Jump to content

Saving The Working Boys Home *UPDATE*

Recommended Posts




Fire and Rescue Authority
Policy and Resources Committee 
Tuesday 19 November 2013 
10.30 am 
Mr K Taylor (Chairman), Mr R Adams (Vice-Chairman), 
Mr A Amos, Mr P Gretton, Mr A Hardman, Mrs R Jenkins, Brigadier P Jones CBE, 
Mrs M Lloyd-Hayes, Mrs F Oborski, Mr D Prodger MBE, Mr D Taylor, Mr P Tuthill 
and Mr R Udall.
Hereford Fire Station 
10. Officers of the Service have been in extensive discussion with Herefordshire 
Futures, an organisation leading on the regeneration of Hereford City 


And yet we are told the HF is organisationally separate from HCC and that HCC has no right to know what HF is doing.  So what right does HF have to offer an HCC building to anyone.  There could be a procedural/democratic hole in this process which could help to block the whole thing.

Another snippet - which might make you laugh or cry is the background of Cllr Prodger of Worcester with whom Cllr Johnson has been in cahoots.  

The comments underneath would never have been allowed at the HT - seems like the kindest thing that could be said about Mr Prodger is that he `divides opinion' - and that many of the transport projects he `managed' didn't turn out well.   Just the chap to decide where to put a fire station. 


btw has anyone asked the actual firefighters where they think would be a good location?  They are the ones who have to get from A to B fast to possibly save lives (or at least put out a shed fire or rescue a stranded cow/horse).  They really don't want to be in a queue behind Biomech at the traffic lights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ask yourselves this. Why are we suddenly in need of a new Fire Station? I mean, it's been there for decades and with a little aid it could maintain its operational effectiveness there for another bunch of decades.

I'll tell you why we want to build a new Fire Station. It's all about protecting an empire. They all want to do it. Whether its the Fire Brigade, the Police or the Ambulance Service. Some member of the FB hierarchy, worrying about cuts and their slice of the cake has suddenly decided to do what they all do to protect their territory. They bloody build. Yes they do! They bloody build. By bloody building it normally does the trick.

It'll be, 'goodness, we can't cut that. We've only just built the place. Lets look elsewhere to see who hasn't had the good sense to build a new Fire Station'. It's all a huge game of bluff and chance and getting the public to believe that the bloody Fire Station is about to fall down and if you don't support the idea or you question the issue then you ain't no patriot and no admirer of the Fire Service and the great things they do for our communities.

It's all a bucket of tripe. When times were good and we were able to withstand the harvest of them all gathering in our public funds and spending it on this, that and the other and countless, endless gimmicks, they didn't ever mention building a new bloody Fire Station then did they? No they bloody didn't! Didn't want one the when we were all rolling around in borrowed dosh barely able to spend it all during the financial year. No! But now, now times are hard and the cuts are looming because the bubble has burst, its, 'lets build. That'll save us from future cuts'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone come up with an alternative site for the new fire station?

There is a lot of space on the three elms trading est that could be put to better use.



How about two small ones - I know that in the age of rationalisation and centralisation and `efficiency' it goes against the grain, but one south of the river which would also have rapid access to Rotherwas (where there must be a relatively high risk of fire), and areas which flood.   And one North of the river to cover the city centre and other industrial areas.  This would remove the risk of a traffic problem on the bridges cutting them off from half their area.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about building a new fire station on the Rock field site?

Its only cost us six million quid so far!

Failing that, after talks obviously fell through for a joint emergency services depot, what about next to the ambulance main station at the top of Ross Road?

There's quite a bit of land up there.

Also, when the ambulance station was undergoing its refurbishment, the crews used somewhere down at Rotherwas as their base.

Would somewhere down there be viable?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone come up with an alternative site for the new fire station?
There is a lot of space on the three elms trading est that could be put to better use.




First thing I'd do - check the incident logs and see where the majority of calls originate.

Also, wtf has HF got to do with any of this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Evening Biomech!


Your comment re Hereford Futures involvement, mirrored mine, when Megillelands post, on page one of this thread, first mentioned their involvement.


I think the thing is with the fire service, they maintain they need a central location. Whereas the ambulance service have their main hub at Ross Road, they do have standby points.( Sun Valley have provided crews with a rest room there, for instance.) So they can respond wherever they are needed as quickly as possible.I guess its difficult to have standby points for fire engines!


I do wonder though, if they have two engines and crews on duty if they could be split, and say share a station with the ambulances south of the river, and possibly then have a smaller base on the north side.( Although I am sure logistically this probably couldn't be done.) There is plenty of council owned space at the top of Plough Lane!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok so here is what I know.....


The Fire Service works on risk zones when considering siting their facilities.  Looking at the county as a whole, I would guess that the biggest risk there is in the whole county is our medieval city centre.  Why? Because it is one of the biggest economic drivers in the county and it is medieval in design - ie. everything touches everything else, with loads of wooden framed ancient buildings, with lots of ancient lathe and plaster just waiting for that spark to go whoosh! They need to be really close to this risk.


Secondly, thinking about very large organisations and their investment programme in fixed assets - like fire stations.  Somewhere, not anywhere in Herefordshire, let alone Hereford city itself, is an asset manager for the H&W Regional Fire Service. It may be that the asset manager is actually part of a national team that works with all of the different regions, I don't know.  They will be running a programme of asset replacement. When a facility gets to a certain age it is simply more cost effective to build a new one and get rid of the old one.  I might not necessarily agree with all of this, but that is just the way they work. We are not going to change that asset management strategy (just being realistic here).  They also work out of an office somewhere else and have no knowledge of what our city is really like whatsoever - and that is not their fault, they are just doing their job and I am very glad they are doing it. After all I want them to be there if my house goes up in smoke.


There is a pot of money within the H&W Fire Service for the replacement of their fire station.  I expect some bright spark has done their sums and has realised that they cannot quite afford an all new singing and dancing fire station for Hereford, so they need to work with a partner to add value.  This would seem a very reasonable role for the local authority to play. The county owns parcels of land and buildings around the city and one the the Council's biggest priorities is to keep the public safe, so again it is not unreasonable for the council to take less value for a parcel of land or a property to ensure the Fire Service can protect our city,


So 3 things sorted.

1) The new station needs to be very close to the city centre. As we all know the traffic in Hereford means just being the other side of the A49 in Whitecross (for example) could cause an unwarranted delay when trying to get to an emergency in the medieval core.

2) The Hereford Fire Station is way past its sell by date. Refurbishment is probably not an option as they need to remain fully operational throughout the build period. They simply would never be forgiven if an emergency happened which they could not respond to effectively because they had the builders in!

3) They absolutely need to partner the council in order to be able to afford their new station, and it is not wrong for the council to prioritise the public's safety in this way, or spend my council tax in doing so.


What I am furious about:


1) No meaningful consultation with me, the duly elected ward member. (please see cut & paste of letter to council leader posted previously).

2) That 3/4 men in major positions of power in two publicly funded organisations providing services to the people who fund them, think they can all sit in a room a decide the fate of a piece of MY CITY'S history, when they do not even live here and have not sought to understand what that might mean for local people. This is a disgrace!

3) The Fire Service have still not bothered to ask the people who live in the area what they think about the idea, let alone talk to me the elected member.

4) There is a huge amount of land that is going through a publicly funded CPO process (yes that means funded by you & me) between Edgar Street and Aylestone Hill and they have not bothered to explain to ANYONE why this land is not suitable,

5) No meaningful conversation with the people of Hereford at all.  Who knows they might have the discussion with us all and we all turn around as say "Yes, we see your problem now, and yes we agree that we need to sacrifice the Bath Street site to keep our city safe". But none of them have even bothered to try.


There rant over.........


Goodnight all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And a wonderful rant it was too, Mark!

Thanks for keeping us in the loop. If they won't organise some sort of consultation, what about some sort of public meeting??

It would inform folk, and gauge opinion at the same time??


One thing though, the ambulance station did undergo a major refurb, and did manage to rent suitable short term premises to operate out of. Is a refurb really so out of the question....or does this just boil down to money??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Felt that Cllr Hubbard's post was an interesting insight into the decision making system relating to the Fire Service requirements. Thank you Cllr for the update , it is appreciated .


I accept that ,if there is a need for a new Fire Station it will have to be located fairly central for operational reasons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a different but sort of related subject (as in Herefordshire Council and their arm's length organizations muddled thinking) has anyone else read the article in the Hereford Times by Fiona Phillips espousing Sir Ben Gill's (chairman of Visit Herefordshire) views on the need for tens of thousands of new homes in the county, less nimbyism and a need to increase the county pop to 250000? I am not saying there is no merit in these views just that I find it a bit incongruous that he's in charge of promoting tourism in Herefordshire and he's banging on about the need to build build build! Is it me or is it just Monday morning?  


I'd copy and paste the link but I don't know how!


Sir Ben Gill wears many hats and I think here he is banging the drum not only for Herefordshie Council, but also Hereford Housing and The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership who are planning to cover the county with extra housing and tarmac. All these bodies are intertwined with each other with the same old names cropping up time and time again telling us what is good for us and better for private finance (PFI) and private corporations (Balfour Beatty, Stanhope et al). Remember this interview (post 7) a few months back concerning a bypass around Hereford.
The reality is that it is jobs for the boys. The council is broke, the Marches LEP is making all the major infrastructure plans for the county, the government is slipping a few quid to maintain this unelected body, while praying that we stay in the EU, by agreeing to turn our counties into regional areas.
• Over the 2007-2013 EU budgetary period, the UK is contributing roughly £29.5bn to the EU’s structural and cohesion funds, and getting back around £8.7bn, making it the third largest net loser from the funds, after France and Germany. 
• Of the 37 regions in Britain under the EU’s classification system, 35 are net contributors to the structural funds, with only West Wales and Cornwall net beneficiaries. This means that some relatively poor areas lose out substantially. 
• For example, we estimate that the West Midlands, which has the lowest disposable income per capita in the UK, pays £3.55 to the structural funds for every £1 it gets back. Merseyside, which has a disposable income of 88% of the UK average, pays in £2.88 for every £1 it gets back. All the regions in the North East pay in more than they get back, as does Northern Ireland (£1.58 for every £1 it gets back). All sub-regions in Scotland are likewise net losers from the structural funds. 
• Some regions that are under the UK average for disposable income per capita pay far higher contribution ratios than those above the average; for example Devon (94% of the average) pays £6.58 for every £1 it gets back, while Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire (105% of the average) pays £4.49. 
So this seems be another case of the council tax payer locally and the tax payer nationally putting in more money than he is getting out. The only benefit to some is an increase in their egos.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cheers megilleland. The LEPs are an absolutely surreal,intangible phenomenon. We came across them trying to work out who exactly had chosen the Edgar St Pinch Point site. The bizarre thing is they hardly seem to exist except on paper. The sec of the Marches LEP wrote a letter saying they had nothing to do with the Pinch Point Scheme on Edgar St. The Council said they had nothing to do with the siting. The Highways agency said the LEP and Local Transport Authority chose the site!

The secretary also said she was only in the office part time. I doubt the Marches LEP consists of anything more than a room (or desk) at the address listed as it's co-ordinating office at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury, which is Shropshire Council's HQ.

All the LEPs seem to be are ghost ships set up to remove accountability in local governance!

Anyone up for a trip to their HQ? Shrewsbury is lovely and we could take sandwiches and look through the glass partition of the locked room with dust on the desk that serves as the Marches LEP's main hub!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In September of last year I asked the Marches LEP if Jarvis was still on the board as Leader of Herefordshire Council, as indicated on their website, as he had resigned in June 2013. The Executive Co-ordinator replied 'We do need to undertake a number of updates to the website and just lack capacity to do so at present. Cllr Jarvis is no longer on the LEP Board. Cllr Tony Johnson took over when he became Leader. We are hoping to make updates this Autumn when more hands arrive in the Team!' They or may not have those hands, but the website remains unchanged.


Also noted 'Working on behalf of the Marches LEP Board is a subsidiary board for the management of the Enterprise Zone in Herefordshire, at Skylon Park'. From that it seems that Skylon Park has little to do with Herefordshire Council!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it really all is just smoke and mirrors then??

I had always thought that I was somehow missing the point of all these unelected bodies....I am beginning to realise that there is actually no point to get!

Why is it that we see the same folk in these roles? Is it simply a case of "who you know?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're going a little off-topic here, but the LEP's address is â„… The Shirehall, Shrewsbury, so I'm guessing they have a small room in the basement. The last published minutes are dated June 2011 (!) and record the omni-present Geoff Hughes as being, well, present. Is there nothing that this man is not involved with?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gawd Lord, ol Geoffers again! The man who told his Conservation Officers he was disregarding their advice not to lop the trees down because they fell within a Conservation Area. He disregarded their advice on advice he got from a advisor (of the legal advice kind) but declined to tell us what that advice was. And technically he doesn't have to because FOI requests can be refused on the basis that legal advice may remain secret advice.

Ah well, the chickens will come home to roost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...