Help traders
I WOULD like to draw your attention to the noticeable reduction of footfall in the city of Hereford, and for us particularly in Church Street.  
We as a business moved to this lovely street five years ago from Union Street, which had became very run down with takeaway businesses, and as an independent jewellers we wanted to still trade within this lovely city.
Unfortunately, we have now found that with the ongoing road works, road closures and the constant upheaval for the local people to get into the city the footfall has fallen drastically.  
This time of the year should be the busiest for the trade, but we find that what customers do get in through the door are frustrated, not only because of the queueing, but the parking charges.  
We feel as a trader within this town the council has become so short-sighted by installing parking meters in King Street and the surrounding area.  
This parking was perfect for those customers to pop in and get their shopping from the centre of town.
Over the last few years, and with no help from the council, we have formed in Church Street and King Street an Independent Quarter, and support each other through social media and regular meetings.  
The BID have contributed and helped this area as best they can. 
The only signage to this historical part of the city is what we the traders have put up ourselves at our expense.
We feel that the council have completely forgotten there is another trading side to this city and one that should be celebrated, especially as we have a fantastic cathedral close by.  
This awful decision regarding parking meters should be reviewed, either altering the timing and pricing or completely removing the meters, and needs be addressed urgently.  
I really feel if this is not heard then the council will have no trade within this town and certainly not an Independent Quarter, which we have worked so hard to form.  
Scrap the fees
I'M not sure I can add much to the eloquent representations made on behalf of small businesses in Hereford city centre.
The impact of the recently introduced parking charges, accompanied by the diminished amount of time people may leave their cars, has undoubtedly had an immediate impact on trade.
If unaddressed it will have a significantly damaging and long-term detrimental effect on the ability of those businesses to make Hereford the place we all want it to be – vibrant, welcoming and successful.
I appreciate that the council needs money, but perhaps a more rigorous approach to its own internal audit functions might alleviate some of the pressure. 
I doubt parking charges will come anywhere near to making up the shortfall caused by the Blueschool House debacle.

Park where?
IT was interesting to note that on the day Hereford FC played Telford in the FA Cup the council felt the need to temporarily reopen the bottom part of the Merton Meadow car park. 
The extra 300 places were very much welcome and added to the 200 spaces that still exist, for the moment anyway. 
By reopening those car park spaces is that basically an admission by the council that there is a requirement for car park space? 
When they build their urban housing on the Merton Meadow car park all 500 spaces will be lost for good. 
When more residential parking restrictions kick in to place the cars affected will need to find car park spaces.
We will also need to find parking for the students attending the inner city uni buildings such as the Shire Hall.
Metered street parking and the reduced parking time in streets close to the centre could also see more car park spaces required. 
Am I missing something here or do others feel the same way? 
Traffic trouble
I AM not a highway engineer, and as a complete layman, I sincerely hope that the expensive new Hereford City Link Road will reduce congestion and delays at the junction of Aylestone Hill and Commercial Street. 
However, if it proves to be a costly, over-engineered and under-considered mistake, the council should put on hold all other major road projects until they have been properly thought through. 
It seems that whenever there’s a traffic problem, the council’s first “bright idea” gets written in stone and never gets proper re-consideration (to avoid an utter shambles, the council may like to delay the opening of the new link until the school holidays).

Print's return
WITH reference to my recent letter regarding Chapters Bookshop, Union Street, Hereford, I have heard that the shop is to remain open. 
Customer numbers have increased and there are plans to open for four days a week.
At the moment the shop is open on Thursdays and Fridays, but it is hoped that it will also open on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the near future. 
Due to its recent restricted opening, the shop has had fewer donations of books and is in need of new stock. 
If you have any books you would like to donate then I am sure that you will receive a warm welcome. 
You might even find a sought-after book to buy.

Ugly guttering 
I UNDERSTAND that the Blueschool council office building redevelopment overspent the original budget by almost 100 per cent, but who on earth granted permission for the new ugly white guttering all over the outside of the building?
This building was the home for the planning department, and I have dealt with that department for many years on the who, what, why, where and how of any development we are doing in our home and business and having to prove the authenticity of our build.
I certainly want to ask the planners who was responsible for agreeing these atrocious white guttering additions.
I am just hoping the guttering is all temporary and they will be replaced soon with the correct colour and look. Ironically, this will also ensure we keep with the 100 per cent overspend too!

Bad message
TALK about a swarm of traffic wardens! 
Patrolling the new restrictions in Castle Street, they almost outnumber the parked cars. 
I wonder whether the extra staffing costs and the proliferation of new metal parking signs around town have been offset against the massive increases in revenue one assumes the council is predicting from this questionable initiative? 
It is commonly accepted that the best way to stimulate retail sales is to make parking easy and cheap. 
Herefordshire Council has succeeded yet again in ignoring an obvious truth, making life harder still for traders in the centre of town and encouraging more of us to steer clear of Hereford altogether.
Rail requests

WHILE waiting for my train at Hereford Railway Station I noticed a metal plaque on the wall commemorating the fact that a Mr Pence was the architect who designed the station in the year 1856.
I myself used to work for British Rail as a fitter, Birmingham Saltley, way back in the late Sixties before I went into the Merchant Navy.
I am interested in railway history since all of my family were involved in the industry.
I was just wondering if readers know of any Pence family in or around the Hereford area?
I would appreciate any information.
Patrick Richardson
Upalong Cottage
Pitmans Lane
Proctor's call
I WONDERED if it might be possible to put an appeal in the Hereford Times in case there are people out there who may have had relatives working on building Proctor lorries at Praill’s of Hereford between 1949 and 1952.
Proctor started building the lorries in Norwich after the war but only made about 200 up to 1949.
Praill’s Motors were the agents for the lorries for the area and then bought out the lorry production and continued building them until 1952 when the spares ran out. 
This is the part of the story that is at the moment a complete blank with no idea how many men worked on the project or how many lorries were produced.
If any readers have any information that could complete the story please send it to me. 
Larry King
68 Barnfield Crescent

Wide views
WITH reference to Toni Fagan's letter (November 30), I enjoyed the Quentin Letts feature, and along with many other people, including its readers, I consider the Daily Mail to be a perfectly good paper. 
The Hereford Times should continue to reflect a wide range of views.

Spread hate
IT seems that Toni Fagan has an axe to grind with Quentin Letts (Hereford Times, November 30) and seems to be the one indoctrinating hate and division, and is probably a Left-wing Guardian reader.
N Jones

Works return
WELL, here I am again. What did I say in my last letter about the state of Ross Road?
It was closed again for five nights (beginning November 27). 
Are the highways authority going to get it right this time?
My main gripe this time is all the traffic being diverted along Pentwyn Avenue and Hillside Avenue. 
Don't these people realise that residents have to park in the road, which means chaos when some motorists are not courteous enough to let others through. 
Why can't Ross road have had temporary traffic lights since I have noticed that the road is only being worked on one side at a time. 
Is this another case of health and safety gone mad. 
Let's hope this is the final time.

Money goes
WE are about to see great changes, in 2019, when the money that comes from central government to local authorities will end. 
Then all the money the local authority needs will come from local ratepayers. 
Herefordshire Council is £238 million in debt. It will simply not be able to pay for services we now take for granted. 
The commonly held belief of the local authority is that communities, volunteers, will fill that vacuum. 
I feel they, and all of us are in for a big shock.
There is no financial gain for the volunteer. 
All they expect is appreciation, recognition, respect, and most of all, support. 
But when the support ceases so will, I believe, the eagerness to volunteer.
My gut feeling is that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of volunteering.
I believe the same will happen to charity. Charity has become big business, where the chief executive of most national charities receives a six-figure salary (more than the prime minister).

Marxist maths
WHAT a shock I had opening the Hereford Times to see the grinning face of the Marxist John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor here in Hereford hosting a dinner at the Left Bank.
I urge all your readers especially the young to “do the maths" and take lessons on Marx, who along with McDonnell wished to see the end of capitalism.
If the younger generation could research with a few lessons on Lenin, Mao and Pol Pot and then face up to their flirtation of Labour and its totalitarian ideology of the far Left.
Never mind the much exaggerated threat of Brexit to the country, the biggest threat to Britain is the Labour Party, who if they get into power and start their fanciful spending and borrowing and re-nationalising the successful utility companies will undoubtedly send us all up the creek without a paddle.

Spring is here
I WAS absolutely delighted to find a primrose in full bloom in my section of the beautiful garden at Great Western Court, Hereford. 
It was spotted last month and I am sure must be first to show us that spring is on the way.