Council spend

Before Christmas last, I can recall that Herefordshire Council were pledged to carry out an internal investigation into the £1 Million overspend incurred on the new Council complex in Blue School Street.

The Cabinet member for Contracts and Assets, Councillor Harry Brammer, should surely have had time to “Pin Point” a “Fall guy/gal” by now, who he can offload responsibility for this major debacle.

I hope that the usual tactic, used on such occasions of vacillation and obfuscation, will not be employed to mislead the rate payers' attention away from the gross mismanagement that took place.

Please can Herefordshire Council publish, at their earliest convenience, what happened with the project and who is to be held responsible.

This cash strapped County can ill afford the significant financial waste incurred on the project and we must be confident that this situation will not occur again.

Patrick Hughes, Ross-on-Wye


Three of us residents from Winforton spent 1 1/2 hours collecting litter from the layby and grass verges to the east of our village. There were beer bottles, plastic bottles, rusty tins, and grossly dirty babies nappies. What mindless people are too lazy to take their rubbish home. Not only is it unsightly, but cows in the adjoining field could ingest the plastic. We thought we had carried out a thankless task for our community and drove seven miles to Kington thinking we could leave it in the general waste. We were told it was a "Recycling Centre" and to take it home for it was Hereford Council's job. What a farce, so now it is back in the layby, likely to spread again if Balfour Beatty don't act.

After reporting it on the webpage and a subsequent telephone call, I quite expected an immediate response by Balfour Beatty Highways Team to avert further spread of these hazardous items. Why, if there is a general rubbish skip at Kington Recycling to collect waste for landfill, were we told to bring it home for collection with our household waste?

Perhaps the government's idea of a surcharge on bottles and tins is the answer, or just good citizenship to not throw waste in the first place.

Susan Warne, Winforton

Lost heritage

I refer to last week’s  article ‘Fitting Tribute’ and would add support to the suggestion that the Rotherwas Munitions site should be recognized as a unique Herefordshire heritage landscape.

 In 2010 a group of Herefordians, fearing the site might be demolished, applied to the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport for listing.  This application was sadly rejected as was an appeal, on the grounds that: “a complete pattern of production on site can no longer be traced”

 Herefordshire Council then took up the challenge but did not achieve the £2 million lottery funding.

 Let us not forget that the next quarter of a century will witness the demise of this generation and with no physical focus, the brave deeds performed in the defence of our country, mainly by women, will be erased from the City’s folklore.

The last remaining building is an empty shell shed which was fully operational from November 1916 and continued to serve as an empty shell until the end of World War 2, thus providing a perfect site and opportunity to capture this hidden aspect of  Hereford’s history. 

Julie Orton-Davies, Local Historian

Stop digging

The 2018 increase relating to the Garway Parish Precept was of a staggering 39.6%. Reference to the previous years' statement reveals an increase of £6,586.

My first thoughts were that this annual gift of £17,160 from the Council Tax payers would be used for the benefit of the inhabitants of Garway, but underneath that magnanimity lurks thoughts of a more critical nature.

An alternative use for this public money would be to divert it towards paying off the extortionate legal costs that have accrued due to misguided attempts to wrest control of Garway commons away from the Lord of the Manor, whose solicitor, in 2003, informed Garway Council that it had no legal claim on this land.

In 2014 the Parish Council obtained a legal opinion which advised them against pursuing this case and for this they were charged £6000.  In 2015 a further charge of £3000 was made the reason for which was undisclosed. In 2017 Garway Parish Council sought even more legal advice which once again appeared to be inconclusive. This useless information was to cost a further £13,980. Together with their legal advisers they may consider this to be good value for money but many Council Tax payers of Garway will disagree.

With the parish Council repeatedly going into 'closed session' away from the public gaze it is almost impossible to know what goes on behind these closed doors but up to April 2017 the cost of this venture appears to be £22,980. It may well be that further legal costs are in the offing, therefore I pose the question – is this an appropriate use of public money?

My unsolicited advice to Garway Parish Council can only be, 'When you find yourself in a deep hole, stop digging!'

Brian Thomas, Garway

Who wins?

Nick Spencer (letters, March 20) aptly links North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin’s desire for ‘press regulation’ with disclosures about the MP/would-be-censor's own offshore financing interests. Nick Spencer also notes that offshore investments detract from the financial wellbeing of the NHS.

Beyond regulation – or stifling – of media output, a 21st century citizenship skill is analysing news media and official communications for bias, which brings me to address my own first direct contact observation regarding the supposed ‘public consultation’ promoting Herefordshire County Council’s (HCC) ‘Hereford Transport Package’ proposal of a bypass.

At the foot of its cover page, pre-eminent among the report/’consultation’ proposer logos is the combo of ‘Balfour Beatty/Herefordshire Council: “Working for Herefordshire,” with Balfour Beatty’s logo the more prominent.

Media analysis includes identifying the source and who is likely to gain if a report is believed. So, if the “Hereford needs a bypass” narrative is believed, who stands to gain? Moreover regarding the capital-intensive nature of any bypass route starting before HCC elections 2019, who stands to lose when Tory central government funding of local authorities ceases altogether?

Alan Wheatley, Hereford & South Herefordshire Green Party

Better sites

Your coverage of the planning application for a 3G football pitch on Broadlands Lane misrepresents those of us who are fighting the proposal. Our group has nothing against these facilities. We just don't believe that they are a suitable thing to be dropped into a residential area, given the noise and light they have to generate for 85 hours a week to cover their costs. We're not so much NIMBY as NIABY - such a facility should Not be In Anyone's Back Yard.

Aylestone Park, Halo at the Race Course, Lad's Club, Whitecross Specialist Sports School - the list of apparently better places with little to no residential impact is long, but the HFA won't tell us why they insist on Aylestone School, surrounded by houses and in a conservation area.

We support the provision of sport and any other facilities the young people of the county. Not wanting the peace of our homes and gardens to be spoiled for 85 hours per week does not make us an obstacle to youth. Perhaps the clear-thinking councillor Marcelle Lloyd-Hayes supported the skate park because it provided a brilliant new facility but didn't ruin the peace of any existing homes? Surely the intelligent answer to this is to build the facility in a location that is not surrounded by homes. That way the benefits to young footballers and the peace of the neighbourhood would both be maintained.

This doesn't need to be a divisive battle, and the Hereford Times would help all its readers by examining the issue properly rather than simplistically.

Victoria Ward, Hereford

Risk assessed

Jeffrey Hancorn is obviously not keen on the proposal to build artificial grass pitches at Aylestone School. However, resorting to scaremongering tactics by overplaying the cancer risks is is just peddling untruths. A quick check of the peer-reviewed scientific literature shows much higher cancer risks from road traffic fumes (due in part to tyre dust) compared with intensive use of artificial pitches. I'm happy to change my opinion if Mr Hancorn can provide real evidence to support his claim. Until then the scientific evidence indicates your chances of getting cancer are significantly less taking exercise on an artificial grass pitch than inhaling toxic carcinogenic fumes from road traffic.

Dr Ian Roberts, Hereford

Cost omitted

LIKE many other Herefordshire Council tax payers, I received a leaflet with my reviewed tax requirements for 2018.

Also enclosed was a leaflet “How your council tax is spent” with a long list as to where it goes.

Imagine my surprise when the biggest cost of all, i.e the council officers and councillors wages and expenses was not mentioned.

I wonder why?

A R Jones, Weobley


I believe the City Council have decided to bring the “Shared Lives” scheme back “in house”.

“Shared Lives” is about people who will open up their home and family life to include an adult with support needs. The private, outsourced contract ends on 31st March and I am pleased that the council are now perhaps reconsidering outsourcing generally. It is not always in the common interest to outsource responsibilities which are rightly considered by many to be the rightful domain of local government.

On the subject of outsourcing, generally, could the recent collapse of construction giant Carillion, and profit warnings from other companies, be the beginning of the end for outsourcing and privatisation in local government?

Mike Smith, Hereford

Sincere thanks

This letter is a response to the very kind hearted people of Hereford who willingly stopped and assisted, following an accident which happened on the Old Bridge, in Hereford last Saturday morning 24th March. Whilst crossing this bridge my wife tripped, and on falling suffered a deep facial injury which bled profusely leaving her temporarily stunned. Many people, of all ages, stopped and offered assistance, overwhelmingly so, offering advice, fetching a chair, telephoning for paramedic help, getting a glass of water and staying with us until medical help was due to arrive. This show of great kindness was most humbling and certainly dispelled any views that, in this technical age, the qualities of human kindness have not been lost.

My very sincere thanks and gratitude to all those involved.

Ian Forder, Ross-on-Wye

Well done

Can I as a " foreigner " from the north, offer my congratulations to the Editor and the wider editorial team of the Hereford Times newspaper on their approach to holding the local MP Bill Wiggin to account for the position he adopts in his work for Emerging Asset Management. As a subscriber to Private Eye magazine I have just read a quote (Issue 1466 p 12 ) from your newspaper with regard to his local MP's dubious ethical position with this company and in regard to the austerity practised by his government. Keep up the good work, its just a pity that more of the local press do not take a more robust and critical examination of the behaviour of their local representatives.

Paul Greaves, Mexburgh, South Yorkshire

Bright future

ONCE again the Gilbert and Sullivan’s annual show is a real triumph.

HMS Pinafore – this year’s offering is full of great tunes allied to Gilbert’s great take on the class differences of the time.

It is wonderful to see so many (mostly) youngish performers together with a sparkling  set from an excellent orchestra.

Normally it is wrong to single any one out but the exception has to be Alan Durman. This is his last show as MD and he was also at his sparkling best revelling in the role of Sir Joseph Porter. The society has appointed a brilliant young MD to take over and altogether the future looks very good, with any new member most welcome.

Finally much praise to everyone who helped to put on such a good and so well produced show. This has to be amongst the best G&S shows ever.

Full steam ahead G&S.

JW Mokler, Eardisley

Festival visit

Can anyone tell me where is the Hereford Bull Trow and please may we have it moored on the Wye in Hereford for at least during the Three Choirs Festival?

Brian Hubbard, Belmont