More victims
THE dropped kerb hazard has claimed more victims. I refer to the one in Widemarsh Street and also at the junction of Broad Street and Eign Gate
Two weeks ago I came a right cropper when crossing from Barclays Bank to Eign Gate. I reported it immediately to the council, both highways and the legal department. 
I note no action has been taken.
On Saturday, I exited a shop in Widemarsh Street to be confronted by a distressed visitor who had fallen badly as a result of not seeing the dropped kerb in Widemarsh Street opposite Primark. I advised her to call the council to report the matter. 
Another able pedestrian who had come to her aid said he had also tripped and fallen a few days previously.  
Has the council a duty of care or not? If these occurrences had been in a factory or office setting, action would have been taken to prevent further occurrence and injury. Why has the council continued to ignore this problem?
A simple tapering of the kerb is all that is required and would cost little. Sooner or later someone us going to fall and break a hip.

Watchful eye
AT the full council meeting of Herefordshire Council on Friday, May 19, the council’s constitution was debated and approved. 
It was noted that the document clearly stated that the Chief Finance Officer has determined that staff from Hoople Ltd, which is a public business owned by Herefordshire Council and the Wye Valley Trust NHS, would be responsible for writing off all the council’s uncollectable debts up to a certain level.
It should be noted at this juncture that this company provides numerous other services for both partners.
It was at this point that I informed members that Hoople Ltd’s latest accounts for two years to March 31, 2016 stated that the company has accumulated losses of £1.396m and the amount of its pension deficit has gone from £101,000 to £2.7M and its turnover year-on-year has decreased by 8%.
During the financial year 2015/2016, five of the six non-executive directors resigned within just one month, and none of them signed their emolument certificates.
I asked Cllr Tony Johnson, leader of the council, if he would arrange for a council select committee to urgently review the activities of this company, to ascertain who is responsible for monitoring this publicly owned business, and this he readily agreed to do.
I had to obtain this information from Companies House, because members generally have never been briefed with respect to the workings of Hoople Ltd, which is after all financed by us, the taxpayers of this county.
The public may be assured that the Herefordshire Independents will continue to closely monitor ALL council expenditure, to ensure that value for money is obtained at all times.
Credenhill Ward.
Herefordshire Independents
Queenswood Ward.

It’s a town
RECENTLY in the Hereford Times, I have noticed a lot of  “developer speak”. For example; 500 new houses for Bromyard, that’s a new town;  50 houses here, a hamlet; another 150 houses there. that’s a new village. 
Herefordshire’s councillors should insist these developers use the terms of a town to be built, or a village rather than their vague description of 500 houses, 50 houses, 150 houses etc.
I am a hard liner when it comes to the urbanisation of our rural county and don’t want lots of new villages and towns in Hereford.  The 500 houses at Bromyard is on hold at present but will probably go ahead.
In Leominster they have built an acceptable amount of housing behind the railway on scrubland and old goods yard. We want to keep our farmers’ fields but developers should let Hereford remain rural.

Work together
I AM grateful for the hustings arranged by CofE South Wye Rural Parishes at Little Dewchurch on Friday - five of the six candidates came, answering the questioning audience with honesty and positivity. 
It was a heartening experience. 
However, the more I get involved in the political debate, the more troubled I become. 
I believe our common concerns unite us but the complexity of what to do about them is not addressed by sufficiently rigorous debate. 
Narrow belief overlooks consequences. Do we want “Power” versus “Opposition”? 
Involvement needs information and education.
I am left feeling that our party political system with first past the post does not serve us well. 
The divide between those in power and those who feel sidelined is not addressed. 
While the rich can evade policies that inconvenience them, those unable to cope with society are left with anger or depression.
I do not want money and manipulation to sway my vote now, only to be sidelined till the next election. 
What if the vote was compulsory as in Australia?
I believe that democracy needs everyone to be engaged - according to their conscience. 
A single transferable vote would help me in my decision – and might encourage others to feel they have a part to play. 
We really do need to work together in these testing times.

Enjoyable Hay
MY wife and I had a very enjoyable visit to the Hay Festival, last Friday (June 2). 
Sadly but somewhat reassuringly, there were new participants in the form of security guards, who briefly searched us on entering, and armed police officers on patrol.
We saw Peter Frankopan, historian and international best-selling author: intelligent, witty and charmingly self-promoting then Will Self at his acerbic best. 
After tea we went to the BBC tent for an Allan Bennett documentary (he is a former neighbour who wrote to me recently, following our common interest in Elgar). 
Finally, we went to see Hull’s (UK’s City of Culture) Cosey Fanni Tutti, author of ‘Art, Sex, Music’. Her interviewer could have done better but I found her intelligent, engaging and witty. 
However, I think we would disagree on what should be included in terms such as art and culture. 
Nicholas Fairbairn MP once famously claimed that she and her group were ‘Wreckers of Civilisation’. I think that he can safely rest in his grave, at least on this issue.
Following her talk, Cosey and I had a brief chat but I did not bring up her involvement in the City of Culture project. 
However, having heard and read her several times in interviews etc., I think her advice, to current and future aspirants  would be along the lines of:  ‘Be engaging, be adventurous, be yourselves.’ 
I am sure Herefordshire has that well covered. 
Much Cowarne

Major role
MAY I add to the tribute to Paul Keetch in your paper (1/6/17). 
You rightly refer to his strategic role in supporting Herefordshire’s application to be part of the then government’s Education Action Zone (EAZ) policy. 
The award to the county in 1998 was the first rural EAZ, and  allocated up to £1M (including contributions in kind) for each of five years. 
The application involved the mainly rural 22 primary and secondary schools in the south-west sector of Herefordshire, and  was  drawn up by Eddie Oram, the director of education and his officers. Nick Browne (and later Val Dann) were appointed to direct the zone, and in my retirement I was asked to take on the honorary chairmanship of the project. 
The aim of the EAZ was to foster a partnership for sustainable change in identified aspects of educational development among the participating schools. 
A forum of the school leaders and others was established to facilitate collaboration, and  a ‘Patrons Group’ of the heads of the main employers in the county was set up to advise. 
So Paul Keetch’s  intervention made a significant contribution to education in the county at that time.

Inflexible act
A WORD of warning to all Community Wheels drivers. 
On May 18, I expected to pick of a Downs Syndrome client from Corn Square in Leominster and was obliged to park in a disabled space since no other space was available. Because my client was a few moments late this gave the opportunity for some hawk-eyed civil enforcement officer to issue a fine. 
The traffic warden would not rescind the ticket even after explanation; neither would the person in the parking enforcement office.
Since the service we provide is voluntary I feel that some concession is appropriate. 
An insistence on the letter of the law discourages volunteers from giving up their time and having to foot fines in situations which are not of their own making.
I am considering my position as a Community Wheels volunteer thanks to this act of inflexibility.

Council’s say
I AM responding to recent correspondence concerning the opening hours of the Masters House in Ledbury
To start with: all information about access and opening-hours is available on our web-site, in leaflets and in our brochures of events and activities, which is published three times a year. 
As the building belongs to Herefordshire Council, they have the final say about opening hours. 
We must accept that as HC put £2.9 million into the restoration project, which, with the additional funding of £1.7million from HLF, ensured the restoration and on-going viability of this historic building, the council has the final say on its access to the public. 
The events that the Friends organise, beyond the library’s opening hours, have to be arranged for times when HC’s staff in other departments sited in the building are present there. 
Outside these times, we are allowed three other days for events such as Community Day. 
The Friends are most grateful to HC for the support we receive from its officers and staff. 
I must point out that all events in the comprehensive programme are organised, funded and manned by the dedicated team comprising “The Friends of the Master’s House”, of which I have been secretary since 2007. 
It is disappointing in the extreme to receive such criticism after the years of hard work that we have invested in this iconic building, probably the town’s greatest historic treasure. 
Mary Winfield

Time for PR?
ONCE again I have cast my vote, knowing that it makes not the slightest difference to the result in the safe Conservative seat of North Herefordshire.
Is it democratic that millions of us have no meaningful say in the outcome of the election?
There must be proportional representation.

Great effort
THANK you for your article in last week’s paper which highlighted the outstanding Concert by the Band of HM Royal Marines Plymouth in Hereford Cathedral. 
As the evening also commemorated those from, or affiliated with, our beautiful county who lost their lives in the Falklands War, we were honoured and privileged to have with us a number of their relatives. 
We also marked the enduring relationship between our county and the Royal Navy, notably Hereford’s affiliated ship HMS Antelope (sunk in action during the Falklands campaign) and two HMS Ledburys. 
A White Ensign was handed over during the concert and will be displayed in the cathedral later in the year.
The primary purpose though was to raise funds for SSAFA-The Armed Forces Charity and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity. 
Through the kind support of our many sponsors and the outstanding generosity of those who attended the concert, we will be giving over £5,000 to each charity.
Supporting the members of our armed forces, and their families, in times of real need is an absolute necessity and both charities will be able to use these funds to great use in the months to come.
Rear Admiral

A true honour
IT was an honour and privilege to attend a Humanist ceremony to celebrate the life of Flt Lt John Ellis RAF, this afternoon in Hereford. SAC(T) James Williams and I represented RAF Brize Norton, albeit unofficially.
A Flight Engineer, John was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross following a raid in 1944. His aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft fire whilst on a mission to Berlin, and he assisted his pilot in controlling the stricken aircraft.
It was encouraging to find over 100 mourners gathered, following a request for attendees. John’s wife had passed on eight years previously and it had been feared that there would be nobody to send him off. It was more encouraging still, to meet a small contingent from St Athan where John trained, along with a large turnout of veterans.
I hope our war heroes and veterans know they’re remembered and appreciated.
Corporal Aaron Thomas
RAF Brize Norton