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daft looking wiggin

Letter to the Ledbury farmer.

Dear Mr Wiggin,
Your Tory controlled central government and your Tory controlled Herefordshire County Council promised superfast broadband in northern Herefordshire by the end of 2016.
It has not happened and the service we do have is getting slower and slower.
Do something about it. No more excuses.
Yours,
Simon Brown.
17Mar17

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Head in sand

Watts Up With That?March 8, 2017United States

Science deniers in the wind industry – The human health consequences of manipulated measurements

The problem with wind energy is not just its costly, subsidized, unreliable electricity; the need to back up every megawatt with redundant fossil-fuel power; or its impacts on wildlife and their habitats.

Science deniers in the wind industry.

By Helen Schwiesow Parker, PhD, LCP

Helen Schwiesow Parker, PhD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Past Clinical Supervisory Faculty member at the University of Virginia Medical School. Her career includes practical experience in the fields of autism, sensory perception, memory and learning, attention deficit and anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and PTSD.

Like the tobacco industry before it, the wind industry has spent decades vehemently denying known harmful consequences associated with its product, while promoting its fraudulent feel-good image. Dismissing or denying the serious health impacts of industrial-scale wind turbines is wishful thinking, akin to insisting that tobacco is harmless because we enjoy it.

Helen Schwiesow Parker

The problem with wind energy is not just its costly, subsidized, unreliable electricity; the need to back up every megawatt with redundant fossil-fuel power; or its impacts on wildlife and their habitats.

Infrasound (inaudible) and low-frequency (audible) noise (slowly vibrating sound waves collectively referred to as ILFN) produced by Industrial-scale Wind Turbines (IWTs) directly and predictably cause adverse human health effects. The sonic radiation tends to be amplified within structures, and sensitivity to the impact of the resonance increases with continuing exposure.

These facts have been known to the wind industry and the US government since the 1980s when it became a ‘hot topic,’ with numerous studies presented and published by acousticians working under grants from the Departments of Energy, Defense and NASA. The wind industry response?

Deny the science. Insist that “what you can’t hear can’t hurt you.” Claim that “neighbors will get used to it.” Measure only outside dwellings, and allow only noise measurements in the field that reflect the relative loudness perceived by the human ear, while drastically reducing sound-level readings in the lower frequencies that are known to cause problems.

From a distance, many view the massive turbines as majestic – as a clean, seemingly quiet and free source of endless energy. To untold thousands of families clustered within 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) or more of the pulsing machines, however, the IWTs bring strangely debilitating illness – increasingly incapacitating for some, yet scoffed at by wind proponents.

Common sense tells us that fifty-story-tall metal structures with blades as long as football fields moving at 180 mph at their tips would negatively impact quiet neighborhoods. But the extent and severity of the IWT’s effect on body, mind and spirit comes as a surprise to most people.

When I’m at home I’m usually sick with headaches, nausea, vertigo, tinnitus, anxiety, hopelessness, depression. My ears pop a lot and I hardly ever sleep…. Suicide looks to be my only relief. Land of the FREE Home of the BULLSHIT! … Million to one odds anybody contacts me back.”

The primary pathway of turbine assault on human health is no mystery. The Israeli army has used low-frequency sound pulses as high-tech crowd control for years. People are made nauseous and confused, with blurred vision, vertigo, headaches, tachycardia, heightened blood pressure, pain and ringing in the ears, difficulties with memory and concentration, anxiety, depression, irritability, and panic attacks.

This also describes the Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS), a constellation of symptoms first given a name by the brilliant young MD/PhD, Nina Pierpont. She followed her astute and compassionate observations of turbine neighbors around the world with epidemiological research, using a robust case-crossover statistical design: subjects experienced symptoms that varied with proximity to the turbines. When the same subjects were placed at a greater distance from the turbines, their symptoms abated; returning them to the scene brought the symptoms back.

Michigan State University noise engineers explain that “Inaudible components [ILFN] can induce resonant vibration in liquids, gases and solids … bodily tissues and cavities – potentially harmful to humans.” A subject in the groundbreakingCooper study describes how the resonance shows up in a glass of water on her kitchen table, and in the toilet bowl, and how she feels it in her body.

Pierpont hypothesized that a significant pathway from ILFN to symptoms might include disruption to balance mechanisms located in the inner ear.

Dr. Alec Salt and colleagues, otolaryngologists at Washington University, later found that inaudible ILFN reaches the brain via inner ear Outer Hair Cell (OHC) displacement, leading indeed to unfamiliar and disturbing sensations paralleling WTS.

As turbine size trends upward, the sickening ILFN emissions worsen. There’s a lot of money riding on keeping the science under the radar of public awareness, and regulations to a minimum.

When Denmark’s EPA proposed tightening turbine noise regulations to protect turbine neighbors from increasing ILFN (May 2011), the Vestas CEO wrote the DEPA Minister, asserting: “It simply isn’t technically possible to curtail the ILFN output,” and “Increased distance requirements [setbacks from residences] cannot be met whilst maintaining a satisfactory business outcome for the investor.”’ DEPA folded, turning instead to looser standards that were “likely to be copied by other countries.”

Although alerted to the increased endangerment of turbine neighbors around the world, the press remained silent, and Big Wind’s central players ramped up their game plan undeterred.

In addition to the impact of ILFN radiation, turbine neighbors suffer from Turbine “Flicker” – a strobe-like effect caused by turbine blades alternately blocking and allowing sunlight to skim rhythmically and repeatedly across the land, or ricochet in bursts across interior walls and stairwells.

The direct impact extends to nearly a mile from the turbine – long after sunrise, and again long before sunset. It is mesmerizing, disorienting, and often brings on nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, irritability, even panic, indoors or outside.

Repetitive sleep disturbance and stress-related symptoms are the most common health complaints of IWT neighbors. The audible sound constantly fluctuates, described as akin to low-flying jets or the rumble of helicopters, “freakish, screeching sound sludge.” It is unnatural. People say the noise gets into your head, and you can’t get it out.

Advising the Falmouth, MA Board of Health, Dr. William Hallstein wrote: “All varieties of illnesses are destabilized, secondary to inadequate sleep: diabetic blood sugars, cardiac rhythms, migraines, tissue healing. Psychiatric problems intensify … all in the ‘normal’ brain. Errors in judgment and accident rates increase.”

As with seasickness, not everyone is similarly affected. But for many, the experience becomes literally intolerable. Devastated families and individuals around the world,having lost their health, jobs or farms, return their keys to the bank, sell their homes at fire-sale prices, or simply pack up and flee. Some never recover their health.

(For more details on this human health travesty, see my three-part series on MasterResource.org)

The continuing expansion of Big Wind is a tale of money and power shunting aside integrity and compassion, abetted by a disinterested news media, leading to an un-informed public, further betrayed by “human rights advocates” loathe to break ranks from popular positions.

The myth that “saving the world” requires tolerating the costs of Big Wind could not be further from the truth. Responsible stewardship demands critical thinking, common sense and grade school science, not just following Big Wind’s Pied Piper and supposedly good intentions.

In fact, allowing wind into the energy mix squanders our non-renewable environment and taxpayer billions that are greatly needed elsewhere, wasting them on the most idiotic of engineering conceits.

Reliance on wind actually increases emissions and fossil fuel use overall, due to inefficiencies introduced into the system. Big Wind eliminates none of the need for conventional capacity, but rather consumes vast quantities of additional fuel and raw materials, while spewing emissions during the manufacture, transportation, construction and maintenance of the enormous redundant turbines and their uniquely demanding infrastructure.

The Wind Game is nothing but an obscenely costly, mostly useless energy redundancy scheme. It funnels unimaginable profits from our taxpayer and rate-payer pockets to its inner circle, while knowingly ignoring its victims’ desperate pleas for relief – and indeed ridiculing them and trying to bury all the growing evidence of harm to their health and wellbeing.

We’ve witnessed three decades of this callous, mercenary assault, this arrogant denial of what is known to be true, this untold suffering of thousands of innocent victims around the world. It’s time to bring in the human rights and social justice referees – and call “game over.”

Article of Watts Up With That? – March 8, 2017

Top of page

Friends against wind © 2014-2017

14Mar17

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Broken turbine

Poisonous Wind Power

Massive pollution from production of turbines and other “green” products. How often are you just exporting your pollution?

Watch the video

9Mar17

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Auntie BBC

Let’s give the biased Auntie BBC a fright.

Sign the petition asking for the TV licence fee to be abolished.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/170931

9Mar17

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Parish council

Bullshit corner.

Question to Steve Chilman chairman of the NDP Steering Group sent  25Feb17 circulated to Bill Bloxsome too.

Dear Steve,

I am trying to respond to the latest round of consultation but am
amazed that there is no map showing proposed housing sites in the NDP itself.
To see the sites I have to refer to the separate document Meeting Housing
Needs. Why are the sites not shown in the NDP, which, after all, is
the one issue in which parishioners will show any interest?

Simon Brown.

Reply from Steve Chilman received 25Feb17 (verbatim)

Hi Simon ,

The plan for each village shows settlement boundaries and does not show indivaul sites as it did not show them last time .   Please  contact Bill  blocksome  if you need more information.

Many thanks Steve

Reply from Bill Bloxsome received 26Feb17

Dear Mr Brown,

I hope I can help to explain the approach set out to accommodating the
required housing target set out in Herefordshire Local Plan Core
Strategy. That used for Border Group Neighbourhood Plan is similar to a
number of others, and you may wish to look at that for Humber, Ford and
Stoke Prior on Herefordshire Council’s website, which is an adopted
plan that has gone through all its stages and referendum. It is similar
in many respects in that it contains a number of relatively small
villages.

In preparing a neighbourhood plan which requires an element of housing
provision there are a number of considerations that should be taken
into account:
1. Herefordshire Council has expressed a preference for settlement
boundaries to be defined;
2. In order to show that there are sufficient sites for housing, these
have to be available, achievable and suitable;
3. Not all sites need to be shown as allocations. Sites need not
necessarily be shown as allocations, especially if they accommodate 4
or less houses.

There is only one site allocation within the Neighbourhood Plan. This
is land at the Old Nursery in Lingen. Settlement boundaries have been
defined for three of the Group Parrish’s villages. Within these gaps
and sites might be developed where they comply with the range of
criteria set out in the plan. Those indicated in the Meeting Housing
Needs paper are some of the potential sites that might come forward.
They may be others.

Herefordfshire Council would wish to know that the owners of sufficient
allocated and small sites are willing to release sufficient land for
development. As the Border Group Neighbourhood Plan relies
significantly in small sites it was asked to provide supporting
information to show this and this is what is set out in the Meeting
Housing Needs paper. I would stress again, that paper is not definitive
in terms of indicating only those sites that might be developed and
there may well be others. Hence comments upon whether the settlement
boundary is appropriate in terms of the potential it provides would be
helpful.

I hope this is of assistance to you.

Kind regards

Bill Bloxsome

My response to Bill Bloxsome 26Feb17

Dear Mr Bloxsome,

Thank you for this but I have no idea why you have sent it in response to the very simple question why are the maps of interest shown in the Meeting Housing Needs paper not included in the NDP main document? That was all I asked as I believe it might make responding to the latest round of consultation a little easier for parishioners. I hope it is not too rude to say that your reply is goobledygook planning-speak to most people, containing misspelling and badly formed sentences which are incomprehensible to your target audience. How can we truly consult when faced with this sort of esoteric jargon?

Yours,
S C Brown.

26Feb17

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strongbow

Who is the phantom Strongbow Cider man?

I pick up several Strongbow cider cans every time I do a litter run. Today it was eight between Birtley and Lingen city limits on the Kinsham side. This antisocial shitbag is quite clearly drinking and driving as well as being a disgusting litter lout. Someone must know who he is as he is clearly a local resident, otherwise there would not be so many cans quite so regularly. If you know him tell him to desist.

21Feb17

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Parish council

From the Daily Telegraph 21Feb17

SIR – Do Lord Mandelson and the other peers who have served the European Union in various offices declare their financial interests in the Brexit debate? They are pensioners of the EU, and as such they have a lifelong obligation of loyalty to the EU.

The Department for Communities’ guide to councillors advises that, if one has a pecuniary interest relating to any business under consideration, one must not participate in the discussion or in any vote taken on it. Does this rule not apply to the Lords?

Tom Bliss
Fulbeck, Lincolnshire

Does it apply in BGPC I wonder? Two BGPC councillors have been found guilty of not declaring interests by the Monitoring Officer but absolutely nothing has happened, not even an apology! Rotten, corrupt and insulting. Vote them out at the next opportunity.

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buy_green_eco_products

The greenest product ever.

http://sundown.me.uk/technology/mercedes-aa-class.mp4

6Feb17

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Parish council

Just so everyone knows…

Taken from the glossary of the NPPF.

“Affordable housing: Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative affordable housing provision.

Social rented housing is owned by local authorities and private registered providers [my emphasis] (as defined in section 80 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008), for which guideline target rents are determined through the national rent regime. It may also be owned by other persons and provided under equivalent rental arrangements to the above, as agreed with the local authority or with the Homes and Communities Agency.

Affordable rented housing is let by local authorities or private registered providers of social housing to households who are eligible for social rented housing. Affordable Rent is subject to rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80% of the local market rent (including service charges, where applicable).

Intermediate housing is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels subject to the criteria in the Affordable Housing definition above. These can include shared equity (shared ownership and equity loans), other low cost homes for sale and intermediate rent, but not affordable rented housing.

Homes that do not meet the above definition of affordable housing, such as “low cost market” housing, may not be considered as affordable housing for planning purposes. [my emphasis]

6Feb17

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bodrum

bodrum_photomontage

photomontage

More wind turbine vandalism, now in Turkey

31Jan17

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A comment from a fan

“Material from Christopher Booker is consistently analytical, accurate and not part of the plague of Group Think so loved by the BBC, the Warmist lobbies and those that run with the pack.
Keep publishing it.”

18Jan17

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Parish council

Another stitch-up?

The bonkers decision that Cllr Barnett had not breached the Code of Conduct when serving on the Steering Group (see Barnett and Harley Outcomes page on this site) was made on the basis that the NDP Steering group was not established as a subcommittee and does not have an advisory role. This is clearly nonsense given its Terms of Reference at

http://www.bordergroup-pc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Border-Group-Neighbourhood-Development-Plan-Steering-Group-Terms-of-Reference-1-1.pdf

Moreover, according to the Code of Conduct, councillors should err on the side of openness. In my opinion there was no excuse for Councillor Barnett to have not publicly and openly declared and recorded his interest in plot L6 when serving on both the Steering Group and the parish council. I, for one, expect a much higher standard of behaviour from BGPC. No one wishes it to be seen as a nasty little corrupt, self serving clique or a cesspit of inefficiency and flagrant disregard for the rules and standards of common decency….. do they?

17Jan17

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Parish council

Extract from the Code of Conduct

11.   You have a “non-disclosable pecuniary interest or non-pecuniary interest” in an item of business of your Authority where:

(a) A decision in relation to that business might reasonably be regarded as affecting the well-being or financial standing of you or a member of your family or a person with whom you have a close association to a greater extent than it would affect the majority of the Council Tax payers, ratepayers or inhabitants of the Ward or electoral area for which you have been elected or otherwise of the Authority’s administrative area, or

(b) It relates to or is likely to affect any of the interests listed in this Code, but in respect of a member of your family (other than a “relevant person”) or a person with whom you have a close association and that interest is not a disclosable pecuniary interest

12.    Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to a financial interest of a friend, relative or close associate (other than an interest listed in Paragraph 4), you must disclose the nature of the interest and may not vote on the matter. You may speak on the matter only if members of the public are also allowed to speak at the meeting. If it is a “sensitive interest”, you shall declare the interest, but not the nature of the interest.

The Harley estate owns most of the parishes of Brampton Bryan and Buckton and Coxall, and, I believe, owns other land in Walford. It may also have interests in the parishes of Lingen, Willey and Adforton. Perhaps the estate could tell BGPC what lands it does own because Councillor Harley, as one with non-disclosable pecuniary interests, must declare these interests, as indicated above, AND MAY NOT VOTE, as proscribed above. In other words, Councillor Harley may represent Brampton Bryan on BGPC but cannot take part in discussions, as proscribed above, or vote on any matter to do with that parish, Buckton and Coxall, and possibly several other parishes forming the group. This has actually been the case since the Localism Act came into force in 2011, but nothing has ever been said or done about it. It is a decadent state of affairs which must be addressed.

Given the wording in the Code of Conduct “…a person with whom you have a close association to a greater extent than it would affect the majority of the Council Tax payers…” it is my opinion that a BGP councillor who is a tenant of the Harley estate, a tenancy being a much closer relationship than the majority of Council Tax payers would have with the Harley estate and one which a sensible tenant would avoid risking, has a non-disclosable pecuniary interest which would preclude their taking part in discussions and voting on matters affecting the Harley estate in the same way that Councillor Harley is restricted in her actions on BGPC.

17Jan17

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Parish council

Is BGPC bigoted? Surely not.

Councillors Barnett and Harley have now both committed breaches of the Code of Conduct. Who is next and would it be wise for BGPC to consider its own behaviour rather than that of its parishioners, as it did at the December 2016 meeting?

16Jan17

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power-house

“What a bizarre dreamworld we are being carried into by the drive to “decarbonise” Britain.”

Christopher Booker from the Daily Telegraph 15Jan17

At the centre of all the excitable media puffs given to Charles Hendry’s report on Swansea Bay and tidal energy (led inevitably by the BBC), there was a crucial black hole. Not one report focused on how absurdly tiny is the amount of electricity this colossal expenditure and environmental havoc will produce.

Described as “independent”, this review by an ex-energy minister was all that could have been wanted by Swansea’s would-be developer, Mark Shorrock, who promotes himself as “the Brunel of tidal energy”.

Echoing claims made by his expensive PR firm, Hendry gave a glowing account not only of the £1.3 billion Swansea project itself but of five other, much larger schemes that Shorrock is proposing, including three more in the Bristol Channel, which for £40 billion, they claim, could meet 8 per cent of all Britain’s electricity needs.

In fact, the £1.3 billion Swansea scheme alone, working at full power for just a few hours a day, would on average generate only a pitiful 48 megawatts (MW), which they initially hope to sell for a mind-blowing £123 per MW hour, three times the current normal wholesale cost of electricity. A 2,000MW gas-fired power station recently built for £1 billion at Pembroke is capable of producing nearly 40 times as much, whenever needed and without subsidy, at a third of the cost.

That such projects can actually be taken seriously is a measure of just what a bizarre dreamworld we are being carried into by the drive to “decarbonise” Britain.  The real test will come when we see how ministers respond to Hendry’s recommendations, when all the hard facts indicate that this is one of the most ludicrous confections of make‑believe any British government has ever been asked to fall for.

15Jan17

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palmoel-plantage-kellogs

Say No to child labour for palm oil

16Jan17

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“This only confirms my belief that producing the plan has been a complete waste of time and money.”

From letters to the Daily Telegraph 13Jan17.

“Local housing plans that no one listens to

SIR – I have further examples of non-adherence to approved Neighbourhood Development Plans (Letters, January 11).

A parish abutting the city of Leicester with an established plan has found that its local authority has given permission for a reserve site to be developed immediately, with around 200 houses, even though none of the sites designated for development within the plan has been built on.

Even worse, the authority is also considering building a further 1,200 houses on land designated as a green wedge, and outside the limits for development, by the plan.

This only confirms my belief that producing the plan has been a complete waste of time and money.

Laurie Faulkner
Hungarton, Leicestershire”

13Jan17

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decision

Even more NDP failure – from the Daily Telegraph letters page 11Jan17.

SIR – Duncan Rayner (Letters, January 6) is not alone in having believed that a properly constituted Neighbourhood Plan would take priority over the wishes of a county council diktat with respect to building on green belt land.

In Morpeth, our Neighbourhood Plan – also properly constituted and democratically approved – was formally accepted by our county council for incorporation into its own County Plan. We trusted that a massive planning application on nearby green belt land would be rejected.

Incredibly, within three weeks and without explanation, the council repudiated the Neighbourhood Plan. Planning approval has now gone to the local businessman behind the application. Central government has refused to intercede.

Peter Tapsell
Morpeth, Northumberland

11Jan17

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decision

More support for my view that NDPs are a waste of paper and Localism is a crock. 

A piece by Simon Heffer in the Sunday Telegraph 8Jan17.

Thanks primarily to two things – unchecked immigration and high divorce rates – we have insufficient housing. Prices are so high in the south-east that many live with their parents well into their 30s.  Essential staff, such as teachers and those in the emergency services, struggle to find a home anywhere near their workplace.

Something must be done, and Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, has announced a White Paper on the matter. The United Kingdom has roughly the same population as France, but in square miles is well under half the size.

A disproportionate number of Britons live in England, and a disproportionate number of them live in or around London. We had a taste of Government policy last week, before the White Paper, in the announcement of 14 garden villages and three garden towns. The villages will provide around 50,000 homes and the towns will have at least 10,000 each. Even then, at today’s rate of migration, we will within months be back to square one.er as Communities Secretary

Some of the proposed villages are well-placed: in Essex, for example, one is destined for an unremarkable corner of bleak farmland between the M25 and the Southend Arterial Road, and will if anything improve the landscape. But the Hertfordshire garden town will swallow up existing small villages, destroying their character and history, and eat up some green belt outside the postwar new town of Harlow.

The Government seems to wish to avoid confronting one key issue, which a satisfactory White Paper would address explicitly: does the Government have a conception of something called rural England that would continue to exist in our increasingly overcrowded country and, if so, what will it do to protect it? Or should those of us who live in the countryside regard our environment as temporary, and at the whim of government?

I fear it has no such conception at all. It contemplates concreting over tracts of prime farmland just as we leave the Common Agricultural Policy and have to fend more for ourselves. This would also mean, in the south-east, that towns now separated by countryside will soon join up with each other, making huge new conurbations.

Bullied by the Government, local councils will accede to this blight on the homes of hundreds of thousands of existing residents, and there is no shortage of developers (some of them Tory party donors) ready to exploit this weakness. Any idea that this will be done by local consent is rubbish: the problem is too acute, and the desire for an easy way out too pressing.

The White Paper will seek to reform planning laws to make such bullying irresistible. Mr Javid knows that just tweaking the system will have no appreciable results at all. But that is all right in theory: doing it in practice will be quite another matter.

It not only means that hundreds of thousands of people who think they live in the countryside will wake up one day and realise that, very soon, they will not: it will also put additional stress on the road and rail network in a part of England where that infrastructure is already at breaking point.

Mr Javid is far from stupid, and he ought to realise not just the practical difficulties of trying to cram a quart into a pint pot in the home counties, but also the electoral suicide his party could be committing if it pursues this course. Jeremy Corbyn will not always be Labour leader, and Ukip and the Lib Dems are looking for a cause.  In looking for alternatives Mr Javid should have considerable support among colleagues.

The Prime Minister is unlikely to relish explaining to her constituents why a few thousand more homes should be plonked on the outskirts of Maidenhead, adding to the length of the jams on the M4 and necessitating people at the railway station having to push commuters, Japanese-style, on to packed trains.

There will be similar concerns in Runnymede and Weybridge, for which the Chancellor of the Exchequer sits; in Sevenoaks, where even the aggressive loyalty of Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, would be tested; in Jeremy Hunt’s South-West Surrey; and indeed in South Northamptonshire, represented by the Secretary of State for Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom. One also wonders what the private view of Chris Grayling must be on these matters.

Not only might he have to explain the infliction of massive new housing estates on his constituents in Epsom and Ewell, but as Transport Secretary he might have to work out how to move them each day to London. And, indeed, would Mr Javid’s own electors in leafy Bromsgrove have nothing to fear?

With the gauge reading full in the south-east, salubrious parts of the West Midlands are in the line of fire – Sutton Coldfield has already been threatened with 6,000 new homes on green belt land, something vigorously opposed by its Tory MP, Andrew Mitchell.

Of course people must live somewhere: and even when Brexit lets us stop our ludicrous immigration policy, there will still be a problem. I have written here before about the swaths of derelict land, even in the south-east, where houses could be built. London’s docklands has plenty.

The Government should say that not a square inch of the green belt will be developed until there is no derelict land left. It should be given compulsory purchase powers if necessary. And it needs, through the tax system, to incentivise businesses to move to the north of England and to other parts of the United Kingdom, attracting people (and developers) with them.

The home counties are at bursting point. Or Mr Javid could proceed to allow the building of vast housing developments around the M25. If he does, he should put no premium on his political career: the outrage that would greet such a plan would be sustained, unmanageable and quite possibly lethal – including among colleagues. Most people’s main asset in their home. Just wait and see lengths to which they will go to protect it.”

8Jan17

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Parish council

Two extracts from a piece by Jacob Ferudi in The Daily Telegraph, 7Jan17, for some of the more pompous members of Border Group Parish Council who were so outraged at the inception of this blog.

“The mere act of disagreeing with a sentiment does not necessitate its censorship.”

“It is our willingness to question the norms of society, to poke fun at prevailing assumptions, and to tolerate sentiments we find unpalatable that prevents us from descending into barbarity.”

In November 2012 BGPC did descend into barbarity under the leadership of the late John Miles and with the complicity of some councillors who are still there.

7Jan17

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decision

A letter to the Daily Telegraph, 6Jan17, confirming what I have been saying all along; that NDPs cannot be used to prevent development and, therefore, give locals none of the promised control over planning. Localism is a sinister ploy and should be treated with extreme scepticism.

SIR – Over the past three or four years, Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale (the Sunnings) have worked hard to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan, which was incorporated into local planning as a blueprint for the area.

It offered local upgrade schemes and proposed around 400 new homes. Even this was controversial.

We now learn that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is unilaterally proposing up to 2,200 houses in the Sunnings, building over large areas of the Green Belt.

This has caused uproar. Neighbourhood Plans – which are drawn up by local parish councils in co-operation with the residents, and agreed by regional authorities – must take priority over any larger development plans proposed by these overarching authorities.

Duncan Rayner
Sunningdale, Berkshire

6Jan17

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Broken turbine

Sacrificed Landscapes

How the energy transition is destroying our environment.

A short video promoting a book about the destruction of landscapes. German, with English subtitles.

5Jan17

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forest-2

UK Foreign Aid .7% GDP. UK Agricutlural contribution to GDP .6%. Why not give all the foreign aid to farmers to not farm and re-wild the whole country? 

22Dec16

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Parish council

The farce of BGPC

Roughly speaking BGPC’s precept is £7,000 a year. It also receives around £6,000 a year as handouts from Herefordshire County Council. The parish clerk costs about £6,000 a year, paid for out of the precept. In other words, roughly every pound of tax payers’ money we get from HCC costs us another pound to actually spend. BGPC does almost nothing other than spend that £6,000 on the lengthsman and other tasks that could be done by HCC, except for the one-off task of producing the NDP, which was separately funded by yet more tax payers’ money. BGPC is also grappling with the immense task of erecting a mirror at the bottom of Reeves Lane. So far it hasn’t even been able to sort out the necessary pole on which to mount the mirror. If BGPC were a horse it would be put down.

We need ask the question “Why do we have a parish council?”

17Dec16

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toothles

Toothless Regulations.

Extract from a letter from the Monitoring Officer about declarations of interest.

“With regard to the sanctions which can be imposed on councillors which are found to be in breach of the Localism Act 2011, the Monitoring Officer resolutions may include:

  • advising the subject member about matters of conduct
  • arranging training for the subject member
  • advising the subject member that an apology might be appropriate
  • suggesting a mediation meeting between the subject member and the complainant.”

This is a licence to ignore rules.

16Dec16

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Broken turbine

Windfarm campaigner hopes new book will take-out the industry spin

I am disgusted that the Scottish Government allow multinational wind developers into our schools with no balance and no negative impacts being explained.

Read more.

13Dec16

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climate

The Growth Of Global Warming Nonsense: Surely We’ve Reached Peak Madness.

12Dec16

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biofuel-watch

Please respond to the consultation now – end subsidies for Biomass!

8Dec16

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biofuel-watch

How long will it be before this sort of scandal is going on in England?

“Biofuelwatch has recently found out about a particularly concerning planning case in which a developer has retrospectively included a potentially very large biomass power station in an application for a ‘film studio’.  The application is about to be decided by the Scottish Government.” See the full story here

6Dec16.

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elephant

Tell the EU to ban the ivory trade – NOW!

Sign Here

4Dec16

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booker

On energy policy, our politicians are leading us into darkness.

Christopher Booker Sunday Telegraph 4Dec16

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aonb

Protect the best view in England from industrial development

Along with Philip Dunne please support this petition here and help stop yet another chicken gulag from despoiling our best landscape.

3Dec16

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Parish council

FOI failure at BGPC

foi-to-m-robinson-28nov16

30Nov16

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Parish council
Mark Tansley asked if my letter shown below was intended to be an objection and this was the reply…
“I intend it to be an objection in that it points out that the support letters rustled up by Mr Murray are nothing more than partisan nonsense. One is from Kent and most of the others are one line and do not constitute real support based on planning policy.”
28Nov16

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Parish council

Togpen imbroglio-letter to planning officer.

Dear Mr Tansley,

P162900/FH

I have read the letters of support for this application and note that not one of them makes mention of genuine planning considerations or the original conditions imposed when the barn was permitted to be developed. I trust that these facts will be drawn to the attention of the planning committee or taken into account when you make your consideration if the case does not go to committee.

Yours,

S C Brown.

The original conditions can be found under “Decisions” here, with special attention to para. 10.

25Nov16

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Parish council

Bad Boy Barnett.

Is he a fit person to hold public office?

20161122-011945-outcome-letter-to-complainant

23Nov16

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powys

An appeal from Sarah Bond

Hi,
I expect you are aware that I and others have been battling PCC since February 2016 over the current unlawful construction of the wind farms Tir Gwynt and Garreg Lwyd Hill. The two developers have driven a coach and horses, (in reality abnormal load lorries), through the planning conditions at the expense of local residents and the environment. Today I have just discovered that on 10 November 2016 PCC planning department has retrospectively discharged pre commencement conditions for the access to Garreg Lwyd wind farm. They have done this despite my written objection in September to their decidedly dodgy procedure which failed to adhere to EIA Regulations, Wales and a solicitor’s letter, (on behalf of Conservation of Upland Powys), in October requiring them to enforce these developments. Documents uploaded on 11th November for one of the applications to discharge pre commencement conditions contain an email trail that adds to my suspicions of an improper relationship between the planning department and the developer for Garreg Lwyd.
I have tried every which way to get this outrageous behaviour into the public domain. I am now asking you to please consider if you have a family member, a friend or contact who is a journalist. If you do, can you please ask if they would consider working with us by doing some further detective work. It is completely iniquitous that our money is paying the salaries of a department that is unwilling to uphold the law but instead do all it can to facilitate developers complete their unlawful projects in time to get public subsidy before the cut off deadline of March 2017.
Sarah Bond
19Nov16

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powys

SAVE POWYS COUNTY!

OUR LOCAL COUNCIL IS BEING PRESSURED TO ADOPT AN ENORMOUS WIND AND SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT WITH NO CONSULTATION.

Sign the petition Here

19Nov16

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building-site

Crisis, what housing crisis? We just need fresh thinking.

From The Guardian 30Sep16.

Click HERE

15Nov16

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Parish council

Togpen Saga

Just in case there is any doubt as to why planning application P162900/FH should be refused, the conditions imposed when the permission was granted to convert the barn ( DCN052328/F ) are very clear and can be found under “Decisions” here and from which I quote…..

“10. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted ‘ Development) Order 1995 (or any order revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without ‘modification); no fences/gates/walls/garages/building/ extension/dormer windows shall be erected other than those expressly authorised by this permission.”

The fact that no further building would be allowed in return for allowing the conversion does not seem to have been mentioned by the professionals supporting the latest application! I hope BGPC will have the courage to uphold planning regulations with the same enthusiasm it shows for its NDP.

7Nov16

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cprw-logo

“Outworn ideas”

“A travesty of democratic processes”

Here is devastating document from CPRW about the potential desecration of Powys by wind and solar energy installations.

Here is a map of the search areas for wind and solar.

5Nov16

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LOGO

Here is some amazing reference material from the TPA.

4Nov16

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LOGO

The National Audit Office warned £110 will be added to the average household energy bill by 2020 because of subsidies for green electricity. Affordable clean energy will come about through research and development, not by subsidising inefficient technologies through bills.

21Oct16

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Parish council

Notices advertising the NDP meeting on Thursday have not been posted properly. There is no notice on either the Lingen or Brampton Bryan notice boards. Yet another failure of the NDP steering group which does not seem capable of tying its own shoe laces.

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european-wild-ginger

It’s amazing to think there is such a plant as European Wild Ginger, Asarum europeaum, or assarabacca, growing in Limebrook.

See

http://htt.herefordshire.gov.uk/her-search/monuments-search/search/Monument?ID=1675

from which I quote “Asarabacca grows for some 40 yards in great luxuriance in a hedgebank on the west slopes near Limebrook Priory. Probably introduced by the nuns as it was believed to cure diseases of the ear.”

http://www.lingen.org.uk/Pages/WalkthroughtheVillage.aspx

from which I quote “A particular plant associated with this area is the Asarabacca. It is not native to the British Isles and it is thought to have been introduced either by monks who were housed in Lingen while Wigmore Abbey was being built, or by the nuns at Limebrook Priory. All parts of the plant are poisonous; it was used in Ancient Greece to treat kidney complaints and in wine making. It was also used as an emetic and a purgative. It grows freely in the gardens in Lingen.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limebrook_Priory

from which I quote “A hedge-bank of Asarabacca grows for some 40 yards on the west slopes near the priory. This was probably introduced by the nuns as it was believed to cure diseases of the ear.”

17Oct16

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butterfly003cjonhawkinssurreyhillsphotography

It’s not too late to save nature in the UK, but we must act now to protect the future of our wildlife.

The State of Nature Reports are here.

10Oct16

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cpre-logo-email

Neighbourhood Planning Bill: CPRE’s response.

This week the government published the first draft of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, putting in place proposals to meet their commitment as set out in the Queen’s Speech in May to “further strengthen neighbourhood planning and give even more power to local people … by making the local government duty to support groups more transparent and by improving the process for reviewing and updating plans”.

The Bill also includes measures to reduce the use of unreasonable conditions on the grant of planning permission and to further streamline processes for compulsory purchase.

The Queen’s Speech had stated that the Bill would also include proposals regarding the National Infrastructure Commission and the Land Registry, but these will now be addressed separately.

Matt Thomson, head of planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said:

“CPRE welcomes those parts of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill that will make it quicker and easier for communities to get their aspirations for the future of their neighbourhood in place, and allow communities to update or amend their plans without having to start from scratch.

“Proposals to make clear the support local planning authorities are required to offer neighbourhood planning groups are also welcome. But, to ensure communities actually receive the support they are entitled to, this needs to be backed up with a radical increase in resources for town hall planning departments.

“Many communities are put off going to the great effort and expense of preparing a neighbourhood plan because they do not believe that their aspirations will be upheld by decision makers when planning applications are submitted, especially while the neighbourhood plan is being prepared. CPRE, alongside Civic Voice and the National Association of Local Councils, worked hard to address this during the passage of the Housing and Planning Bill (now Act) through Parliament. While the particular proposals that we promoted were opposed by the Government, ministers said they recognised and wished to respond to the problem that we were trying to address.

“It is therefore disappointing that the Neighbourhood Planning Bill proposes little or no action in this regard, and CPRE, with its partners, will therefore be lobbying for further measures to be included in the Bill.

“CPRE will be checking the detail of the remainder of the Bill’s proposals around planning conditions and compulsory purchase with regard to any potential for harmful impacts on the English countryside. We are pleased that consideration of the future of the National Infrastructure Commission and the Land Registry are now to be considered separately, enabling all these disparate issues to be given the attention that they deserve rather than being lumped in together haphazardly. We look forward to seeing an Infrastructure Bill being presented to the House in the near future.”

7Oct16

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potholes

I asked Balfour Beatty about the state of the lane to Adforton and have been told the locality steward “…has inspected the road and has raised both pothole and drainage jobs in order to repair the defects found.” Apparently the deluging of the road by run off from the land above is unavoidable.

29Sep16

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Parish council

Suggestion.

Dear Herefordshire County Council,

We will not progress our NDP until you effect a permanent solution to the flooding problems at Stoneybridge Farm and Brampton Bryan. We feel that to increase the dwellings and traffic when these two site are flooded every winter is unfair on all concerned.

Yours,

BGPC.

25Sep16

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Parish council

Counterblast to BGPC events of 20Sep16

I repeat something I have said several times here – that a chairman of a parish council HAS NO SPECIAL POWERS over and above any other councillor. He has NO RIGHT to question the behaviour or actions of another councillor or to ATTEMPT TO CALL THEM TO ACCOUNT. To do so is tantamount to bullying. Councillors are NOT ANSWERABLE to anyone but their electorate or the Monitoring Officer. If a chairman thinks a councillor has behaved in a manner contrary to the Code of Conduct he must report it to the Monitoring Officer who will then adjudicate. Such a complaint would be handled under strict procedures AND IN PRIVATE, although the result may be public. Airing your dirty linen in public does not inspire public confidence in BGPC.

Similarly, a chairman has NO RIGHT WHATEVER TO SUGGEST THAT A PARISHIONER IS ACCOUNTABLE to the council and NO RIGHT to suggest that they might like to write to the clerk to explain their actions. To do so is contrary to the Code of Conduct, and, depending on how sensitive the parishioner, is intimidating to the point of bullying.

Both these things happened at the BGPC meeting of 20Sep16 and illustrate the lack of understanding of some BGP councillors THAT THEY ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THEIR PARISHIONERS, AND NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND. Why can Members of BGPC, and some parishioners, not grasp the principles of Opennness, Accountability and Transparency which are plastered all over just about every document they read? (For edification see “Essential Reading” below.)

In my opinion the chairman’s behaviour at the BGPC meeting of the 20Sep16 was contrary to the Code of Conduct and the chairman should have been advised that way by his clerk as soon as he embarked on such a course. The whole incident was lamentable and may form the basis of yet more complaints to the Monitoring Officer and the SLCC.

This is not vexatious or point scoring, it is quite simply a request that BGPC should get its act together and desist from acting ultra vires. This request has been made many times over the past ten years, but only miniscule improvements have been made so far. Patience is wearing thin.

Watch the scene here.

24Sep16

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Parish council

Essential reading for councillors and public alike.

The Localism Act
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/20/contents/enacted

A plain English guide to the Localism Act
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/5959/1896534.pdf

The Good Councillors Guide, National Association of Local Councils
http://www.nalc.gov.uk/library/publications/801-good-councillors-guide/file

The Code of Conduct
http://www.bordergroup-pc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/HCC-Code-of-Conduct-20JUL12.pdf

Border Group Parish Council Standing Orders
http://www.bordergroup-pc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BGPC-Standing-Orders.pdf

13Sep16

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justice

This is a brilliant video exposing the disaster of wind energy and the corruption in local government.

Go to 5:30 in to the video and see this…”Our community politicians can easily serve their own interests because our community law trusts on the politicians’ own declaration. [of interest]”

Under the Localism Act it is EXACTLY THE SAME here, but over building plots rather than wind turbines.

12Sep16

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foe-and-the-bee-cause

From Friends of the Earth and The Bee Cause.

It’s worse than thought for insects.

Neonicitinoids wrecking the environment.

10Sep16

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justice

In June 2016 I wrote to the county monitoring officer to say that BGP councillors were not declaring interests.

The monitoring officer replied that it was a not her business and it was to be dealt with by the parish council’s clerk.

Today I wrote to West Mercia police to ask their advice as to how to report contraventions of the Localism Act and they replied as follows…

“In the first instance, you would have to report to your local council offices. They will take details and conduct initial enquiries.

If they require further assistance and have found an offence has been committed, then they will contact us directly for us to investigate.”

I then asked West Mercia police what happens if the monitoring officer says it is not their responsibility. This was their reply…

“Since you are reporting a potential offence, then they would have to look into your complaint.

If you don’t feel they have looked at it properly, then they will have a complaints procedure that you can follow,

Regards,

West Mercia Police, Contact Us”

I have now gone back to the monitoring officer and asked her to explain why she did not act when I reported a potential offence.

7Sep16

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Dear Bill

wiggin

Dear Mr Wiggin,

I am concerned at the number of pieces of polypropylene baler twine that is, I believe, systematically generated by the knotting process. These off-cuts measuring about 35mm can be found in huge numbers all along our verges whenever a load of straw or hay in big bales has passed through. This does not account for all the off cuts dropped in fields.

As you know polypropylene effectively never rots down but instead breaks down to microscopic particles which can be found in the blood stream of penguins in the Antarctic.

This is not a case of casual littering by farmers, which is a whole other subject, but is, as I have said, systematic and therefore of even more concern as it will continue until something is done or knotters are redesigned.

As a farmer I am sure you are aware of this problem.

Please could you ask DEFRA to investigate and, if possible, force baler manufacturers to change the design so that our landscape is not littered with billions of pieces of non degradable polypropylene?

Yours,

Simon Brown,

7Sep16

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justice

Councillor found guilty under the Localism Act 2011 when he failed to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest.

Receives sixth-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £930 costs, even though he made no gain from his misdemeanor.

BGPC rule benders and breakers be warned!

For greater edification read The Localism Act chapter 7, especially secs. 29 to 34, and be aware that contraventions of these provisions are criminal offences. Next time I go to the police.

7Sep16

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Parish council

Gurnballs

At the Extraordinary Meeting of the 30Jun16 held to try and get some order into the NDP process Councillor Gurney turned to Bill Bloxsome, the man paid by BGPC to write the NDP and act as midwife to its delivery, and asked “Is it a good plan?” to which Bill Bloxsome replied, not surprisingly, “Yes”. Gurney then interrupted Bill Bloxsome before he could qualify his response and smugly declared “Well that’s good enough for me then”.

Such is the care a long standing councillor and former chairman of BGPC takes in his duty to represent his parishioners, protect their interests and generally scrutinise the actions of his council!

What is the point of a council or councillor that simply rubber stamps actions taken by others? Why did Gurney not wonder if your money was being well spent? Why did Gurney not read the NDP and make up his own mind as to its quality? Why did Gurney take this absurd and cowardly step to avoid the work of discernment? Why is Gurney a councillor if he is not prepared to do his duty on your behalf?

The BGPC Code of Conduct says “In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.” What steps did Gurney take to assess the merit of the NDP before making his decision? He asked the man who wrote it if it was a good plan.

This is such a disgraceful dereliction of duty, such an idle and meaningless way to act as a councillor that Gurney should be seriously admonished by his parishioners. If they don’t no one else will because there is now effectively no control over parish councils or councillors.

But this sort of mindless behaviour is typical of the old guard on BGPC. They have a sense of entitlement instead of a sense of duty and responsibility. They often consider themselves above the law. (The late John Miles actually said “We are only a small parish council and these rules do not apply to us.”) They sometimes fail to declare interests in a timely manner, or until prompted by parishioners.  They do not read the relevant Acts of Parliament. They do not read relevant documents or prepare for meetings. They do not consult. They are irritated by any comment or scrutiny by parishioners, although the Code of Conduct says “Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.”

There must be root and branch reform of BGPC. Standards must improve and councillors not willing to do the job satisfactorily should roll up their tents and disappear over the horizon.

5Sep16

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Parish council

Extract from the minutes of the November 2015 meeting of the Steering Group of the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)…..

“Bill Bloxsome gave an overview of the redraft of the plan. And said that there had been general agreement with Mr. and Mrs. Harley regarding the policies for Brampton Bryan and Walford.” [verbatim]

As I understand it Neighbourhood Development Plans are “of the people, by the people and for the people”, to misquote Abraham Lincoln. It seems more than surprising then that policy for a great part of the BGPC NDP defined area is being decided by “general agreement” with land owners, and, according to the minutes, with the full knowledge of the professional advisor.

This is absolutely contrary to the spirit and purpose of NDPs, against all guidance and so antidemocratic as to be positively medieval. An explanation will be sought from BGPC and the matter will be reported to the inspector in due course.

I urge all parishioners to take a closer interest in the various shenanigans of the NDP Steering Group and the Parish Council, and pay particular attention to Declarations of Interest. For example, Councillor Phil Barnett has been on the Steering Group for a long time. His wife’s plot next to the church in Lingen has been identified as a potential building plot in the emerging NDP for just about as long and yet Councillor Phil Barnett only managed to declare his interest in that plot at the Extraordinary Meeting of 30Jun16, and that was after I had made noises to the Monitoring Officer and the Clerk and Chairman of BGPC! By virtue of her family connection I think Councillor Susan Harley should be banned from voting or discussing any BGPC or NDP matters or decisions affecting any Harley owned land.

For me the whole process has stunk to high heaven from the outset and I repeat my opinion that the NDP would, and has, amounted to little more than land owners granting each other planning permission, with the added benefit for HCC that it has been able to fill its five year housing land availability, a requirement of the NPPF to validate the Local Plan. (No five year land supply for building – no Local Plan -No Local Plan all planning decided according to the very loose NPPF)

23Aug16

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Parish council

In an amazing admission, environmentalists are now acknowledging that they were wrong to have promoted biofuels! This came about due to the overwhelming evidence that biofuels are a NET environmental liability.

Of course biofuels were a bad choice all along, so why did we waste enormous amounts of time and money going down this dead-end road?

The answer is obvious: this was a self-serving lobbyist idea. Essentially every time we have lobbyist-written energy and environmental policies the results have been:

1 – objectives that are not met,

2 – costs that are much higher than projected, and

3 – numerous unintended adverse consequences.

The solution is simple: we should have Science-based energy and environmental policies.

When will we learn?

I fully expect that in the not-too-distant future that environmentalists will make a similar begrudging concession about industrial wind energy.

The indisputable fact is that no scientific assessment has concluded that wind energy is a Net Societal Benefit — because it’s not.

————————

Lobbyists (e.g. AWEA) have become skilled at deceiving the public about Science — because they know that a scientific endorsement of their product is effectively animprimatur.

In their aggressive campaign to undermine genuine Science, they have successfully recruited some sympathetic, susceptible scientists to be their allies in presenting fake science. It’s a sad story.

Here are some excellent comments about real Science that should be understood and committed to memory.

Once we’re clear about what genuine Science is (a process), it will be much harder for the con artists to fool us into thinking that biofuels, wind energy, etc. are sensible energy options.
regards,
john droz, jr.
physicist

But….BGPC’s NDP promotes biofuels! When will they learn?

5Aug16

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Parish council

Let’s hope BGPC never becomes this bad, although they are working on it.

More on that story here. Use the links at the top right hand side of the Melbourn Home page.

4Aug16

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climate

97% of scientists agree, right?

This video is worth four and a half minutes of your time.

1Aug16

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Parish council

For those who can’t find it BGPC website is here

28Jul16

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WT

Support the Woodland Trust’s efforts to protect our ancient woodlands here

27Jul16

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Bumblebee

Please read the article “Banish the Begonias!” by Dave Goulson in Buzzword, the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust’s members’ special edition newsletter of July 2016  here.

27Jul16

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BCT Logo

Celebrating 10 years! Could you become Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s 10,000th member? Join today and help save the sound of summer.

www.bumblebeeconservation.org/support-us/become-a-member/

Books by David Goulson. All fabulous

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Parish council

Gigantic Chilmanballs

At the Extraordinary Meeting of BGPC of 30Jun16 Steve Chilman repeatedly asked why anyone would question the proposal to approve the NDP at that meeting. “You have seen all the documents and they have been in the public domain” he said, time and time again. Time and time again he went puce, shaking his head and shouting he could not understand why anyone would question his supremely arrogant assertion that the NDP was ready to be approved by BGPC. He was supported in this by Bill Bloxsome, the deeply unimpressive professional advisor we tax payers are funding, who threatened that if the NDP was not adopted HCC could impose a plan upon the parish. Four councillors voted the approval through in the face of a fierce critique by two other councillors, mostly on the grounds that the plan being approved was not the one consulted upon; it had been altered.

BUT, at the BGPC meeting of 19Jul16, which, interestingly, Steve Chilman failed to attend, BGPC was told by a parishioner that the plan had been altered after the last consultation and County Councillor Carole Gandy said the plan would be slung out by HCC if it were put forward to them in its present state.

Along the lines of holding these people to account I now look forward to a public apology from Steve Chilman, and, since he has again shown himself to be utterly unreliable, his stepping down as the Steering Group chairman and all public offices he holds, and an apology from the three other deaf councillors who refused to listen to reason at the Extraordinary Meeting, reason given by informed councillors, instead taking the cowardly course of voting with the clique and then thanking the Steering Group for its hard (but Oh! so flawed) work, especially from the super-pious and idiotic Clive Gurney, whose quasi religious rantings are more than out of place at BGPC meetings. And I do not expect Bill Bloxsome’s outfit, Data Orchard, to be paid in full, since it has quite clearly failed to be clear on this matter and so is complicit in this debacle.

Many points arise from this latest cock up. For me the main points are…

  1. Why did BGPC not listen to the cogent reasoning of fellow councillors at the Extraordinary Meeting? It was happy to listen to a parishioner at the subsequent meeting but apparently not to councillors. Is that because many BGPC councillors are partisan and vote according to tribe rather than sense? Surely not!

  2. Why did Chilman lead the parish council astray?

  3. Why did Bill Bloxsome not give better advice at the Extraordinary Meeting?

  4. Did those who voted for approval have any idea what they were voting for? Had they read the NDP and accompanying documents?

  5. What is the point of being a BGPC parish councillor if you are going to be ignored on partisan grounds? Due diligence cannot prevail under such conditions.

  6. What happens now that BGPC has decided to ask HCC to send the NDP back for more work? How is that legally and should those who brought this about, and therefore made BGPC a laughing stock, yet again, spend more time with their families?

  7. Why was/is the clerk to the parish council so vociferous at meetings when a clerk’s job is to remain silent except when asked for advice or has a legitimate reason to intervene? The clerk IS NOT a parish councillor and has no powers whatever other than to advise, and then to advise the chairman only. Banter, and general conversation between the clerk and councillors, and between the clerk and members of the public, is not allowed.

  8. BGPC has a budget about one third of a local family’s household budget. It achieves nothing of substance and constantly makes mistakes. Its main expenditure is on the clerk who has to be employed to administer a council that achieves nothing of substance. Everything BGPC does could be done by HCC without the extra layer of inaccurate, chaotic local governance in the form of a tiny rural parish council. Abolish BGPC.

As an afterthought…my wife was one of the two councillors who warned that the NDP should not have been voted upon at the Extraordinary Meeting on 30Jun16. For her efforts, which are now fully vindicated, she subsequently, and privately, received a thorough slagging off from another councillor who should have known a great deal better. BGPC is a cesspit of partisan, tribal nastiness and plain ignorance, with most councillors simply failing in their duties and yet being returned, unopposed, decade after decade. And so the tide of excrement keeps sloshing in and out with most geriatric, slumbering councillors merely going through the motions.

20Jul16

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wiggin

Letter to Bill Wiggin

Dear Mr Wiggin,
Goose and gander, sauce for.
Can it be right that a nurse and an air hostess were reprimanded and faced dismissal for wearing crucifixes, and that crucifixes were banned from hospital wards when we now face the spectacle of a CH4 newscaster wearing the hijab and presenting the news on the night of the Nice massacre?
19Jul16

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AWED

Latest on Wind Energy, other Renewables, and Climate Change here.

11Jul16

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Farming Street of Shame No.4

Hodnett, Willey (again).

photo (1)

8Jul16

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Farming Street of Shame No.3

Hodnett, Willey.

photo

7Jul16

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Everything before this date moved to the archive page.

1Jul16

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My message to BGPC before tonight’s extraordinary meeting.

I am fed up with the parish council being hijacked by a clique of bullies with a medieval sense of entitlement. From the feedback I have had  over the last few days I gather that the consultation on the NDP has been worse than lamentable with some parishioners not even being aware of the NDP!!! This does not surprise me as the process has been undemocratic from the outset with an NDP being foist upon us with no discussion, followed by an infantile questionnaire with loaded questions, and then – well not much really other than some dreary documents written in the highest planning speak, which just does not get through to its target audience, and a feeble roadshow at village halls. And now, all of a sudden we are told the parish council has to approve the plan, but without anyone being allowed to see what they are being asked to approve!! And this in the face of contrary advice from the professionals, for whom we are paying. Steve Chilman attempted to bounce the matter through without the proper agenda procedure being followed, and I am told that the Steering Group never even agreed the presentation to the parish council. It seems it was an attempted Chilman putsch. Why? What does he know that we don’t? Why did he so arrogantly take matters into his own hands?

As if that were not enough, the steering group is packed with interested parties, as is the parish council; interested parties who have, in my opinion, not fully declared their interests on the Register of Interests or made declarations of their confusingly named non-disclosable interests (see page 13, para 10, 11 and 12 of The Code of Conduct on the BGPC web site here and note the words “family” and “close associate”) which should be made at the beginning of a meeting, with the interested party then not voting. Members with interests on the Register of Interests should not be in the room when relevant items are being discussed. In my opinion there are at least four members of the parish council who should not be voting through the NDP. I also think that members of the Steering Group who are also parish councillors should not be allowed to vote to approve their own plan.

This is the moment to tell you that we will not put up with this sort of Banana Republic behaviour any longer. It is now the 21st century and the Localism Act was enacted several years ago. I expect councillors to show respect for the laws, regulations and rules, respect for their office and, above all, respect for their parishioners. Stop treating us with contempt.

In any event, your parishioners need to be vastly better informed for this process to be described as being organic –  a plan produced very much from the bottom up, by parishioners. It is simply not good enough to say “We have consulted”- to do the bare minimum. You have to make the consultation work. You have to get out there and visit every household and discuss and explain the plan, and if you don’t have the time or the inclination to do the job properly, well you should have thought about that before you embarked on the project in the rushed manner that you did. I pleaded with you to not do this but to wait and see how the scheme went in other places before plunging in, but because you naively suck up whatever spouts from Herefordshire Council, and fall over yourselves to be its lickspittles, you fell for the propaganda hook, line and sinker. Can any one of you really explain what are the benefits of an NDP? Is it not the case that HCC was pushing NDPs like crazy because it was an easy way for it to fill its five year housing supply, without which its Core Strategy could not be adopted, a Core Strategy that demands a staggering 16,300 dwellings during the planning period up to 2031?!

You should; put your house in order by cleaning up your act; firmly grasp the concept of openness, accountability, and transparency; slow down the NDP process and do a decent consultation, because without those things the plan will be rejected at the referendum at the end of the process.

30Jun16

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cpre-logo-email

What the CPRE has to say about greenfield development

28Jun16.

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biogas-alert-1-768x528

Contrary to the stated policy of your NDP, no doubt included under pressure from subsidy chasing ecologically illiterate farmers, growing biomass for fuel is not a good idea.

28Jun16

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Parish council

Extraordinary Meeting

After another cock up the meeting will now be held on Thursday 30 June, same time same place.

24Jun16

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Parish council

The NDP

“I have not yet forwarded the documents you received as a Parish Councillor for posting on the website as they are still “work in progress” and may need amendment after the next Parish Council meeting, so making them public at this stage would be premature.”

This is the message from the secretary of the Steering Group on 23Jun. We, the residents, are not to be trusted as being able to understand that these documents, as listed on my NDP page on this website, are draft only and we are not allowed to see what our representatives on BGPC are being asked to scrutinise and/or approve, on our behalf. Could the pompous asses on the Steering Group be more condescending or secretive? Remember, this is absolutely contrary to the advice the Steering Group has been given by Bill Bloxsome.

Whatever happened to openness, accountability and transparency?

24Jun16

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Parish council

Chilmanballs and the NDP

At the 14Jun16 BGPC meeting Steve Chilman forced BGPC to vote on whether it approved the NDP. The issue was not on the agenda and so the vote was challenged before it was taken, but was taken anyway. It was subsequently set aside as being not constitutionally correct and an extraordinary meeting has been called to take the vote correctly.

Meanwhile some of us have asked how BGPC can assess the NDP without having sight of the relevant documents such as maps showing potential building sites and the Meeting Housing Need document. Steve Chilman’s response was, and I quote…..

“According to Bill Bloxsome none of the documents Maggie, her husband [that’s me] or John [BGPC Councillor Walker] have asked to see needed to be available for the Parish council to make their decision. If Mr Brown needs to find out where the sites are he could ask John. The environmental assessment is ongoing and only sits alongside our plan as each site still has to go though the full planning procedure anyway, which of course you all know. This plan has not changed  fundamentally in three months, so all you are doing is delaying things unnecessarily and allowing any speculative developer a chance of building in our parishes. Take Orleton as a fine example. I don’t think our residents would thank us if that happened here – particularly if we had the chance to stop it.”

This reply bears no resemblance to the reply Bill Bloxsome gave when asked what he had actually advised Steve Chilman; again I quote the full reply…

“Dear Councillor Mrs Brown,

I think there is some confusion here and I hope I can provide some
clarification.

There is no reason to withhold any information from the Group Parish
Council that has been used to prepare the Neighbourhood Plan unless it
has commercial confidences. You should be able to see the full plan
document, the schedule of representations, the recommended response and proposed changes and the Housing needs paper. All of these should also be made available to the public.

1. The Neighbourhood Plan – this needs to be considered by the Group
Parish Council in order that it can decide whether to forward this to
Herefordshire Council under Regulation 15 of the Neighbourhood Plan
Regulations.
2. Schedule of representations and Suggested Changes to the Regulation
14 Plan – again these should be seen and considered by the Group Parish
Council. Subsequently they will form part of the Consultation Statement
that has to be prepared as part of the formal submission to
Herefordshire Council and again made publicly available.
3. The Housing paper is required to show Herefordshire Council that the
housing target can be met through available sites within settlement
boundaries and other means. If we cannot show this then they will not
allow the plan to proceed. This has happened in a number of occasions
elsewhere. It will form part of the evidence base and when finished
should be provided to the Group Parish Council and placed on the
Neighbourhood Plan webpage.

As I understand it Cllr Chilman wanted to get the plan in front of the
Group Parish Council at an early opportunity to see if there were any
comments that the Group Parish Council wanted to make and any
adjustments made. I also understand from him that some adjustment was asked for and these will be made in order to present the plan and other documents back to the Group Parish Council. As such the Housing paper is a ‘work in progress’ and therefore incomplete.

I should be able to complete both the Plan, the Housing paper and other
documents once I have the information about the adjustment.

I will chase Cllr Chilman for the information and let you know when I
have it.

I will be only too happy to answer any other queries you may have some
please do not hesitate to ask me if there is anything.

Kind regards
Bill Bloxsome”

So it seems that Bill Bloxsome never advised that “none of the documents… needed to be available for the Parish council to make their decision.” What he actually said was the absolute opposite, that “All of these should also be made available to the public.” Moreover, no decision was to be made, rather BGPC was supposed to be asked its views of the NDP in its present state, not for approval of the NDP so it can be sent to HCC for its approval before going to the Examiner.

Saying that if I wanted to know where the sites were I could “ask John” is supremely arrogant, sloppy, rude, cavalier and bone idle dereliction of responsibility and duty and, in my view, Steve Chilman should be roundly condemned for this act of high handed dismissal of a perfectly reasonable request. Why would I ask another member of the Steering Group and thus obtain the information by little more than gossip? How would that member know what Steve Chilman apparently does not know, or is refusing to divulge? I asked Steve Chilman for the map many months ago and he said he would produce it. He has not produced it. How can BGPC or, more importantly, you, the residents, to whom the Steering Group and BGPC are accountable, although they do not seem to have grasped that concept, make an informed decision or be kept up to date if information is withheld? To withhold information is actually cause for failure of the NDP at examination.

Ducker and diver Steve Chilman goes on to have a go at his own little “Project Fear” by invoking the Orelton example as what will happen to Lingen if BGPC does not capitulate to his overweening, bullying demand to approve the NDP immediately. He should be aware of what happened at Leominster where HCC refused to send the NDP for examination as it was full of holes. That will cause a much greater delay than a bit of care at this juncture, but care and attention to detail, getting things right in a timely and democratic manner, have never been qualities I would associate with BGPC, or Steve Chilman in particular.

He should consider his position and perhaps express a desire to spend more time with his family.

I also ask how sanitary it is for landowners, with obvious interests, some criminally undeclared, to be members of the Steering Group, the self selected group producing the NDP. Even worse, some of them are also councillors in BGPC which will be asked to approve the final NDP! This is positively the stuff of Banana Republics and questions should be asked. At the very least any landowning councillors, or councillors who are also members of the Steering Group, must be barred from voting. As I have always said the NDP amounts to little more than landowners granting each other planning permission. For further evidence that this is the case see how the Settlement Boundaries for Lingen and Walford have been altered to follow ownership boundaries and to randomly include areas that owners have said they might make available for development rather than more natural boundaries such as the Conservation Area.

It stinks.

22Jun16

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Parish council

 The Neighbourhood Development Plan

In my opinion the production of the NDP has been an undemocratic process from the outset. The late John Miles declared there would be an NDP without consulting parishioners whether they would have preferred the alternatives or whether they wanted an NDP at all! My objection to that at the time was swept aside in the usual high handed manner. Since then the consultation process has been desultory, if not, almost non existent with minimal parishioner interest and engagement – a failure in consultation, by definition. Putting up a few scruffy pieces of paper on the wall of Lingen Village Hall one evening does not constitute properly informing the public. Now the parish council is being asked to hurriedly approve the unfinished NDP (missing maps and other details) with a threat that if it is not approved post haste developers will descend upon Lingen and build far too many houses. After an inordinate time in producing the plan the chair of the Steering Group is moaning that questioning or requesting accountability is unconstructive and only causing delay. He has not grasped the basic imperative that he and his NDP Steering Group, and BGPC, are answerable to their parishioners (and only to their parishioners), not the other way round. The agenda item to carry through the approval turned out to be unconstitutional and so an extraordinary meeting has been called. Yet another cock up!  Moreover, some of those involved in the production of the NDP have undeclared interests and are also parish councillors and will therefore be approving a plan drawn up by them and giving them potential building plots. I also notice that the Lingen Settlement Boundary has been manipulated to follow ownership boundaries rather than more natural boundaries such as the Conservation Area. As it stands the NDP is little more than a cosy cabal of landowners granting each other planning permission. It stinks to high heaven and I will be making my views known to the examiner in due course. A good NDP with the necessary support of the residents cannot be produced in this way. I urge parishioners to attend the extraordinary meeting when it is announced – probably 27Jun16. Watch the parish notice boards as the notice must be posted at least three days, not including Sundays, before the meeting. There will be no leeway given to failure to post the notices in a timely manner. I will be checking. For once, BGPC, get something right and squeaky clean because you are messing with people’s lives.

20Jun16

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38degrees logo

Protect your pension. Sign this petition to stop the government making dangerous changes to pensions as a sweetener to Tata Steel.

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Parish council

Sources close to me have revealed another blinder of a BGPC meeting, held on Tuesday 14Jun16. An important issue (the approval of the NDP), which was not on the agenda (and so the public was not made aware), was voted upon; councillors with interests failed to declare their interests (a criminal offence) and went on to vote upon issues they should not have voted upon; notices of the meeting, which MUST be posted at least three clear working days (not including Sundays) were not posted in time and, councillors were given documents to read, one 52 pages long, only the day before the meeting. Consequently, all decisions made can be challenged and the irregularities in the production of the NDP will be reported to the inspector. Also, correspondence from residents is not being passed on to councillors. We are sliding back to the bad old days of “We are only a small council and these rules don’t apply to us.” What a massive shame that the bullying clique is still in control.

14Jun16

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cartoon

14Jun16

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Polish man

Poles show the rest of the world something really sensible. It should be a worldwide law.

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Farming Street of Shame No.2

Street of shame weston 1

Weston

4Jun16

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Which logo

They’re at it again. Six big banks have been hit with £3.6 billion in fines for rigging foreign exchange rates, but what about the individuals responsible?

We think that senior bankers should face criminal charges for their actions. Do you agree?

Which? has a long history of standing up for consumers against the banks. We stopped the banks from introducing ATM fees over a decade ago.

Should senior bankers face criminal charges over their role in rigging foreign exchange rates?

Vote in this petition by signing up for the Which newsletter here.

3jun16

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LOGO

“It also emerged this week that more than £600,000 was claimed in allowances last year by peers who had not uttered a word in the House of Lords. Another £130,000 was claimed by 34 peers who never cast a single vote on government legislation.”

Read More

Pick

3Jun16

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verge

About this time every year, just when the verges are at their best, flowering and providing some small habitat for some species as well as uplifting sights for humans, the council feels the urge to wreck it all and turn what was a thing of beauty into a horrible, disheartening mess of cut herbage and shredded litter. Our rural lanes do not need this senseless barbarity; this ecological vandalism stemming from outdated notions of tidiness, from ecological ignorance and unimaginative management. Windflowers (anemone nemorosa) and relatively rare wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus) have been summarily executed in my lane, along with nectar supplying red campion etc.etc. These flowers and grasses do not generally present a road safety visibility issue, although they might on bigger roads and at some critical points on lanes. It is a tragic, needless, pointless exercise in wastage of tax payers’ money. Why not do something constructive and get the same person out of that tractor and on his feet picking up litter? But please stop needlessly trashing our verges.

The next act of vandalism will be the digging out of ditches and the dumping of the diggings between the road and the ditch; another silly bit of so called maintenance. The sensible thing would be to dump the diggings, from above, in the hedge beyond the ditch, and stop building up a rampart of soil which stops water from getting to the ditch and will be smashed to smithereens by large farm machinery and lorries within minutes of its creation, thus making a rut and chucking mud all over the road, which is the worst possible outcome, and all at your expense. Why can’t those responsible come up with a sensible and sustainable solution to a perennial problem?

2Jun16

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Owl

Say ‘NO!’ to destroying green
belt land in West Yorkshire

26May16

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brex

And here’s what a Norwegian says

26May16

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wiggin

Just a reminder of our Bill’s position on the EU. I hope he will be saying the same at his meetings.

Dear Mr Brown
Thank you very much for your email.
I can confirm that I will be supporting Britain’s exit from the EU., and I am grateful for your support on this matter which will be vital over the next four months.
If I can be of any further assistance then please do not hesitate to let me know.

Yours sincerely
Bill Wiggin MP
1Mar16

reposted 26May16

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Crisps

John le Carre attacks council officials and developers as ‘enemies of the countryside’,
and Joan Bakewell says ‘We have to teach our children to be tidy so that they grow up knowing it’s wrong to litter’, and added: ‘Litter is a blight we can defeat. And must’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3603517/John-le-Carre-attacks-council-officials-developers-enemies-countryside-plea-save-Britain-s-beauty-spots.html#ixzz49SaBeCuP
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

23May16

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beach-pollution-getty

Plastic should be considered toxic once it gets into the environment, MPs told.

From The Independent 3May16

22May16

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Farming Street of Shame No.1

But is it art

But is it art?

Near Western Lye Farm.

20May16

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Crisps

“As crisp packets are found in the countryside looking nearly new after 33 years… How long does litter take to rot?”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3593792/How-long-does-litter-rot.html#ixzz48tIFoGrt

It’s very simple…if we don’t pick up litter it will accumulate, because there are so many mindless, selfish slobs out there dumping their rubbish in our lanes and hedges, not to mention the agricultural litter so charmingly decorating our landscape and verges.

17May16

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Mad local government

Just how mad is local government?

According to CPALC non declaration of a member’s interest cannot be challenged at the appropriate moment by a chairman or a councillor. In other words, a councillor voting on an issue in which they have an interest cannot be stopped from voting! If this is so what is the point of the concept of members’ interests? It will be up to the public to challenge dodgy dealings via a judicial review, which is slow, intimidating and could be expensive.

12May16

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Parish council

HALC is useless to residents. It may offer some succour to clerks and councillors but it’s residents who pay for HALC. The HALC hosted parish council web sites, which, after all, are for the benefit of residents, are not up to standard, and you would have thought that since HALC is involved in these web sites it would ensure they comply with the basic legal necessities.

7May16

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broadband

Government reneges on another promise. No to rural superfast broadband.

6May16

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Parish council

Not so long ago HALC advised BGPC that using WordPress for a parish council web site was not on. Guess who is now hosting WordPress sites for Herefordshire parish councils? You might like to view the video HALC is allowing anyone to watch which is actually informative as to how not to run a parish council meeting. It was not filmed at a BGPC meeting but it could have been! Also, have a read of the amazing claims and alarmist scaremongering HALC makes about parish councils when they do not take up HALC membership, at your expense. What silly tosh!

2May16

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Vladimir Bukovsky

A short but profound commentary on the nature of the EU, in video form, from Vladimir Bukovsky.

2May16

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“Dear Bill” Corner

wiggin

Dear Mr Brown

Thank you very much for your email about neonicotinoid insecticides and bees.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our natural environment. I strongly support the work the Government has done over the last few years to understand and protect them, most recently through the National Pollinator Strategy.

Pesticides are tightly regulated, and decisions on the approval of these substances are made at the European level. Since December 2013, three of the five currently approved neonicotinoids are not permitted for use on a wide range of crops considered attractive to bees. The Government has implemented these restrictions in full. They are not time-limited, and will remain in place unless the European Commission decides to change them.

The European Food Safety Authority has begun a review of the science relating to neonicotinoids and bees, which is expected to conclude in the summer. This includes looking at the effects on bees caused by seed treatments, and uses of the restricted pesticides in the form of granules. The Government has said that it will contribute fully to this review, because any decisions must be based on solid evidence.

Rest assured that restrictions on neonicotinoids will not be removed if the evidence shows that they should remain.

I hope this will reassure you about the Government’s commitment to the protection of our bees.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.

Yours sincerely

Bill Wiggin MP

29Apr16

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 Con trick

Great Big Con

There are over 8,000 parish councils in England. According to the latest newsletter from CPRE Herefordshire a mere 1,800 communities have initiated NDPs. They do not seem to be very popular.

Maybe it’s because NDPs are trumped by Local Plans. Maybe it’s because NDPs are trumped by the NPPF if the LPA does not have an approved five year housing supply. Maybe it’s because NDPs are trumped by the General Permitted Development Order 2015.

And, as if that trumping was not enough to generate suspicion among the less gullible, we now hear that our NDP committee is being pressured by the LPA to get owners of potential sites (as yet not revealed so how are we to make an informed vote on the plan anyway?) to produce a letter confirming their intention to develop the (unidentified) site in the next five years. Pressure from above and not knowing the sites rather takes the neighbourhood out of NDPs, does it not?

On top of all that, it has always been known, but perhaps the implication was not recognised, that NDPs must conform to the Local Plan, again, rather taking the neighbourhood out of the NDP.

And, finally, one incentive to adopt an NDP was the uplift in CIL from 15% to 25% that would be awarded to parishes with approved NDPs, but a glance at the draft CIL levels reveals that in all practicality there will be no CIL in the rural parishes making up Border Group because most developments will be of one dwelling which is CIL zero rated. See fig.8-5 at para. 8.7 on page 72 of the draft. No honey there then, or, at best, very little.

NDPs were always little more than a patronising, expensive, time consuming, vote catching gimmick, as is the whole Localism policy. Treat them, and those higher up the governmental hierarchy, with the contempt they deserve and adopt a policy of non co-operation unless there are some concessions that make NDPs worth the candle. As they stand, they are a con trick.

27Apr16

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Taget

Help Stop The Madness

Sign the boycott

26Apr16

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Broken turbine

Gourlay’s not for turning

Stonewall Hill saved from disaster

Appeal dismissed

26Apr16

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brex

“Use 3 separate independent organisations to count the EU referendum votes

This is one of the most important things we’ll ever get to vote on. The outcome of this EU referendum will shape the future of the British public forever and it’s vitally important that the outcome is democratically the right/correct one.”

It’s essential that as many people as possible sign this petition.  Don’t forget how Cameron tried to doctor the wording of the referendum text, and how his henchmen violated electoral law to prevent Nigel Farage being elected at Thanet.  He will use every devious and dishonest trick in the trade to fiddle the vote.

13Mar16

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brex

A really good clear statement from Michael Gove that the UK media chose not to report in full  

For weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No one is forced to stand for Parliament; no one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities. I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed. And that is the future of the UK in the European Union. It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad. But I cannot duck the choice, which the Prime Minister has given every one of us.

In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country. I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.

My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time. But our membership of the European Union prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions, which affect all our lives. Laws, which govern citizens in this country, are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out. We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT, cannot support a steel plant through troubled times, cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country. I believe that needs to change. And I believe that both the lessons of our past and the shape of the future make the case for change compelling.

The ability to choose who governs us, and the freedom to change laws we do not like, were secured for us in the past by radicals and liberals who took power from unaccountable elites and placed it in the hands of the people. As a result of their efforts we developed, and exported to nations like the US, India, Canada and Australia a system of democratic self-government which has brought prosperity and peace to millions. Our democracy stood the test of time. We showed the world what a free people could achieve if they were allowed to govern themselves. In Britain we established trial by jury in the modern world, we set up the first free parliament, we ensured no-one could be arbitrarily detained at the behest of the Government, we forced our rulers to recognise they ruled by consent not by right, we led the world in abolishing slavery, we established free education for all, national insurance, the National Health Service and a national broadcaster respected across the world.

By way of contrast, the European Union, despite the undoubted idealism of its founders and the good intentions of so many leaders, has proved a failure on so many fronts. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment. EU immigration policies have encouraged people traffickers and brought desperate refugee camps to our borders. Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. Razor wire once more criss-crosses the continent, historic tensions between nations such as Greece and Germany have resurfaced in ugly ways and the EU is proving incapable of dealing with the current crises in Libya and Syria. The former head of Interpol says the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe” and Scandinavian nations which once prided themselves on their openness are now turning in on themselves.  All of these factors, combined with popular anger at the lack of political accountability, have encouraged extremism, to the extent that far-right parties are stronger across the continent than at any time since the 1930s.

The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s and like other institutions, which seemed modern then, from tower blocks to telexes, it is now hopelessly out of date. The EU tries to standardise and regulate rather than encourage diversity and innovation. It is an analogue union in a digital age. The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people. Even though we are outside the euro we are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week, increasingly using the Charter of Fundamental Rights which in many ways gives the EU more power and reach than ever before. This growing EU bureaucracy holds us back in every area. EU rules dictate everything from the maximum size of containers in which olive oil may be sold (five liters) to the distance houses have to be from heath land to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometers). Individually these rules may be comical. Collectively, and there are tens of thousands of them, they are inimical to creativity, growth and progress. Rules like the EU clinical trials directive have slowed down the creation of new drugs to cure terrible diseases and ECJ judgments on data protection issues hobble the growth of Internet companies.

As a minister I’ve seen hundreds of new EU rules cross my desk, none of which were requested by the UK Parliament, none of which I or any other British politician could alter in any way and none of which made us freer, richer or fairer. It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do, or to use their judgment about the right course of action for the people of this country. I have long had concerns about our membership of the EU but the experience of Government has only deepened my conviction that we need change. Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’. I know it. My colleagues in government know it. And the British people ought to know it too: your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter. But by leaving the EU we can take control. Indeed we can show the rest of Europe the way to flourish. Instead of grumbling and complaining about the things we can’t change and growing resentful and bitter, we can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU is going down. We can show leadership.

Like the Americans who declared their independence and never looked back, we can become an exemplar of what an inclusive, open and innovative democracy can achieve. We can take back the billions we give to the EU, the money, which is squandered on grand parliamentary buildings and bureaucratic follies, and invest it in science and technology, schools and apprenticeships. We can get rid of the regulations which big business uses to crush competition and instead support new start-up businesses and creative talent. We can forge trade deals and partnerships with nations across the globe, helping developing countries to grow and benefiting from faster and better access to new markets. We are the world’s fifth largest economy, with the best armed forces of any nation, more Nobel Prizes than any European country and more world-leading universities than any European country. Our economy is more dynamic than the Euro zone; we have the most attractive capital city on the globe, the greatest “soft power” and global influence of any state and a leadership role in NATO and the UN. Are we really too small, too weak and too powerless to make a success of self-rule? On the contrary, the reason the EU’s bureaucrats oppose us leaving is they fear that our success outside will only underline the scale of their failure. This chance may never come again in our lifetimes, which is why I will be true to my principles and take the opportunity this referendum provides to leave an EU mired in the past and embrace a better future.

12Mar16

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FGM

Female Genital Mutilation

Help Stop it Now

Sign the AVAAZ petition here

12Mar16

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LOGO

The Latest from the TPA can be found here.

11Mar16

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Wind_turbines_above_home

[In Poland]The proposed setback of 10 x turbine height forecloses the option of turning rural areas into an industrial zone for the wind industry.

Wind industry in Poland has had 15 years to become a responsible partner for rural communities. Now it cries wolf at first attempt of proper regulation.

What about over here Mr Cameron?

10Mar16

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Churchill

This just came in from Colin in Newbury.

Sadly quotes from Churchill are frequently taken out of context and it pays to be careful – as when receiving any apparently attractive quote by email.

For example: this is quoted as being from 1953: “We have our own dream and our own task.  We are with Europe, but not of it.  We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed.  If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.”

In fact Churchill wrote the first four sentences of the quote before the war (see below): “We have our own dream and our own task.  We are with Europe, but not of it.  We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed.” 

But the last sentence If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea” was said on another occasion altogether when he shouted this remark to General Charles de Gaulle, in a row on the eve of the Normandy landings back in 1944!

The item below was written by Churchill and may read in context – but it is from before the war. 

On 29 May 1938 the News of the World published an article by Churchill entitled ‘Why Not “The  United States of Europe”?’ In it he urged a unified European community based on those States ‘with a tradition of liberty’. His article ended: “But we have our own dream and our own task. We are with Europe, but not of it. We are linked, but not comprised. We are interested and associated, but not absorbed. And should European statesmen address us in the words which were used of old – ‘Shall I speak for thee to the King or the Captain of the host?’ – we should reply with the Shunamite woman: ‘Nay, Sir, for we dwell among our own people.’ The conception of a ‘United States of  Europe’ is right. Every step taken to that end which appeases the obsolete hatreds and vanished oppressions, which makes easier the traffic and reciprocal services of Europe, which encourages its nations to lay aside their threatening arms or precautionary panoply, is good in itself, is good for them and good for all. It is, however, imperative that as Europe advances towards higher internal unity there shall be a  proportionate growth of solidarity throughout the British Empire, and also a deepening self-knowledge and mutual recognition  among the English-speaking peoples. Then without misgiving and without detachment we can watch and aid the assuagement of the European tragedy, and without envy survey their sure and sound approach  to mass-wealth; being very conscious  that every stride towards  European cohesion which is beneficial to the general welfare will make us a partner in their good fortune.”

During a debate in June 1950 in the House of Commons to discuss a united Europe, Churchill said that he could not “at present” foresee Britain being “a member of a Federal Union of Europe”. However, Churchill went on to explain that this was primarily because of Britain’s position, “at the centre of the British Empire and Commonwealth”, and, “our fraternal association with the United States of America.”  All that was to change over the next decade or so.  And in August 1961, Churchill is said to have written: “I think that the Government are right to apply to join the European Economic Community…”

Personally I have little doubt in my own mind that just as by 1961, when the Empire was gone, he thought that joining the (then) EEC would probably be a good thing (albeit probably without the inside knowledge of the full union which was planned in secret) he would equally have recognised the further changes over the next 50 years regarding our loss of democracy and the new realities of the balance of world trade etc which would lead him to vote to Leave now; were he around to do so.

Here is another interesting, and quite excellent, quote by Churchill from long ago which is also very apposite today: “These well-meaning gentlemen of the British Broadcasting Corporation have absolutely no qualifications and no claim to represent British public opinion. They have no right to say that they voice the opinions of English or British people whatever. If anyone can do that it is His Majesty’s government; and there may be two opinions about that. It would be far better to have sharply contrasted views in succession, in alteration, than to have this copious stream of pontifical, anonymous mugwumpery with which we have been dosed for so long.” (from a speech in the House of Commons, February 22, 1933)

This last quote might with some benefit be circulated more widely!

8Mar16

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Cameron

I would like to vote Conservative but I can’t because under this government our national debt has doubled, the immigration rate has increased by an unknown factor, and slimeball Cameron will not take us out of the EU.

4Mar16

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wiggin

Dear Mr Brown

Thank you very much for your email.

I can confirm that I will be supporting Britain’s exit from the EU., and I am grateful for your support on this matter which will be vital over the next four months.

If I can be of any further assistance then please do not hesitate to let me know.

Yours sincerely

Bill Wiggin MP

1Mar16

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HCC

Have your say about engagement with your council before 23 March 2016

1Mar16

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Switch

38 Degrees has 103,000 signed up for an energy deal

Why not join in?

28Feb16

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LOGO

See also what the TPA has to say about snidey, spivvy Dave’s attempts to skew the Brexit debate – here

It’s an absolute scandal.

27Feb16

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Cameron

This Tory government is wrecking the whole place.

Here and Here

Send it a message and vote Brexit and anything but Wiggin at the next opportunity.

25Feb16

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decision

More erosion of local decision making ability can be found

Here

but you will need to sign up for the free sample and log in.

17Feb16

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climate

Some alternative views on climate change, energy supply and renewables for Feb 2016 are 

here.

15Feb16

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silly

Read all about it at…

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/23/saturday-silliness-wind-turbine-photo-of-the-year/de-icing-wind-turbine/

15Feb16

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clean

Clean for the Queen

 Have you ever heard of it?

Have a look here

and get out there and pick up some litter – please.

11Feb16

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wiggin

Letter to Bill Wiggin

Dear Mr Wiggin,

Please could you explain how your government reconciles Localism with the General Permitted Development Order?

Yours,

Mr S C Brown

His reply will be posted when I get it.

10Feb16

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The Reading Girl 1886-7 by Th?odore Roussel 1847-1926

Here are links to some easy reading on

The Permitted Development Order 2015

http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/when-is-permission-required/what-are-permitted-development-rights/

http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/when-is-permission-required/what-are-permitted-development-rights/permitted-development-rights-for-the-change-of-use-of-agricultural-buildings/

10Feb16

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thumb

P160282/F Conversion of a redundant agricultural building in Wigmore

https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/development-control/planning-applications/details?id=160282&search=160282

This is exactly the sort of scheme we should support. It is in an urban setting, adjacent to an ‘A’ road, opposite the local school, within walking distance of a shop (via a pavement), a pub or two and the village hall, and on a bus route. It is not too far from the nearest large conurbation of Leominster. Unlike the scheme proposed at Oak Hill Barn it is NOT in the middle of nowhere, with no services for miles, difficult for emergency services to find and access, and neither will it contribute to the creeping urbanisation of our countryside with yet more visual intrusion and clutter, outside lighting, additional traffic along small lanes, more wheelie bins dumped at the drive entrance, and all the usual excrescences associated with human occupation, including habitat loss and wildlife disturbance.

A big fat YES to the Wigmore conversion and a big fat Raspberry for the Oak Hill Barn madness.

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scream

More on Class Q

Conditions under which development is permitted without further ado are taken from the document quoted in my objection, the  Statutory Instrument (TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING, ENGLAND – The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015),

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/596/pdfs/uksi_20150596_en.pdf

Conditions

Q.2—(1) Where the development proposed is development under Class Q(a) together with
development under Class Q(b), development is permitted subject to the condition that before beginning the development, the developer must apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to—

(a) transport and highways impacts of the development,

(b) noise impacts of the development,

(c) contamination risks on the site,

(d) flooding risks on the site,

(e) whether the location or siting of the building makes it otherwise impractical or undesirable for the building to change from agricultural use to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order, and

(f) the design or external appearance of the building…

In other words, neither the Local Plan the NDP nor locals have any say in the matter! This is why the parish council has been told it need not comment on this application. The only hope of preventing urbanisation of our countryside lies in sub paragraph (e), and that is a can of worms. I despair of Mr Cameron and his Tory government which seems hell bent on disregarding the views of its electorate.

9Feb16

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scream

On re-reading Class Q and permitted development it looks as if I have made a mistake in my understanding of this process and Class Q DOES override everything. In other words, anything goes when it comes to converting redundant agricultural buildings. Where is Localism now? I will produce a greater explanation when I understand more.

9Feb16

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scream

See the latest mad planning application under Oak Hill Barn on this site.

8Feb16

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Broader News is delighted to report that the Togpen application discussed below [now moved to archive] was refused by the planning department. They got something right! It remains to be seen how vigorously the decision is enforced.

8Feb16

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End

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Nan

For a laugh see HCC’s redacted version of my objection to the Togpen application (featured below) under Representations Mr S Brown. “What a F***ing liberty”, as Catherine Tate’s Nan would say, on TV, for all the nation to see and hear, but if I say it here the sky will fall in on Lingen.

12Jan16

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Carole Gandy

Cllr. Carole Gandy is doing a really good job. She does respond, and quickly. Full marks to her. It’s council staff that are letting us down.

From: Simon Brown [mailto:simonbrown1951@gmail.com]
Sent: 04 January 2016 10:37
To: Gandy, Carole (Cllr) <carole.gandy@herefordshire.gov.uk>
Subject: HCC planning web site

Dear Cllr. Gandy,

As you are aware it is possible to comment on applications online. I think it is unreasonable that it takes so long for comments to then appear as representations. People local to an application site need to know as soon as possible that there is objection, or support. Please can you ask the planning department why this should be and why some comments are uploaded before others, that is to say, out of order? Are some people favoured? Are some comments favoured?

Yours,

S C Brown.

Cllr. Gandy’s reply on 6Jan16…

Hi

I have now managed to speak to a senior planning officer with regard to your observations.  He has advised that due to shortages of staff and a large number of applications responses are not going onto the website promptly.  He stated that the application is registered at the front desk in Blue School House and then passed onto the planning department where he admits there is a back log. With regard to whether responses are put on in chronological order, he said that he thought that they were, but that the responses would could well be split amongst a number of admin staff and therefore depending on each members workload, this could happen.  As to whether some are favoured more than others, he said that the general admin staff who put on the responses are not planners and therefore would not know anything about the individual applications.

I hope that has answered your query although I suspect you will not find the answer particularly satisfactory.

Carole

My response….

I sent my comment in on 17Dec15. I find this response very difficult to accept but I thank you for your efforts.

7Jan16

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Refugees

THE REASON RICH MUSLIM COUNTRIES DON’T TAKE IN REFUGEES.

Fahad AL-Shelaimi, a Kuwait military colonel, former UN expert and currently President of the Gulf Security and Peace Forum explained in a Kuwaiti TV broadcast on 2nd September 2015, why the Gulf countries aren’t accepting Syrian refugees-and why they never should, even though the refugees are mainly fellow Arabs and Muslims.

The Koran says Muslims must shelter and take care of the weak, sick, poor and elderly, but Al-Shelaimi made it clear the Arab world had no such intentions.

He said: “Kuwait and other Gulf Co-operation Council countries are too valuable to accept any refugees. Our countries are only fit for workers. It is too costly to relocate them here. Kuwait is too expensive for them anyway, as opposed to Lebanon and Turkey which are cheap. They are better suited for Syrian refugees”.

And with breathtaking arrogance he finished: “In the end it is not right for us to accept a people that are different from us. We don’t want people that suffer from internal stress and trauma in our country”.

Meaning, it’s OK for the West to take in Syrian refugees.

The clip of his broadcast (in Arabic) has been showing on Facebook, with a translation into English running across the bottom of the screen.

A British oil worker, who spends a lot of time in the gulf, asked a senior Arab on one oil field why they didn’t take in Muslim refugees as the Koran encourages them to look after the poor, sick and elderly.

The guy shrugged: “If we take them in it will cost us money. So we let the West take them and this not only damages their economies it also means tens of thousands more Muslims join their communities to spread the word of Allah. If some of them die getting there they are martyrs and will get their reward in Jannah (Paradise)”.

7Jan16

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climate

The latest articles for global warming sceptics

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climate

The Most Comprehensive Assault On Global Warming Ever.

4Jan16

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litter

Penalties for people who drop litter could reach as much as £150 under plans set out by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

But does anyone ever get caught, especially in rural areas, and I include farmers with their countless plastic containers forgotten in fields and hedges as well as plastic bags, baler twine, bale wrap and bale netting casually discarded on roads? I think not. They can huff and puff and raise fines as high as they like but if no one is ever prosecuted it remains an empty threat.

2Jan16

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brex

STOP CAMERON spending British taxpayers’ money on Pro-EU Referendum leaflets

26Dec15

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down

This is my objection to the Togpen application.

I object to this application and question whether it is in the least valid. The applicant should, instead, have applied for permission to remove certain conditions rather than to have their flagrant disregard for the conditions “approved” by quasi judicial process. (Such an application should be treated with the same contempt as this one, as is explained below.) The committee will be aware that the original conversion of the barn, made by Mr and Mrs Murray, was contentious and permission was, therefore, granted with numerous and stringent conditions which included specific proscriptions on exactly those erections Mr and Mrs Murray are now attempting to legitimise. I quote from the original permission DCNW2005/2237/F, condition 10 “ ..no fences/ gates/ walls/ garages/ building/ extension/ dormer windows shall be erected other than those expressly authorised by this permission.” I also note that other conditions repeatedly give such reasons as “ to safeguard the character and appearance of this building of special architectural or historical interest.” and “…this sensitive historic location”, and so on. To allow these profoundly arrogant and overt breaches of conditions would undermine the planning process and contribute to the increasing disdain in which the electorate now holds it. I am shocked that Mr and Mrs Murray have, allegedly, been advised to take this action by the planning department itself. There must be some respect for the regulations if they are to be valid, and that respect must come from the planners as much as it must come from the public.

Not only should the application be dismissed on the obvious grounds that it drives a coach and horses through the planning system, but also on moral grounds. Mr and Mrs Thomas presumably bought the house adjacent to the barn from Mr and Mrs Murray in good faith and on the understanding and reasonable assumption that planning conditions would be adhered to by the vendors who, after all, were the recipients of the permission, the vendors of the house and the subsequent occupants of the converted barn. Mr and Mrs Thomas are therefore being denied the peaceful enjoyment if their freehold property by the people from whom they bought it and, presumably, are concerned about its future value, should they ever wish to sell. For the Murrays’ un-neighbourly behaviour and rank bad manners to be somehow institutionally endorsed by the granting of permission to disregard the conditions imposed as part of their own permission to convert the barn is tantamount to the institutional promotion of anarchy. It would also be manifestly unfair on the Thomas’s in that it could well reduce the value and saleability of the house they bought from the very same Murrays. I stress, that this is about the protection of the value of a property by the enforcement of conditions. It is not the same as potential loss in value by the granting of permission, which is not a consideration when granting permission. The enforcement of conditions IS a planning a planning consideration.

I object in principle to the notion of retrospective permission, and especially the removal of conditions, or, as in this case, the legitimising of disregarded and broken conditions, on the grounds that it quite simply not fair on those who obey the rules. The retrospective rewarding of illegal actions is not to be promoted if government expects us all to obey the rules. Why be a good citizen if you can easily get away with bad behaviour because it is considered too trivial a breach of the law to prosecute?

The creeping urbanisation of rural environs through this kind of environmental and architectural illiteracy and vandalism, encouraged by the certainty that most will get away with it, is, inch by inch, ruining our landscape.

The application should be rejected and Mr and Mrs Murray should be made to remove all offending erections. They should be made to return the entire domain to the state prescribed in the original permission with the re-establishment of the prescribed (smaller) boundaries of the developed garden, such removal to be rigorously enforced and checked upon from time to time, and Mr and Mrs Murray should be made to pay any costs incurred by the planning department and Mr and Mrs Thomas in reasonably enforcing the conditions. In my opinion, Mr and Mrs Thomas have a case in law for damages against the Murrays.

And additional comments…

As well as my first comments on this application I notice that the blue and red lines on the various applications over the years determining the site boundary, its garden domain and built areas have not remained consistent. Manipulations of boundaries in this way must be taken into account when considering this (erroneous) retrospective application.

21Dec15

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enforcement

Help bolster planning enforcement by objecting to planning application number 153215 

The clutter at Togpen is architectural illiteracy and environmental vandalism. We must embrace the concept of visual intrusion.

20Dec15

Broken turbine

http://en.friends-against-wind.org/accidents/wind-turbine-blade-fragment-thrown-as-far-as-500-m

But we were told that the Reeves Hill Wind Farm would be safe next to a road, footpaths and bridle paths.

20Nov15

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Comp

PARIS and the attacks!  (An article by historian Prof. Niall Ferguson in the London Sunday Times Nov 15)

I am not going to repeat what you have already read or heard. I am not going to say that what happened in Paris on Friday night was unprecedented horror, for it was not. I am not going to say that the world stands with France, for it is a hollow phrase. Nor am I going to applaud François Hollande’s pledge of “pitiless” vengeance, for I do not believe it.

I am going to tell you that this is exactly how civilisations fall.

Here is how Edward Gibbon described the Goths’ sack of Rome in August 410AD: “. . . In the hour of savage licence, when every passion was inflamed, and every restraint was removed . . . a cruel slaughter was made of the Romans; and . . . the streets of the city were filled with dead bodies . . . Whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition, they extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the innocent, and the helpless. . .”

Now, does that not describe the scenes we witnessed in Paris on Friday night? True, Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788, represented Rome’s demise as a slow burn. Gibbon covered more than 1,400 years of history. The causes he identified ranged from the personality disorders of individual emperors to the power of the Praetorian Guard and the rise of Sassanid Persia. Decline shaded into fall, with monotheism acting as a kind of imperial dry rot.

For many years, more modern historians of “late antiquity” tended to agree with Gibbon about the gradual nature of the process. Indeed, some went further, arguing that “decline” was an anachronistic term, like the word “barbarian”. Far from declining and falling, they insisted, the Roman empire had imperceptibly merged with the Germanic tribes, producing a multicultural post-imperial idyll that deserved a more flattering label than “Dark Ages”. Recently, however, a new generation of historians has raised the possibility that the process of Roman decline was in fact sudden — and bloody — rather than smooth.

For Bryan Ward-Perkins, what happened was “violent seizure . . . by barbarian invaders”. The end of the Roman west, he writes in The Fall of Rome (2005), “witnessed horrors and dislocation of a kind I sincerely hope never to have to live through; and it destroyed a complex civilisation, throwing the inhabitants of the West back to a standard of living typical of prehistoric times”.

In five decades the population of Rome itself fell by three-quarters. Archaeological evidence from the late fifth century — inferior housing, more primitive pottery, fewer coins, smaller cattle — shows that the benign influence of Rome diminished rapidly in the rest of western Europe. “The end of civilisation”, in Ward-Perkins’s phrase, came within a single generation.

Peter Heather’s Fall of the Roman Empire emphasises the disastrous effects not just of mass migration but of organised violence: first the westward shift of the Huns of Central Asia and then the Germanic irruption into Roman territory. In his reading, the Visigoths who settled in Aquitaine and the Vandals who conquered Carthage were attracted to the Roman empire by its wealth, but were enabled to seize that wealth by the arms they acquired and the skills they learnt from the Romans themselves.

“For the adventurous,” writes Heather, “the Roman empire, while being a threat to their existence, also presented an unprecedented opportunity to prosper . . . Once the Huns had pushed large numbers of [alien groups] across the frontier, the Roman state became its own worst enemy. Its military power and financial sophistication both hastened the process whereby streams of incomers became coherent forces capable of carving out kingdoms from its own body politic.”

Uncannily similar processes are destroying the European Union today, though few of us want to recognise them for what they are. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defences to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.

The distant shock to this weakened edifice has been the Syrian civil war, though it has been a catalyst as much as a direct cause for the great Völkerwanderung of 2015. As before, they have come from all over the imperial periphery — from North Africa, from the Levant, from south Asia — but this time they have come in their millions, not in mere tens of thousands.

To be sure, most have come hoping only for a better life. Things in their own countries have become just good enough economically for them to afford to leave and just bad enough politically for them to risk leaving. But they cannot stream northwards and westwards without some of that political malaise coming with them. As Gibbon saw, convinced monotheists pose a grave threat to a secular empire.

It is doubtless true to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent. But it is also true that the majority hold views not easily reconciled with the principles of our liberal democracies, including our novel notions about sexual equality and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilisation within these avowedly peace-loving communities.

I do not know enough about the fifth century to be able to quote Romans who described each new act of barbarism as unprecedented, even when it had happened multiple times before; or who issued pious calls for solidarity after the fall of Rome, even when standing together meant falling together; or who issued empty threats of pitiless revenge, even when all they intended to do was to strike a melodramatic posture.

I do know that 21st-century Europe has itself to blame for the mess it is now in. Surely nowhere in the world has devoted more resources to the study of history than modern Europe did. When I went up to Oxford more than 30 years ago, it was taken for granted that in the first term I would study Gibbon. It did no good. We learnt a lot of nonsense to the effect that nationalism was a bad thing, nation states worse and empires the worst things of all.

“Romans before the fall”, wrote Ward-Perkins, “were as certain as we are today that their world would continue for ever substantially unchanged. They were wrong. We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.”

Poor, poor Paris. Killed by complacency.

16Nov15

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Broken turbine

Wind power itty-bitty problems: job losses, skyrocketing prices and ongoing blackouts

11Nov15

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I used AVG to make my laptop work more quickly, stop it crashing and freezing up all the time, and it  has worked.

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Fatcats

And what do these fatcats deliver other than utter mediocrity? Who are the muppets that hire them?

9Nov15

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Forests of hideous, useless, vastly subsidised windmills predictably failed to help – because there was no wind

PETER HITCHENS: Warmists armed with windmills are the REAL threat to Britain

From The Mail on Sunday

8Nov15

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Tragedy

Tragedy.

CPRE has been hijacked by the greens. I have withdrawn my support, and my money, from CPRE. What a shame! I wonder what Bill Bryson has to say about this?

6Nov15

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ugly_veg_meta_tag-03

The supermarkets are worried misshapen potatoes put customers off. But we are their customers – so let’s tell them we’ll buy fruit and veg that looks the way mother nature intended it. A huge petition, powered by shoppers, could convince supermarket bosses to stop rejecting perfectly good food.

6Nov15

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Menin

Why Indians want Britain out of the EU

By Daniel Hannan MEP –  5th November 2015

David Cameron is calling in favours from world leaders at present. He wants them to opine that Britain, everything considered, ought to stay in the EU. They often oblige: heads of government do that sort of thing for each other.

So we may be pretty certain that, when India’s Narendra Modi comes to London next week, Britain’s PM will try to charm him into saying that India is happy for the UK to retain its current arrangements.

The trouble is, it’s not true. I have spent the past week in India, talking to business, university and political audiences in Bombay, Bangalore and New Delhi. I haven’t come across a single Euro-enthusiast. What I’ve heard, instead, is frustration at the EU’s nine years of delay over negotiating a free trade agreement, and annoyance at the way Brussels rules on free movement discriminate against Commonwealth nationals, including those with strong family links to the UK.

It’s true that Indian businessmen want Britain to trade freely with the EU. So do British Eurosceptics. So do Brussels officials. So does everyone else. Our market access is not in question. Some 45 European states, from Iceland to Turkey, form a common market, 28 of whose members are also in the EU. No one is suggesting that Britain would cease to be one of the 45.

But you don’t have to join a political union with your neighbours in order to trade with them. Britain’s organic ties with India – ties of habit and history, language and law, family and friendship – are being displaced by top-down, artificial ties with the EU.

They were displaced, first, because Britain was forced to apply the EU’s Common External Tariff after 1973. Where we had been in the habit of buying textiles and commodities from the subcontinent, we now found ourselves subject to protectionist interests elsewhere in Europe.

An exporter in my constituency would naturally trade more easily with a firm in Ludhiana than with one in Ljubljana. As well as the English language, the two companies would have the same accountancy systems and commercial practices. If there were a dispute between them, it will be arbitrated under a common law model familiar to both parties. None of these things is true of the EU.

Two generations ago, when most business was localised and freight costs were high, regional customs unions had a certain appeal. But in the Internet age, geographical proximity has never mattered less. Culture and kinship trump distance.

Sadly, they don’t always trump politics. An Indian World War Two veteran, arriving at Heathrow Airport, must line up with the rest of the world while men who might have served on the other side stroll through as EU nationals. Non-EU students, of whom Indians used to be the largest component, are now chased out of Britain on the completion of their degrees to free up space for unlimited numbers of EU migrants, who have the right to settle as if they were British, even when they have no connection whatever to the UK.

Among my constituents of Indian origin, many families have recently experienced problems with visas for visiting relatives. Because there is a practical limit to the amount of inward migration that any country can take, as long as we are obliged to open our doors to 600 million EU nationals, we have to crack down on other forms of immigration.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that we should have an open door to Commonwealth migration, any more than we should have an open door to EU migration. But there should be no discrimination against non-EU nationals. It is idiotic that we are, in practice, forced to turn away computer programmers from Bangalore because their places have been filled by unqualified workers from Bialystok. We should have a fair, points-based system, in which people from all over the world can compete equally.

As we mark Remembrance Sunday, with peculiar poignancy in this centenary year, I think of the 1.3 million Indians who volunteered to defend freedom in the First World War. I think, too, of their sons, 2.5 million strong, who joined up during the Second World War. There was no conscription in British India: every one of those men made a personal decision to enlist.

Next year, Britain will have to decide whether we are defined chiefly by our geography. Must we merge with states which happen to be in the vicinity, or do we recognise that some values transcend continents, linking us to kindred peoples in more distant lands?

Those jawans from the Ganges plains whose names are carved into the Menin Gate at Ypres, those ryots from the Deccan who dropped their ploughs to shoulder rifles in East Africa, gave their answer to that question. Were they wrong?

6Nov15

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Global warming alarmism

MATT RIDLEY: THE CLIMATE WARS AND THE DAMAGE TO SCIENCE

6Nov15

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What might have been

Reply from Carol Gandy

Hi

Thank you for your response.  With regard to Rosemary Lane and the development at the Surgery, both were submitted prior to the Local Plan being adopted by Council and as yet Leintwardine have not submitted their NDP for examination.  I have urged them to do so prior to the Public Enquiry in order to give extra weight to their objections.

With regard to Herefordshire’s Local Plan  I can confirm, although I suspect you already know, that NO councillor voted against its adoption.  There was little debate about housing numbers either in the rural areas or towns, the main debate centred on the proposed Hereford Southern Link Road.

I am happy to continue the debate with you, but it will make little difference now, the Local Plan has been adopted.  What is now important for Leintwardine and for my part other areas of Mortimer Ward, is that the NDPs are submitted as soon as possible for examination and that I will then happily speak on behalf of local residents against any development they and the PC are unhappy about which is contrary to their NDP.   I believe that is now my priority, rather than looking back at what might have been

Carole

My comment..

“What might have been”, as our councillors so airily and dismissively describes any difference of opinion, would have been very different, and much more popular, if the council had listened to one single comment when consulting. As it was, HCC dismissed all comments that did not suit the crazed, and maniacal development schemes throughout the protracted production of the Local Plan, before Mrs Gandy’s time. It still doesn’t listen to anyone, or any groups or considered opinion, even when given by its own consultants and studies. Although I admire Mrs Gandy’s prompt and full responses her skilled swatting off of any dissent, her repetition of the mantra “this is where we are so suck it up”, and her habit of somehow distancing herself from all decisions, as if to say “They did it, not I” is characteristic of a politician so there is really no point in any further communication with her. How sad!

I have absolutely no expectations for NDPs and continue to hold the view I heard when out leafleting in 2010 “What’s the point of voting, Herefordshire Council always does what it wants and doesn’t give a toss about us.”

Have your say by using the “Leave a reply” button at the top of this page.

6Nov15

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Dreams

Why your dreams of local control are just dreams.

To Cllr. Gandy 4Nov15

Dear Cllr. Gandy,

According to Rightmove there are 28 properties for sale between £100,000 and £200,000 within five miles of Leintwardine. Why is it considered necessary to build more houses in Leintwardine in this market, that is, at the lower end of the market? The need for housing higher up the market is even less clear. I know that several of these properties have been on the market for many months and so there would seem to be little demand for this kind of housing. Please could you discuss this reasoning with the planning department and ask them to justify the oft repeated mantra “There is a desperate need for housing”, now enshrined in the adopted Local Plan.

Yours,

S C Brown

From Cllr Gandy 4Nov15

Hi

My understanding of Local Plans is that the numbers of houses are determined by the Housing Needs Assessment carried out by either a County, District, or a Consultancy on behalf of the above. This is based on previous history, projected births, increased employment land etc and will also include immigration and historic natural growth. You can argue the results of these Assessments and I have done so in another place but that is what the planning inspectorate consider when determining how many homes are needed in a particular area. Nationally it will be the case that government and all previous governments will say there is a desperate need for more homes. (My emphasis SCB) That does not necessarily mean there is a desperate need in Leintwardine. They have determined that in Herefordshire there should be a minimum build of 16,500 up to 2031, which in fact is at about the same rate per year as has previously been built in Herefordshire. Herefordshire has taken the decision to allocate 5,700 of those homes to the rural areas and have done so by identifying a percentage for each parish. In some towns, a total figure has been given and the council has actually determined the sites on which the houses will be built. At least here, parishes are able to, through the Neighbourhood Development Plan, identify sites and in the case of Leintwardine pursue a view that these sites should have no more than 6 houses. Planners cannot determine what type of homes shall be built, they can have a view as to what is needed but ultimately a developer will build what they believe they can sell. Therefore if a developer believes they can sell houses in Leintwardine costing £250000, then that is what they will apply to do. Planners will only make stipulations over affordable housing and as you know that only comes into play on larger developments. My understanding is that Leintwardine want small developments of no more than 6 properties and therefore this will not include affordable, unless the developer chooses to put some in, which I suspect is unlikely. Planners can push for bungalows if they think that is what is needed, but they cannot insist. A developer will not build anything that he won’t be able to sell.

I understand entirely why many people in rural areas either do not want more housing or want a greater say on what sort of housing they get but unfortunately that is not possible. (My emphasis SCB)

Birmingham for example is being expected to build I believe in the region of 56,000 homes (don’t quote me on the actual figure) . They don’t have the available land so are looking to neighbouring boroughs to take some. Redditch where I came from is expected to build 6,500 and only has land for 3,500 so 3000 will be built in Bromsgrove and so it goes on and eventually this sets off a chain reaction which eventually reaches Leintwardine. Happy to send your email to planners but I do not think you will get any different answer. Please let me know

To Cllr. Gandy 5Nov15

Dear Cllr. Gandy,

Thank you for this detailed reply although I knew all of that. The point is that the Housing Assessment was wrong, and that although you quote six house sized developments for Leintwardine the one approved and the other at appeal are both for more than six houses, at a time when many small houses are just not selling, as well as larger houses.

You say “Nationally it will be the case that government and all previous governments will say there is a desperate need for more homes.” So what? They are wrong and the adopted policy for the rural parts of Herefordshire is a disaster. Places like Leintwardine cannot support such development, especially when the market indicates exactly the opposite.

You go on to say that this does not mean there is a desperate need in Leintwardine, so why is your council considering around 60 new houses for Leintwardine? You admit this would be contrary to the NDP now being produced for Leintwardine. Again, I ask why is your council ignoring local wishes?

Later you say that it is not possible for locals to have a greater say in what sort of housing they get. That is really the bottom line, as they say. Your council and your government have no intention of taking local considerations into account and will build, build, build regardless.

Yours,

S C Brown.

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bending the rules

Skullduggery over the EU Referendum Bill – who’d have thought it?

14Oct15

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LynxRare species including European lynx have returned to the area Photo: Sergey Gashchak/Chernobyl Centre
From The Daily Telegraph 6Oct15

Man is even more deadly to wildlife than a nuclear disaster…

6Oct15

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Broken turbine

Intermittency of UK Wind Power Generation 2013 and 2014

Click on the link and it’s the fourth on the list of disturbing articles from AWED.

6Oct15

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Carney

Who put Mark Carney in charge of our climate policy?

“Thirty years of extraordinarily costly research and development has resulted in a renewables industry that today accounts for a stunning – wait for it – 1 per cent of global energy supply. Never mind Asia, where they are still rolling out new coal-fired power stations at record speed, even holier-than-thou Germany, with its “Energiewende”, opened another two this week while simultaneously sanctioning an open cast mine to help fuel them.”

2Oct15

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Parish council

CPALC argues for the abolition of small parish councils

Sign up to CPALC to read the members’ pages – it’s FREE!

1Oct15

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bill-bryson_2683362b

“Well, here is a new rule: if you are too stupid to spell ‘disappointed’ even approximately correctly, you are not allowed to take part in public discourse at any level.”

Well said Bill Bryson

from the Daily Telegraph

28Sep15

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Avaaz

Avaaz under threat – stop the crack down

” Our movement is under threat. Governments worldwide are passing ‘gag laws’, prohibiting protest and intimidating or closing down organisations in the biggest crackdown on civil society in a generation.”

27Sep15

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Europe

Huge Boost In Fight To Quit EU

whilst

EU chief fears union will COLLAPSE over migrant crisis

25Sep15

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Zealot

Climate Zealots Score Own Goal

24Sep15

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Europe
From the Daily Telegraph

This is the reality of the EU.

22Sep15

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From Pete.

“Hi Simon, Thank you for adding your name to your web site. Your reply to me on the site is not the same as your reply to me by email, so I won’t be replying to the site response, it sounds like I’ve poked the bear. I have to say that as far as I know you’re the first person to refer to me pompous and righteous and ridiculous, perhaps I’m not alone in possessing such character traits ? No point in further communication. It’s a shame, with the right approach you could be a real asset to the community.
Pete.
Feel free to publish this if you wish”
I am sorry Pete deems my approach wrong. Perhaps he can set up his own site and show me how it’s done? I consider myself an asset even if he disagrees, although quite how he judges my not being a real asset is open to discussion.
21Sep15

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Parish council

At the BGPC meeting of 15Sep15 Cllr. Barnett placed the “Good Councillor’s Guide” in front of Cllr. Walker with a pointed comment that Cllr. Walker should read it. Here’s a quote from that guide..

“• A council must do what the law requires it to do.
  • A council may do only what the law says it may do.
  • A council cannot do anything unless permitted by legislation.”

The law requires that councillors should sign an Acceptance of Office form in a prescribed manner. The law says a person commits an offence if they act as a councillor when they are not. What can be the problem with BGPC’s understanding of such a simple concept? If individual BGPC councillors cannot grasp this need to abide by the rules and the law should they be in office?

I am not alone.

19Sep15

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Pete Lloyd commented September 17, 2015 at 9:16 pm
Your comments about the Border Group Parish Council indicate that you are obviously a well informed, intelligent person , keen to see that rules are adhered to. I’m not on the Parish Council ,and I don’t think you are either. Don’t you think that if your comments were helpful and guiding rather than critical and personal, that you might achieve rather more ?
You really should not single out for personal criticism Mr. John Miles, a deceased gentleman who committed his retirement years to the Border Group Parish Council, and worked hard for the local community for many years.
I find it strange that you have so much to say, yet decline to give your name, is this a feature of Broader News or is it your wish ?
I presume my name will appear because I am about to add it below together with my email address.
My reply to Pete is that I am free to publish whatever I like so long as it remains within the law. I do not agree that naming names is a sin. Those who are responsible for the errors in public life must be made accountable. If they don’t like it don’t make the errors or don’t be in public life, and if you don’t like what I write here don’t read it, or set up your own site to counter my comments. Attempting to censure me is pompous and righteous, and attempting to censor me is ridiculous, as John Miles and his BGPC cronies were firmly told by Lynda Wilcox during the fiasco of “The Night of the Pitch Forks”, a sequel to the film “The Wicker Man”, which took place at Lingen Village Hall in November 2012. As far as giving my name is concerned- everyone knows who I am, as was amply demonstrated at “The Night of the Pitch Forks”, but I have now added my name to the top of this page so there can be no doubt. I can assure you I have never been anonymous and am not trying to remain anonymous. I will continue to criticise the wrong doings of BGPC until it puts its house in order or until I give up worrying about what can only be described as an ineffectual (BGPC achieves almost nothing that an individual cannot do for himself and never motivates its residents into any community action as other parishes do eg. Bucknell and Norton litter picking, indeed the former clerk was so paranoid about insurance he more or less banned everything), unnecessary (the one function that BGPC does carry out which may be seen to be beneficial, the Lengthsman Scheme, is delegated from the county council which has its own contractor, so this layer of administration is simply an unnecessary duplication), obsolete (three quarters of the precept was spent on running a clerk to run a parish council to raise a precept to pay the clerk – that proportion is now closer to one half), anachronistic (now we have universal digital communications we no longer need this conduit to higher authority), untrained (BGPC councillors simply refuse or fail to attend courses), incompetent (because they won’t attend courses or take advice from concerned individuals and some of them are not really computer literate and are reluctant to communicate in any meaningful way, and because BGPC failed to set an adequate budget for this year so has run into divisive issues surrounding grass mowing which BGPC was paying for illegally from the wrong allowance – because it did not bother to concern itself with the details – “They are so tedious”, as Steve Chilman says! – former chairman of BGPC and now chairman of Wigmore School Governors), layer of local government which I, for one, would like to see abolished or, alternatively, greatly increased in area to include adjacent rural grouped parishes such as the Stapleton Group, and all the rural parishes now grouped with Leintwardine. I will certainly make positive comments when the opportunity arises, as I did when BGPC was instrumental in getting the weir removed on the Teme, and when it finally, and grudgingly, got round to setting up a (mandatory) web site. But the opportunities are few and far between. Things could be so much better.

19Sep15 

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Broken turbine

Residents in rural Wisconsin claim noise from a nearby wind farm is making them sick. Their campaign to shut down the turbines could pose a major threat to the national wind industry. Read about here.

But then

18Sep15

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anonymity

 Apparently someone out there does not know who I am and thinks I am trying to hide behind anonymity! I have added my name to the title.

18Sep15

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Pomp

From time to time I receive negative comments about my site being negative. Those that send them don’t see the irony there I suppose. What I say is if you don’t like what you read on this web site either don’t read it or set up your own site with your own point of view. To tell me what I should or should not be writing in the 21st century is pompous beyond ridiculous, and not a little out of touch.

18Sep15

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Verge at BB 001

It is discouraging that tax payers paid to have this verge in Brampton Bryan rebuilt only a few weeks ago and now it has been completely obliterated. The same applies to nearly all the verge work on the Birtley to Walford road. Why does the Highways Department persist in this fatuous habit?

17Sep15

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Countryside Stewardship in Weston

2Feb15 008

Verge at BB 002

17Sep15

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Parish council

The specious argument that parish councillors are volunteers.

Parish councils are part of local government, not clubs, talking shops or a few like minded people meeting up for a social event as they might in the local pub. They are a tax raising body.

Councillors do not receive a salary but they may claim expenses and allowances.

Councillors stand for election. They do not volunteer to serve on their council. Having been elected they sign an Acceptance of Office form and agree to abide by the Code of Conduct. They agree to carry out their duties and to say that they have been unable to do something because they were too busy is no excuse. If a councillor cannot do the job to the very highest of standards they should consider their position.

Becoming a councillor is a deliberate action and a jealously guarded position. Being an unpaid parish councillor does not amount to being a volunteer with the degree of latitude that might be applied to genuine volunteers. If you stand for election you are morally bound to do the job properly and not in a casual or complacent manner to suit you. You have taken on responsibilities and you should carry them out without fail.

Those who resort to the “volunteer” argument do so in a desperate attempt to excuse their failings. It is morally bankrupt reasoning.

17Sep15

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Parish council

BGPC, and especially its present chairman, might like to study CPALC’s Best Practice Guide 32 “A Best Practice Guide to Councillor Conduct in Meetings”

17Sep15

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Parish council

For a piece on the role of the chairman

17Sep15

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Parish council

From CPALC’s latest Newsletter.
Sign up to CPALC for sensible advice. Unlike HALC, it’s free!

“Council officers must accept that appropriate questioning of council policies, actions and finances is a legitimate part of elected councillors’ role and duties and cannot be construed as bullying.”

17Sep15

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Parish council

It seems the Code of Conduct was being slammed on the table and generally bandied about by “the Blob” on BGPC at their meeting of 15Sep15. Members of “The Blob” are outraged at recent events and any attempt to hold them accountable. I quote from that code…

“Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.” (Note – accountable to the public, not to each other.)

“The Blob” does not tolerate any scrutiny which is why such illegal and disastrous decisions as to engage in a photocopier contract at £1,700 a year (when the precept was only about £7,000) and why a privately owned hedge in Willey was removed at public expense in a decision made outside a parish council meeting and when any expense over £50 was required to be put before the whole council. The latter of these two decisions was unquestionably unlawful but no one has ever explained why the hedge was removed and why we had to pay £970 for its removal.

The code goes on to implore councillors to “treat others with respect and courtesy”. After the unforgettably disgusting behaviour of BGPC at one meeting, during which a member was publicly verbally assaulted, pilloried, abused and inappropriately questioned, reduced to a jittering wreck and left unsupported by any other member, including the present chairman, who professes high Christian principles, and at which public opinion had quite clearly been whipped up by the former bullying chairman, John Miles, and at which the perceived insult “incomer” was repeatedly hissed from the back of the hall, “The Blob”, who mostly remain on the council, cannot be relied upon to conform to this basic standard of decency. “The Blob” is, of course, made up of those who are not dreaded “incomers”. Any attempt by BGPC, or anyone at all for that matter, to remove or diminish statutory rights on the grounds of length of tenure, or for any reason, is discriminatory and therefore illegal.

The general standard of behaviour, mostly amongst the longer standing members of BGPC who make up “the Blob”, is appalling, misguided, unlawful, inaccurate, un-informed to the point of irresponsibly ignorant of basic rules and regulations, and cannot be allowed to continue. It astounds me that someone who holds public office as a BGPC councillor, as well as at least one other public office, should iterate words to the effect that these rules are petty fogging nonsense and can be ignored!

BTW, Mr Chairman, a chairman of a parish council has no higher authority than his members. He is not the Leader of a parish council. There is not and cannot be such a title or position. He has no powers other than those afforded to him as a parish councillor. His sole function as chairman is to conduct meetings in a proper manner. See CPALC Guide 30 and “Duties, Powers, Role of Chairman or Mayor of Town or Parish Councils”

Some years ago I had a meeting with councillors and the then temporary clerk, Lynda Wilcox, Chief executive of HALC, when I complained that BGPC was so bad it did not realise how bad it was. That still applies, in my view, and will continue to apply until the more recalcitrant members put their houses in order.

I call on the chairman to brush up his act. I call on the clerk to whip BGPC to order. I call on “the Blob” to digest the Code of Conduct and apply it to themselves, as they would apply it to others.

16Sep15

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Parish council

What travesties of procedure and natural justice will be committed at the BGPC meeting tonight (15Sep15)? Why not go along and see for yourself – Lingen Village Hall at 7:30pm.

15Sep15

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coal

Why “renewables” in the UK are a waste of time, money and effort; effort and resources that should be directed towards real research into real methods of sensible energy production.

15Sep15

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newsletter

Latest AWED Newsletter.

15Sep15

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shutterstock_267953747

Settled science is a myth

“In 2007, Congress gave the National Academy of Sciences $5,856,000 to conduct a study on climate change. The study concluded that Earth’s temperature has risen over the past 100 years (shocker) and that human activities have increased the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. The study could not prove a link between the two, nor that this constituted an imminent threat.”

15Sep15

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Jurrasic coast

Shysters and snake oil salesmen sent packing.

13Sep15

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Korea

500 year old forest to be cut down in Korea

Help prevent this environmental vandalism committed in the name of drug crazed sport.

11Sep15

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 parliament5_web_244x300

Let’s keep an eye on the shenanigans surrounding the EU referendum

9Sep15

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From: nortoncivicsoc@btinternet.com <nortoncivicsoc@btinternet.com>
Date: 5 September 2015 at 21:22
Subject: Village Litter Pick!
To: Sophia Thompson NCS <sophiathompson@msn.com>

Dear NCS members

 
We have organised another village litter pick and tidy afternoon on Saturday 12th September at 1.45pm for 2pm start. We will meet at the top of Mynd Lane opposite the Church.
 
We have more litter picking equipment this time for everyone to use. The last time we met we gathered over 20 large bags of litter. It’s amazing how much litter we find, often not seen because of the long grass or it is hidden under the hedgerow.
 
Please feel free to invite any friends and neighbours who would like to join in.
Thanks
NCS secretary.

I wonder if BGPC could organise something along the same lines? The kit is now available from HCC.

8Sep15

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Wye
CPRE Herefordshire Branch Annual Report pdf

Contains some alarming news and pictures about your county, broiler units and the associated pollution, and more.
7Sep15
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 Wayne-Richards_2075997b
What kind of person lives in a house like this? DT 1Sep15

Joan Bakewell on fly tipping and litter – ‘We need a tide of disapproval so strong that the habit becomes something to be ashamed of.’  In my book that includes the appalling disregard for others shown by many so called stewards of the countryside (subsidised farmers), with their scrap yard mentality, lack of care with plastics and baler twine, casual discarding of containers and feed bags, and so on. So far this year I have personally collected at least 100 bags full of litter from my immediate area, and all the bags were collected too!

2Sep15

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keep-clean-and-pick-up-litter-4

Message from Herefordshire Council.

Dear Parish/Town Clerk
The Energy and Environmental Management Team of Herefordshire Council are looking at ways of how to improve the litter situation in the County.
We will be encouraging the public not to drop litter and for everyone to take responsibility for their own waste.
We are aware though, that many communities are already organising litter picks in their area, so we are currently trying to find out  where this is happening and how we can support others to take part.
We would therefore be very grateful if you could let us know if your Parish Council or any groups in your Parish are organising litter picks by contacting Jane Denny on 01432 383449 or emailingjdenny@herefordshire.gov.uk
If you would be interested in organising a litter pick,  Balfour Beatty have kits of litter picking equipment available for groups to borrow.
Packs can be ordered by ringing  01432 349504.
Full details on litter can be found by following this link to the Herefordshire Council website
We look forward to hearing from you.
With Kind Regards
Anthony
Anthony  Bush
PARISH LIAISON AND RURAL SERVICES OFFICER
Sustainable Communities Team
Community and Customer Services
Economic, Communities and Corporate Directorate
Herefordshire Council
County Offices
Plough Lane          
Hereford
HR4 0LE
 
Tel: 01432 260611
2Sep15

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Barn-Swallow--adult-in-fl-008

More bad news on the agricultural front. Rivers polluted and farmland bird numbers reduced by neonicotinoids – just when our brilliant government has reinstated their use!!!

27Aug15

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keep-clean-and-pick-up-litter-4

Is there any chance that any of my fellow parishioners could spend a few minutes a week picking up litter around their own environs please? A short walk with a bag is all that is needed and then put the litter in your rubbish bin. You can recycle some of it.

I promise you will feel much better for it – guaranteed.

25Aug15

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brick

Global Warming Alarmists Run Into Brick Wall Of Facts

and some other articles of interest for sceptics
for which you can sign up to receive every month.

24Aug15

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Navitus

Sign the petition to scrap Navitus Bay wind farm plan.

24Aug15

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After some problems this site is now working so…..

2015-mp-lobby-image

http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2015/mp-lobby/

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Parish council

Interestingly, a person disqualified from office as a parish councillor commits an offence if they act or claim to be entitled to act as a councillor whilst being disqualified, such offence prosecutable in a magistrates court and carrying a penalty of £50 for each offence. See

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1972/70/section/92

It is about time BGPC recognised that it is not above the law.

21Aug15

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Espinosa

Protest against the murder of Ruben Espinosa

21Aug15

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Parish council

Reply from Balfour Beatty about riparian ditches.

Dear Mr Brown

Thank you for your email regarding the ditching works that have been carried out on the C1001, C1006 and C1007 within Border Group Parish.

With regard to the works undertaken on the C1006, the work order was for rebuilding the highway verge and therefore the ditching work was undertaken at the same time as part of this works. I have looked into the work undertaken on the C1001 and C1007 and this was assigned to our routine and reactive team following an inspection which deemed that work was necessary. Unfortunately due to a misunderstanding around the ownership of the asset the work was assigned incorrectly. As you rightly point out these are riparian ditches and therefore are the responsibility of the landowner to maintain. I will ensure that this information is captured on our asset register.

In such cases, where following inspection ditching works is required on riparian ditches, a process has been put in place for locality stewards to contact the landowner and discuss with them their responsibility to undertake works. A policy is in place which outlines this process and I will ensure that it is re-briefed to our team of locality stewards. In this case Balfour Beatty will pay for the cost of the works and we will write to the landowner, providing them with information about their responsibility for maintaining riparian ditches for future reference.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Kind regards
Paul
Paul Shipton
Locality Manager
Balfour Beatty
Living Places – Services Division
Unit 3, Thorn Business Park | Rotherwas | Hereford | HR2 6JT

20Aug15

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broadband_2586322b
Photo: Alamy

“For rural areas, we want better internet and mobile phone communications, better transport, better schools, better skills, better housing, better business growth and better local government.”

So announced George Osborne in today’s Daily Telegraph. We would like all of these things George, and you’ve already had five years to make a difference, but nothing, absolutely nothing, has happened, except for the systematic dismantling of local government by your Eric Pickles and his great smoke and mirrors scam of Localism.

Stop blathering out your patronising waffle and get on with it George (and, presumably, Dave, or has George taken over now?)

20Aug15

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Court

I can’t see Herefordshire Planning Enforcement having the courage to do this, and it’s a racing certainty that your tip-off would not remain anonymous.

19Aug15

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National Gallery

38 Degrees says No to privatising The National Gallery. Join their protest by

signing the petition

18Aug15

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Parish council

Riparian Ditches

I’ve been banging on about this for years and now it seems Balfour Beatty agrees with me – again (this is not the first time BB has made this point).

Message to BGPC parish clerk from Balfour Beatty….

Dear Clerk,
We have been asked by our asset management team leader to forward the information below to you to assist with the management of ditches in your areas:
The majority of ditches adjacent to the highways are not the responsibility of the Local Highway Authority, or in the case of Lengthsman schemes of Parish Councils, to maintain. They are Riparian Ditches which are the responsibility of the adjacent landowner. Please see the information leaflet for further details. Council funding should not be utilised to maintain Riparian Ditches. If Parish Councils wish to maintain Riparian Ditches, they should ensure no conflict of interest exists, ie Landowners on the Parish Council, and also write to the Riparian Owner confirming that the works are being done on a temporary basis and this does not constitute acceptance of responsibility for on-going maintenance of the ditch being transferred to the Parish.
The only ditches that are the responsibility of a Highway Authority to maintain are ditches that are installed as part of new road construction. (My emphasis SCB)
If Parishes are in doubt as to whether a ditch is Riparian or not, they should enquire with their Locality Steward in the first instance.
Just to let you know, I will be managing the Lengthsman Scheme (again) due to Samantha Tomkins having a change in roles, if you have any queries regarding the scheme then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Kind regards,
James Powell
Customer Service Assistant | Balfour Beatty | Services | Living Places
So why has BB been working on the C1007, Brampton Bryan to Lingen, and beyond; the C1006, Walford to Birtley, and the C1001, Walford to Buckton? I have written to James Powell to ask for an explanation.
I also draw everyone’s attention to the overwhelming presence of farmers and landowners on BGPC!
16Aug15

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Parish council

A vacancy exists for a parish councillor for the parish of Brampton Bryan. Would someone who is not a Harley and therefore has no pecuniary interest in 90% of the parish, who is computer literate and willing to use email, will make some effort to carry out duties between meetings, attend all meetings and not put their social life above their proclaimed intent to serve their parishioners, is not connected with the over-represented agricultural sector and preferably female, please put themselves forward for co-option at the September meeting of BGPC. All that is needed is for the applicant to live within three miles of the boundary of the parish, turn up and give a little speech on why they are suited to the post, and not be otherwise disqualified by reason of insanity or criminal behaviour. Let’s have some fresh blood in the moribund parish council. Contact the clerk at

clerkbordergroup@btinternet.com

There is also a vacancy for the parish of Willey. The same comments apply, apart from the bit about pecuniary interest in 90% of Brampton Bryan.

10Aug15

Reply from Richard Sudworth 13Aug15

Do I understand that Susan Harley is no longer interested in being on the PC?
Elaborate on your point about the prospective candidate being female.
From your comments, it would appear that BGPC meetings are essentially social gatherings rather than business. True?

Answer….

I don’t know Susan Harley’s intentions but I think it’s about time we had some fresh blood on BGPC and that no councillors should be returned unopposed term in and term out. Moreover, I think that someone whose family owns more or less the entire parish is unlikely to be able to properly represent that parish as she will have to leave the room whenever an issue concerning Brampton Bryan arises. I think that should also apply to tenants of the Harley estate as they will feel obliged, or perceived by others to feel obliged, to toe the Harley line.

Women are under-represented on BGPC there being only two of nine (before Susan Harley was disqualified that is) and in my opinion women are generally better at this kind of thing than men who are competitive and more interested in retaining their position in a pecking order than doing the right thing.

The non agricultural sector of the population is also under-represented in that four out of the seven BGPC councillor are either a farmer (farmer Morris and member of a landowning family Susan Harley are disqualified but I am expecting them to be co-opted right back on to the council and then the figure will be back to six out of nine), closely connected to farming, or of a landowning family (before Susan Harley was disqualified) whereas, by my calculation, that sector forms about 10% of the voting population of BGPC.

Business is done at BGPC meetings but I still think it is a pointless organisation replicating what could be done by the county council. I would like to see us become un-parished.

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Parish council

From The Hereford Times 1Aug15 “There are two vacancies on a parish council in north west Herefordshire after two councillors failed to sign an acceptance of office. There are now vacancies for Brampton Bryan and Willey on the Border Group Parish Council. Colette Maund, Herefordshire Council’s electoral services manager, said parish councillors are required to sign their declaration of acceptance of office at their first parish council meeting following the election in May. Ms Maund added: “As parish councils are able to extend the deadline at their discretion, Herefordshire Council has no means of knowing if a parish councillor has failed or refused to sign their acceptance of office until we are informed by the parish council. “Furthermore, Herefordshire Council does not have the legal authority to declare that a parish councillor has failed or refused to sign their acceptance of office without first being informed by the parish clerk. “Herefordshire Council was only recently informed that two councillors for Border Group Parish Council have failed to sign their acceptance of office, so action has been taken at the earliest opportunity.” The two vacant seats were advertised as casual vacancies on July 17 and electors within the parish have until August 6 to request an election takes place.”

Click here for my response.

2Aug15

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Broken turbine

Portuguese court says turbines damage our health. Million Euro payout awarded.

1Aug15

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Bumblebee

Bee emergency petition

30Jul15

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Cecil 2

Honour Cecil the Lion and stop the disgusting import of trophies.

Sign the petition.

30Jul15

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Bumblebee

British Government and British agriculture does the wrong thing.

Sign the petition to save our bees, insects, and, ultimately, yourselves.

29Jul15

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broilers

Another industrial excrescence applied for in Kinsham, but still they call it farming, and it’s about as free range as Wormwood Scrubs.  

28Jul15

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Self destruction

Those who wish to help the Labour Party destroy itself for several years should visit

http://www.labour.org.uk/blog/entry/how-to-vote-for-our-next-leader-and-deputy-leader

pay £3 to become a registered supporter and vote for Corbyn. £3 is a lot less than the extra taxes you will pay if Labour were to get back into power.

27Jul15

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Parish council

At the July meeting of Border Group Parish Council the chairman said it was a shame that two councillors had been disqualified for failing to comply with the rules governing acceptance of office, meaning it should never have come to that. In my opinion what the chairman should have said is something along the lines that it was a warning to all councillors that the rules should be obeyed and that this episode was an opportunity for BGPC to take stock and perhaps raise its standards; that he as a newly elected chairman would strive to achieve higher standards and that councillors and clerks should be properly trained. If they can’t be bothered to train themselves or read the most basic of instructions sent to each and every one of them, in bold type, are they really councillor material? My guess is that the issue will be swept under the already bulging carpet and the two councillors will be co-opted back on to the council at the earliest possible moment. What’s the point of having anything to do with such a half baked scruffy little organ of government that year after year consistently fails to reach the basic levels of probity we expect? But then most people don’t have anything to do with it – do they.

23Jul15

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Secrecy

Protect Freedom of Information

This really is an important issue so please sign the petition by clicking the link above.

21Jul15

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Secrecy

Freedom of Information under threat

20Jul15

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broilers

Make a few substitutions in this piece and it could be the Presteigne area and not North Carolina, chickens and not pigs!

18Jul15

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Solar

Solar gets a kicking

17Jul15

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keep-clean-and-pick-up-litter-4

Polite message to farmer Deakins at Upper Kinsham… please could you spend a few minutes picking up the plastic spewing down the bank on your roadside frontage. Thank you.

17Jul15

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Broken turbine

Gourlay et al withdraw Llanshay Lane access proposal.

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BGPC STRIKES AGAIN!

Parish council

I am reliably informed that parish councillors Susan Harley and Philip Morris have been disqualified from holding office as they failed to sign their Declaration of Acceptance of Office forms correctly. There are strict rules surrounding these procedures laid down in sec 83 of the Local Government Act which BGPC apparently feels it can disregard. The forms MUST be signed at the first meeting after the election, or before the first meeting. The signature MUST be witnessed by a proper officer of the parish council. Neither of these experienced councillors managed to comply with these strictures, despite instructions in bold type from the county Electoral Services sent to them very soon after the 2015 election. Susan Harley wasn’t even in the country at the crucial moment, however she was subsequently overheard declaring that she did not need to read the Code of Conduct (Published Info page) for parish councillors as it was all a matter of common sense. Respect for Acts of Parliament is also a matter of common sense. Such sloppiness and cavalier attitudes must be eliminated from BGPC if it is to be taken seriously.

13Jul15

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Bulldozer

So much for Localism! Central government is imposing its will through the NPPF, the Local Plan and, presumably, through NDPs and asking for sites for turbines to be identified. See the weasel talk in the bottom two documents of the right hand column on….

https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy/core-strategy/examination-of-the-herefordshire-local-plan-core-strategy/examination-library

12Jul15

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A brilliant letter from the Telegraph 11Jun15

SIR – The “free for all” proposals for the building of houses without public consultation or planning permission are a recipe for disaster. Houses mean people. People require services – hospitals, GPs, schools, roads, recreation areas, shops and jobs. Who determines the status of a brownfield site and its suitability for the building of houses? Present plans managed by councils are inadequate and many market towns are losing their character. Freeing up planning rules will accelerate this process and lead to chaos. Politicians have created this island’s population explosion and are now applying panic measures to the detriment of the environment. Douglas J Wathen Evesham, Worcestershire

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From CPALC Newsletter July 2015

“Believe it or not some councillors failed to complete their Acceptance of Office form before or at the first meeting of the new council. Dumb or What?”

Also, from the same Newsletter

“Democracy in action

It seems that some chairmen and councillors really think they know best and resent public comment in council meetings because it may be critical or painful and does not fit with what they think is best. It’s strange that councillors are actually elected to work for and represent their residents and quite stunning that some councils think they can achieve this without listening to the views of their electorate.”

I am grateful that this second observation does not apply to BGPC!

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