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Hereford Fire Station Planning Application

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HBA6 New development within conservation areas 
Development within conservation areas will not be permitted unless it preserves or enhances its character or appearance. In assessing the suitability of a development proposal, a comprehensive design approach will be expected, in particular addressing the following criteria: 
1. the type and scale of uses proposed should complement those which presently exist and help to preserve and enhance the character and vitality of the area
2. the proposed development shall respect the scale, massing and height in relation to adjoining buildings, and the general pattern of heights; 
3. where the building line, plan form or density are important characteristics, proposals should integrate successfully into this structure; 
4. the quality and type of design, details and materials should reflect those contributing to the area's character and appearance
5. any hard landscape features, including street furniture, surfaces and boundary treatments, should maintain consistency with, and be appropriate to the use of the area; 
HBA7 Demolition of unlisted buildings within conservation areas 
Proposals for the demolition of unlisted buildings or structures in conservation areas will only be permitted where: 
1. it is accompanied by a redevelopment proposal in accordance with policy HBA6; 
2. the building does not make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of the conservation area; and 
3. the structural condition of the building is such that the cost of repair outweighs the importance of its retention.
Where considered necessary in order to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of a conservation area, conservation area consent will be conditional on a contract for the redevelopment works being signed and planning permission for those works granted prior to demolition taking place. The recording of buildings, structures or features to be removed may also be required.
HBA8 Locally important buildings 
Development proposals which would adversely affect the appearance or setting of locally important buildings of architectural or historic interest, or buildings that make a valuable contribution to the character and appearance of the area, will not be permitted. 


The UDP has the status of a Development Plan Document. It is operative as part of the Local Development Framework and most of its policies have now been 'saved' until they are superseded by other emerging Development Plan Documents in the Local Plan.
The notice of adoption was published on 4 April 2007.
The Direction of the Secretary of State to save the policies of the UDP was issued on 24 February 2010. The Direction lists all the saved policies.
I don't think the fire station fits any of these policies.
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Well I'll be damned if I sit back any longer while our heritage is raped and pillaged by those in power who choose to ignore us. Harry Bramer is not going to rape and pillage me. Never! Not on my watch. Oh he might think he can. He may think that I'll sit back and accept it but he's wrong. If there's one thing you can all be sure of about me is I ain't for being raped and pillaged. Never!

Im taking direct action. Im going to go down in history as the man who saved the Fire Station and someone who refused to be raped and pillaged. There's only one single thing worse than the 'rape' and its the pillaging that goes on after you've been violated and so its Direct Action for me.

Yes indeed'ee. Direct Action. That's what I'll be doing. Once the sober members of our social media site give me the heads up, the lads are taking me down there and affixing me up on high against the front wall of this wonderful building. Not the back wall mind. And not the side walls. Nobody would see me see. What's the point of being affixed to a wall that the general public have no access to. No, it's the fron wall for me. The one that looks out upon The Victory and Ledbury Road.

Thirty five foot up tethered and secured against the brick and mortar. That'll get noticed. You won't have seen that before. Folk will stagger past carrying their shopping and say, 'Day sixteen and he's still up there howling 'Save The Fire Station'

And when the local media gather beneath me, as they surely will, I'll tell them, 'I'm having the time of my life up here and I refuse to be ramped and pillaged by Harry Bramer'. That's a headline for a starters. The Editor would run to the printing press with that one.

And for those of you out there doubting my intentions, the lads have constructed a long pike that'll hold a sponge which will be soaked in Ale and enable me to also suck on a cigarette. Mind, when they first produced this pike I told them to go back to the design board. Being thirty five foot up and trying to suck a sponge off a thirty foot pike was of no use at all. I told them, 'Lads, I need thirty five foot of this pike. Not the thirty you've chosen to give me. Give me my extra five foot'.

I mean business and if any of you lot have an interest in the future well being of our City, you should start getting interested as well. I'll be damned if I sit back and are this. I k ow what I'll take, what I won't take and what I might take if someone belts me over the head with a mallet and I ain't for taking this. Never!

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Spoke with the planning officer Edward Thomas & he is expecting a high level of objections to the fire service planning application…so I think we should not disappoint him & get lots of objections in?!

after all if joe public wanted to build industrial unit in a conservation area it would not be allowed to happen so why should it be any different for the fire service?

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Very disappointing stance by Hereford City Council  - 'We have no objection in principle and appreciate the need for new Fire Station in Hereford; however, we regret the loss of Bath Street building and think it’s unfortunate to locate the Fire Station on such prominent site in the City.' I think  that’s akin to almost sitting on the fence.

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Very disappointing stance by Hereford City Council  - 'We have no objection in principle and appreciate the need for new Fire Station in Hereford; however, we regret the loss of Bath Street building and think it’s unfortunate to locate the Fire Station on such prominent site in the City.' I think  that’s akin to almost sitting on the fence.


Totally agree. It's a shame considering the last Mayor's Charity Project was to get the Venn Arch restored in Commercial Road.

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I sent this email to all Councillors yesterday and their replies are coming in.


Dear Councillor,
Proposed demolition of existing buildings and construction of a new fire station and training facility with associated access and landscaping works. Herefordshire County Council Offices, Bath Street, Hereford HR1 2HQ
A process is in hand to relocate our existing fire station situated in St Owens Street to a new site in Bath Street (the old Herefordshire Council Offices) which Herefordshire Council own and is in a Conservation Area.
In order for this to happen the buildings on the new site will have to be demolished to make way for the new industrial looking building. Herefordshire Council have had a large amount of input into Hereford & Worcester Fire Service plans over a period of time and appear to be in full support of this project to going ahead.
There has been minimal awareness and consultation on this plan and now the Fire Service are seeking planning permission to go ahead, even though there are possible alternative sites available or coming up in the near future, especially with regard to the government's plan to integrate Police, Fire and Ambulance services.
The Bath Road site has historic connections with one of Hereford City's Victorian benefactors, the Reverend John Venn, who established the present buildings, the Working Boys' Home, in order to aid the industrious. His generosity and foresight can be still be seen today in the form of the Venn’s Close almshouses also in Bath Street.
The Bath Street site merits a better use or scheme to bring about the future enhancement of this Conservation Area.
To quote Prince Charles:
"It was the great American urban historian, Lewis Mumford, who wrote that 'If we would lay the foundation for a new urban life, we must first understand the historic nature of the city'. As we wrestle with the regeneration of so many of our urban communities, finding successful new uses for remarkable old buildings is a very tangible way of retaining just such an understanding. And, when all is said and done, I do believe we owe something to those craftsmen who built these buildings with such skill and pride."
I think this sums it up.
Can you tell me please is Herefordshire Council acting lawfully in determining full planning permission for an application in which they themselves have an interest and fully support, especially in view that the new location is in a conservation area and involves the "swapping" of public assets?
I would be grateful if you would acknowledge this e-mail and I would be interested in your views.


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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):


Received 12th September 2014


1. Robertson, Sally (Cllr) Independent

I am away until the 15th September and will deal with my emails on my return. If you have any urgent  issues, please contact members support on Hereford 260201.


2. Preece, Robert (Cllr) Independent

Thanks for your email Martin, I believe that the council have the right to do what they are doing regarding this application. But I support your comments and I have spoken to other Councillors that a more suitable site be found but the ruling group seem to want it in Bath Street.


Councillor Bob Preece.

St. Martins & Hinton Ward.


3. Harry Bramer Conservative

Thank you for your email


This application is now before the planning committee and I therefore am advised not to express my opinions at this time prior to the meeting.


Thank you for your interest


Cllr H Bramer

Cabinet Member Contracts and Assets


4. Durkin, Barry (Cllr) Conservative

I acknowledge receipt of your email.   I do not believe that there is any conflict with another party applying to build on the site of a council owned building.  Nothing is hidden and all should be transparent with regard to any application and matters of planning are decided on under national guidance.  The building is of local interest due to its historical significance and the council planning committee will probably decide the outcome of the application.   As you are probably aware, the planning committee is served by cross party representatives.  Further as I do not know, at present, what the building proposal is I am unable to comment further.




Barry Durkin

Councillor - Member Old Gore Ward - Herefordshire Council

Vice Chairman - General Overview and Scrutiny Committee


5. Bridges, Adrian (Cllr) Independent

Thank you for your email, I note the concerns but will also be asking some pertinent questions that you have raised. This now puts in to doubt why we are having to pay to move. There is also the cost for which I will be very interested to find out what this is as we as a Council certainly cannot afford this. There is also the issue of loosing a pump to which this money looks like it could well be diverted and spent on retaining this.


I am also concerned this is not the most suitable location for the fire station.




Councillor Adrian Bridges


6. Seldon, Alan (Cllr) IOC

Thank you for your email.


Kind regards


Alan Seldon
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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):


Received 12th September 2014


7. Kenyon, Jim (Cllr) IOC
Thank you for your email I have no strong opinion either way I do know that we need a new purpose built fire station as the existing one is in a bad state and far to big for their needs,I would be interested to know what you would do with the bath street buildings owned by the council how or what could go in there if it was saved both the fire authority and the council are struggling financially with the threat of losing front line services it "seems" a good plan but I am happy to listen to any suggestions.
Just so you know I have no direct influence on any outcomes as I am not on the planning committee finally I am away now until the 20th so any further emails may not get such a speedy reply.
Cllr Jim Kenyon
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Received 13th September 2014


8. Vaughan-Powell, Glenda (Cllr) Independent

Thank you for your email, I totally support your comments. I do not support the destruction of one of Hereford Iconic buildings which also sits within a conservation area. I feel that a better use would be to upgrade the present building and use it for the Herefordshire University which would be an excellent location for it. Unfortunately  the planning committee although made up of cross party members the majority are Conservative, It will be interesting to observe if the last mayor who supported the John Venn Arch as one of his charities will vote for this building to be destroyed when the application comes before him at the planning committee.


Kind regards,

Cllr Glenda Vaughan-Powell

Belmont ward.


9. Cllr Edwards, Philip Independent

Herefordshire Council does have the right to determine all Planning Applications which come forward throughout the County of Herefordshire, no matter who the Applicant is or who is the site owner. Having said that, I too have considerable concerns regards this particular application.


As an active Member of Herefordshire Council's Planning Committee and need to ensure that I am first, in possession of all of the relevant facts and that means waiting until this application is placed before us at Committee, having said that, I am considering that this site may be of greater value in 'heritage street character' and therefore future public value than the current Cabinet realise!


As you know, through my former City Mayoral role, I did everything within my power to capture and spread the whole ethos of what the Rev John Venn and his sister Amelia did for our City, much of what is still needed today so I fully understand where your thoughts are as regards to this important building. It is my humble opinion that at least the facade needs protecting and retaining whilst better use be made of the impractical Victorian building and cellars behind!


I will continue to do what I can via the Planning process. 


Cllr Phil Edwards

Belmont Ward

Hereford City and Herefordshire Council


Member Herefordshire Council Planning Committee

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Glenda your spot on hope other cllr's take note of wot you are saying? as you make a lot of sense & you've also answer cllr Kenyon's question on a alternative usage for the building? which has got to be better than losing a part of Hereford city's landscape & heritage!!!!



So Let's not lose a part of hereford's landscape & heritage to a industrial shed

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Let's hope Jesse Norman can bring some weight to this discussion. I note that he helped the residents of Ross on Wye with their police station.


26th August 2014
West Mercia Police have agreed to delay the process of the relocation of Ross-on-Wye police station in order to allow for further consultation with local people following a meeting with local MP Jesse Norman.
Jesse met with members of the police force on Friday morning. Superintendent Sue Thomas was present, along with West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore, Inspector Paul Crumpton and Deputy Police Crime Commissioner Barry Sheldon. The strong concerns felt within Ross regarding the move of the police station and the loss of the counter service were discussed. The front counters at all of the market town police stations, including Ross, are due to close in September.


 Quite a deputation at this meeting.

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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):


Received 13th September 2014


10. Harvey, Liz (Cllr) IOC


Thank you for your email. I'm afraid I don't know the answers to the questions you ask - but I'll ask some questions of my own and try to find out.


Kind regards,


Liz Harvey

It's OUR County - Ledbury Ward
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Details from an email I received this morning:


Hi Colin
I just thought some of your posters might like to know that they have an opportunity to submit questions to full council for the meeting on Friday 26th September. If a question is submitted the Council have to provide a written answer. This might be relevant to your posters getting answers from Cabinet members, in particular regarding the new Fire Station planning application; grass cutting; traffic lights being switched off. If posters can attend the full council meeting if they want to ask a supplementary question they can do so in person to the Cabinet member responsible,  at the meeting in front of all councillors.
Questions have to be submitted by midday tomorrow. Details about submitting public questions can be found here (though you need to scroll down the page a bit. http://councillors.herefordshire.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=291 .
I have found that if you ask questions, it does mean that all councillors are aware of what concerns the public have, and the Cabinet member is forced to provide a written response, which can be used in future correspondence or debate. The next full council meeting will not be until December, so if there are matters that questions need asking on now, get them in a.s.a.p.
I hope you and your posters find this helpful, though some of them know well enough about questions. If people want to ask questions but remain anonymous, if they get a friend or someone else to submit it in their name this is best, but then only the named person can ask any supplementary question (important for some people who work within the council or who use council services and are frightened of being named or associated with tricky issues!).



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Ross Police Station? Ive a source who told me this!!! They were well on the way to ridding themselves of that lovely piece of property. In fact, so far down the line had they gone, they'd completely forgotten about the Radio Masts affixed to the building that prevented them ever disposing of the property anytime soon.

This is what they did. They closed the building. Moved staff out. Shifted all the furniture, the fixtures and the fittings. Then they redeployed their staff in other locations, made some staff redundant and some had'nt quite gone anywhere before it was realised that they couldn't sell the bloody place because of the Telecommunication issue. So, at a huge cost, they moved the furniture, the fixtures and fittings back in, told the staff to forget the last plan and return to Ross to work and be informed 'you are back here for the time being'. Now, they're going to spend vast sums of money working out what to do about their radio communications that are dependant upon Ross Police Station remaining manned and open for business.

It's madness. All public services are infected by the same strain of virus. 'Act Now. Think Later'. Oh! And just to make matters worse, the Mast attached to the Ross building is used as a relay for every single emergency service within the Herefordshire area which of course means problems. Expensive problems to be exact and we are going to pay!

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Hi Colin, thanks for putting that email up!


Afternoon Bobby......the madness continues. There is no let up, and no sign of things improving any time soon.


Why do we bother???


Sometimes, I really wonder. It's bloody exhausting, completely thankless and endlessly repetitive.


I need wine......and I need it now!

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I guess the bottom line is that no one in public service gets punished for rank stupidity, because, ultimately, no one within the system cares or is responsible. If they're lucky, they'll get promoted! The policy of promoting idiots upwards, out of harms way, has prevailed for decades, except that the idiots now also benefit from massive salaries. If they're unlucky, they'll be encouraged to leave with a massive pay off to keep quiet and a glowing reference to move to the next authority and repeat the same thing all over again. Or, if you've messed up in Children's Service, you get moved to a Headship just down the road ... 

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Councillor replies to Fire Station e-mail (post 40):


Received 15th September 2014


11. Andrews, Polly (Cllr) Liberal Democrat


Thank you for your email , but as a former member of the H&W FRANCE I know how long and difficult has been the search for a site for a replacement fire station


Sent from my iPad
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I did think that one of the short comings within the city and highlighted by this planning application is the lack of a Hereford City Neighbourhood Plan. Outside of the city, many parish councils are realising the importance of putting together a Neighbourhood Plan


We are told that producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan provides an exciting opportunity for communities to become directly involved in planning policy. A plan allows the local community to create a vision and planning policies for the use and development of land in a neighbourhood.


For example, where new homes and businesses can be built and what they should look like. Neighbourhood Development Plans can be general or more detailed, depending on what is important to local people. They must however, conform with the strategic policies in the Core Strategy and should not be used to promote a lower level of development. In Herefordshire, Neighbourhood Development Plans can only be produced by town or parish councils.


Unfortunately the city council appear to have no real interest in this application and as per Two Wheels post 37 states 'We have no objection in principle and appreciate the need for a new Fire Station in Hereford; however, we regret the loss of Bath Street building and think it’s unfortunate to locate the Fire Station on such prominent site in the City.'


Hereford City Council as a parish council didn't have an effective Neighbourhood plan in place for its wards, and it would appear from this past topic by Simon Brown, that even where enlightened councils consult their parishioners, their comments are or will be ignored as it suits.


Within this section of the council's website reference is made to Neighbourhood Development Orders, These are a relatively new legislative tool. They are flexible and consistent with local determination, part of a move to reduce bureaucracy and redefine the issues where planning really makes a contribution to neighbourhoods.


This guidance note sets out some of the ways in which you can use your Neighbourhood Development Order and highlights the circumstances or objectives when you might want to consider a development order.


The following project ideas/objectives can form the basis of your Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO), though you may have other ideas in mind as the list is by no means exhaustive:


• Vitality;

• Employment;

• Design and local residential character;

• Conservation;

• Renewable energy;

• Innovation and regeneration;


All sound good reasons for making an NDO, but maybe like Neighbourhood Plans just a smoke screen.

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