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With the election looming I have been looking at It’s our County’s manifesto. I understand from John Harrington (Chairman of the Executive) that all candidates and existing councillors are not required to support any element of this manifesto as there is no whip to the party. I am told it is hoped that a desire for unity within the party is stronger than the desire for independence. Let’s hope that this is the case. However I was unable to find on It’s our County’s website if individual candidates and councillors are publicly supporting the manifesto or not.

 

Manifestos are produced to help the electorate decide on what a party’s plans and intentions are. To date I have voted for and been impressed by It’s our County’s; but I for one, would find it useful to know if each individual It’s our County’s candidate and existing councillor, supports their own manifesto. I believe that if they do not share the majority of the manifesto views, to seek election under the It’s our County’s banner would be confusing and potentially misleading.

 

Perhaps either here or on the It’s our County’s website itself, their support (or lack of) could be published to give the voters the clarity I feel we need.

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Hi Drawlings, I'm standing for Its Our County and can state that I agree with the majority of what's in it, while I can't speak for everyone I can reassure you from being in contact with other party members that I haven't heard anyone disagree with anything in there. We all might have slightly different views on certain things but we all have one goal, to put the needs of the people of Hereford first and make the city and shire better.

Edited by Jimbo
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Perhaps either here or on the It’s our County’s website itself, their support (or lack of) could be published to give the voters the clarity I feel we need.

 

Taking down the IOC website 2 weeks before the election can't be a smart move.

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IOC Housing Policy

"We stand for democratically led development, not developer-led ‘democracy’. The scale and location of new house building should be determined by the needs of local communities and informed by other policy areas. It’s Our County would reverse the policy of using housing as ‘cash generators’ for unrelated transport or retail developments Herefordshire is a desirable place to live and work in but has low average incomes and relatively costly housing, a problem especially acute in our market towns and rural areas. Much of our housing stock is of low quality and poor energy effciency. Our priority must be high-quality affordable homesin response to the particular pattern of local needs. We believe that the defnition of ‘Affordability’ must include running costs as well as purchase price or rental. Speculative housing development only risks making our current problems worse. We will abandon the outdated housing targets now being voluntarily adopted, and work closely with Herefordshire communities – based on their own local plans - to develop a housing strategy which delivers homes in appropriate numbers and where they are needed. Key policies • Reduce the current overall housing target numbers to a level the county needs and can sustain • Locate new housing where it is needed and has community support with access to services and amenities • Encourage the building of living neighbourhoods rather than estates by promoting the creation of wildlife areas, cycle ways, greens and community buildings as conditions of the frst stage of new development • Ensure a third of all new housing is social-/community-owned and truly affordable – to buy or rent and to live in • Make homes ft for the future by making them energy-effcient and built to good standards of quality • Ensure that the Community Infrastructure Levy is spent in the locality on locally agreed infrastructure projects • Aim to protect our natural and built heritage: develop brown-feld sites before green-feld where possible. • Encourage conversion of empty property for homes and mixed-use development such as homes above shops • Explore the feasibility of a new village in the South of the county with a new railway station • Explore the building of new council houses to act as a beacon of good"

 

Locally led/sustainable/brownfield/Locate houses where they are needed/Aim to protect our natural and built heritage/  -  Just parts of your Housing Policy that is totally in contrast to the 150 house Archihaus Housing Estate planned for Kingstone. Growth of over 30% for a village that continue to oppose this ridiculous housing estate.  IOC and Conservatives have supported this planning application throughout and continue to do so.

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I totally agree with you Denise and this is where we are allowed to disagree with each other in the IOC, as I would be totally against it to. It should be policy that villages can only grow by a certain percentage in a given time, I.e 5% or less in a year for example, that development changes the dynamics of the village, as well as adding more pressure to an already over stretched doctors surgery and also adding more traffic movements into Hereford. Maybe I'm the one that's wrong but surly it's common sense to listen to what local parishes want.

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Twowheelsgood , I don't think the website was taken down deliberately - I believe this is being sorted out.  

 

Denise,  I would endorse what James has said.  In addition, i would say that the issue is not just whether we should build but what we're building.  

 

Part of the "jobs 'n growth" agenda has been the imposition of acre after acre of bleak, soulless hutches:  designed with minimal care and constructed to the poorest standards and tacked onto the periphery of existing settlements like a badly done transplant.    We need to demand more of our developers and ensure that we are creating a built environment that will enhance and enrich and not degrade and depress. 

I personally have reservations about the over emphasis on "affordable" housing ;  this is becoming a euphemism for somewhere to dump the poor and get away with shoddy building.   Rich or poor, we all want a decent attractive home within a settlement that will function as a community not a ghetto and if developers are going to profit from house building then they should be made to jump through some hoops. 

I haven't looked into the detail of the Kingstone development but I believe the feeling was that this was something a bit different.  

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Thank you for your replies both of you. I am sure more will come through in due course.  Amanda oh yes it was certainly different.  Jimbo living in Madley what areyour views on the industrial sized chicken houses which are springing up everywhere.  There's certainly quite a few in Madley which have been there for quite sometime.

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Architype are involved in a current planning application for 90 houses in Marden, a similar approach to the Kingstone scheme they designed. 35% of these are to be 'affordable housing'. That's a big scheme in a smallish village, notwithstanding the high level of landscaping and so on they propose. IOC may well have a councillor in place at Marden by the time this application comes to committee.

Edited by twowheelsgood
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Denise,  I think intensive chicken houses are a bad idea in every way I can think of and I'm on record saying so.   

 

In view my  they and other forms of agribusiness  are uncivilised, economically unsustainable, environmentally devastating  and morally unacceptable.  I don't speak for my colleagues but It's Our County's manifesto commitment is to encourage humane,  responsible  farmers who want to move to less intensive methods of production but who currently operate in a skewed market.  

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I cannot speak for everyone from IOC but I will give you my view, I'm against where the planners allow these chicken houses to go, they are usually sited down narrow country lanes, the lorries and tractors which then service these sites ruin the roads and verges, this leads to potholes, unsafe roads to walk on or drive on, flooding as the road sinks under the weight of these vehicles and the damage they have done to the verges and ditches, then you have the issues of smell etc. Our roads are already bad enough without making them worse, I believe Herefordshire should focus on tourism in the countryside not site industrial agriculture units where ever the powers that be decide (notice the planners don't live by them) if you have to have chicken houses the proper infustucture should be in place, they should be sited well away from people, linking straight on to a A road, as to minimise the damage that comes from these industrial units.

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I cannot speak for everyone from IOC but I will give you my view, I'm against where the planners allow these chicken houses to go, they are usually sited down narrow country lanes, the lorries and tractors which then service these sites ruin the roads and verges, this leads to potholes, unsafe roads to walk on or drive on, flooding as the road sinks under the weight of these vehicles and the damage they have done to the verges and ditches, then you have the issues of smell etc. Our roads are already bad enough without making them worse, I believe Herefordshire should focus on tourism in the countryside not site industrial agriculture units where ever the powers that be decide (notice the planners don't live by them) if you have to have chicken houses the proper infustucture should be in place, they should be sited well away from people, linking straight on to a A road, as to minimise the damage that comes from these industrial units.

This is all very true - as someone who cycles the length and breadth of the county, I see first hand and close up the damage done by increasingly large tractors and trailers, often driven by 16 year olds at high speed whilst texting or talking on the phone.  The tyres are not for road use and break up macadam very quickly and the vehicles are often wider than the road itself. Plus of course, the sites themselves are serviced by articulated lorries with their own destructive qualities. 

 

Just a thought - should industrial farming sites be situated on industrial estates which are designed for heavy vehicle movements?

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Have IOC (as a group) got any particular view on the crazy parking we now have in the County? Like the charges applying until 10 PM in half empty car parks. And the on street restrictions applying to 10 PM as well. Where you get attendants creeping around issuing tickets when there's a vast number of empty spaces anyway. 

 

Or will it just be left as it is and any blame for the bonkers cash cow of a system can just be redirected at the previous administration.

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Hi two wheels, yes I do believe they would be best suited in industrial estates as the infustructure in already in place to site these sheds, I think to echo Amanda's point we would like to see less intensive farming being practiced.

 

Hi Roger, IOC were very vocal about the increase in car parking charges back in 2011, personsally I would like to change the times from 10pm back to 6pm.

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Thanks to Jimbo by offering your opinion on the manifesto following my post – in  stating you support the majority of the manifesto; this provides the clarity I was seeking.

 

Of course I understand an IOC candidate\councillor is free not to support the manifesto, but for the voters benefit, this should be published.

 

Are other candidates or councillors also going to commit to the simple clarity Jimbo has supplied?  

 

 

 

 

On another note,  Roger has posed an excellent and relevant question on parking restrictions, I look forward to reading responses to that as well...

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I cannot speak for everyone from IOC but I will give you my view, I'm against where the planners allow these chicken houses to go, they are usually sited down narrow country lanes, the lorries and tractors which then service these sites ruin the roads and verges, this leads to potholes, unsafe roads to walk on or drive on, flooding as the road sinks under the weight of these vehicles and the damage they have done to the verges and ditches, then you have the issues of smell etc. Our roads are already bad enough without making them worse, I believe Herefordshire should focus on tourism in the countryside not site industrial agriculture units where ever the powers that be decide (notice the planners don't live by them) if you have to have chicken houses the proper infustucture should be in place, they should be sited well away from people, linking straight on to a A road, as to minimise the damage that comes from these industrial units.

Jimbo the proper infrastructue is not in place for the houses being planted on the various villages and farms came long before roads.  There are not too many near A roads and are you sure the farmers there want to be chicken farmers.  I am sorry to prick your idealistic view on the countryside and where food comes from.  Without farmers doing what they do you would not have the beautiful countryside that we are all fighting to preserve.  Chicken houses/intensive food production as much as you Jimbo and Amanda seem to dislike it produce the cheap food that this country demands.  Without farmers producing food en masse there will never  be a chance of lifting people out of reliance on food banks. Do you want to get into the situation that chicken and everyday food is imported because it is cheaper to produce overseas? I can assure you  the production standards in this country are considerably higher than anywhere in the world.  Have you ever seen photographs of cattle production in Brazil?  Now if that was happening in this country you would have something to complain about.   

Edited by Denise Lloyd
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On the parking price issue its impossible to get everything into a manifesto, all I can say is when the charges went up in 2011, IOC spoke up against that, I also agree that this late night charge to 10pm is for want of a better word 'stupid', we do need though to look at feasible ways to get people in and out if the city without having to use their car, a park and ride system for example and the tram idea that Colin has mentioned To great success in a previous thread, on a personal level I just want the city to flourish, so any ideas any of you can come up with will be looked at, as I've stated before I don't care who comes up with ideas as long as someone does.

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Denise I do not have all the answers and like I've said I'm against the development in kingstone, villages should be allowed to grow slowly and more naturally, on the chicken farm issue I also agree lots of these farmers have been pushed into it, but that doesn't change the issue that where they are sited is wrong.

 

I can see what you are saying about mass produced food and price etc, maybe if the large supermarket chains weren't so greedy the farmer would get a better price therefore not needing to farm so intensively and the consumer would get a better quality product at a lower price, also maybe farmers markets can be increased and actively encourgaged.

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Denise,  I had a letter from Clare Greener of the NFU yesterday offering me briefings and asking for my support in halting the dismantling of the County holdings system.  I'm happy to publish my response below and to stand by it: 

 

"Dear Ms Greener,

Thank you very much for  your introductory letter of 23 April, together with enclosures, which I have read with interest.

Like most new councillors, if I am elected, I will be using my initial weeks in office to inform myself about local issues including the challenges faced by Herefordshire's farmers.   Ten years ago, as a newly qualified solicitor, I had several farming clients, one of whom was facing eviction from his County holding.  This case made me aware of the difficulties faced by County Farm tenants and it is an issue that has already been explored by It's Our County's Executive Committee during policy discussions.
 

It's Our County's manifesto contains a commitment to the retention of  County holdings.   We are aware that Herefordshire's farmers play an important role in the County both  culturally and economically and I personally would like to see the local authority playing a part, through County Farms,   in encouraging those farmers who would like to commit to high standards of animal welfare and countryside custodianship.   It's only fair to say, at this stage, that I am personally not a fan of intensive farming methods.  However,   I realise that intensification has come about as a result of financial necessity rather than by choice in many instances and I would like to see HC use its functions and resources to favour those farmers who would like to move away from these methods of  production but cannot do so without some assistance.     I am very conscious of not wanting to over promote myself at this stage; I'm aware that our manifesto commitments may not go qhite as far as my own personal views but they are together in spirit I believe.
 

I would be very happy to meet you and to receive briefing documents and look forward to working with you  as, I'm sure, would many of my colleagues.     If It's Our County does achieve a good majority on 7th May, I think we could see a very different approach to these and other issues and an exciting opportunity to start changing priorities.

Kind regards
Amanda Martin " 

 

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To deal with your other point, Denise, I do not accept that human poverty, corporate greed and distortions of the market place are justifications for  the abuse inherent in industrial agriculture and I reject your view that it is intensive farming that preserves the countryside and keeps the poor out of food banks. Neither do I accept that the abolition of factory farming would plunge people into starvation.  In fact, as my family demonstrates on a daily basis, no-one needs to eat meat and most people would benefit from eating a good deal less of it.  Industrial agriculture is a cause of widespread environmental destruction and the products benefit neither human nor animal health. 

 

I do not have an objection to eating meat in principle but farm animals are not commodities to be used and abused for profit; they are sentient creatures capable of suffering and suffer they do in their millions; the evidence is literally under our noses.    In my view they are entitled to some consideration and the extent to which we are prepared to acknowledge this is an indicator of our moral progress as a society. 

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Will IOC bring back our weekly rubbish collection?  Four bags every two weeks is stupid and while I do not put four bags out, other people do, right outside my house.

 

I am voting of IOC, even if they did annoy by putting a sign outside my house using screws into my fence without my permission. I do not mind it being there as I have a poster on my door, but they could have asked.

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Sorry about that, Adrian.  

 

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure about the rubbish collection.  I would like to see a return to weekly collection but there may be contractual or financial reasons why we can't achieve it, at least straight away.   I do know that the budget is horribly stretched.  I will find out.  

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Hi Seb, don't worry about being dyslexic I am too and so must the current Conserative council as they've run up £215 million pounds worth of debt, now how many £ signs do you see in that?

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