Herefordshire Council votes unanimously for green vision!

Ellie Chowns wins cross-party support for proposal setting out green principles for £40 million investment

On 13 July 2018 Herefordshire County Councillors voted unanimously in favour of Ellie’s motion for a ‘Sustainable Development Partnership’. The decision shapes the strategic direction of £40 million of Council investment in new housing and industrial sites – the biggest item in the capital budget for the next two years. New buildings will have to be energy and water efficient, which will help make them more affordable. Residents will have access to green space, and developments will be ‘wildlife-friendly’. Local businesses will be prioritised for contracts, and walking, cycling, public transport and car-sharing will be encouraged. This is a significant win!

Ellie said: “This investment is a major opportunity to shape the strategic direction of the county, so we must make the best possible use of it. I’m delighted to get cross-party support for green principles to underpin the new development. I’ll be working hard to make sure these principles are now put into practice!

In moving the motion Ellie made the following points:

  • The motion was a cross-party initiative to help shape the direction of development in the The motion provided a framework for development to follow;
  • The motion built on an earlier motion to Council in 2014;
  • Consultation had been conducted with officers and other members; and
  • the inclusion of additional wording ‘…development designed and constructed through…’ in place of ‘…housing built through…’; and an additional bullet point, as follows: ‘designed to promote walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing.’

The motion as resolved:

Motion – Development Partnership
(Proposed by Councillor EE Chowns, Seconded by Councillor SP Anderson. )

Noting that Herefordshire Council has recently mobilised a large amount of capital from the sale of its farm estate, and plans to invest this in a ‘Development Partnership’ which will significantly shape the growth and development of the county, we call on the council to resolve:

That the Development Partnership should be designed to be a Sustainable Development Partnership, with equal consideration given to social, environmental, and economic dimensions of planned development.
That the executive be asked to consider ensuring that all development designed and constructed through the Development Partnership should be:
  • planned to maximise residents’ health and wellbeing, including through shared green space and opportunities for outdoor exercise and social interaction, with maintenance thereof;
  • built to the highest possible standards of energy and water efficiency in order to ensure affordability for residents and low environmental impact;
  • sourced using local procurement wherever possible, in order to maximise local economic benefit and employment opportunities;
  • designed to support and enhance wildlife habitats, in line with Herefordshire’s identity as a beautiful rural county; and
  • designed to promote walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing.

Why equality is better for everyone

Join us for a Big Green Conversation about the research on economic inequality and its effects on people and society, as shown in Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book “The Spirit Level – why equality is better for everyone”.  We’ll be exploring the connections between inequality, over-use of resources, and climate change – and thinking about what we can do to change things for the better.  All welcome on Wednesday 31st May 2017, 7 for 7.30pm at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank, Hereford. Please note that this is the event originally scheduled for 24th May but which has been moved due to a BBC Hereford & Worcester election hustings at Left Bank on the 24th.

Big Green Conversations are held monthly at De Koffie Pot, Left Bank Hereford, usually on the 4th Wednesday. They are an informal, relaxed and sociable event to which all are welcome.

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 :