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...and Here's How Our Urban Streets Should Look...


Amanda Martin
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I attended a hustings in Dinedor on Friday when Cllr Peter Sinclair-Knipe assured the audience that he was very much in favour of the new Southern Link Road. This, you will recall,  is the Cabinet's shameful roadbuilding swan song which will spawn acres of shoddy new hutches and a big fat profit for house builders south of Hereford.  It would also  incidentally,  ruin Jean and Michael Harris's beautiful garden, although Cllr Sinclair-Knipe didn't mention that bit, probably because he doesn't care.

Inevitably, the subject of the Council's pi*% poor record on transport came up.  
I was guillotined for not phrasing my contribution as a question but blatantTory plants were allowed to speak at will about footpaths, stiles and what a wonderful job farmers and the Council are doing in looking after the countryside.

Meanwhile Cllr Sinclair-Knipe, with his massive expertise and broad perspective in this field, was getting into his stride with an incoherent stream of party briefing key words like "jobs" "growth" and "market forces" and shrewdly anticipated the argument I would have made had I not been cut off with "When you say THE CONTINENT, you mean HOLLAND !  Cycling is all very well but YOU WON'T GET PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR CARS" and HOLLAND is FLAT and what about when it's RAINING and *cue triumphant chuckle*,  you can't get much shopping on a BIKE can you and, and, and (pause for tweeting birds)" ...................people haven't got TIME !!"      Apparently, though we all have time to sit in traffic jams. 

 

Now Julian's walking round the house repeating "YOU WON'T GET PEOPLE OUT OF THEIR CARS........"  
and suggesting Cllr S-K  probably drives along in his Turbo deluxe f*c _king Shogan tank with a shotgun pointing out of each window blasting peasants and wildlife.  

 

Here's another gem: " It's all very well all these arts festivals, but WHO"S GOING TO PAY FOR THEM? EH? EH? The businesses? ARE THEY GOING TO PAY??"       Not very "Big Society".  

....and here's how our urban streets should look

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post-897-0-35408700-1430060600_thumb.jpg

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I don't know about you, Amanda, but I find it incredibly reassuring that someone as knowledgeable as Cllr. Sinclair-Knipe, can just brush aside all of my worries and concerns about this, with a few well chosen phrases.

 

Those very phrases which illustrate to me perfectly that he has a sound understanding of this issue, and is most definitely best placed to have the right solution.

 

What a fool I am. Of course he knows best.

 

And I don't feel in the slightest bit patronised by his predictable response..... not one bit.

 

The pictures are brilliant by the way, it's what we should be aspiring to achieve here.

 

(P.S. I did speak to a few folks from Widemarsh Ward earlier...... you definitely have their vote!)

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To tell you the truth I'm feeling a bit bruised.   I'd like to say people's rebuffs are irrelevant to me and I just shrug them off but it's not true.  I limit myself to a brief introduction on the doorstep but a couple of people just shut the door in my face.    One bloke kept saying "No thank you" each time I tried to speak without even looking at me.    Half the people complain when candidates don't call and the other half abuse you when you do.  Tail's down a bit. 

The highlight of my day yesterday was the hour I spent with a lady of 92.  She invited me in and told me about the Britain she grew up in.  Old people are regarded as irrelevant and shuffled out of sight but they have great wisdom.  We should listen more.  



 

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I read with interest Amanda, that Cllr Sinclair Knipe didn't mention the road going through our garden. Would you expect it from a Tory. They are probably rubbing their hands together waiting for the ~£27500 they will be getting from each house built on the SLR. They should have enough money in the coffers to cover their bottled water and biscuits at this rate.  Sorry to tell you but you are going to have to fight hard for your seats this time around.

 

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...but I'm relieved to hear I won't be out for a duck :-)

 

Come on Amanda you can do this..you have the courage of your convictions.

Am I right in thinking the your conservative opponent doesn't even live in the ward?

If you win that's a great spot to be in however if it doesn't work out carry on being an absolute pain in the arse sometimes mixing it up on the backbenchs can give you more of a free hand.

 

Go girl we the electorate are a strange lot and it only takes one little old lady to put you back on track...plenty of people support you hear so what a terrific friend to have in HV!!

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Our Amanda has got plenty of fighting spirit, Green Knight...... she'll get there!

 

You and I can spot a good 'un a mile off..... and Amanda is definitely that!

 

Anyone who can wipe the floor with Pat Morgan is worth a vote for that alone!

 

She's fearless.

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Take heart Amanda you can't please the people all of the time,but if you can please them most of the time,then you will do just fine & at lest they will know you can & will fight there corner!

 

Besides it keeps you human to know that not everyone will agree with your views so will allow you to feel empathy & work towards a better future for everyone!

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Welcome to my world,

Won't you come on in......

 

Good Grief! I've been taken over by the spirit of Jim Reeves!

 

It is a strange little world Amanda...... but a pretty good one! You're very welcome here. 

 

Picking up on another point you made...... Hay Festival starts in a couple of weeks. From a few tents in the school playground, it has grown and grown. Now attracting visitors and speakers from around the world and boosting Hays economy.

 

Thank the Lord some folks have vision!!

 

I'll be there again....back in my camper van as usual..... and come rain or shine, I can't wait!

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IOC seems the way to go for me.

Talking of festivals please don't forget that this Saturday is the Hereford River Carnival. This is an event put on by volunteers and supported by a wide variety of local independent traders, community groups and some bigger names (Arts Council, Lottery, etc...)

Please give us your support and if by chance you'd like to volunteer on the day or know of someone who would like to sponsor the event in the future please let us know.

All the contact details you need are on our website at www.rivercarnival.org or on our Hereford River Carnival Facebook community page.

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The narrow "houses and jobs" mission to grow the "economy" is not "one-size-fits-all" and it doesn't fit Herefordshire!

 

Here we can still celebrate our assets, - our fantastic landscapes and amazing diversity of wildlife. We should be growing our economy on tourism and high-value but ethical specialist products. There are many places to look to for inspiration in revitalising Hereford,  - even Birmingham, with those leafy inner-city courtyard developments.

 

After the elections, can we have a sort of "Conference" where local people can come and explain all their great ideas?

(There are many we have already heard of on Hereford Voice!)

 

And then the New Administration will have that extra information with which to assess what can be done for the biggest benefits, but obviously with the constraints of small budgets.

 

So there's got to be a New Administration!!

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In a nutshell Cloudberry.  

I've been thinking a lot about a study trip to the Netherlands for Councillors and officers so that people can see for themselves what we're missing.  I also know from experience that public meetings and presentations are a fantastic way of getting this message over and getting public support for what are, on the surface, radical ideas that will mean us changing deeply ingrained assumptions.   If you're going to ask people to change their habits, you have to paint a very vivid and convincing picture of the alternatives.  

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On the two occasions I have been, Cloudberry, we travelled by coach, ferry, train, tram, bus and bike.   We didn't get into a car once! 

 

There are some truly inspirational speakers out there but they cost money.  During the campaign against the M4 Relief Road (see SOuthern Link Road thread)  we had an active committee and a well oiled publicity and fundraising  effort.  To be honest, I also had a rich husband back then and didn't have to work and, to his credit, he bankrolled my campaign. 

 

After the road wars, some of us went to on qualify as transport planners and, armed with my Msc, I developed an interest in the impact of traffic on how communities function and, in particular, on childhood independence and mobility.  I was Transport 2000's South Wales spokeswoman and the motorway stuff morphed into a Safe Routes to School project which also had enormous support from parents and staff at the two school I worked with.  Unfortunately, that was scuppered by the local business community who even objected to an extra pedestrian crossing on the main road on the grounds that it would put off car borne customers.   We did get that crossing but the scheme overall was fileted of all of its controversial, and therefore useful, elements.  I'm not over it. 

 

I have friends with a primary school age child.   They told me recently that one of the mums liked to walk or cycle with her child and asked the school about secure cycle racking.  The horrified response was "No we don't provide it.  What if ALL the children wanted to cycle?" 

 

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Thanks Amanda, I really like what I see in the IOC and I wish you good luck next Thursday. I can understand the response you get on the doorsteps. I know it is very rude but people have lost faith with all the unkept promises by the present government and are not prepared to listen to anyone else.

 

Having said that it pays to canvas. I remember when I was canvassing for Parish Council some years ago I had a similar response but I carried on regardless. Out of the 12 candidates I actually had the highest number of votes. So chin up Amanda. You will be amazing!!!

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One of the guys who came with us on the second trip to Utrecht, Delft and The Hague was Ken Spence: Principal Transport Planner with York City Council.   York still bears the legacy of his influence and there are glimmerings of understanding around the UK but the road lobby successfully stifles most attempts to move us in a different direction. 

 

Hereford is suffering from planning and traffic blight in ways you don't necessarily think of.  Someone at the hospital told me a couple of weeks ago that Hereford Hospital  has trouble attracting and keeping talented practitioners because Hereford is seen as an increasingly unattractive rural backwater.   Talk of "jobs 'n growth" and affordable housing is all very well but unless we pay some attention to the things that draw in the affluent, there is going to be a continuing serious shortage of professional capital in the county, along with an absence of the kind of spending power that can support local economies and culture which, in turn, provide choice, opportunity and quality of life for everyone.  When Fired Earth closes down, you know your city is in trouble.       

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Everyone has a viewpoint and most of us have cars as I believe your partner has Amanda. Yes I've been to Holland more than once and every time I flew yes flew like most people do when they take their kids on holidays these days. Would love to coach, ferry tram etc, sadly though my employer prefers that I get things done in a day rather than two or three. in previous posts I have still not seen realistic suggestions on how to stop me doing the miles compliments of the motor car the recycled argument about sorting out local solutions is an easy one to sort but contentious as it basically means stopping parents from running their kids to school in the four wheeled monster. I'm sure that no one can argue how quieter the roads are during school and college breaks. This however is easier said than done and I'm glad I'm not saddled with the task of selling the concept. My kids have been and gone but I appreciate many of the hurdles that parents have to jump these days.

 

Herefordshire faces big decisions over the next ten years and it can go a couple of ways. It could retain its bubble mentality which ultimately means no new roads or business which in turn will encourage a larger immigration of retired have money types which in turn forces up house prices pushing lower paid local people out of the County. Two types of industry mainly farming with contract in cheap labour as required and private welfare carers looking after those who can afford it. So big houses in the country for the money types and tenement blocks for the rest serving those affluent incoming who won't need to use a vehicle because they can get others to do it.

 

I prefer a balanced controlled approach of sustainable ROAD and transport development which in turn will attract the right industries and professionals for our schools and hospitals.

 

My family left Jersey prior to the German invasion and in the end they could not afford to return. I and my

family were forced to leave Winchester because it's house prices went through the roof so here we are in Herefordshire. Please don't think that we can ignore the changes that are to come, we can't be selfish shutting the door, selective about who we let in. The only way that local young people have a chance to remain or return to this fare county is to have a structured balanced approach to sustainable development which includes roads. I love the idea of walking down Old Town pushing a rickshaw with several patient monitors and a defibrillator on my back heading towards Gloucester..but I'm absolutely sure my employer wouldn't and judging by all the trades people they wouldn't either.

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greenknight of course it's about choice and balance -  neither of which we have at the moment.   

 

I have a car but I don't use it unless I have to.  Driving is a deeply antisocial activity and we should remember this every time we get behind the wheel.  Our hypermobility and personal choice is someone else's asthma and a generation of children who will never know the freedom we took for granted.  

 

Interestingly as I cycle around with my rosette on, I'm starting to get recognised and tooted and there's an unspoken camaraderie on the Great Western Way.   They're probably thinking: "There's that crazy cycling candidate".  

 

Making our living environment better is good for everyone, not just the rich.  

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greenknight of course it's about choice and balance -  neither of which we have at the moment.   

 

I have a car but I don't use it unless I have to.  Driving is a deeply antisocial activity and we should remember this every time we get behind the wheel.  Our hypermobility and personal choice is someone else's asthma and a generation of children who will never know the freedom we took for granted.  

 

Interestingly as I cycle around with my rosette on, I'm starting to get recognised and tooted and there's an unspoken camaraderie on the Great Western Way.   They're probably thinking: "There's that crazy cycling candidate".  

 

Making our living environment better is good for everyone, not just the rich.

 

 

 

Well just be mindful Amanda that getting behind the wheel maybe anti-social but it can also mean the saving of life as does the air ambulance etc etc.

I admire your commitment to the cause though and you already have the uncanny nack of not answering certain questions which makes you ideal for politics. In my younger days I became part of the Winchester protest group but these days I just feel fortunate that our great british lives are not ruined by the brutalities of war.

I'm a huge fan of James Lovelock and the Gaia concept.

 

The tram suggestion is a brilliant one but it won't stop lorries,tractors and old coaches trundling through the city adding to the pollution levels.

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