Basket case?
ANOTHER week, another argument between our local politicians about a western, eastern or both route for a bypass which will miraculously solve all our traffic woes.
The western route is supported by the Conservative county council and what’s left of the Lib Dems. It relies on massive housing development which will fill the roads up again. It’s such poor value for money, Government won’t even fund a survey, never mind the road itself, hence the need for lots of new houses so that the builders will be made to pay for it, putting up house prices so locals can’t afford them.
The eastern route supported by It’s Our County, Hereford City Council and Jesse Norman MP is arguably worse. 
It would have to go across the Lugg Meadows, close to Tupsley houses, encouraging heavy lorries and congestion along Hampton Park Road and Ledbury Road. 
To say that the congestion, air pollution and noise will not be popular with residents is an understatement. 
This is the route already stopped by Government back in the 90s, due to cost and environmental damage. 
So again, they won’t give us money for it.
Our politicians keep asking for bypass funding. Every time, they are told a big no. 
They’re told we have to try other cheaper alternatives first, to address Hereford’s main problem which is internal, not through traffic. 
But they keep arguing, even though the answer is the same. 
Civil servants in London must think Hereford is a basket case.
As they argue instead of acting, we, our kids and elderly have to sit in poisonous traffic fumes. 
We endure dangerous roads for pedestrians and a cycle network which doesn’t join up. Bus services are cut. Walking or biking to school feels dangerous and unpleasant, so lots of us drive our kids instead.
We need councillors who can think out of the metal box. Instead waiting even longer for bypass cash, we could focus all our efforts on funding pedestrian, cycling and public transport facilities to rival those of the Netherlands. 
This isn’t anti-car. It would give us real choice about how we travel, improving public health and allowing the remaining motor traffic to flow freely. It would make our city more attractive to the tourists and businesses who bring in money.
We simply won’t get funding for a bypass until we’ve really tried the cheaper options. The £1.5million already secured is a good start, but we have to be consistent and determined to be taken seriously by government. 
How long are we going to wait in our traffic jams for our politicians to work this out? Or do we need new ones?
Rob Hattersley
Hereford Green Party
Park Street

Six locals
REPLYING to last week’s (March 2) items on Minor Counties Cricket (MC), I have made some points. 
Firstly the MC 1st XI included six local players in their side last season; Joe Crichard (played more in 2015), Jamie McIlroy, Will Barrett, Dave Exall, Callum Stewart and Ian Bullock. 
This is either ignored by Herefordshire cricket supporters or more than likely they are unaware of the true position. 
Both Barrett and Stewart were frequently unavailable, but no replacement local players were recommended.
Secondly, the late respected Ed Price always said that good local players would need to play for stronger clubs (for example Birmingham League Premier/First Division) and perform consistently, and then play for the county 2nd XI and hopefully move into the 1st XI. 
Generally, this is correct, if only because of the level of the opposition.
Thirdly, getting rid of Harshad Patel, a passionate believer in Herefordshire cricket, as the MC coach is quite beyond me. This must be the most heinous cricket decision I have seen in 20 years.
For 2017/18 I now look forward with great interest to the following:-
1. Seeing additional local players, as promised in the county 1st XI, perhaps from Burghill and Colwall.
2. Noting how successful and available our new 1st XI coach, Steve Williams will be.
3. A 2nd XI selected entirely from local players which will be extremely difficult, however with such a positive outlook this should not be a problem.
4. A strong county U17s side
Ken Sharpe
Secretary, Herefordshire CCC 2015-6

Other targets
I WAS the attempted organiser of a late counter-protest against the anti-Donald Trump rally in High Town, Hereford. 
I informed the police of our intention.
As only two of us turned out, we decided that rather than stand in the far corner of the square with a sad-looking megaphone protest we would instead mingle and challenge participants (approximately 100), which is what we did. 
We asked why they were not directing their attention to our own government instead of a foreign leader of another democratically-elected administration. 
Why were they not protesting about our troops and tanks massing on the Russian border, and about a British government that led the destruction of Libya, is arming the Saudi genocide in Yemen, and has flooded Europe with refugees; the same government that has re-introduced bee-killing pesticides, is introducing genetically modified crops this year, and fracking for shale gas. 
And why were they not protesting about the apparently systematic delay and obstruction of the Westminster Child Abuse inquiry?
Ian McCulloch

Great turnout 
MANY thanks to all those who turned out in Leominster on Sunday to join the The Great British Spring Clean, which went ahead in spite of pretty awful weather. 
A dozen or so intrepid litter pickers turned up in Corn Square and set out to all corners of the town to clean the place up, dodging showers as they went. 
Well done to those who made the effort and left the town a cleaner place by 12 or more large black sacks full. Our efforts were rewarded by cake all round and a feeling of satisfaction that things had gone ahead on such a blustery morning.
We hope they will consider joining the regular litterpicking  team, who meet at 10am each Sunday morning in Broad Street car park. 
All welcome.
Cllr Felicity Norman

Eyes closed?
HATS off to your correspondent, “Not giving up” in last week’s HT, who fears our not being able to roam across Europe with eyes and hearts open after the UK leaves the EU. 
I assume this means treating all people as equal to yourself, recognising their rights and responsibilities as well as your own; while suspending prejudices relating to ethnicity, faith, social background or political persuasion. 
It’s not limited to Europe and usually works well everywhere.
But this good lady can be reassured: we know that Britons with open eyes and hearts were still free to roam what was then the Common Market, if they so chose, after the President of France ungraciously vetoed the UK’s application to join in 1963, and again in 1967. Why not again?
Granted, not all EU members could agree to the British government’s bid to settle residency rights on a reciprocal basis some weeks’ ago, but could that justify altering the foundation of relationships already forged or aspired to, if you are of open eyes and heart? 
Personal values drive your behaviour, not Mrs Merkel’s negotiation strategy.
And yes, the EU Head Negotiator and President of the EU Commission act roughy-toughy and do say nasty things about us. 
But the first could be to discourage more EU citizens from speaking truth unto power and the second an outcome of being tiresomely voluble after an extended Belgian breakfast.
While they might close their eyes and hearts to Britons, must we close ours to them? 
Courage, Madam! Avoid fake news and beware moral panic. Negotiations have yet to begin. Keep your eyes and heart open and perhaps you’ll see that the loss you fear from Brexit is only in your mind. 
Giving way to reality is not the same as giving up your values. 
Hugh Vernon

Have a rethink
In response to the comment in the Hereford Times on February 23 and the subsequent failure of Herefordshire Council to reconsider selling off the council small holdings I would like to add my comments. 
A number of well respected organisations, the NFU, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the council’s own scrutiny committee have all joined together to voice their criticism of the council.
The councillors who called in the decision for investigation were also kept in the dark, which unfortunately plays to the public perception that the council makes decisions behind closed doors and by a very select few members, I.e the Cabinet. 
I am particularly concerned that the democratic procedure appears to have been completely ignored and is potentially unlawful.
It may not be commonly known but as reported in the Hereford Times, the council voted to sell off all of its small holdings at a related council meeting in 2015. 
It was at that point the decision was called in so the scrutiny committee could investigate.
However, despite the scrutiny committee agreeing that the sell-off of all small holdings was contrary to the report’s recommendations, it beggars belief that the decision is being pushed through. 
My objective is that the council have a rethink, particularly when the Fisher German report and the scrutiny committee all agree that some strategic parts of the estate should be sold but retain some integral units to enable new entrants into farming.
As a councillor of many years standing I would hope that Herefordshire Council has the vision to embrace a strategy that caters for the future, especially in light of the Brexit referendum decision taken on June 23 last year, and in sympathy with Hereford as an agricultural county. 
Cllr Marcelle Lloyd-Hayes
Aylestone Hill Ward
Herefordshire Council 

Beds not lost
What is the truth about Ross Hospital, how legitimate is it to talk of it losing all its beds?
The Sustainability and Transformation Plan, deals with this on page 60, it does not even mention Ross Hospital, it looks at the entire Herefordshire bed base. It describes a process designed to lead “to better clinical outcomes and improved independence” for patients.
Who would not want better care for patients? Seemingly Julian Utting and his colleagues who have started a petition against the process.
An enquiry to the authorities last week brought immediate clarification to clear up the confusion, they “confirmed that there are NO plans for Ross Community Hospital to lose all its beds”.
However, Mr Utting and his colleagues, Cllr Bartrum and Lucy Hurds, chose to ignore this crystal clear response and were still on the streets of Ross on Saturday seeking signatures on their bogus petition.
Why would they behave in this irresponsible way? Why would they want to undermine the confidence of people and employees at the hospital?
The answer? There is an election in Ross in a couple of weeks’ time and Mr Utting is a candidate.
Do we really want such an irresponsible person, surrounded by irresponsible colleagues, to represent our town. I hope not!!
Ross on Wye 

Clue in words
I HAVE been walking in Queenswood Arboretum almost daily for last 20 years and I need to now express the views of a lot of people. Where is the present management of Queenswood going?
Firstly, there was the introduction of parking fees which, in less than six months, were increased and they wonder why less people go. 
The council had tried this already and it failed.
Now they are chopping down trees. 
I agree there needs to be woodland management. But to assume that the public will enjoy all the open spaces once they are used to them is demeaning. 
It is called Queenswood for a reason, people enjoy a walk in the woods. The existing open spaces are not frequented now. 
Maybe the plan to increase ‘logs for sale’ as an income is the reason behind this.
There appears to be no mention of re-generation so what happens when they run out of trees.
Their main emphasis appears to be on maintaining wildlife, excluding plants and trees. 
Is the management living in this world.
The clue is in the words Queens’wood’ and ‘Arboretum’ 
Andrea Goodman
Lyde Street

Thanks to Jim
BLUE Cross would like to thank Councillor Jim Kenyon, Mayor of Hereford, for visiting our new charity shop at 3 Widemarsh Street on Saturday. 
It was the opening day for our new shop which was previously on St Peter’s Street. 
We hope to welcome lots of customers to our new premises, donations to the new shop are gratefully received and do feel free to pop in for a browse. 
We would also welcome anyone with an hour or two to spare to help us by volunteering in the shop. Please give us a call or drop in for a chat. 
Elaine Hyde
Blue Cross Shop Manager