plan for this cherished Hereford asset is now in hand to both offer improvements in the short term and, more importantly, protect its status for the long-term.
Better Roads and Pavements
In 2013, the Conservative-led Council last year appointed Balfour Beatty Living Places as the highways and related services provider for the county with a commitment to act on those potholes reported to them. We have also included an additional £20million capital investment in to our budget to improve the county’s roads over the next two years, reducing the need for future reactive maintenance. If you spot any problems with road or pavement conditions, do not hesitate to inform the council on streets@herefordshire.gov.uk.
Housing
We recognise that there is a need for additional housing to help keep prices affordable in the county and we have budgeted to ensure we can deliver significant numbers of new homes at reasonable prices. The majority of new housing will be developed by the private sector to ensure a minimum of cost to the taxpayer – but the council will have a key role to play in making sure the infrastructure is in place to ensure that this happens. The Conservatives locally are committed to doing away with red tape and letting developers build in places which are most appropriate for the county.
Council Tax
The responses to the Council’s budget consultation showed that it is vital that a balance is struck between keeping costs low for working people and providing services locally which really matter. It is for this reason that we opted for a 1.9% increase in council tax last year (following no increase in Council Tax for two years) -as the fair and practical solution to balancing increasingly difficult commitments with the necessity to provide for the people of Herefordshire. What is also fair is that those who have the broadest shoulders pay their fair share of the burden which is why we will remove the discounts people receive on the council tax bills when their properties are empty. Where properties are empty for two years or more we will charge a premium as well as ensuring long-term empty properties will be charged at 150% of the standard council tax rate.