Oxfam definitely closing in Eign Gate

Oxfam’s shop in Eign Gate is definitely closing at the end of April, Hereford Greens have been told after lobbying for it to be relocated instead.

Regional Manager Jo Mattinsley told us: ‘It is always a difficult decision to close shops but one we must undertake to ensure we deliver the funds required for Oxfam’s programmes. We must continue to hold ourselves to account when spending Oxfam’s money and the cost of taking on new shop leases and associated costs are significant. We have clear criteria which we apply to every shop when we come to renew a lease and unfortunately in this case, the risk to taking a new lease was too high both on our current location and others situated within Hereford.

I am sorry I can’t deliver a more positive outcome for Hereford Eign Gate but delighted we will continue to trade in the bookshop. There we are also very grateful of attracting a great loyalty base and will be able to transfer our Fair trade offer to.’

We are clearly disappointed, but will of course continue to support the Bookshop and urge others to do so. We would also like to see a more proactive policy of supporting shops to continue in the city centre. Had this closure been more widely known earlier it would have been more likely that something positive could have been done about it.

Greens win Leominster South with big majority

Trish Marsh has won the Leominster South seat on Herefordshire Council with a large majority over her nearest rival. Now holding three seats, the Greens are a bigger force than the Liberal Democrats in Herefordshire. With a reputation for hard work and positive ideas, the party is increasingly confident of further gains in Leominster, Hereford, and around the county.

Newly elected Trish Marsh said: ‘I am delighted to have gained the support of residents in Leominster South and pledge to do my best for them however they voted.’

‘I owe my victory to the good people of Leominster who wanted a local, hard working councillor. I would also like to thank my Green County Council colleagues Jenny Bartlett and Felicity Norman. Leominster voters recognise that when they elect Greens they elect people with a solid background in community action who make thorough and conscientious elected representatives.’

‘My campaign challenged Conservative-led Herefordshire Council’s wrong-headed priorities. Lots of voters told us they were fed up of crumbling roads and infrastructure and this is the clear message they have sent. I am determined to continue my campaign for a fair deal for Leominster as County Councillor.’

The by-election was caused by the death of long-serving Independent councillor Peter McCaull. The full results were: –

Trish Marsh (Green) 318 (41%)
John Stannard (IOC) 143 (18%)
Connor Egan (Con) 139 (18%)
Mark Latimer (Ind) 116 (15%)
Clive Thomas (LD) 54 (8%)

Big Green Conversation 22nd March

In a late change to the advertised schedule, we will be looking briefly at the history of political parties in the UK, and evaluating their current positions. We will then look at the pros and cons of different strategies for advancing what we loosely call ‘progressive’ politiics, at both national and local level, before imagining what could happen to our current political parties if PR were introduced. All welcome – drinks from 7pm and we will start at 7.30pm.
 
The advertised Sixth Form Election Report is being rescheduled for unavoidable reasons.

Film: The Occupation of the American Mind

Find out more on the film from IMDB

Hereford Palestine Support Group are showing the film: “The Occupation of the American Mind” on Mon 27th March 2017 at St. John’s Methodist Church, St.Owen’s Street, Hereford HR1 2PR. The film starts at 7.30pm and refreshments are available from 7.15. Betty Hunter, Honorary President of PSC, having recently returned from Palestine, will introduce the film & lead Q & A afterwards.

The film looks at Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States and is narrated by Roger Waters. It features leading observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. media culture.

Israel’s on-going military occupation of Palestinian territory & repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies in many parts of the world – but not in the United States. The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S.

 

Free entry but donations welcome.

Hosted by Hereford Palestine Support Group – herefordpsc@gmail.com

March For Europe

Greens are opposed to the ‘hard’ Brexit being pursued, we think recklessly, by Theresa May. We think this will damage the economy, makes Britain a more backward and inward looking nation, and wastes valuable time and resources when we should be focussed on much more pressing emergencies. We do not think most Leave voters wanted to pull out of the single market (in fact Leave politicians stated this would not happen), nor see EU and British citizens used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

It is also dangerous to sideline parliament in its crucial role of scrutinising the process and the outcome. Democracy is not a single event on the 23rd June 2017 after which we abandon power to an unelected prime minister to do whatever she wants. This is totalitarianism and un-British. We voted by a narrow margin to leave – we have not voted on where we want to go. Our MPs not only have the right, they also have a duty we gave them when elected to ensure decisions made in our name are good ones.

We are therefore happy to promote the March for Europe on 25th March which is being attended by the Herefordshire in Europe group who would be keen to welcome more locals aboard! There is a Facebook Group here, and you can contact the organiser, Polly Ernest, here.

 

Make Votes Matter in Herefordshire

Following a well attended Big Green Conversation at Left Bank, a cross-party campaign group on proportional representation is being formed and it’s first meeting is on Monday 20th.

With 100,000 people now having signed the petition, this issue will now be debated in parliament. We want to raise awareness of this in Herefordshire, and make the link between a fairer voting system and things voters care about such as a better NHS, action on air quality and schools funding. Bring your ideas and enthusiasm to help us make votes matter!

The meeting details are as follows:

Monday 20th March
7:30 – 9:00 pm
De Koffie Pot (upstairs), Bridge Street,
Hereford, Herefordshire

Check out Make Votes Matter news on this site, and on Facebook. To join the group, contact co-ordinator Natalia Waring or message the group on Facebook.

Green debates Brexit Future for Farmers

Ellie Chowns - Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (North)
Ellie Chowns – Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (North) and Secretary (North)

North Herefordshire’s Green Party parliamentary challenger Dr Ellie Chowns last week debated post-Brexit agriculture policy in front of an audience of more than 60 agriculture students and staff at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, outlining  the important choices ahead if we are to get the best future for our food and farming sector.

In the debate with MP Bill Wiggin, Dr Chowns emphasised the need to combine support for family farms and rural communities while also increasing food security and environmental benefits. She referenced two new reports commissioned by Green MEP, Mollie Scott Cato, setting out a detailed vision for farming post-Brexit.

Said Dr Chowns: “Currently more than half the income of UK farmers comes from subsidies, and far too much of that money is wasted on paying large landowners to do nothing.  Brexit gives us the opportunity to reorient farming support so that it incentivises positive action like environmental protection and job creation”.

‘Thank you’ tea

We are having a tea party to thank all those who have helped in any way with the by-election, at The Folley, Luston Leominster HR6 0BX at 4pm on Sunday 2 April. There will also be a walk beforehand for anyone feeling energetic. Meet at the Highwood end of Bircher Common, just over the cattle grid at 2pm. (Instead of going left up the Croft Castle drive, continue up onto the common.) Contact Felicity on 01568 780886.

Calling all Herefordshire FOE supporters

Herefordshire Friends of the Earth are holding their Annual General Meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 19th April at De Koffee Pot, Left Bank Hereford.

This will be a short half hour meeting to bring everyone up to date on what has been happening and where we go from here. Ruth Stannier and Melodie Winch attended FOE’s West Midlands Gathering in Birmingham on Saturday which was very inspiring and there’s all sorts of campaigns running that we could get involved with.

The AGM will be followed by the monthly Hereford Green Network Gathering at 7.30pm where Nic Howes will
talk about the City Tree Warden survey and new City Wildlife Trust branch’s budding work on “blue corridors” (brook courses) in the City. The Turnastone Peace Choir is coming along earlier that evening too – so it should be a good evening!

Budget fails to address today’s challenges

You might have thought that there was no one left on a trolley in a hospital corridor. That our social care system wasn’t on its knees. That climate change wasn’t a crisis that threatens our very future or that there was no air pollution epidemic linked to the deaths of tens of thousands.

This budget should have been an emergency intervention to end the chaos in health and social care and address the air pollution emergency, but instead it’s another resounding failure from a Government that’s got no ideas beyond an obsession with scaling back the state. With our NHS in peril and social care in crisis, this Budget was a chance for the Government to take a stand for the public services upon which we all rely. Instead they continue to push ahead with planned corporation tax cuts, and their handout to high earners, while unveiling woefully inadequate funding changes for the NHS and social care.

This budget is another climate failure – with the Chancellor failing to mention climate change even once in his speech. Rather than reversing the solar tax hike or ploughing money into renewables, the Government seems hell bent on drilling for more gas and oil in the North Sea, and handing further cash to the motor lobby with the fuel duty freeze. Britain should be leading the world in climate change technology and green jobs, but instead we’re lagging behind and laying the foundations for another dash for gas.

The time is now. Join us to stand for the Common Good.

What Would Trish do?

Trish Marsh is campaigning to be elected County Councillor for Leominster South ward in the by-election on March 23rd caused by the recent death of Peter McCaull. What would she want to do as a Councillor?

Support a thriving town centre 

The Conservative council intends to sell part of Broad Street car park for retail. Green councillors have raised residents’ and traders’ concerns and insist Herefordshire Council must first evaluate impact. The council is forcing Leominster to expand massively in coming years, so adequate parking space and a vibrant town centre are crucial issues.

Provide infrastructure before the town expands 

The council gave Leominster no choice on planned town expansion of more than 2,300 houses yet it has so far failed to agree that  a new road should be built first. The Greens are no fans of new roads but say bluntly our town cannot cope with a ring of new estates without improved infrastructure.

Safeguard Leominster’s green spaces

Support a tougher stance on planning. Prioritise new development on Barons Cross Camp, long earmarked for housing, rather than allow piecemeal development on valued green spaces in residential areas (such as the land at Westcroft).

A fairer share of resources for Leominster

A spending spree goes on in Hereford (such as a £27 million new link road across the city) – while the council fails to fix pot-holes in Ryelands Road and Ivington Lane!  The council economic plan focuses only on Hereford – it should be replaced by a proper county plan.

Crackdown on dog fouling

Reverse the cuts to services which have resulted in more muck in the streets due to the lack of council enforcement.

Clean up our polluted river

The River Lugg is suffering high-risk levels of phosphates and other pollutants. Herefordshire Council has a statutory duty, with other agencies, to protect the river.

Save our Oxfam shop

Hereford is about to lose her popular Oxfam shop in Eign Gate because the landlord is asking for a 10 year lease. Oxfam have decided they cannot commit to this. The excellent Broad Street shop is unaffected.

Writing in the Hereford Times, Maggie Setterfield said: “It seems astonishing that a city the size of Hereford should be without a traditional Oxfam shop. Ours is particularly well-run and welcoming with a warm atmosphere, well supported volunteers and pleasant shopping environment. It offers for sale a wide range of ethically produced and enviromentally responsible foods, toiletries, household items etc of which many are just not available elsewhere in Hereford.”

Maggie emphasised the positive trading link with Marks and Spencer, who collect donated items in store. She added: “Oxfam is more than a shop. A visit can help educate us about what is happening in the wider world, with plenty of opportunities to see what benefits our purchases and donations make to real people’s lives, world-wide.”

Any support for the shop would be gratefully received and could encourage Oxfam bosses to reconsider this difficult decision. If you would like to write to Head Office, the address is Supporter Relations, Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY or email feedback@oxfam.org.uk or call 0300 200 1333.

Hereford Green Party have contacted Oxfam to offer help in locating alternative premises or asking the landlord to reconsider the demand for a 10 year lease, which is difficult for a charity in the current economic climate.

Rob Hattersley from Hereford Greens added: “It would be a tragedy if this popular local shop were left empty. We think this problem is resolvable with goodwill on both sides. The shop provides affordable goods for hard up families as well as raising funds for those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s also an excellent recycling system, saving council tax payers the cost of filling the ground with our cast-offs.”

Better Transport for Hereford

Another week, another argument between our local politicians about a western, eastern or both route for a bypass which will miraculously solve all our traffic woes.
The western route is supported by the Conservative county council and what’s left of the Lib Dems. It relies on massive housing development which will fill the roads up again. It’s such poor value for money, Government won’t even fund a survey, never mind the road itself, hence the need for lots of new houses so that the builders will be made to pay for it, putting up house prices so locals can’t afford them.
The eastern route supported by It’s Our County, the City Council and Jesse Norman MP is arguably worse. It would have to go across the Lugg Meadows, close to Tupsley houses, encouraging heavy lorries and congestion along Hampton Park Road and Ledbury Road. To say that the congestion, air pollution and noise will not be popular with residents is an understatement. This is the route already stopped by Government back in the 90s, due to cost and environmental damage. So again, they won’t give us money for it.
Our politicians keep asking for bypass funding. Every time, they are told a big no. They’re told we have to try other cheaper alternatives first, to address Hereford’s main problem which is internal, not through traffic. But they keep arguing, even though the answer is the same. Civil servants in London must think Hereford is a basket case.
As they argue instead of acting, we, our kids and elderly have to sit in poisonous traffic fumes. We endure dangerous roads for pedestrians and a cycle network which doesn’t join up. Bus services are cut. Walking or biking to school feels dangerous and unpleasant, so lots of us drive our kids instead.
We need councillors who can think out of the metal box. Instead waiting even longer for bypass cash, we could focus all our efforts on funding pedestrian, cycling and public transport facilities to rival those of the Netherlands. This isn’t anti-car. It would give us real choice about how we travel, improving public health and allowing the remaining motor traffic to flow freely. It would make our city more attractive to the tourists and businesses who bring in money.
We simply won’t get funding for a bypass until we’ve really tried the cheaper options. The £1.5million already secured is a good start, but we have to be consistent and determined to be taken seriously by government. How long are we going to wait in our traffic jams for our politicians to work this out? Or do we need new ones?

Meet Trish Marsh

Trish Marsh is married with two children. She is a former Local Government Officer with Herefordshire Council.  She is a member of Leominster Town Council and is the town’s representative on Herefordshire Cultural Partnership.

Trish is promoting Leominster so it can share in the benefits if the county is successful in its unique bid for ‘UK City of Culture’ status.

Over many years, Trish has worked hard for Leominster and has been a driving force behind several local initiatives.

Prior to council recycling collection she ran Leominster’s first volunteer-led recycling scheme in which money from the sale of ‘waste’ benefitted local good causes.

More recently, she played a major role in saving Leominster Festival from closure.

Trish organises the annual autumn festival of St. Edfrith (founder of The Priory) which helps play a part in bringing Leominster’s rich history alive.

Make your postal vote count!

Trish Marsh, Green Party candidate for the Leominster South by-election on March 23rd, has written to all postal voters to remind them to vote. The by-election is taking place due to the recent death of Peter McCaull.

Trish writes that she has a track record of working for Leominster. She is a member of Leominster Town Council and chair the Finance & General Purposes Committee. Over many years, she has put energy into local community initiatives and in organising town festivals and events.

She is experienced and knowledgeable, saying that as a former Local Government Officer with Herefordshire Council “I have a thorough knowledge of how the council works.”

Trish would be part of a winning team if elected, joining forces with Green county councillors Felicity Norman and Jenny Bartlett. This hard-working pair have won the respect of Leominster residents having been elected and re-elected.

Trish adds: I’m outspoken on issues affecting Leominster. Greens have provided the only real opposition to Conservative-led Herefordshire Council’s indifference to Leominster.  Hereford is getting a £27 million new link road across the city while Leominster’s deteriorating roads go unrepaired.

She ends the letter by pledging a positive approach to work together with all others of goodwill to fight for public services and to get the best deal for Leominster.

The election is likely to be very close between Trish and the Conservatives. Trish is urging voters not to waste their votes on other candidates who can’t win.

New blogs and talks from Richard Priestley

I’ve just posted a blog ‘A strange moment in UK Politics’ and over previous weeks a number of blogs about exponential growth of solar power and of innovation of zero emission transport technologies. www.richardpriestley.co.uk

On the website we have a new MailChimp sign-up form. Please sign-up and you’ll get the each new blog direct to your in-box.

For those of you on Twitter, I’ve recently become an avid Tweeter @richard_global_

For those of you in Hereford, I’m giving a talk 7.30, Weds 8th March at De Koffee Pot. (Happy to do the same or similar talk at other locations) ‘Trump, the Carbon Bubble & possibilities of a better future’

Feedback and promotion welcomed as ever.