Holistic approach to cure transport ills
AS transport is currently being reviewed by Herefordshire Council I would like to air my views.
Rural Herefordshire roads such as the B4348 between Peterchurch and Wormelow, which is a busy artery for many working people, are incredibly dangerous.
Large modern HGVs are a common problem, but at least these are usually very professionally driven. The biggest menace is the monster-tractor-and- trailer units now used for long-distance agricultural haulage.
They make cycling at going-to-work and coming- home times, so dangerous that it is impossible.
These units also regularly drive up onto the grass verge to get around other HGVs, dragging mud/grit onto the road.
The holes they leave in the verge undermine the side of the highway.
These units also use agricultural tyres – a disaster for road surfaces.
Alternative public transport to and from Hereford from the west of the county is unreliable, infrequent, and not modelled for working people and students.
These situations can be improved by:
Restricting all long- distance agricultural haulage, beyond a set distance of, say, 10 miles, to vehicles adapted for road use only.
Increasing buses at key times for workers/ students, with a midweek and Saturday evening service to rural areas into the city for study, leisure and socialising.
Ensuring bus stops have an electronic board indicating when the next bus is due.
Installing cycle/walking routes parallel to priority rural roads, to run inside the hedgerow of fields where possible, taking in the most hazardous parts of the road.
There would be massive potential benefits to the tourist economy, particularly in West Herefordshire, and many farmers would benefit from diversification enterprises that spin from tourism.
Poor transport is a major problem that holds back rural communities.
By taking an imaginative, holistic approach to rural transport we could build a better quality of life for everyone in the county at the same time as reducing traffic and improving the rural economy.
IAN McCULLOCH Parish councillor
Care home just ‘robbing the dead’
MY late sister spent four- and-a-half years in a care home in Herefordshire and died there on May 28.
I had paid the fees for May in advance and my wife and daughter removed everything from the room the next day.
I then received a bill for £1,157 which I have had to pay for two weeks of the following month, as this included the day that my sister was cremated.
I am not amused and my solicitor’s comment was “disgraceful”.
Payday loan firms are robbers, but they only rob people who are alive; this is robbing the dead.
I would advise anyone looking to place a relative in care to be careful. Advice based on the experience of my family is far better than any internet review.
ROBIN LAMONT Woolhope
Old cinema could be so much more
EVEN though it’s nice to know another building is not going to be left to rot (I refer to the bingo hall on Westbury Street, Leominster), apart from bingo fans, it must be a bit of a letdown to others that something different couldn’t have been achieved.
How good it would have been if the old Leominster cinema building could have been used to bring films back to the town, especially with the cost of petrol and car parking.
It would surely bring in extra revenue to the pubs and takeaways, with people putting money into these businesses, instead of those in other towns.
Or what a great place to stage tribute bands and comedians? Or combine the lot.
Leominster lacks this type of entertainment. Just look at The Regal in Tenbury, Conquest Theatre in Bromyard, Assembly Rooms in Ludlow, and the Courtyard in Hereford, which all put on films and acts.
G DIPPER Wegnalls Way, Leominster
Let’s broaden our sporting horizons
THERE were many valid points in A Munsley’s letter (County disappearing from sporting map, Letters, August 7) but Herefordshire is a great place for sport.
As vice-chairman of Hereford Roller Girls, I have been involved with roller derby in Herefordshire since our club launched in 2011. The Horror Bulls are top of their division playing in Europe’s largest tournament, ranked 87th in Europe and won Senior Team of the Year 2013 at the Herefordshire Sports Awards, where we met fencers, rowers, swimmers and track-and-field athletes to name a few.
We have top swimmers; rugby, football, cricket and hockey teams; martial arts, bowlers and motorsport in Herefordshire, and sports such as tchouckball, wheelchair rugby and other wheeled sports are on the rise too; as well as roller derby there is a new skating facility in The Core, and the skate park is one of the best in the country.
Many of the county’s sportspeople are not professional, however that shouldn’t prevent the community supporting them, or even getting involved.
In a county focused heavily on football, I’d encourage people to broaden their horizons. Sport at any level is incredibly rewarding and beneficial, not only to those competing, but to the community around it.
DEE MONTAGUE Vice-chairman, Hereford Roller Girls
Cross border work goes on
PATTI Fender (Letters, August 7) is absolutely right to continue to push for full rights for English patients forced to use the Welsh NHS, and I hugely respect her passion on an issue on which we have worked closely.
But she is wrong to suggest that I have misled local people about this. To the contrary: I have been quite explicit that the agreement with the Aneurin Bevan Health Board is just a temporary victory, and that we need a long-term solution.
I have been fighting on this issue, alongside other MPs and groups, since 2013. In June that year my parliamentary questions revealed that over 3,500 people living in Herefordshire were registered with Welsh GPs.
I secured a debate in the Commons because I was concerned that the cross- border agreement between NHS England and NHS Wales was not giving these people full access to hospitals and other care in England. Then the ABHB, which is responsible for healthcare in South Wales, confirmed that they had changed their policy towards patients living in Herefordshire so that they would again be able to receive treatment in English hospitals.
While I welcomed this development, I made clear that it does not go far enough, and that what is needed are permanent changes to the cross-border agreement, which recognise the rights of people living in England.
I have continued to press the point, and last month the Welsh Affairs Select Committee announced an inquiry into cross-border healthcare arrangements.
Patti and I will be meeting soon to discuss the best approach to this inquiry, and I would urge anyone affected to make a submission to the inquiry, details of which are online, by August 20.
JESSE NORMAN MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire
Tough luck over buses
HAVE Herefordshire Council fully realised the impact that their cuts to the local bus services will have on the whole county?
They will affect everyone dependent on public transport from the elderly to school children, students attending evening classes, people getting to and from work who also use the train, those who want an evening out in Hereford and those wishing to reduce their petrol miles.
These cuts are ill-thought-through at very short notice without any consultation with the rest of the community.
The council seems to be saying that if you don’t or can’t drive or do not possess a vehicle, then tough luck.
IJ HUTTON Lyonshall
Volunteer drivers are truly unsung heroes
FOLLOWING on from the wonderful news that the new radiotherapy unit is soon to open in Hereford, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the volunteer drivers who make such a huge commitment to take patients to and from hospitals.
I am currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Cheltenham Hospital. I have to travel five days each week from the Leominster area.
I receive a telephone call in the evening to give me a collection time and then I am taken to Cheltenham by one of these wonderful people. They are without exception the kindest, most considerate and patient gentlemen, nothing is too much trouble, and they are always cheerful and full of local knowledge.
The travelling is extremely tiring but these volunteers do everything they can to make the journey easier and what could be an arduous trek becomes a much pleasanter experience thanks to them.
The volunteers have to listen to many complaints and so I would like to publicly thank them. I shall never be able to express my gratitude sufficiently and in my opinion they are all unsung heroes and should be applauded for all they do.
LIZZIE DOWELL Risbur
Breathing space needed to halt homes avalanche
NIMBYS have had their day, says Brandon Lewis, new Minister for Housing and Planning, and there has been a dramatic swing in public opinion in favour of new housing. Really!
So where is his target audience? Not in Herefordshire surely.
In South Herefordshire, Lea ( which is not untypical) has less than 300 houses presently but, in the last two months three separate plans have been submitted for 119 more – an increase of 40%.
What is going on in Lea has to be added to Ross where there are 600 houses in construction or about to be.
The worst of these applications in Lea is to build a packed estate with minimum facilities on top of the hill, exposed above the village and looking straight down into the very successful CE Primary School playground. This application has huge implications for the landscape and road safety.
The infrastructure in Lea is already overloaded. The village has a disastrous history of flooding and surface water has even been getting into the sewers. In spite of that the village accepts the need for some new housing but in reasonable proportion.
Many local communities like Lea have not yet been able to formulate a Neighbourhood Plan and so can be defenceless against this barrage of speculative planning applications.
Meanwhile, the local authority battles with reduced resources to administer and control this onslaught, realising the huge investment riding on each application as the cost of appeals keeps mounting at prohibitive cost to the council. The developers have deep pockets.
Rather than basking on his own in his self-assessment of the success of Government NPPF policy, the Minister should consider a moratorium on current headlong progress towards five-year land banks and allow some breathing space for sensible development.
Our own council would surely appreciate some understanding and help to administer, control and regulate this avalanche of development.
M LOWE Castle End Ross-on-Wye
Factory farm by back door
WE would like to object to the building of chicken sheds by Garnstone farms in Hereford.
The council seem to have a cavalier attitude to handing out planning consent to this company. One has to ask why.
The reasons we are objecting are: the smell, especially when the sheds are cleared out; the pollution, where is the litter going?; the size of the sheds which makes this factory farming by the back door.
There is also damage to narrow lanes. Perhaps councillors do not travel around the back of Wormsley golf course to see the damage to the road by lorries transporting chickens in small plastic boxes.
When travelling along these lanes, motorists have to reverse for long distances due to the approaching lorries.
Please do not tell us that the reason for the council promoting this company is jobs – many of the employees are EU migrants.
As for the councillor who said that when you live in the countryside you have to expect smells, country smells are different to industrial smells and that is the problem.
G & D MARANGOS Tillington
AT a recent village fete there was a stand inviting signatures for a petition opposing the siting of a wind turbine at Acton Beauchamp. I asked the person running it what her grounds were for opposing it, and she said that it would spoil her view.
Further, that she lived in Herefordshire for its scenery and peace and quiet, and that this would destroy both for her.
I suggested that we all relied on electricity, and that some inconvenience in providing it was part of modern living. Indeed, people living near coal mines, oil refineries or power stations put up with much more than a spoilt view.
By comparison, having a wind turbine nearby (which in many people’s view are quite striking, even beautiful, and are not a blot on the landscape) was a very small price to pay for the benefits which electricity brings.
All of which fell on stony ground with her.
What I did not bring up, but should have, was the fact that we are trying to switch to renewable energy sources because of the threat to the planet from carbon dioxide emissions.
And using wind power is one of the most immediate ways of cutting such emissions.
What price Herefordshire’s beauty when climate change bites?
MALCOLM SCOTT Aubretia Cottage Leigh Sinton
TOWN councillor Pauline Davies recently made an appeal to the residents of Leominster asking them to donate money towards the cost of cleaning the two lion statues outside Grange Court.
The £500 she is asking for could be found if she asked her colleague Councillor Peter Jones, the mayor, to forego five weeks’ mayoral allowances (£100 pw). Just a thought....
RAY BORGE Leominster
I GET sick and tired of hearing about how Herefordshire Council are strapped for cash. The reason for that is because they waste it.
The council offices in Plough Lane – they have just spent millions on refurbishing, but Bulmers did all that before they left. The junction of King’s Street and St Martin’s Street – it’s made no difference at all; it’s still dangerous. New pavement and cycle rack in Broad Street – nothing wrong with the old ones.
All the pavements in St Martin’s and Redhill –they are like billiard tables – wouldn’t it have been better to get the roads done first?
I would suggest that the council spend a day with Powys Council and see how they operate. As soon as you enter Powys, it’s like another world – no potholes, road surfaces good, every place is nice and clean, the grass is cut.
Wake up, Hereford.
J THOMAS Kings Acre Road, Hereford
Eye on leases
I HAVE a feeling the new owners of Hereford United are more interested in the development around the ground than the football side. Herefordshire Council should hang on to the leases a bit longer.
N JONES Kingsway, Hereford
I WAS shocked and horrified by the very overgrown grassed areas/roundabouts etc on my recent visit to Hereford.
Born and raised in Hereford, I am sad to see this beautiful city become such a sorry mess.
The new cattle market development is lovely, but the approach does not encourage people to come and spend time and money.
ELIZABETH CLARKE Portland, Dorset
IT is good to see the Prime Minister appearing to enjoy himself at the Royal Welsh Show (Hereford Times, July 31).
I wonder if he explained to those he spoke to, that on agriculture he could no longer represent farmers and those dependent on agriculture, because as Prime Minister, he has handed control of that industry to an unelected body in Brussels, to whom he can now only ask for permission from his masters?
NIGEL ELY Preston-on-Wye
AS secretary of Canon Pyon branch of the Royal British Legion, I would like to thank all those who turned up at the candlelit vigil, held on behalf of all those who lost their lives during the First World War.
It was a very moving experience and one that my members and I shall always remember. Thank you once again.
MICHAEL DAVIS Siward James Close, Bodenham
MAY I congratulate Joyce Briffett and Cath Evans for the very successful tea party they held in aid of St Michael’s Hospice at Eign Brook Church recently. It was a very enjoyable afternoon supported by Hereford Rail Choir and many friends.
Both Cath and Joyce are volunteers at the hospice and I know their efforts in raising over £500 will be greatly appreciated. My husband and I attend the hospice and are very grateful to have such understanding people there.
JUNE MILTON Withington
TO the lady who handed in my wallet at Aldi in Hereford August 2, many thanks.
MIKE STEPHENS Orchard Close, Leominster
Simple system is now complicated
I COULDN’T believe my eyes when I read Herefordshire Council’s statements in the article “Scheme to simplify care costs”, June 26 . The advice and support it refers to has existed for many years and the recent changes have made things more complicated for users, not simpler.
At a well-attended meeting at the Kindle Centre some of the most vulnerable people in the county expressed their confusion and anxiety over what the council is doing.
The direct payments scheme was set up by a previous government to give elderly and disabled people some choice about who provides their care and when, by enabling them to employ assistants directly if they wish. As part of the package Herefordshire recipients received accurate, prompt and unbiased advice and support on matters such as employment law, recruitment, record keeping etc free of charge from an excellent independent organisation which also provides a PAYE payroll service.
The council ended this arrangement on April 1 and informed users that they would have to pay for the help and advice they need but could choose their provider from a council approved list – but that this would not be available until May 5.
They did not release the list until around June 19.
The council has received at least one formal complaint about this delay and has admitted that it failed to accurately judge how long the approval process would take.
If the council chose to change a support system which was working well, surely they should have vetted prospective providers, drawn up the approved list and informed direct payments recipients before ending the existing arrangement.
Cllr Graham Powell presents this as a new service but it is not. It is the council changing an existing service from an excellent provider, and causing worry and confusion.
T MINTON Hereford