Llangarron Ward Report
Report of Councillor Elissa Swinglehurst March/April 2017
The verges are looking so much better after the tremendous efforts of local residents and their litter picking parties.
Throughout the county people picked and the results are there for everyone to see – well done! I have just done (another) litter pick on the River Monnow from Llanrothal Church to Ruthlin Mill – the result? Three bags full (mainly agricultural plastics), the lid of a barbeque, car tyres and barbed wire dangerously poking up in a loop out of the silt. The council actually spend about a million pounds every year picking up after muppets who can’t get the concept of a bin as the place to put your rubbish! Think of all the potholes that money could be filling.
Talking of verges I just have to comment on the daffodils at Llancloudy. Every year they put on a wonderful show – a bit of sunshine no matter what the weather.
I have just attended the launch of the Hereford Area Plan (HAP) and the Hereford Transport Plan at an exhibition at the Courtyard. Basically this is the Neighbourhood development plan for Hereford (the city council decided not to do their own) and it contains some interesting ideas. The consultation is structured around some basic questions that seem to me to invite creative responses. If you are interested I recommend you have a look – if you get the chance have a go at the virtual tour of the new link road and High Town. While I was at the Courtyard I had the chance to try the 3D virtual reality tour which has been created by a local firm who work in film special effects (Game of Thrones/Harry Potter etc). I thought it was amazing would have been even better with some dragons and zombies. www.herefordshire.gov.uk/HerefordConsultation
The exhibition will move from the Courtyard on Friday 6th April to Hereford Library where it will remain until Friday 19 May. The consultation ends on Monday 22 May.
If you would like to know more about how your council tax is calculated and spent then there is a page on the new website https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/…/32/about_your_council_tax.
Despite the pressures of decreasing funding the Council’s budget projection is that we will have an underspend of at least £250k this year. This will be the fourth consecutive year of finishing within budget.
NEW ENERGY FROM WASTE PLANT
The new plant is now officially open and operating. We invested £40m in partnership with Worcestershire against fierce opposition from other political groups supporting strange alternatives which either never got off the ground or have blown up (literally).
The plant produces huge amounts of energy from 1,000s of tons of waste which would otherwise be transported by diesel burning trains, lorries or ships to landfill at spiralling costs. Over the life of the plant the saving to taxpayers is £millions.
You may have read some stories in the press about the sale of the Council’s smallholdings. Here is an update from the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Tony Johnson.
Preparations for the disposal of smallholdings are now all but complete. In fact we have already had enquiries and offers from some existing tenants to buy all or part of their holding.
The total value of the asset will be determined by the market but is likely to be in the 10s of millions. Those receipts will be available to invest in income producing projects or to reduce debt etc. The main point is that this valuable taxpayer owned asset will be used for the benefit of all and will continue to be farmed. At present that asset is a drain on the taxpayer since the rental income is considerably less than the cost of maintenance.
We get complaints that the holdings were to give new entrants into farming an opportunity to learn the business. This obviously assumes that the tenants will, at some point, vacate the holding for a farm of their own or as a manager of a bigger unit. From approx. 35 holdings we have had 3 changes of tenant in the last 10 years. So much for starter units!
Any holding with development potential will be retained for such development and associated increase in value.
A49 Highways England
I attended a meeting (in Leominster!) to discuss the A49 with representatives from Highways England. I raised a number of issues (drainage, litter, ragwort, potholes, speeding) but the main thrust of the meeting was looking at works in the northern section. I hope we will have another meeting to have further discussion of the southern end.
Phosphate in the Rivers
I have also attended a meeting for an update on the problem of Phosphate in the Lugg and Wye catchments. The Lugg is still ‘in exceedance’ and the Wye is still at risk – Welsh water are investing in Phosphate stripping technology at a number of locations and also gaining capacity by separating foul and surface water (notably the Yazor aquifier). Farm Herefordshire is working with farmers to reduce the diffuse pollution element from run off but there is still room for improvement.
As always – if you have any questions or problems I can help with please get in touch.
Elissa Swinglehurst, Cllr. Llangarron Ward
Tel: 01989 770038 or 07463 657800