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megilleland

County Offices, Bath Street not worth listing?

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If Bath Street is demolished wouldn't it better for accommodation ie Flats/apartments being central to the city. Not clear how this is going to work. Both sites look the same size. Who owns the existing Fire Station? What is going to happen to the existing site if the Fire Service move. 

 

Fight goes on for boys home site

 
12:52pm Wednesday 12th February 2014 in News By Bill Tanner
 
HERITAGE campaigners have vowed to fight on for Hereford’s former working boys home.
 
English Heritage confirmed today (Wed) that it was not going to list the Bath Street site – now the County Offices.
 
Herefordshire Council  is keen on selling the site to Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service for a much-needed new fire station for Hereford.
 
EH says the site  is not of “sufficient architectural quality†to merit listed status.
 
The decision is a blow to heritage campaigners fighting to save the site sale and demolition.
 
But Hereford Civic Society (HCS) says the fight goes on.
 
“While HCS is disappointed it doesn’t alter the situation. This group of buildings makes a huge contribution to the character of Hereford. To pull down sound buildings to make way for a garage for heavy vehicles is fundamentally unsound, and is not the best financial deal,†said HCS chairman John Bothamley.
 
“The current intention, we understand, is to demolish the existing fire station for use as a car park.  It would make sound sense to create additional car parking on top of the existing car park behind St.Owens Street and to the side of the Shire Hall, just one or possibly two layers,†said Mr Bothamley.
 
“We remain of the opinion that the two prominent buildings, to the front of the site, should be retained and the rest of the site developed with flats - surely there are suitable sites for the fire service on the new Link Road,†he said.

 

From the annual Report:
 
"Originally formed as an independent corporate body on 1 April 1998, as a result of Local Government Reorganisation, Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority (the FRA) is now constituted under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004. The FRA sets its own budget requirement, receives a share of Non-Domestic Rates and Revenue Support Grant, and issues its own Council Tax Precept. 
 
The approved budget for 2012/13 was £33.821m to which additional agreed expenditure of £0.475 funded from earmarked reserves has been added, bringing the total budget to £34.296m. These resources are those available for the FRA to spend on provision of services under the statutory accounting regime, within which the FRA is required to manage resources". 
 
Does this mean it is not answerable to the Council?
 

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Appropriate, but too late. The future of conservation has arrived now!

 

Hereford Civic Society
Thursday 20 February 2014
The Kindle Centre, by ASDA, Belmont, Hereford 
7:00pm refreshments for a 7:30pm start
 
No more conservation?
Sarah Lowe, Senior Building Conservation Officer, Herefordshire Council
An illustrated lecture on the future of conservation services in these cash-strapped times

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On a slightly different note does anyone know why the newly refurbished Nelson building was closed today and staff sent home because it was deemed unsafe? Yet another disastrous move or is the Council just unlucky?

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If Bath Street is demolished wouldn't it better for accommodation ie Flats/apartments being central to the city. Not clear how this is going to work. Both sites look the same size. Who owns the existing Fire Station? What is going to happen to the existing site if the Fire Service move. 

 

The plan was/is a land swap - council give Bath St to the Fire Brigade, who demolish it for a PFI station-by-numbers, council take Fire Station and, in a stroke of brilliance and originality, demolish it for … a car park. Really, I'm not joking. We're paying senior officers millions of pounds for this sort of radical strategic thinking. More fool us.

 

Yes, the FB is not answerable to the Council. It does have to comply with statutory legislation though (such as planning law) unlike Crown property.

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TWG the Nelson Building is the building previously used by the Art College on Whitecross Road by the lights at Sainsburys. Council staff moved in about a month ago. 

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Ahh, I see, the former Bulmers science building. I didn't know this was the subject of further council craziness - what department has moved there then? Having decided to take on Bulmers Plough Lane HQ as their HQ, it seems odd they are sub-letting at least one floor of that to Hoopla whilst then scratching around for other accommodation.

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Some tiles were lifted off the roof by the wind mid morning so it was evacuated in case more tiles fell on someone's head! The Nelson building I think was built by Bulmers, then Art College had it and now the council need it to house some staff.

 

It is crazy for the fire station to go to Bath Street, the site is perfect for housing which is in short supply. Unfortunately I am not on the H & W Fire & Rescue service or would do what I could to stop it, but the Independent group of councillors on Herefordshire Council are opposed to the Fire Service having this site.

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So please can someone explain this to me again? I am confused here. 

 

Would I be correct thinking that the fire station want to move a few yards around the corner into the former births, marriages and deaths registry offices in Bath St? Then they will turn the current fire station into yet another car park? 

 

Could they not modernise the current fire station and build apartments on the other site in Bath St? We need more accommodation not more car parks!

Edited by Mick

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You are correct in your assumption. The Fire Authority will sell their present site for housing if they go to Bath Street. It makes no sense to move now, not until a by-pass is built and then all the emergency services could be together with easier access to city and county.

 

We need more affordable homes not least, two bedroom bungalows for elderly and disabled, two bedroom flats and a Foyer and three bedroom houses. Bath Steet would be ideal with room for parking etc.

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I was at The County Offices on Bath Street today. Two GB Liners removal trucks were there to move out the Council stuff. I think they have to take it to the new office 50 yards away ~ the old job centre opposite the John Haider building ... 

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Guest maadlove7

More council pass the parcel games to waste more of our money. Councillor Bowen went to great lengths to point out this wastefulness of our money at a full meeting of the council a few weeks ago. I'm inclined to characterise it as having some profit motive for someone, somewhere ...

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If you look on the Council's web site and look at Cabinet members decisions you will see that the decision to sell to the HWF&RS will be made formally on April 14th.

 

I would hope that scrutiny would call in this decision!!

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Whilst sitting in the traffic in Blueschool Street which is a said of Hereford I study the Council offices where I understand the Planning Dept work from.

From the outside this building is a shambles what a depressing place to work.  How can the Council allow these buildings to become so run down they have the money and man power?  In a couple of months this building will be for the chop as well.  

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@ Councillor Chappell: In your post yesterday, you expressed the hope that (should Cabinet ratify the 'land swap' on Thursday) the Scrutiny Committee should call the decision in.

 

Do members of the public have any say in what gets 'called in'?  Or is that prerogative reserved for the Scrutiny Committee Chairman? 

 

And if he fails to act (presumably there's some sort of deadline, such as 'within 14 days of a significant Cabinet decision being made...'), can members of the public request that his committee scrutinises said decision, if enough of them feel it needs scrutinising?  For as well as a) being concerned about the needless loss of a piece of the city's heritage and b) being kept well and truly in the dark while horse trading went on behind closed doors, there are some of us out here who feel that a council asset is being traded away at well below its market value.

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I would like to add my support for that suggestion, Grid Knocker.

Where has the transparency been?

And if this deal does get pushed through, a deal which to my mind does not provide "best value" to the tax payer, where will this all end?

Next, the black and white house! Maybe The Cathedral! What about The Town Hall building?

All valuable assets.

We need to protect this building - let them know, we aren't going to let this pass quietly!

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Not sure if you could go to the Local Government Ombudsman concerning lack of transparency regarding the disposal of assets. What we are now witnessing, with the present disposal of public assets, is the same thing that happened when public open space was transferred to Registered Social Landlords in 2002, who now regard the open space as a land bank for future building.

 

Here is the Ombudsman's website with some recent decisions made regarding Land, Commercial and contracts and Councillor conduct and standards.

 

Making a complaint
If you have a complaint, the first thing to do is complain to the council or care provider. You can find out how to complain from the council or care provider, or you can ask a councillor to help, if your complaint is against a council. In most cases, the body complained about must have a chance to sort out the complaint before we can consider it. Councils and care providers often have more than one stage in their complaints procedure. You will usually need to complete all stages before we will look at your complaint. See our 'top tips' for making a complaint.
 
Throughout this section we sometimes use the term ‘body’ to refer to the council, other authority, or care provider you are complaining about. (See the adult social care section for further details about complaints about adult social care.) 
 
If you need any help – call our helpline on 0300 061 0614. It is open from 8.30am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. (Calls to 03 numbers will cost no more than calls to national geographic numbers (starting 01or 02) from both mobiles and landlines, and will be included as part of any inclusive call minutes or discount schemes in the same way as geographic calls. Please note that calls may be recorded for training and quality purposes.) 
 
It appears here the Ombudsman cannot question what a council has done simply because you do not agree with it. Something affecting all or most of the people living in a council’s area, such as a complaint that the council has wasted public money. There must be some fault by the body that has caused you significant personal injustice. 
 
However they then go on to say:
 
The Public Interest Test 
We are more likely to investigate a complaint where:
 
* It relates to an issue of significant public interest or to an issue of current concern to the Ombudsman.
 
* It relates to the abuse of power by a public body against a person. This may arise, for example, where a council behaves in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner over the sale of land. In these situations we have an important role in addressing the unequal balance of power between the person and the state, and in highlighting the higher standards expected of public bodies when exercising their administrative or commercial powers.
 
 
 
 
Edited by megilleland

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Here is somebody that thinks Hereford Council isn't selling off its assets fast enough.

 

I am not surprised it's the Conservative dogma again. But then HC are not selling its assets - just giving them away.

 

 â€œDon't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.“ 
 â€”Steve Jobs, “Commencement Address at Stanford University“ American Rhetoric  (delivered June 12, 2005)

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Hereford Times: Thursday 10th April 2014 in Letters
 

Community fire station

 
THERE has been considerable comment on the letters page recently regarding the proposed land swap in order for Hereford(shire) to have a fire station that is fit for purpose.
 
Personally I am very grateful to the dedicated staff who turn out in all sorts of weather to attend fires, road traffic accidents, emergencies involving livestock and where I would agree with the chairman of the Civic Society that there should be more debate, but the decision to further investigate the proposals was only made on March 26 at a fire authority meeting so it is early days yet.
 
However, a public meeting has been agreed and I look forward to sharing information with anyone who is interested in the future of the fire service , which is not just for the city but the whole of the county.
 
I live in Ledbury Road and Herford fire station has been part of this community for decades and if the relocation to Bath Street is approved it will remain part of that community.
 
Several sites have been looked at over the years and have been rejected for a variety of reasons. The cash-strapped council should not in my opinion increase its level of borrowing so negotiating a land swap not an expensive purchase would benefit the council tax payer.
 
As a true admirer of John Venn the philanthropic benefactor who so generously supported Hereford by providing land including this site for service to the public , I think he would be delighted that the ethos and benefits he brought to the city would continue for generations to come, perhaps by naming the building after him .
 
Lastly, I would like to see a building of which we can all be justly proud, iconic rather than the eyesore development nearing completion less than a mile away.
 
CLLR LLOYD-HAYES Tupsley Ward Member of Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority

 

 

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I am sorry to keep harping on about this but there has not been a satisfactory answer yet.  How come the council with all it's man power and wherewithal allowed this building to fall into a state of disrepair and worse than that beyond a state of economic repair.

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