Thank you for flood help

I WANT to thank Social Services, and in particular Helen Coombes and her resilience team, for the excellent support they gave to Hampton House Residential Home in Hampton Bishop during the recent floods.

Water did not come into the home, but it was surrounded by floods, and without the special vehicle that Ms Coombes provided the home would have had to evacuate the residents, causing them great distress.

Thank you too, to Mr and Mrs Steve Hunt who allowed our staff to leave their cars on their premises in safety while they were ferried in to work.

The staff themselves were brilliant; Ken, who ferried people in from dawn until dark, Jenny, who worked all hours to keep everything running smoothly, and everyone else who turned up for work every day, walking in in their wellies until the water became too high and they had to have a ride.

The residents, too, remained cheerful in spite of having no visitors for nearly a month.

This was a wonderful example of community effort.

On behalf of Hampton House management, thank you all very much.

JUDITH HEREFORD chairman, Sufton Court, Mordiford

Clout litter, not cannabis

I WAS amused to read your report about the cannabis factory found in Bromyard.

A number of countries have now decriminalised all drugs, let alone cannabis, and in several US states the sale of cannabis is a legitimate trade.

The police spokesman said that the operation would prevent a large quantity of cannabis reaching the streets.

There might be a temporary and slight increase in price but the demand will soon be met from elsewhere.

Compared with alcohol and tobacco the damage done by cannabis is minimal.

The cost to the NHS of alcohol and tobacco-related illnesses and behaviour is astronomical.

When the government’s own scientific adviser pointed out the illogicality of the law he was sacked.

Littering is a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of £2,500.

Local authorities can impose fixed penalties of between £50 and £80.

Occasionally people are fined £80 on the spot for dropping a cigarette butt, but all too rarely.

It would be good to see a zero-tolerance campaign against littering, and I would have thought that, at least in the short term, this would raise some money.

Litter is not just unsightly but can be harmful to wildlife, especially in rivers, lakes and the sea.

In some countries you see virtually no litter, so this is not some unattainable goal.

And while we’re at it, why is England fast becoming the only country not to charge for plastic bags?

Ireland has done so for years and the number of bags used has decreased enormously.

Is the reason the existence of a powerful lobby on behalf of the manufacturers because a massive drop in packaging can only be good for the environment.

A litter campaign could be injected with some humour; years ago in Sydney I noted anti-litter posters advising “Don’t be a tosser.”

JOSEPH COCKER Castlefields Leominster

Skatepark is a project

I’M not sure if Darren Rees(Readers’ Times , February 27) realises that Hereford skatepark is a community project, not a local authority facility.

Although we are extremely grateful to the local council for its contribution towards the total cost so far of £550,000, it’s about 12% of the total.

Most of the funding has been generously given by other UK organisations that support charities, including the £5,000 Darren mentions.

We are all volunteers – we even cut the grass – and our project has been running now for ten years.

BRIAN STEPHENS Trustee and treasurer,

Wheeled Sports 4 Hereford Ltd Park Street,


Let people keep money

CLLR Nicholls (IOC) makes some interesting points in his letter regarding the council budget ( Readers’ Times , March 6), but he provides little evidence.

The opposition is keen to criticise, but the reality is that it put forward three amendments for this year’s budget representing 0.2% of the net budget.

I can only conclude that either they are in broad agreement or they do not have any viable alternatives.

Following our budget discussions we have agreed a council tax increase for 2014/15 of 1.9%.

This is a modest but prudent increase given the reduced funding from government and increasing demand for services.

This follows a council tax increase of 1.9% in 2013/14 and no increases in 2012/13 and 2011/12.

Our MPs, the leader and the cabinet member for children’s wellbeing have recently ensured that the extra costs of rural services are heard loud and clear at Westminster.

This must continue.

We must all recognise the relatively low average wage in Herefordshire, and thus the absolute need to minimise council tax increases in the future and allow the people of Herefordshire to keep their money in their pockets.

On the subject of rubbish collection, the article on the front of the Hereford Times last week raises some points but also unfounded fears.

In 2009 when the wheelie bins were introduced, there was also concern and recycling rates were just under 30% – rates are now over 40% and the service is universally praised.

Assuming the decision is made to change rubbish collection, black wheelie bins (for non-recyclable waste) and alternate-week collection will be introduced.

Based on the many other (67%) authorities who have alternate week collections, recycling is likely to rise to 45%.

This will have both financial and environmental benefits.

CLLR PATRICIA MORGAN Deputy leader of Herefordshire Council

Recycling the way forward

YOUR front page article on March 6 correctly highlighted the fact that Herefordshire Council is considering moving to an alternate week collection for recycling and waste.

I would just like to take the opportunity to clarify the situation.

We are looking at alternate weekly collection because it will reduce costs and increase the rate of recycling across the county.

It is important that we reduce costs so that we can fund our priorities of keeping vulnerable children and adults safe and investing in jobs, roads and homes.

At the same time we are planning an additional push to encourage households to recycle and compost as much of their waste as possible.

We are still working through the details but we are looking at supplying the majority of households with free black wheelie bins for their general waste.

Under this scheme we would empty the green recycling wheelie bins one week and the black wheelie bins on the other week.

This is a widely used approach to waste and recycling collection and has been used successfully in Shropshire and most of Worcestershire for many years.

Once we are confident that we have examined the costs and the benefits fully, we will be able to make a final decision and confirm our plans.

If we decide to go ahead, the new scheme will start on November 1.

We will make sure householders are aware of the changes before they start and we will work hard to encourage people to recycle and compost as much as possible.

CLLR HARRY BRAMER Cabinet Member – Contracts and Assets Herefordshire Council

Bumpiest ride going

I HAVE lived in various towns and cities in England over the years and I have to say that Hereford must have the most potholes per square mile in the country.

It is about time something was done to fill them in.

Driving from one side of the city to the other is a nightmare. I have had damage to the suspension to my car as well as the tracking having to be adjusted.

Anyone suffering with back problems must find it very uncomfortable indeed.

Maybe the rise in council tax could fund this. Ha ha.

MR POWELL Bardolph Close, Hereford

We’ve simply gone to pot

I REFER to recent correspondence and articles about potholes and litter.

Suing the Council in the local county court for pothole damage is difficult, but it can be done. I recently sued Herefordshire Council and Amey Wye Valley, and although I lost against the council on a technicality, I did end up recovering my damages by a stroke of luck which is another story.

The key thing is to report potholes, because then if you do sue, the council will have to disclose reports it has received, and then one can tell under the guidance rules whether action has been taken to undertake the repair in due time following any report.

The problem of course is that repairs are done so inadequately.

The area of potholes that caused the damage to my car has been repaired probably six times in the past year and have opened up yet again, so I called in personally at Balfour Beatty today to report them.

To talk of excuses such as weather is ridiculous... I spend a lot of time in Normandy and also Switzerland, where the weather is as severe or worse, and not a pothole in sight.On the litter front, I invite anyone who wants to see an improvement to contact me on kipcarwaistell@ and I will talk them through serving notices under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which I did in 2009, after which I successfully prosecuted the council in Hereford Magistrates’ Court.

The council has an absolute duty to keep litter cleared, and it is almost impossible for the council to defend successfully any proceedings brought under the 1990 Act.

I also refer everyone to the website which is a national campaign to clean up our motorways using the same 1990 Act.


Danger road needs action

CHAVE Court Close is an unadopted road, even though Herefordshire Council inherited the road at the time of the change in unitary authority in 1998.

HCC is therefore the owner of said road.

There is a public right of way under section 31 of the Highways Act 1980 which gives it highway status, the road is maintainable at the expense of the owners – Herefordshire Council – which incidentally already maintains the street lighting.

The condition of this road is a disgrace. Users often have to zig-zag to avoid the many ruts and potholes.

Given that a large number of mums and children use the road daily when visiting the Family Centre at the end of Chave Court Close, which I believe is run by HC, and at weekends as many as 40 cars can be parked in the close while, quite rightly, parents are supporting their children playing sport on Widemarsh Common.

This road is dangerous.

Heaven forbid that a child would be injured because HC might not accept its responsibilities.

Does Herefordshire have the worst roads in the country?

DAVID O’DOWD Chave Court Close, Hereford

Waste plant won’t pay

I REFER once more to the controversial incinerator proposal at Elmley Lovett near Hartlebury. The Conservative party, when in opposition, called for a moratorium on the building of new waste incinerators.

It introduced the landfill tax – yet the two councils of Hereford and Worcester still insist on sending food and biodegradable waste to landfill instead of the cheaper method of anaerobic digestion.

This is significantly cheaper than burning, produces electricity and is modular, thus reducing the miles waste has to travel to one point.

Incinerators do emit pollutants into the environment.

Without the use of heat as at this proposal, incinerators are considered to be primarily waste disposal plants and the electricity produced is not classed as renewable energy.

The method to produce this electricity has not yet been confirmed.

The Government singled out anaerobic digestion for special encouragement on the grounds that it has significant carbon and energy benefits.

When comparing various waste treatment technologies for carbon reduction, incinerators with combined heat and power ranked only 19th out of 24 alternatives and incineration without heat as is most common in Britain (and as this proposal is) is only 22nd out of 24 alternatives.

Financial advice has been sought from KPMG at some considerable expense and then that advice has not been followed.

What hope of unbiased opinions do we have when the leader of Worcestershire Council is quoted as saying that he doesn’t care how much it costs, he just wants it, and the previous leader stating in its very early stages that it was a ‘done deal’?

Both of these councillors were part of the very small group that made the decision to buy the land, even though it was within metres of an extremely problematic landfill and was home to much wildlife including European protected species.

With the problems surrounding this site, was it really worth the quoted figure of £4.5 million paid for it?

Cost, carbon emissions, scale and long distances to travel to one facility at the north of the two counties mean that such large-scale waste incineration may indeed be a ‘dying technology’.

C A JONES Old Worcester Road, Waresley, Kidderminster

A licence for traffic chaos

I WOULD like to add my comments to the article on the proposed development of 40 new houses on the east side of Weobley ( Rea- ders’ Times , February 27).

The developer says that the site will have good access to the main road network. Unfortunately the only access is via the centre of Weobley along a narrow road, which becomes one way right between Weobley’s distinctive black and white medieval houses.

The traffic here is already dreadful and a frequent source of jams, due to journeys from existing housing and visitors to the doctor, dentist, the village hall and farm traffic and causes severe disruption to pedestrians and the medieval houses which are built right on the pavement.

The developer may not be aware of the real traffic situation as he drew his data from a 2004 traffic survey of a different road.

The council placed counters to collect fresh data, but only for a week in January at the quietest point in the tourist and farming season and excluding one of the developments (Unicorn Court).

The village is not against new houses themselves, but we want a phased approach and a say in their location to retain the village’s unique character and draw the tourists on which the local economy depends.

ANNA LONGMAN Hereford Road, Weobley

Help me with family tree

I AM carrying out research into my family history, and would be very interested to contact members/descendants of the Taylor family.

George Taylor (my great- great grandfather was a blacksmith from Allens- more.

He was married to Margaret Parry, their children were George Henry, Leonard, William, Thomas, Gladys, Lilian, Alice.

I understand that Alice married Fred White and they kept the Bay Horse Inn in Hereford. I hope to hear from some long lost relatives.

STEVEN CHARLES PARRY-HEARN (Grandson of Gladys’ daughter) Clearwell

Thanks to caring staff

I HAVE just spent a short time in Hereford County Hospital. All the staff were excellent, starting with the ambulance crew and into A&E, theatre and finally Leadon ward, I thank you all for the care you gave to me.

ALICE BUSBY Aylesbrook Road, Holmer.