Debate is vital
YOUR article of September 7 (Plea for vital debate over homes) raises profound concerns that a large planning application in Leominster is to be decided by officers and not by a planning committee comprised of elected representatives. 
The quoted justification from a Herefordshire Council spokesman is both inadequate and inaccurate. 
Outline permission was given to housing on the site in 2005, more than a decade ago. 
Since that time there have been major changes to planning policies and guidance both locally and nationally; Herefordshire’s UDP has been replaced by a new Local Plan and new legislation and planning guidelines have been published such as the Localism Act and the National Planning Policy Framework. 
This is a ground for committee involvement as specified in Herefordshire Council’s constitution. 
Why is the constitution being ignored and on whose authority?
The Herefordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has submitted an objection drawing attention to serious omissions and flaws of material concern in the application.
In particular there is a lack of an up-to-date professionally produced Environmental Impact Assessment which is obligatory for a development of this magnitude.
The Herefordshire Council spokesman appears to belittle the concerns of the public. Has he not noticed that some of the objections are from bodies well qualified to make professional judgements about the poor quality of the application? 
In addition, at least two council officers have written with unambiguous objections.
The three Herefordshire Councillors cited in your article were elected to represent Leominster. 
In this instance, they are speaking not only for their constituents but also for many other Herefordshire residents who consider the apparently arbitrary and opaque decision-making process identified in this case completely unacceptable.  
Richard Williams
Chair, Herefordshire CPRE
Shucknall Hill

Just say sorry
Following the comments in the Hereford Times, by the Leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr Tony Johnson, it should be remembered by your readers, and Cllr Johnson, that the point of having a cabinet is to hold individual members of cabinet to account for their decisions and actions!
Honourable leaders apologise, even if not directly responsible, because with cabinet responsibility for all political decisions, the electorate want in such cases as Blueschool House, a figure that they can look to for reassurance.
It is quite right that the Chief Executive should have apologised, but it is politicians that the public associate with, and elect to represent them. 
To treat the public with contempt, brings all councillors in to disrepute.
Public disquiet about Blueschool House appears to cross political divides, from conversations I have had. 
It may be the leader does not mix with ‘Jo Public’, but the public have had to bear so many cuts in services and benefits, that they are very angry when they witness such money wasted and none of the elected members will accept responsibility.
Opposition councillors apologise to the public that we were not in a position to prevent this scandal.
We know that eventually Cllr Johnson will do the honourable thing too, and apologise for the mishaps of the council that he leads.
Cllr Chris Chappell.
Hinton & Hunderton Ward.
Herefordshire Council.

How to save
It is very clear from the recent correspondence with HT that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction about the massive and unauthorised overspend on the latest set of new council offices in Blueschool St. 
Sadly though, much like all government misdemeanours, no-one ever seems to come up with a satisfactory solution which makes those responsible pay.
I have just been scrutinising the salaries of the senior employees of Herefordshire Council and have come up with the following suggestion. 
The top 13 earn £1,225,193 between them (not including their share of a total of £600,000 of allowances). 
If they could find their way to forfeit 10% of their bloated salary for the next eight years, I have calculated that the sum of £977,752 would be repaid - shortfall eliminated. 
I am not holding my breath, but I am stating categorically that I, as a Council Tax payer am not prepared to fill the council's deficit by an increase in next year's tax. 
Does anyone agree?
Jeff Burkin
Whitehouse Way, Hereford.

Is it fantastic?
In his audacity, Herefordshire Council leader's description of the council's financial management on his watch is indeed fantastic (HT October 5, 2017). 
The external auditors' report to which he refers uses the word fantastic only once, and that is with regard to the fantastical achievement of a planned savings of £10m. 
How could anyone describe the council's financial management itself as being fantastic? 
It is a ludicrous statement. 
The auditors state that the draft accounts are non-compliant. 
Three material uncertainties remain unresolved; key sample data was often incomplete and difficult to follow; and the delays in progressing the audit were worse than in previous years. 
The auditors conclude that next year's draft accounts will be similarly non-compliant unless there are major changes in how the council authorises and records its actual spending allocations. 
The report is a wake-up call to the council to get its act together. 
Victoria Wegg-Prosser
Warham House, Breinton.

Slow down
Please slow down though Callow.
Having lived in Callow all my life I can speak with knowledge of the development of our once quiet country lanes into a “Rat Run”.  
Although previously the Hereford Times has written about the roads through Callow, the response on the Hereford Times forum was one of negativity and advising us to remove “silver spoons”.  
The point the villagers are trying to get across was not wanting to stop traffic coming through, but to ask people to slow up.
There is minority of drivers that come through Callow on daily basis exceeding the speed limits and showing little respect for roads conditions. 
The times that we witness drivers arguing by the village hall or door mirrors being hit, all due to drivers going through this area without slowing down.  
The road narrows here to the point you do have to give way to each other. 
In the last six months there have been six accidents in this specific area. 
Callow villagers are at their wits end now to what to do we have spoken to our Parish Council, which we have done for over 10 years, police are aware of concerns and we have had a meeting with Jesse Norman.  
Yet, Hereford Council and Highways
do nothing! 
Does it take a fatality for the something to be done?    
Drivers please observe the speed limits and stay within them.
This could help to preserve a life.
Liz Langford 
Our example
I READ with interest your news article concerning Mr Griffin on October 5 (Hereford is the problem - not me).
The city of Hereford has one of the best and safest night time economies in the country. 
This is down to the hard and diligent work of the door staff of all the pubs and clubs within the city and some outside of the city.
If you come into the city and fail to behave in a reasonable manner you will not get away with it. 
As Chairman of the Licenscing and Regulatory committee I have observed first hand the professional way in which the night time economy is handled and how anyone wanting to cause trouble is dealt with. 
Persistent trouble makers are well known and will not be tolerated.
Mr Griffin said: " I have been up and down the country and had no problem anywhere else".
I too have visited "other parts of the country" to get a firsthand look at how other towns and cities handle the Night Time economy and have been repeatedly told that they are in awe of the way in which the city of Hereford works.
I would dare to suggest that in other parts of the country you may get away with it but NOT in Hereford thanks to the diligent door staff who operate to keep the night time economy a safe and welcome place to be. 
If 'Hereford is the problem' then I would simply ask why other towns and cities want to learn from us and copy what we do.
The Herefordshire council licensing team, the police,and our door staff deserve all the credit for the high standards we enjoy in the city.
Cllr Dave Greenow
Hagley Ward

Parking poser
IT is no wonder that the council are so keen to introduce city centre street parking charges, the income will go someway to make up the loss of revenue in the Merton Meadow car park.
Many may still be unaware that the proposed urban village will cover the whole of the car park, not just part. 
I am not against the idea of an urban village as such but covering up all of a much needed car park doesn't make sense. 
What about leaving some of the car park and building some of the urban housing on the old Saunders Vale site near Widemarsh Common which has been vacant for years. 
We have already lost one car park in Blackfriars Street which was purchased along with other buildings by Herefordshire Housing and I also remember Gaol Street car park being named as one of the options for university buildings. 
When the residential parking restrictions kick in there will be a requirement for more car park space,the cars will not just disappear. 
In the absence of a park and ride scheme there is a need to keep car park space, if they don't it will have an adverse effect on the amount of shoppers coming in to the city and to the support of Hereford FC. 
A large percentage of the supporters live outside of the city. 
If I were a shopper living in Ludlow and had a choice of shopping in a place with an excellent park and ride like Shrewsbury or fighting over the last place in the Horse and Groom pub car park, I know which one I would choose.
Dave Pearson

Chance lost
ONE wonders what it will take for Hereford council and its planners to wake up. 
Recently prestige estate agents moved out of Hereford. 
So too has Starbucks, Thorntons and others. Yet there is constant reference to parking charges and other restrictions.
When will the wake up call be answered. 
Will potential home owners for all the planned houses react positively to a dying town without a premium feel?
The answers is no. What a missed opportunity.
Michael Parsons
Woodlands Lyonshall

Ten out of ten
I HAD an appointment for an x-ray at 10am at Hereford County Hospital last week.
I arrived at 9.15am and was taken straight into x-ray. 
I had the x-rays taken and was out at 9.25am before I travelled home and was back sat in the kitchen at 9.45am with a cup of tea. 
I read so many times people moaning about the staff and departments at the hospital it makes me sick. 
Have these people who moan stopped to think there are other people whom need to be seen and may have more problems than them so need to have more time being seen. 
My service was 10 out 10 – thank you. 
People have busy lives and have forgotten how to wait. 
Just be patient your turn will come. 
Andrew N Hodges 
Grosmont Grove, Hereford 

Who to help?
EVERY week I read stories of people who do wonderful things to raise funds for their chosen charities and I applaud them whole heartily. 
How ever it saddens me that in this day and age the charities that we rely on to keep us safe, well and healthy still have to rely on public contributions to survive. 
Cancer charities, heart charities, the homeless, and the Air Ambulance to name but a few. 
Isn't it time we started using our Foreign Aid Budget to help our own people. 
India has its own Space Programme but we send them aid and others. 
I think its about time we funded some of these charities especially The Air Ambulance. 
They save hundreds of lives every year but without the public donating it wouldn't exist. 
Time to put it on a par with the ambulance.
Paul Jackson
Ethelstan Crescent, Hereford

Great work
WE were pleasantly surprised while attending our parent’s graves at Leominster cemetery to see how much tidier the grass had been cut.
Congratulations to Leominster Council and their new contractor.