Latest news from Hereford Central Ward area, which includes the city centre, St. James and Bartonsham, and the Central Avenue area from Ledbury Road to Commercial Road.

Map provided by Herefordshire Council.

Latest Central Ward News

 

Fix it first!

Roads in Hereford are full of potholes and getting worse. It’s partly because the Council spend money in the wrong places, says local Green campaigner Rob Hattersley.

‘We estimate the Council have spent up to £3million just on surveys for a bypass’, said Rob, who lives in Bartonsham. ‘Yet they can’t even find money to fill in the holes. Potholes damage cars and cost drivers, but they also make it very hazardous for cyclists who can be injured, or forced to swerve.

Research shows that 85% of Hereford’s traffic is internal. A bypass would come with more housing, so it is likely to make traffic worse, not better. But safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians would give us more travel choices, reduce congestion and air pollution and improve things quickly, especially for our kids.

Rob says : ‘We should fix it first. We certainly shouldn’t be thinking of an expensive bypass to the east, bringing heavy lorries through Tupsley and Central Ward, as some local councillors have suggested. Even a ten percent reduction in traffic similar to what we see in the school holidays would make a huge difference – and faster.’

Potholes can be reported on 01432 261800 or at www.fillthathole.org.uk

Vote to stop school cuts

Schools across the country are having their budgets slashed, warns Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Hereford, Diana Toynbee.

9% cut in budget

According to the website SchoolCuts.org.uk, published by headteachers and others, St James’ School here in Central Ward faces a budget cut of £70,651 by 2019, which is equivalent to £338 per pupil, or 9% of the total budget.

Central Ward Green Campaigner Rob Hattersley is a former deputy headteacher at St Thomas Cantilupe Primary. Both his children attended St James’ and he has taught there himself.

Two teachers

Rob said: ‘Cuts of this size are horrendous. This is basically the cost of two teachers in what is already a fairly small school. The government, represented by our own Conservative MP Jesse Norman, are putting governors and teachers in an impossible situation. This will have an real impact on our children’s education.’

The situation is worse at Bishops School, with an 11% budget forecast. That’s £359 per pupil, £393,631 in total, equivalent to 10 teachers.

Education is an investment in our childrens’ future

Diana Toynbee added: ‘We have to stop seeing education as a cost, and view it as investment in all our futures.’

‘We are funding tax cuts for the rich with school cuts for everyone else. If you want to see fair taxation to fund our schools as well as our NHS and social care for our elderly, I urge you to vote Green on June 8th. Every Green vote strengthens that message.’

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.

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?

Hereford city travel survey

Residents in Hereford city are being urged to take part in a city wide travel survey. The survey results will be used to make sure the council’s transport model for the city remains up to date.Hereford is undergoing an unprecedented period of change and regeneration; the data captured will ensure the council’s transport modelling is capable of supporting transport projects and developments across the city.

Councillor Philip Price, Cabinet member infrastructure said: “We want to make sure we have a cross section of views from residents that we can analyse and consider within the plans, to make them robust. I would urge all residents that receive a questionnaire to take part, so we can ensure we have the very best transport outcomes for everyone.”

The survey will be sent to all addresses within the city boundary and are expected to arrive on door mats from 1 February. All respondents will be entered into a prize draw with a chance to win one of ten £50 Amazon vouchers.

From Herefordshire Council website.

John Venn cottages saved

A planning application to demolish historic cottages built by John Venn on Kyrle Street will be turned down by Herefordshire Council, officers say.

The Masonic Housing Trust had applied to demolish the two existing dwellings to facilitate redevelopment of 9 residential apartments with associated car parking, cycles and refuse stores.

A number of objections had been received, including from the City Council and Civic Society, on grounds of historical and architectural merit, the purpose of the original buildings, and environmental considerations around the density of the new development.

It’s Christmas: a cycle network for Hereford?

Crowds at Hereford’s Castle Green Christmas Fair voted overwhelmingly to spend Santa’s £1,000,000 gift to Hereford on a comprehensive cycle network to reduce the city’s traffic delays and make roads safer, especially for children. Research suggests that school traffic is a major factor in rush hour congestion, so safe cycle networks would make a massive difference for a fraction of the cost and with no environmental damage.

It should be pointed out that Santa, like much political debate at the moment, is fictional (ssshhh, don’t tell the adults), and Hereford has not, in fact, been given a million to spend, although even more oddly the Council are pressing ahead with a short road to the south of Hereford for many times that cost which their own research tells them will do nothing to help congestion in the city.

The opinion poll was carried out at the Green Party stall at the popular annual event, with Christmas revellers voting with baubles for one of three options: a park and ride, a cycle network, or one twenty-third of a bypass. Actually, £1,000,000 will buy even less than this. They were also invited to create a paper Christmas bauble to hang on a Christmas Tree card on which was a message for 2017 to Jesse Norman MP. The tree will be presented to Mr. Norman by Green Parliamentary Spokesperson Diana Toynbee. Message ranged from ‘stop fracking’ (Norman is an Energy Minister and voted in favour – South Herefordshire is in the firing line) to ‘Fair Votes in 2017’ and several asking him to prioritise the natural environment we depend on, and stop Tory cuts to vital services.

Green Spokesperson Rob Hattersley said: ‘It was great so many people wanting Greens to do well in Hereford, and a general feeling that now is the time to engage with politics, not the time to withdraw. It was encouraging too to meet supporters from other parties keen for progressives to work together, on the day when Green co-leader Caroline Lucas campaigns with the Lib Dems in Richmond.’

 

 

 

Could Hereford’s M&S close?

The Hereford Times is reporting that Hereford Marks and Spencer could be closing after the high street retailer announced it is going to close 30 of its larger stores.

National newspapers have quoted experts at the Local Data Company, who have compiled a list of areas that it thinks are vulnerable. Hereford’s branch in High Town, which sells clothes, homeware and food, is included in this list but this has not been confirmed by M&S.

Read the full report at Hereford Times.