Bypass ruin
PEOPLE who think a bypass for Hereford would ruin local business aren’t wrong. 
The other day I was stuck in the normal everyday gridlock and had time to do all my shopping, come back to my car and still have time to go for a coffee with a friend. 
The road became a free car park, just like in the song!
The argument against a bypass is obvious. 
Look how decimated the businesses of Ludlow, Ledbury, Ross and Leominster are. Completely brought to their knees. 
How they wish they hadn’t gone down that “road”!
But it’s strange, because local people I meet through work often say they’d go anywhere but Hereford to do their shopping, because of the terrible traffic! 
In fact, I know one local couple who will drive all the way to Gloucester rather than shop in Hereford!
So maybe in another 40 years we’ll get our bypass. But don’t hold your breath!

Vanity jobs
HEREFORDSHIRE Council appears to spend money it does not have on vanity projects: the new road, overspends on the Blueschool Street offices and an apparent loss selling the Franklin Barnes building. 
We still suffer Blitz-style buildings blighting High Town. 
Our premier building, the Town Hall, still has the front fallen off, and Commercial Road has been dug up again.
How refreshing to find that in Canon Pyon, the main road by the Nags Head, the road has been dug up but the relaying of the trench is a sight to behold. 
It is properly filled in, and is smooth and sealed against winter elements. 
Why cannot all roadworks be of this standard? Am I a tarmac fanatic in my dotage, or do I appreciate good workmanship? I think the latter. 
Perhaps the new parking charges in St Owen Street in November will prod the council to get its front door fixed.
Don’t hold your breath!
Sutton St Nicholas

Traffic kills
WHAT wonderful news for Worcester with South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman’s (roads minister) announcement of £54 million towards a £70 million road construction project described as “the biggest in decades”. 
I say this somewhat oleaginously. The same day the Lancet announced that each year 50,000 people are killed by pollution in the UK. 
On Aylestone Hill, the traffic slowly snakes into the congested city of Hereford. 

Road mistake
FURTHER to my previous letter regarding reduced parking spaces, I write with further observations.
First of all I believe that the new inner link road is being built not for traffic relief but as a service road to feed the urban village. 
As I mentioned before, I think that building on all of the Merton Meadow car park will be an absolute disaster for Hereford’s shops, businesses and Hereford FC.
If you ask any councillor if they would like to see shoppers coming in to the city you would hope the answer would be yes, bearing in mind the amount of empty shops we are blessed with. 
Hereford FC draw an average of 2,500 per game but the club would hope that this would rise as they climb up the leagues. 
An ideal situation for me would be a lot more shoppers coming in to the city and an increase in attendances at Edgar Street
What with reduced car parking and with the absence of park and ride I can’t see this happening.
To be honest and not wishing to be too negative, under this council’s leadership I can see a lot more city centre shops closing.
I can also envisage Hereford FC eventually deciding to leave Edgar Street, smothered out by urban housing and uni student accommodation. 
I honestly don’t think the football club features in the council’s long-term city centre plans. I have no confidence in their integrity and leadership. 

Bad guess
TORY cabinet member Cllr Philip Price (October 26) makes an astonishing admission that the £27 million budgeted for the city link road was just a guess, “a shot in the dark”.
As readers may recall, that’s the film title of a classic Peter Sellers Inspector Clouseau comedy, and there is an inspector in this story too. She is a planning inspector, but this time it’s not funny.
Her report on the 2014 public inquiry into the proposed link road and compulsory purchase orders is clear: “The £27m total cost of the scheme includes construction of the road, land acquisition and compensation…The scheme has been costed following expert advice, and risk adjustments have been made to both income and cost projection to represent a prudent total scheme cost estimate.”
It’s Our County had deep concerns at that 2014 inquiry, about the cost and financing of the link road, but these were all brushed aside by the council and their consultants. We’ve also been asking since June 2016 for cost and budget details on this and other transport schemes or packages. So far, we’ve been given no clear answers.
But now we know the cost of about 800 yards of road has soared to £34.1 million. 
That leaves only £6.5m of the budgeted £13.6m for all the other schemes in the transport package. 
So without yet further overspend how can the transport hub at the station – the ‘active travel measures’ for St Owen Street and Commercial Road – be afforded and delivered?
And why has this capital overspend never been reported to councillors? Cabinet members are each paid a sizeable ‘special responsibility’ allowance. With the 100 per cent extra cost on the Blueschool House refurb so fresh in everyone’s memory, when will they start taking responsibility for such massive overspending of public money? 
But I guess expecting that is just “a shot in the dark” too. 
Ggroup leader
It’s Our County

Street falls
IT seems that there are so many individuals affected by the “non-pavement” in Widemarsh Street, Hereford.
In the County Hospital, I was told that they had had 22 admissions into A&E in the first week of the revamped street. 
I think there are very few people who don’t say, “Oh, I fell there”. It is the depth (or lack of) the kerb which is the problem. 
There is no clear marking of this area from Primark onwards.
If as many people as felt able were to write to the council to complain, and not purely feel very shaken and loathe to face unnecessary “agro”, perhaps some “people-pressure” might help. 
After all, there’s nothing to be lost by writing to Richard Ball, assistant director at Herefordshire Council.
I for one, will not let the matter rest, particularly with the forthcoming winter and anticipated increased risk of falls.

Soldier’s tale
I WAS wondering if your younger readers would, as we draw nearer to Armistice Day on Saturday, November 11, be interested in the  story of the Unknown Soldier? 
On November 7th, 1920, in strictest secrecy four unidentified British bodies were exhumed from 
temporary battlefield cemeteries at Ypres, Arras, the Asine and the Somme. 
None of the soldiers who did the digging were told why. 
The bodies were taken by field ambulance to GHQ at St-Pol-Sur-Ter Noise. 
There the bodies were draped with the union flag. 
Sentries were posted and Brigadier-General Wyatt and a Colonel Gell selected one body at random. 
A French honour guard was selected, and stood by the coffin overnight. 
On the morning of the 8th a specially designed coffin made of oak from the grounds of Hampton Court was brought and the unknown warrior placed inside. 
On top was placed a crusaders sword and a shield on which was inscribed ‘A British Warrior who fell in the GREAT WAR 1914-1918 for King and Country’.
On the 9th of November the unknown warrior was taken by horse-drawn carriage through guards of honour and the sound of tolling bells and bugle calls to the quayside. 
There it was saluted by Marechal Foche and loaded onto HMS Vernon bound for Dover.
The coffin stood on the deck covered in wreaths and surrounded by the French honour guard.
On arrival at Dover the the unknown warrior was greeted with a 19-gun salute, normally only reserved for field marshals. He then travelled by special train to Victoria Station London. 
He stayed there overnight and on the morning of the 11th of November he was taken to Westminster Abbey. 
The idea of the unknown warrior was thought 
of by a padre called David Railton, who had served at the front during the Great War 
and it was the Union flag he 
used as an altar cloth at the front that had been draped over the coffin.
It was his intention that all relatives of the 517,773 combatants whose bodies had not been identified could believe that the unknown warrior could very well be their lost husband, father, brother or son.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them...

Left alone
AS an extremely proud ambassador for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, I would like to bring to your attention some recent research that the charity has carried out, which looks at loneliness and isolation experienced by working-aged veterans in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Many of my closest friends are from the Forces community, both currently serving and veterans. It saddens and horrifies me that so many of our brave servicemen and women are dealing with these devastating circumstances alone.
The research shows an alarming rate of isolation and despondency amongst younger veterans. 
More than a third reported that they felt overwhelmed by negative feelings since leaving the Armed Forces and just over a quarter have experienced suicidal thoughts.
Reasons for this isolation include losing touch with friends and colleagues in the Armed Forces, physical or mental health issues and struggling to relate to people in civilian life. 
In fact, a third of veterans agreed that it was difficult to open up to people from a non-military background and almost a quarter admitted to struggling to fit into civilian life.
Many of our veterans are facing relationship breakdown, substance abuse, homelessness and mental health issues, without the relevant help and support. This is just not acceptable.
I have seen this isolation and loneliness first hand. I have had the great privilege of listening to their stories, and being welcomed into their community like one of their own, and that really is an honour. 
I feel it is my duty, not just as an ambassador of SSAFA but as a human being, to do all I can to help. 
Our country owes a debt of gratitude to our Armed Forces, and that includes our veterans. They have had our back and I believe that as a society, it’s time that we had theirs. Surely this is the very least they deserve? 
I encourage any local veterans who are struggling, to come forward and get help from SSAFA.
SSAFA has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Every year our staff and team of volunteers help more than 65,000 people, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts. 
To support SSAFA’s fight against this invisible enemy, please visit
SSAFA Ambassador and Coronation Street star

Broiler rows
YOUR Comments column on the Letters pages of the Hereford Times on October 12 raises issues that need a response.
Herefordshire evidently now enjoys the honour of having more intensive/factory farming units than any other county in the UK.  
There is said to be a need for even more, and farmers feel that intensive farming, and in particular broiler sheds, is a solution to their low profitability.  
So they once again put themselves in the pocket of a vast corporate international master who controls the price of every aspect of the process. Just as the supermarkets and other corporate brokers and organisations have done with them in the past.
Even the NFU are preaching that this is the way to go, giving McDonald’s and their need for more chicken as a reason for more broiler sheds in Herefordshire.
So, if we are to continue 
down this road, why cannot a balance be sought between residents and the farmers on location of these units. 
Why cannot Herefordshire Council take the initiative and issue some guidelines giving parameters which are more balanced between the factions affected by this issue?  
The Environment Agency had a guideline that intensive units should be located at least 400 metres from the nearest neighbour. This no longer appears on their website for some reason, but it recognised that these units bring an intensity of odours, dust, noise and traffic that needs to be isolated.
Now, in Knapton, units are proposed only 150 metres from the nearest neighbours.  
Ordinary mortals who live in the countryside recognise farmers need to make a living, but farmers should recognise the need to be a good neighbour also and imposing these factory units near residents is not going to be accepted without voices being raised.