Poor scrutiny
I AM appalled by the application for 414 houses at Barons Cross Camp in Leominster, both its quality and the cavalier manner in which it is being handled. 
The feeble excuses put forward for not discussing it by the full planning committee do not hold as it is a totally different application than the previous Taylor Woodrow plan passed in outline.
In justification the council argues that few objections were received. The reason I did not object is that I was undergoing major surgery. It was also the holiday season. Many people have been away when these plans were published.
Such a major application for the second town in Herefordshire needs very detailed scrutiny. The developer, Keepmoat, does not have a good reputation as the council has already been told by one of its own councillors (Hereford Times, August 17).
These plans are considerably worse than the previous outline plans passed by the council – tiny rooms, unimaginative estate layout, no social provision, very low standards bearing in mind the changing climate and expectations. Where are the play areas and green spaces, the nursery/playgroup facilities, the doctor’s outreach surgery, the necessary link road to keep up to 1,000 additional cars off our converging central roads.
These are the slums of the future, and in by-passing all discussion the council once again gives a strong impression that Leominster doesn’t matter.
Does the opinion of Leominster Town Council not matter?
Does the expertise of Leominster Civic Society count for nothing?
Does the health of the people who live here not matter?
And where has democracy gone?
The Baron Cross development provides a wonderful opportunity to this county to build a showpiece of good, well-designed 21st-century living that takes into account climate change, the need to conserve energy and has a beneficial influence on the people who live in and around it. At present the reverse is true.
Our beautiful county is ruined by tacky housing going up in ribbon development along our country roads. Who will want or be forced to live in third-rate accommodation?
So these are all my forceful objections to these particular plans and how they are being handled.

Chickens bid
THERE is yet another application for intensive chicken housing very near to Leominster.
I fully respect the need for local farms to diversify and remain economically viable for the family businesses involved.
I am very concerned, however, that much of this effort is going into the proliferation of modern factory farming in what has been for a long time a rural idyll. 
It is because of the attractive rolling countryside, free of major industrial development with extensive free-range animal husbandry that tourism has become our major industry. Tourists do not wish to see the large concentrated industrial developments associated with intense animal husbandry. 
Public routes in many areas are already marred by the visual and aesthetic intrusion of these large industrial sheds.
My views are entirely encapsulated by the Guardian article published Monday, July 17.
See https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/17/close-to-the-sheds-the-smell-is-overpowering-inside-a-herefordshire-mega-farm
Regardless of the environmental reports and careful specifications for the buildings and their associated services it is evident that all is not well for any residents near this type of facility. 
It is noted in particular that the Stagbatch site will have the whole Leominster residential area downwind.
with a high likelihood of increased air pollution. 
The Bargates already has unacceptably high levels of NO2 and aerosol ammonia breaking down can only add to it.
Recent planning consents, including the Barons Cross housing, will place these populations even closer to the site.
Herefordshire Council has made a commitment to reducing all factors causing the air pollution (Bargates Air Quality Action Plan 2014). 
However consent for this application will result in an increase in air pollution both as a result of the ammonia aerosol and the increased heavy traffic movements, much of which will probably come through Leominster to reach the A49 or A44.
A great deal of effort has gone into marketing Herefordshire as a tourist destination as well as encouraging a sustainable future for our farms and small holdings. 
Given the wealth of local businesses who promote a genuinely sustainable future such as Caplor, Rural Hub Herefordshire and the Bulmer Foundation it is unfortunate that this applicant feels the need to support global mega businesses where very little of the profit is likely to be retained locally.
I urge your readers to object strongly to any planning applications of this type.
, otherwise we will become Leominster ‘The Town in the chicken .............’ ! 
Objections to this application ( P172845/F ) should be made by Friday, September 29.

Too intrusive
I WOULD like to draw your readers’ attention to the recent planning application P1728 45 /F for yet another enormous chicken factory on the outskirts of Leominster. 
This application is for the annual production of nearly three-quarters of a million broiler chickens in two industrial units. 
Applications are usually for four or more units, so it is likely this factory will double within a short time, with all the accompanying smell, manure disposal (poultry litter contains more phosphorus than any other farm manure, as well as arsenic) and additional traffic – up to 3,000 lorry movements every year, much of which will pass through Leominster.
North-west Herefordshire already has the highest density of these industrial-style developments in the world, and people living in the Leominster area, and further afield in Herefordshire, should be alarmed at their very rapid and continuing expansion.
Cargill may claim to be the largest single employer, but tourism provides far more jobs and income for Herefordshire. 
The continuous smell, air and water pollution, and visual impact these enormous factories create all have very serious consequences for the quality of life of residents and attraction for visitors
Do we really want Leominster to become known as “The Town in the Chicken S**t?
Stagbatch Farm

Save boxes!
I WAS not surprised but I was rather saddened to see the traditional red phone boxes being removed from High Town, Hereford. 
They are a part of Hereford history, just as the Black And White House Museum, the library and the multitude of other historic listed buildings in our beautiful city are.
Foreign visitors to Hereford loved to have their photos taken outside the quintessentially British institution that was the red telephone box.
Could not one be refurbished and placed somewhere in the vicinity of the Black and White House Museum and the Hereford Bull? 
I think this would be a beautiful backdrop for our visitors’ photos.

Poll thanks
TO everyone who voted (or considered voting) Green at the Golden Valley South by-election on September 7, thank you. 
We did well, more than doubling the Green Party vote share since the June General Election (this constituency) beating Labour, whose share fell to less than half.
It’s a huge ward and slow going by foot and bicycle, so apologies to those whom I failed to meet. 
Cheers to everyone who I did, for my reception was always gracious and patient. 
The Green Party stands for fairness, neighbourliness and community, the ingredients of social justice. And also for intelligent stewardship of our environmental capital so that livelihoods may be sustained and the special qualities of this beautiful area are understood and cared for.
In Peter Jinman, an able representative on Herefordshire Council has been elected and am happy to congratulate him on the achievement. 
As an adviser to the present government Peter Jinman apparently declined an approach to stand for the Conservatives, leaving us to wonder where, as an ‘Independent’, his leanings may lie. 
I urge him therefore to support the Green group on the council and to allow its principles to guide his oversight of the Neighbourhood Plans produced recently by the four parish groups of the ward.
Green Party Candidate
Golden Valley South Election 

Great honour
I WOULD like to thank the voters of Hinton and Hunderton ward for turning out last Thursday and electing me as their new city councillor. 
It is a great honour to be chosen to represent my home ward where I have lived for the last 23 years. 
I will do my very best to be a voice for all of our community in the town hall and on the city council.
Liberal Democrat
Hinton and Hunderton ward

New housing
THERE are quite a number of new houses going up in Canon Pyon at the moment, with more to be started, which will add quite a number of people to the village.  
This is, of course, excellent for the village, adding new life to the community.
The new residents will have children, who will need to go to school, but the village school is half a mile down a very busy main road, with no footpath or easy means of access.
But should not the developers of the two estates being built be contributing to build a useful footpath to the school, behind the roadside hedge, providing the children with exercise and safety in the morning, and reducing the congestion at the school?  

Our welcome
I HEAR that there was a Panorama programme about the bad  treatment of refugees in one of the immigration detention centres, and am writing to say how shocked I was that people who have suffered so much to get here should be so badly treated.  
I hope that this will be thoroughly investigated and the staff given training in how to behave.   
However, I was delighted to see on the front page of your paper the thanks of the refugees we have here in Hereford.
We can be proud that we have been able to offer them a welcome.
and hope that they will continue to be happy here.

Static water
I PURCHASED my Hereford Times as I always do and, surprise surprise, Councillor Jim Kenyon is once again on the front page, this time trying to stop the young little children from feeding the ducks. 
I have been around Hereford for about 80 years and I have never heard so much rubbish; ducks making the algae. The actual reason for that is the water being static. 
If he took the trouble to go back to council records he would see the council were going to install circulating pump on pumps with a filter system but like always with our council it never got done. It is a good job there are some volunteers around Hereford as it is no good waiting for the council to do anything, they are too busy wasting money on other nonsense like the link road etc.
Len Howard

Insulting view
THE leader of Herefordshire council clearly doesn’t believe his own claim that cabinet members are selected on merit regardless of ‘gender, race, colour, religion’ (Letters 24.8.17) because he mocks these characteristics by adding ‘shape, size etc etc’; and then posits the entirely different criterion of being able to ‘work harmoniously with the cabinet’, which suggests members are chosen to agree with him.
He also misunderstands the ‘prime responsibility’ of councillors, which is not to ‘residents and taxpayers’ for the ‘prudent management of their money and assets’ (although financial scrutiny is obviously included). 
The government’s own website states that councillors’ role is to represent and engage with the community, and to provide leadership and decision-making (https://www.gov.uk/government/get-involved/take-part/become-a-councillor).
To suggest that an all-male cabinet is best qualified to represent the community is illogical and undemocratic. 
To argue that ‘selection of cabinet members for quota reasons’ (ie selection of women) is inconsistent with financial responsibility is simply insulting. I suspect that choosing councillors with the same experience, worldview and personal characteristics in order to avoid challenge, alternative perspectives and new ideas is the true basis for the selection of an all-male cabinet.
Joanna Liddle

Treaty ignored
FORTY-six years ago, the UK signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and agreed to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”.  
Contrary to this promise, it has retained its nuclear weapons system and is planning to replace it at a cost, including running costs, of about £100 billion. Now, last July, 122 countries endorsed a United Nations resolution to ban all nuclear weapons.  The treaty opened for signatures on September 20.  The UK has taken no part in talks leading to the treaty and is refusing to sign it. 
How can we expect other countries to abide by their commitments under the NPT not to acquire nuclear weapons, when we so flagrantly ignore our own obligations?

Respect call
MANY Hereford Quakers were profoundly shocked by the recent BBC Panorama programme about the conditions people face in British Immigration Removal Centres. 
We have read that the allegations about staff behaviour are being investigated, and we hope that scrutiny will extend to look at the situation more widely. 
One major problem is that asylum seekers who have no criminal record are mixed in with others who have been convicted of crimes.
The UK is the only country in Europe to detain asylum seekers without a time limit. 
We believe politicians should legislate immediately to end the practice of indefinite detention for immigration investigations, by introducing a 28-day limit. 
As members of a Quaker Meeting committed to building a culture of sanctuary in Britain, we want to see our politicians working towards a system in which every person is treated with respect.
We hope that our MPs Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin will take an inter-est in this matter and call for these changes.
Harvey Road