Ward Councillor’s Report October 2019

Planning application: 191770 – Land East of Canon Pyon.

I made a conditional referral on this application to the Planning Committee and have been in contact with residents who have raised concerns.

It has been my policy to delay the application from going to committee for as long as possible in order for the NDP to gain more weight. Because the application is outside the NDP settlement boundary it is the strongest material argument for refusal.

Ayels Brook

I was told in July that it was recommended that all works to the Brook are undertaken outside of the Bird nesting season. Bloor was planning to undertake the initial maintenance during September.

At the beginning of October, I inspected the brook and no work had been carried out. So I made a video expressing my disappointment and put it on my councilor’s website and on FaceBook, then sent some emails. Yesterday, 13th October I went to have another look and some work had been carried out but not my satisfaction. I received an email today from Bloor’s Senior Engineer, who said.

“Thank you for your follow up email and I’m pleased to see that the works as instructed have started by our landscape contractor.  We have not received confirmation that these works are completed yet, but can confirm there will be an assessment undertaken with the landscape contractor on completion of the works to ensure that all items have been captured.”

Full Council Meeting

On Friday 11th October I attended the full council meeting and asked my question of the leader David Hitchiner regarding the pollution caused by HGVs passing through Hereford along the A49. I was given a prevaricating answer at the last full council meeting. This time I wanted to make it easier for him –

So quoted research that found children who walk to school are exposed to 30% more pollution than adults due to the proximity of exhaust fumes lower to the ground.

Then asked a simple binary question do you believe there is a problem with pollution from HGVs along the A49? Or do you believe there is no problem?

Again the stuttering evasion of ‘It’s a balancing act’ was the reply..

It seems to me that the council is not using material evidence in its decision making but rather throwing subjective concepts into the air and hoping for the best. The latest one is to turn off the traffic lights in Hereford in the hope it will ease congestion – I can’t wait to see how that one turns out.

Ward Council WhatsApp group

On the subject of turning off traffic lights, there has been a vigorous discussion from residents on my Ward Council WhatsApp group over the weekend about this subject. It was also pointed out to me that the dog bins have not been emptied and a photo was sent showing an overflowing bin.

My Holmer Ward WhatsApp group is a really effective way to contact and alert me to issues in the ward and also gives me a feel of how people are feeling about what’s going on around them. So I’d like residents to join up if they have a smartphone. There is a QR code on the website http://holmer.markmillmore.com
just point your phone and scan.

Furlongs Traffic Lights

On 13th September I had a site meeting with the Highways & Transport officer and a representative from Balfour Beatty. As in my last report Crest has agreed to fund the traffic order to install double yellow lines at the Traffic Lights on Green Wilding Road.

We agreed the current situation is a hazard to public safety – in fact, there was a white van parked right on the lights while we had our discussion, which really brought home to us the dangerous situation that exists at the moment.

At this meeting, we talked about the logistics of beginning and completing the work. It will take up to six months to do because residents have to be consulted and various legal requirements must be complied with.

Other Issues on the Furlongs

It has been reported to me that residents are being ignored by the Crest Nicholson’s Completions Manager. There are outstanding items that need to be addressed such as the broken Red Norman Rise road sign and supporting posts, some of the beech hedging plants at the far North of the estate (in front of 7 Bran Rose Way) have died and need replacing; three of the ornamental trees in the landscaped area to the north of this hedge, have also died and need replacing, and finally a large shrub on the corner of Green Wilding Way is overgrown and needs cutting back or removing. It’s a visibility hazard when turning left towards the traffic lights and made worse by parked cars on the grass area so drivers have to go over to the middle of the road and frequently meet oncoming traffic.

Roman Road

The recent road works on the Roman Road did not fix the appalling state of the surface outside the vets. I’m sorry I thought that’s what it was all about, however, I misunderstood – it was, in fact, to do with Crest Nicolson’s obligations for the Roman Road at the entrance to the Furlongs. I will make contact with the relevant people and raise the issue again.

Retirement Village

A number of concerns were raised about the proposed retirement village on the Bloor development. I do not have definitive information as yet but will keep a watching brief.

The Bund on the Bloor development

Residents have asked why is the large mound of earth in front of Ayles Brook?

Bloor responded:- The material in question is topsoil material which has been stripped from the current phase of the development. The material has been placed at its current location to not only ensure that it is outside the extent of the developable area but also to assist with;

  • Creating a temporary visual barrier between the development and existing properties during the build phase.
  • Assist with creating a noise and dust barrier between the development and existing properties
  • Assists with our silt management plan for runoff from the site into Ayles Brook.

 Question: – When will the mound of earth be removed completely?

Bloor’s answer:- The topsoil bund will be reduced in line with the building program which runs from west to east of the site. As and when each section becomes available the topsoil is then reduced in level by spreading the topsoil over a large area that is located to the south of our development. Typically the topsoil depth will be a maximum of 300mm deep. We are very concerned to hear that children and dog walkers are accessing areas of our development in this location. As this area is still under construction there should be no access to the general public. We will ensure that this is monitored by our site staff and additional measures implemented to restrict this unauthorised access. Further to this, we will issue instructions to our site team to restrict all movements in and around the bunded material to ensure that the privacy of the adjacent development is maintained as far as practicably possible.

Cyber Security Conference

On 25th September I attended a Cyber Security Conference in London. There were councilors from all over the country however, I was the only councilor from Herefordshire to attend.

Cyber Security is one of the biggest issues facing councils, Parish Councils and individuals nowadays. Local authorities experience 19 million cyber-attacks every year, 114 councils experienced at least one incident between 2013 and 2017, as well as more than 98 million cyber-attacks on local councils in total across the country.

Copeland Borough Council was attacked in August 2017 with its computer systems were completely destroyed. It was so bad that they were unable to pay staff or carry out even the most basic services. The council was reduced to pen and paper and they are still trying to recover today with the bill to council taxpayers running into the many millions of pounds.

I know our councilors in Hereford are very concerned with Climate Change but Cyber Security is an immediate threat that we cannot be complacent about and has the potential to cost the taxpayer millions.

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