The Hereford By-pass
I submitted a question to David Hitchiner, the leader of Herefordshire Council, for the full council meeting which took place at Shire Hall on 12th July.
The procedures are that you submit your question by email in good time in order to give the council’s leader time to consider an answer.
“If the council is not going to de-trunk the A49 through the city how does it plan to reroute the HGV traffic that currently has no other option but to travel through the city.”
However, when he delivered his report he neglected to answer my question. I believe this is an important issue because a significant amount of HGV traffic travels through Hereford and Herefordshire council’s own figures clearly state that Nitrogen Dioxide levels along city section of the A49 are a hazard to health.
This concern is not being taken seriously by the new council. Fortunately, I am allowed a follow-up question after councillor Hitchiner finished delivering his report.
My Follow-up question
“Councillor Hitchiner you did not answer my question in your report. The reason I asked this question is that at 8:30 am each day I take my kids to Holmer Academy, on the Holmer Road, and have been carrying out my own survey. In a ten-minute time frame, I count between 20 and 30 HGV vehicles pumping out diesel fumes just outside the school and as you may be aware this type of pollution is a known contributor to childhood asthma. Therefore, does the council have a plan to solve this problem?”
At this point councillor, Hitchiner was lost for words; he cast-about looking for an answer from the officers, ummed and ared with uncertainty for about 45 seconds and was clearly unsettled. He eventually mumbled something about a review and I thought I hear the word trains being mentioned.
I and many other councillors from all parties were not impressed by this performance and a number of following questions were asked on the same theme without a satisfactory response.
On my way out of Shire Hall, I was importuned by a group of Greens who were clearly angry that I had discomforted the Leader. One of them vociferously told me that HGV lorries are ok because they have to pass their emissions test to get an MOT. I informed him and his friends that they were hypocrites and invited them to join me on Monday at Holmer Academy at 8:30 so that they might breathe deeply of the Nitrogen Dioxide fumes. However, they all claimed that they were busy on that day. When I invited them on the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday they were regrettably also busy.
Bypass Call-in the decision to delay the Hereford By-pass. 9th September 2019
A call-in is a procedure to scrutinise a decision of Cabinet after it is made but before it is implemented. It’s used to inspect if the decision was handled in accordance with the decision-making principles, for example:
Has there been inadequate consultation with stakeholders?
Is it based on poor evidence?
Does the decision materially depart from the budget and policy framework?
Has the decision-maker failed to consult with and take professional advice?
The new council’s cabinet made a decision “to delay and consider the options available regarding the major transport packages and schemes that have been developed by the council in recent years.”
However, there are many years of material research and studies available to make a decision now and it’s my view that this is a deliberate delaying tactic. The result would be that Hereford loses the £180 million investment from the central government because we failed to commit ourselves to build the bypass by November of this year. If we don’t ask for that money it will go to another project elsewhere and without that investment, we get no by-pass.
The proposals for Hereford Bypass have been developed to enable the city centre to be decarbonised and improve air quality. To this end, the traffic that does not need to be in the city centre must be removed so that the city centre space can be enabled for active travel and public transport. This means preventing car use in defined areas. How does pausing or cancelling improve the air quality within the city?
My supplementary question:
Herefordshire council’s own figures clearly state that Nitrogen Dioxide levels along the city section of the A49 are a hazard to health.
The new council is actively encouraging cyclists within the city and I’m a keen bike rider.
I often cycle with my kids along Holmer Road and have noticed, as we ride, the smell of diesel fumes mainly from HGV vehicles.
How does the council reconcile its promotion of healthy activities within an environment which is a hazard to health?
Councillor Harington dismissed any questions concerning HGVs and pollution and not relevant and did not attempt to address any of the questions from the business community.
The final recommendations of the scrutiny committee were:
The pause should be suspended and the work should continue at the same time as the review.
The public, parish councils and the business community should be consulted.
The southern link road and the bypass projects should be considered separately.
All Data of relevant stockholders should be kept up to date
Planning application: 191770 – Land East of Canon Pyon.
I made a conditional referral on this application to the Planning Committee because of the number of objections and thought it would fail because of the increase in traffic onto the Canon Pyon Road. However, Highways England has no objections.
The planning application in its current form is not ready to go to the September Planning Committee meeting. Therefore, the earliest it could go to the committee would be October. This will give a bit more time for the NDP to gain more weight. If this is the case there would be a material objection because it is outside the NDP’s settlement boundary.
There will be a redirection meeting on 18th September and I will attend.
Planning application: 190342 Green The Hill Land adjacent to Walney Lane Hereford
A proposed four bedroom dwelling Refused
Ecology – Objection
Landscape – Objection
Hereford City Council – Objection
Numerous objections from residents
Traffic Lights Furlongs
Crest has agreed to fund the traffic order to install double yellow lines at the Traffic Lights on Green Wilding Road. I have arranged a meeting on 13th September to agree about what might form a reasonable extent of the proposed restriction.
Ultrafast full-fibre broadband
You may have noticed Gigalclear has been installing the cables as part of Phase 3 in North Herefordshire. This will give you ultrafast full-fibre network directly to to your property. To find out more go to https://www.gigaclear.com enter your postcode and you should get a message inviting you to register for updates.