Farm madness
IF matters now progress, as the council intends, virtually the entire estate of publicly-owned Herefordshire farms will soon be owned by private individuals, and forever lost from public-ownership. 
It appears that the direct cost to Herefordshire tax-payers of ‘disposing’ of its property will be in excess of £1million pounds. 
Additionally, it appears that some tenants are going to be given council-owned houses and land, etc, ‘in exchange’ for handing-back some of the publicly-owned lad that they have, and which they can then sell for substantial personal gain.
Arguably, some of these tenants have enjoyed favourable rental occupations, subsidised by the Herefordshire tax-payer, for many years, and now have the added benefit of effectively being given the properties they have lived in. Wouldn’t we all like that.
The option for young people in Herefordshire to get started in farming, by way of council farms, will also be forever lost. All this, apparently, because the council has got itself in debt.
Land is generally an appreciating asset; and considered a good investment. 
This is about to be lost to the people of Herefordshire, for some 4,000 acres of prime agricultural land and some very desirable country residences. 
How long before this money is all gone, and on what?
If you think any of the above should not be happening, contact your MP and local councillor (and local paper!). You’re either for it happening, or against it. (Doing nothing is the same as being for it).

Evidence free
Councillor Anthony Johnson asks (letters July 13) how much more evidence is needed?
When money is as tight as it is due to his friends in Westminster cutting financial support for local authorities - a responsible council should indeed base spending decisions on hard evidence. 
But, Mr. Johnson’s letter is evidence-free. 
He simply repeats the opinions expressed by consultants engaged at our expense to support his mantra of economic growth at all costs.
Fortunately there is now real evidence about the effectiveness (or not) of road building in England which Herefordshire Council, would do well to consider. 
The CPRE report, The End of the Road, found that of 25 road schemes justified on the basis that they would benefit the local economy, only five had any direct evidence of economic effects at all. 
Even then there was no evidence the road was responsible for them, or hadn’t simply moved economic activity from elsewhere.
With such a low success rate elsewhere, why should we believe a bypass would provide economic benefits for Herefordshire? 
Robert Palgrave
How Caple

Homes excess
HAVING read and then re-read the letter from AW Johnson several times regarding various reasons Hereford needs a bypass and space for 6,500 new houses to ensure its future, I am given to wonder how it has been able to survive so well over the last 2,000 years.
That it needs a bypass is beyond dispute but so many extra houses could entirely change the character of not only the city but of a far wider area – probable result: a Hereford version of Milton Keynes.
As regards an eastern bypass along the Lugg flood plain, why not construct it slightly elevated to allow free passage of water beneath – no ugly embankment and SSSI interests hardly affected.
I suspect that both long established and newcomers to Hereford (including me) like it as it is and would not wish its basic character to be fundamentally changed. 

Who to blame
THE Herefordshire roads are my workplace, transporting patients around the county and sometimes beyond. 
I have only lived in this area for around 30 years, so am a relative newcomer. 
But one thing puzzles me. 
There is no Hereford Bypass! 
Even the smallest villages have one. From Ledbury down to Pontrilas
Some of the patients I meet say it’s been discussed for 40 years!
My worry is that before long someone will die in an emergency ambulance because, due to Hereford gridlock, the paramedics can’t get to the county hospital in time.
Then who do we blame? 
Our council, our MP or the government?
Ocle Pychard

How to move
SINCE I left London recently in my early 60s, after 37 years as a Londoner, to live nearer to relatives in Hereford, I have found the pace of life and the people very accommodating and refreshing, like the air, the scenery and the Choose How You Move initiative.
That was even before my walking home from Argos/Sainsbury’s, heavy-laden with ‘click and collect’ purchases on a very hot afternoon and asking a stranger with a bike if I was heading in the right direction for the Belmont Road (A465) toward my home. 
Rowan, the cyclist in question, said that I was headed in the right direction but obviously in need of help with my load. (Just one of my two ‘flat pack’ purchases would have been ‘a handful’.) 
Eventually, with my load perched across ‘Good Samaritan’ Rowan’s cycle saddle, we steered my load together for over a mile to my door, a journey that took us some time but not nearly as long as the eternity-if-ever that it would have done for this one determined pedestrian. (He was on his way to a cold beer with a friend, and thus declined my offer of a drink on that occasion.)
Hereford’s promotion of public foot-and-cycle paths under Ministry of Transport ‘choose how you move’ initiative served as gatekeeper to my meeting with Rowan under extreme circumstances and I was very lucky that afternoon with what turned out to be more bulky than my regular Co-op shop. 
Of course, with a car park on the grounds, the Argos, Hereford staff would have assumed that I was a driver as they saw me take my ‘click and collect’ lot away. 
Online retail outlets provide the dual convenience of 1) letting customers know when something is in stock, and 2) on-demand ordering when it is not. Perhaps though, they could be more accommodating toward customers, environment and community?
Their noting whether an item is ‘pedestrian-friendly’ could help not only prevent mishaps such as my recent ‘click and collect’ overload, but also promote healthier ways of living. 
It might even help reduce the number of car journeys into central Hereford and resultant traffic snarl-ups.
Alan Wheatley

Whitter away

I have read Cllr Johnson’s rant and was reminded of how foreigners speak when locals do not understand their gibberish: foreigners shout even louder as if this adds clarity to the situation. It does not. 
Johnson’s first nonsense is that the Western Relief Road is a ‘bypass’. The term will not be found in the Core Strategy or the Inquiry - only the terms Relief Road and WRR appear. 
In fact ‘bypass’ has not been used since 1992 when the scheme died a timely death. How cunning that the council are now trying to revive the corpse in their recent rhetoric. 
Plus, Cllr Johnson understands very well that the entire River Wye is a SSSI, SAC and has floodplain constraints. 
To suggest that going west is the ‘only viable option’ is a reckless conclusion for the leader of this council to whitter especially when there are already well-used roads across the Lugg floodplain to Worcester and Ledbury.
Further, the consultation periods for the SWTP or the WRR didn’t advise us that the real reason for wasting millions on a titanic tarmacadam atrocity is not to ‘reduce congestion and delay’, ‘enable access to HEZ’, ‘reduce the growth in emissions, traffic noise and accidents’ and to ‘encourage physical activity,’ but ‘more importantly’ as Cllr Johnson now admits, to open up land to build 6500 new homes! 
If that is really the most important reason for the SLR and the WRR, I suggest the council admit that they have lied to the good folks of this county and begin looking at ways to facilitate what the majority of Herefordians really want: an effective, sustainable transport system for short journeys in and out of Hereford City.
Kate Sharp

East is best
The council leader’s ludicrously vague and fact-free letter is most revealing in what it does not say about the relief road (incidentally, not a bypass).
The business community want an eastern approach towards the commercial opportunities of the Midlands and the issues surrounding the floodplain can be overcome. 
How Herefordshire Council, with its multimillion pound deficit, can contemplate a project of up to £200million without assured funding (or, possibly, relying on the next two generations of Herefordians to pay for it) questions the mind-set of those in charge. 
A fraction of this sum would go a long way in overcoming the pinch-points in the city’s traffic problems. 
A more creative approach is required of our council. Mr Johnson ends by saying “how much more evidence is needed?”
Indeed let us see the evidence of need, financial, environmental and social. 
Richard Wise

Messy centre

Hereford High Town needs to clean up their streets! 
Whilst in town on Saturday myself and my family were disappointed in how dirty and unkept the centre of town was. 
There was rubbish, cigarette butts and all the new paving that has been put in was filthy. 
A few days later I was walking in the Old Market and what a difference! 
The pavements were glistening and staff were out picking up rubbish. 
What a contrast. You wouldn’t believe that literally a five minute walk from one aide of town to another could be so different. 
Whoever is responsible for the High Town area should take a lead out of the Old Markets book. 
Where has the pride gone in High Town to promote and have clean streets? 
It doesn’t encourage visitors and tourists to come back and spend their money.
Jenny King
Birley Stable

No more cuts
It is ironic that while The Royal Horticultural Society is encouraging people to maintain and create areas in their gardens to preserve native plant species the roadside verges all over Herefordshire are brutally cut at the height of the flowering season. 
Except in the few cases where a traffic hazard exists this is totally unnecessary (as well as being costly). 
All that results is an unsightly mulch of dead vegetation. Humans are deprived of the beauties and scents of the countryside in summer and pollinating insects lose a vital resource.
Roadside verges are some of the last refuges of our endangered wild flowers,whose rapid decline on farmland should be of deep concern to all. 
Even in Herefordshire most of the green fields and meadows are featureless monocultures and hedges and scrub are being cleared for industrial agriculture.
Is Herefordshire in danger of destroying its major asset in the way the intensively-farmed east of England did 50 years ago?
This county could be a beacon for biodiversity and sustainable farming,but it seems we are hell-bent on a route of bland uniformity and unsuitable development. 
Surely we could at least start by safeguarding our verges ,churchyards and commons as places for nature?
Thane Meldrum,

Great service
I HAD occasion to visit the A&E Department on June 28 following an accident, and returned for a second visit on July 3. 
On both occasions I was seen by Shaun (Bree?) and I wish to detail in writing what outstanding treatment I received. 
I did not have to wait long, my treatment was not hurried, but I was given the attention I needed and not released until Shaun was confident it was safe for me to do so. 
What overwhelmed me most of all was his kindness and consideration, going, I felt, well beyond the call of duty. 
I cannot express how grateful and impressed I was. 
What an asset he must be in a unit which must be under incredible pressure at all times.
I was also seen by Mr Kovacevic in the Fracture Clinic. Again the attention I received went beyond the call of duty. One hears so much criticism of the NHS service, I felt it important to be a voice to record the good. 

Cycle safely
IT’S a good idea to have a cycle track along St Owen’s Street, although quite a few use it now (without a care in the world).
Dangerous if you happen to be pulling out from a parking space.
Coniston Walk


Poetic warning
“In spite of not having a clue
Politicians want something to do:
“In nine years or more
“We won’t be in power:
“Spend your billions to build HS2”
George Richardson