Trust issues
On February 1st the Hereford Times carried a two page advert for the proposed western bypass and a separate article. This is already causing anger, stress and disgust locally.
Homes will be demolished if this road is ever built. Herefordshire Council tried to send letters to those people likely to lose out but got this so badly wrong. Some letters went to people unaffected, some people who should have been told got absolutely nothing.
A fortnight later Herefordshire sent more letters to explain their mistake, often to people who had not got the first one. Imagine the horror opening a letter that says ‘we forgot to tell you that we’re taking your home’! How can we trust these people to build a road when they cannot even get a small mailshot right?
Every day parish councillors are dealing with distressed residents - often elderly, many close to tears. This is appalling. Nothing can compensate or forgive this. Councillor Price should make a full and public apology. He should consider his position and those managers responsible should be disciplined.
I wonder who the next leader of Herefordshire Council will be?’
Tony Geeson
Chair Breinton Parish Council

High price
Recent local road building has not been successful. Neither the Rotherwas relief road nor the new city link road carries much traffic. Neither has eased local traffic congestion. Both come at considerable cost. The Rotherwas road is built over the Rotherwas Ribbon, the Bronze Age artefact of ‘international significance’. 
So what are the chances for the Western Relief Road? Whilst the need for this road is moot - is it a ring road? - is it to access new housing? - there is widespread belief that the road will ease local traffic. The evidence from other new road developments around the UK is that they do not reduce local traffic levels. So this won’t be third time lucky for Hereford.
The bottom line is that a north-south bypass will benefit people outside Herefordshire - long distance users of the A49. It will also forever damage a swathe of glorious Herefordshire countryside. The alternative is piecemeal but effective. We need better rail and bus services, park-and-ride, better provision for cyclists, new housing developments on brownfield sites, perhaps a city tram service.
John Westoby

Sadly lacking
It is apparent that the ‘consultation’ process being carried out by Hereford Council and Balfour Beatty, re: the proposed routes for a road to the west of Hereford, is anything but. There has been a failure of communications with the residents in the Towtree Lane/Roman Road community, whose homes and land fall within the core strategy corridor, and who learnt rather abruptly last week, that their properties could be severely blighted and even demolished by the inclusion of routes never publicly suggested before. We should have received a letter warning us of the proposed routes, and given advance notice of the Public Cabinet meeting on 18/1/18. We were denied our right to put questions at this meeting, and the first information many received, was by hearsay, and by the HT report. Cllr Price has sought to avoid responsibility by blaming this on human error.
It would be interesting to hear how many other households that might be blighted by the proposals have been equally badly treated. These may appear to be just coloured lines on a map, but we now have to live with the uncertainty regarding our homes.
Ruth Tilley

Cash crisis
I refer to your article “London Sale rings alarm” HT this week,, February 1  Yet another incident of this Authority selling off the family silver!
It’s significant that your article points out that the Council wanted to keep its assets 20 years ago. That was before 1998 when this present authority came into being. I recall Cllr Adrian Blackshaw, then a cabinet member extolling the virtues of “ Prudential borrowing”, enabled of course because of the assets Council owned. That philosophy led to such prolific borrowing that has led this authority into the mire it now finds itself.
The problem is that it is easy to borrow, and to spend other people’s money, especially when there is no accountability.
No one is accountable. Those responsible will walk away unscathed and yes, the rate payer will pick up the bill. I notice the leader of the Council this week has stood down. I spoke recently to a fellow who was the properties officer of the council until last year who retired early, because, as he said to me, he could see what is coming
In another part of this week’s Hereford Times, you report on the rising cost of Adult Social Care, presently costing £170 million a year and rising by at least £5 million every year.
The real issue, as your article points out is that when there are no assets left to sell, the borrowing will come to a halt, and where do we go from there?
Charles Nicholls

Threat to pub
Despite the debacle and massive damage done to communities and businesses, including ours, as a result of the total road closure on the A4103 last year, Herefordshire Council have not yet ruled out a further complete closure in May of this year for phase two of this project. The closure of the road will adversely affect all businesses and residents during a period when passing trade is vital to the survival of small businesses. If the Council proceed with a total road closure, Cradley will almost certainly lose its community local pub which is an integral part of village life. Please support the Red Lion and other local businesses and communities by signing our petition against a total road closure for phase two of the Challenge Fund work . The petition is available at The Red Lion and no purchase is necessary.
Steve Moorman
Red Lion,
Stiffords Bridge

No evidence
During more than twelve years working for The Behaviour Service and as Headteacher of The Aconbury Centre I regularly visited The Brookfield School. I was not employed by the school but on occasion was given a room in which to work with a child in my care. I was flabbergasted to read of the claims made in the Ofsted report.
During my many visits to the school, I encountered happy and settled children. 
When a child was upset in my experience, he/she was in the headteacher’s office, being given time to calm down. I only once saw the reflection room being used and on that occasion a member of staff was with the child.
The classrooms were full due to good attendance, I saw no evidence of illegal exclusions. Exclusions were rare and short term.
It is shocking to read that a headteacher who has done so much for children in this county can be treated in this way.
Eleanor Christopher
Eaton Bishop

Perfect piano
It is difficult to describe the work of a genius and so it is when attempting to evaluate the piano playing of Duncan Honeybourne, whose recital at the Lion Ballroom in Leominster yesterday stunned the audience with its outright virtuosity and sensitivity.
His programme contained music by Liszt, Schumann and, to conclude, an exquisite performance of no.23 from Pensees Musicales, by Sigismond Thalberg which provided a perfect tranquil ending to this energetic programme. This was spectacular artistry at its best.
The quality of music performed at the Lion Ballroom is of a very high order and yet so few people seem aware of this. Perhaps the ‘traditional’ country-concept of the inhibition of the existence of Dinmore Hill prevents travel from the lower areas of the county!
Meanwhile, efforts to increase publicity continue, both visually and by word of mouth, and one can hope that gradually the message will filter through that concerts at the Lion Ballroom can provide a musical experience equal in quality to any that exists in the principal recitals halls of the nation.
Alan Crumpler

Bottomless pit
The NHS is a bottomless pit. It will remain so until its purpose and the strategy for achieving that purpose are completely re-thought.
However much money is poured into social care, we will find it to be an even bigger bottomless pit. 
Sixty years ago, few people lived long enough to suffer the many degenerative disorders now taxing the NHS. Care of elderly relatives was largely provided in the family. The extended family often resided in the same district. There was an unpaid army of relatives, mostly female, who volunteered to ‘look after granny’. The traditional family has become unfashionable. Bachelor households and one-parent families proliferate, removing an important source of social care in the community and increasing the need for social care. 
Management of home and family is held in less esteem by women than being the managing director of a cosmetics company. Yet, the former, done incomparably well, as only women can do it, is vastly more important to the nation. 
Our society, including Government, exhorts all women to ‘go out to work’, forgetting that women in the home are the essential glue that keeps our society together. We progressively make full time work away from home an increasing necessity for women, to the gross detriment of families and of children in particular. 
We must re-think the Health service. We must also change our attitude to home management and the structure of the family, as investment here might be more rewarding than national provision of care homes places.
Hubert Porte

Bad week for council
It has been a bad week for Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet. First these Tory councillors were castigated in the national press over their failure to provide a home for a SAS hero, then in TV’s A Vicar’s Life, about the Hereford clergy, we were shown the human misery caused by their decision to sell off council smallholdings and their attempt to run a young homeless woman out of town just as she was getting her life back together.
I hope the people who voted for these wretches will remember these events at the next election.
David Phelps

Sad ending
I WAS sorry to read of the death of Mt Ivor Skyrme of Sellack only a few weeks after the Hereford Times published his letter detailing his dissatisfaction with the service he was receiving from care agencies and Herefordshire Council.
I think it is very sad that someone’s last weeks of life should be even more difficult and unhappy than they need to be.
T Minton

Huge thanks
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to the people of Weobley for their kindness last week.
My wife Yuko was leaving the village hall after a trip to the nearby surgery when one of the wheels literally fell off our car. A mechanic from Portland Garage was quick to take a look, but didn’t have a tow truck available that could do a front lift. Stuart from the AA was quick to arrive, but was unable to do anything either so a recovery vehicle was called - Yuko was faced with a very long wait.
PC Dean arrived and was incredibly helpful, even insisting she sit in the back of his car until help arrived on what was one of the coldest nights of the year.
The locals supplied Yuko with sandwiches, chocolate and four cups of tea ... someone even gave her a hot water bottle! The recovery truck driver Charlie from Lanes was incredible  and brought Yuko home safely, delivering our car to C&P Brookes in Kington the next morning who were able to have us back on the road in no time. All in all, Yuko’s wait had been about six hours, but I think she may have actually enjoyed the experience. So thanks again to Officer Dean, Charlie, Stuart, Becky and Eleanor. 
Sorry if we’ve left anyone out, you were all wonderful. We’ve recently returned to the UK from Japan and have been overwhelmed by the kindness, warmth and generosity of the people of Weobley, Eardisley and Almeley.
Andrew and Yuko Cousins

End loneliness
According to the Campaign To End Loneliness, more than half the country’s 75 year olds currently live alone which increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.  
Delivering housing, care and support to 40,000 older people from 1,000 locations across England, Anchor does its utmost to prevent this. The older people living in retirement housing properties, like mine, benefit from living in a thriving community. That is why I welcome the Government’s decision to appoint Tracy Crouch as its Minister for Loneliness. 
And local retailers can also help older people, particularly those living alone, to reduce their sense of loneliness. Anchor’s Standing Up 4 Sitting Down campaign is asking retailers to provide seating so that older shoppers, as well as disabled people and pregnant women, can rest mid-shop. A shopping trip may be a weekly chore for many but for some older people living alone it’s a chance for social interaction and could be a life saver.
Jane Dwyer,
Manager, Elizabeth Court,
Bodenham Road, Hereford