Spring Clean Leominster

Leominster Greens run regular volunteer litter picks in Leominster and have an extra big event coming up as part of THE GREAT BRITISH SPRING CLEAN on Sunday 5 March, 10-12. Meet Corn Square, Leominster. Equipment and bags provided. Bring your own gloves. You can join us in the town or clean up a street in your own area. More info from 01568 611734 or 780886.

Trish Marsh (photo by Green Party member Chris Watson)

Five candidates in Leo South by-election

Green Party candidate Trish Marsh, a former local government officer, is competing against 4 other candidates – all men – in the Herefordshire Council by-election in Leominster.

The by-election on March 23 has been called following the death last December of Peter McCaull (Ind) the Herefordshire councillor for the Leominster South ward.

Trish Marsh (pictured here) is competing with a Tory, a Lib Dem, It’s Our County and another candidate who gives no affiliation or description.

Trish’s campaign manager, Green county councillor Jenny Bartlett:” We are working hard to get Trish elected as the third Green councillor on Herefordshire Council.

“Trish will be a fantastic addition to the Green team at county level – she is already a town councillor and chairs the town council finance committee.” (photo by Green Party member Chris Watson)

Herefordshire business to benefit from energy efficiency grant

A Herefordshire business has benefited from the first Business Energy Efficiency Programme, set up to help lower running costs and promote energy efficiency.

Caplor Energy, based in Fownhope, is the first business in the county to be awarded the grant. The company was awarded £12,236 for an innovative energy storage project to capture energy from its solar panels.

Read the full story on the Council website.

Action Against Military Spending

If we cancelled Trident, imagine what we could spend on home insulation, reducing energy bills for struggling households. A safer world, reducing climate changing emissions, warmer homes and wealthier families – what’s not to like?

As part of the Global Days of Action Against Military Spending, Hereford Peace Council will be having a stall in High Town, Hereford, from 10.00-14.00 on Saturday, 22nd April.

More information on huge military spending in a time of austerity can be found here.

Photo (c) Howard Willson

Hereford Community Land Trust

The Hereford Community Land Trust was formed in 2016 and is part of a national network of local Land Trusts. We are actively seeking more members who have an interest in local affordable homes for others in the city or for themselves. It is important that we build up membership to give weight to the case for development of high quality community provision that can truly be afforded by all. Lifetime membership can be secured as either Full or County members for a payment of £5. The following is a summary of what the Trust seeks to achieve.

What is a Community Land Trust?

A CLT is a non-profit community-based organisation, run essentially by its members, which acquires and holds land on which the CLT’s specified objectives are carried out. Most CLTs develop and own ‘permanently affordable’ housing, possibly with other assets such as workspaces, open spaces and community facilities, which together meet the needs of the community.

Land is held in perpetuity and once built, properties are protected from fluctuations in land market valuations by a legal ‘asset lock’ that is a fundamental part of all CLT structures: assets can only ever be sold or developed in a manner which benefits the local community. Should the CLT go out of business, the land has to be passed on to another organisation with similar objectives

What exactly is HCLTs Mission?

Our central mission is to provide low-cost, high-quality homes for sale or rent to local people in the Hereford area and surrounds. Following pathways developed by CLTs elsewhere, our aim is for these to be designed with community input to be energy-efficient and low-carbon, built with locally sourced materials and skills in a sustainable setting that includes food production, renewable energy, waste management, and all that is necessary for a healthy, balanced community. Clearly, for homes to be affordable compromises in some areas may have to be considered.

The intention is to provide as many units as possible that are genuinely affordable  to buy or rent or some combination of the two.  Because of being built to a high standard of insulation they should also be economical to heat. This will almost certainly entail building some homes for market sale so as to help cross-subsidise any development. We anticipate there will be scope for self-build or self-finish options, and for providing or managing community facilities such as open spaces and allotments. All assets will be retained in community ownership in perpetuity.

Why Join?

Someone may wish to support provision of affordable housing in the Hereford area as a matter of principle, or may want affordable housing for themselves or for people they know. They may have an interest in the built environment and wish to get involved with a lively and co-operative group of people aiming to establish something better than profit-driven ‘dormitory’ development. Or they may feel that housing nationally is in crisis and would like to help see the problem addressed locally through community-led approaches.

Whatever the motivations, we encourage those who meet the membership criteria (see below) to join HCLT, so the group can benefit from their ideas and skills, and can demonstrate widespread community support.

Who Can Join?

Anyone who lives, works (paid or unpaid) or studies in Hereford, or lives elsewhere but is actively involved in Hereford community events, and is aged 16 or over, is welcome to become a member of HCLT on condition that they support its stated aims and values, and pay a one-off fee of £5. “County” membership is also available for those simply wishing to support the Trust’s objectives.

Further information :

https://www.facebook.com/HerefordCLT/

www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk

Email:  herefordclt@gmail.com

 

Unite for Europe

A new group called 48% Herefordshire in Europe is meeting regularly on Monday nights 6 – 7.15 ish at The Courtyard, Hereford.
Currently, the biggest thing to plan for is going to The Unite For Europe March on March 25th. We need to be out in force. At the moment it seems people would like to organise own transport / trains. So unless someone has urge to organise a mini bus, then let’s see each other there. As many as possible and hopefully with children.
Having attended The One Day Without Us event in High Town last night and having previously stood almost alone on Feb 1st infront of Houses of Parliament , I have to say direct action is life affirming.
The other thing is that we been asked if we would like to become a European Movement affiliate group. If you have a view, or want to see EM affiliation documents then email me polly@eastfriars.co.uk. For more news and support join our FB Group Herefordshire in Europe or come to The Courtyard on Mondays.

Love Trumps Hate

A joint peaceful protest between several groups is convening at Hereford High Town on Monday 20th at 6pm.

This is part of a National Day of Action on 20th Feb 2017 to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK, to coincide with UN World Day of Social Justice.

It is to express the view that although Trump can come to the UK his visit should not be given the honour of a state visit due to his appalling views on people with disabilities, women and migrants. It is also to make clear that most people wish to welcome immigrants as fellow human beings. They pick our fruit, clean our shops and offices, and staff our hospitals. We are ashamed at the way our government is turning away child refugees who are left without carers.

Whatever our political views, we should treat all human beings with kindness. That is what protests across the UK on 20th are about.

Have your say on Hereford’s Big Green Conversation

We’d love supporters to complete a quick and easy survey about our first six months of Big Green Conversations at De Koffie Pot – even if you’ve not come along yet. This will help us to plan the next six months! Head along here.

Big Green Conversations are a new kind of sociable and participatory workshop event looking at the big issues we face as a society. We hold them in the fabulous upstairs room at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, and welcome supporters of other parties, and none. So far we have covered Brexit, progressive alliances, personality types and politics, why people won’t believe evidence on traffic, and fair votes. Have a say on the future of Wednesday Night Politics! Head along here.

 

Leominster briefing

Peter McCaull – a life of service

We were saddened last December to learn of the death of Councillor Peter McCaull. Peter was dedicated to Leominster, serving the town as a councillor for an astonishing 44 years.

CAB at the library

Herefordshire Council’s withdrawal of a grant forced Leominster Citizens’ Advice Bureau to close. Now Town Council support will enable CAB to offer free advice sessions at Leominster library every fortnight.

Great British High Street

Congratulations to the town centre traders and Leominster Business Group for their success in gaining Silver in the Great British High Street Awards Rising Star Category. They also won Gold for their brilliant promotional activity on social media. Well done!

Community Hub takes shape

Work on Leominster’s planned new ‘Community Hub’ at 11 Corn Square is progressing well. Community Wheels and the Marches Family Network have moved in and the Tourist  Information Centre and the Town Council will soon be moving there too.

Future of Leominster Primary

Greens are concerned about proposals for the school to leave the local authority and join a Malvern-based academy chain.

Councillor Felicity Norman said: “Greens oppose academisation because it fragments and divides our education system, although we do understand that schools are under pressure from the government to do this. We believe that it would be preferable to partner local smaller schools, as this would help to ensure their viability and retain local control and influence.”

Council leaving towns and parishes “in limbo” say Greens

The Green Party has accused the Conservative leaders of Herefordshire Council of leaving towns and parishes “in limbo” after blocking a Green move to ease a parish-level funding crisis.

The council approved a 1.9 per cent increase in council tax  (on 3.2.17) but rejected a budget amendment by Green group leader Jenny Bartlett to raise the figure to 1.99 per cent. The increase would still have been within the Government 2 per cent limit without triggering a county referendum.

“Financial cutbacks are damaging the ability of town and parish councils to take on and run services as now expected of them under the localism agenda,” said Councillor Bartlett. “Herefordshire Council’s Tory leadership has left them in limbo.

“My proposal would have raised £80,000 for a pot of money to fund parish-level projects – a modest sum but a step in the right direction.

“It was in no way intended to replace the parish grant withdrawn by Herefordshire Council. Leominster Town Council had £43,000 taken away by the loss of its grant – a measure of how much the parishes are hurting at a time when they are having to take on extra responsibilities.”

Cllr Bartlett accused Conservative councillors of failing to read the details and dismissing out-of-hand her proposal for a ‘spend-to-save bridge to enable service transformation.’

“While £80,000 could be said to be a ‘drop in the ocean’ in terms of Herefordshire Council’s spending that is not so at parish level,” said Cllr Bartlett,

“The ability to access additional small funds for specific projects can make all the difference. At parish level residents can see the impact of that money and the benefits to their community that result.

“Increasingly parishes are working together to pool resources to save services such as buses. For example Bodenham, Stoke Prior Group Parish, Leominster Town Council and Community Wheels have replaced the withdrawn 427 public bus with a community mini bus.

“The 490 bus from Leominster to Ludlow is now supported by all the parishes along its route and recently attracted inward investment from Ludlow Town Council which recognised the economic and social value of a vital link.”

Cllr Bartlett added: “The Greens are appealing to the council leaders for common sense. Services are being cut now, parishes are hurting now – now is the time to act while communal infrastructure is still intact.”

 

Leominster concern over loss of parking

There is real concern among traders and residents over Herefordshire Council’s proposed sell-off of part of Broad Street Car Park. Local councillors Felicity Norman and Jenny Bartlett have raised residents’ and traders’ questions with the council over loss of parking space, impact on businesses and protection of the riverside.

The Green councillors told Conservative-led Herefordshire Council that they must evaluate the impact on local traders before reducing parking space.

Under the council’s growth proposals Leominster is being forced to expand by a minimum of 2,300 houses in the coming years, so car parking space and a vibrant town centre are crucial issues.

Bus services are getting there

Deep funding cuts by Herefordshire Council have left many local bus services in a sorry state. Now work by Leominster Greens and others to restore some vital bus links by getting the town and parish councils working together is paying off.

Ludlow Town Council has agreed to back Leominster’s initiative on the 490 service between the towns by giving a £1,000 grant.

“This is welcome news,” said Leominster Town Councillor Trish Marsh. “We want people to come to Leominster to shop. Not everyone has unlimited access to a car – a surprisingly high number of local people don’t own a vehicle.”

Leominster left in cold by Tory economic plan

Jenny Bartlett – Elections Officer (North) – Contact Jenny

Green Councillors are challenging Conservative leaders on Herefordshire Council not to cut Leominster adrift in their plans. Green Party Councillor Jenny Bartlett spoke out at a Council meeting saying: ‘The Council’s economic plan is Hereford-centric. They have got the balance completely wrong. Job creation is only happening in Hereford.’

‘New developments in the city include an Enterprise Zone, Business Quarter, University plans, Urban Village, Football Club development and a new River Quarter’ said Cllr. Bartlett, ‘but what about Leominster?’

Members of the Herefordshire Market Towns Forum gave the Conservative Cabinet Member for Economic Development a roasting at a recent meeting. Forum Chair, Green Councillor Felicity Norman said: ‘Our members were dismayed by the lack of consultation, and the clear favouritism being shown to Hereford. We are calling for proper recognition to be given to our market towns, small businesses, and farming, food and drinks industries.’