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Repair Café gets off to a flying start
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Sunday, 02 February 2020 21:38

The first Ledbury Repair Café, held on Saturday 1st February in the Burgage Hall, was a great success.

Sixty items were brought in, with 38 successful repairs.  This resulted in 38 fewer items ending up in landfill.  Not everything can be repaired - eg. for any electrical item that was unsafe (verified by inspection and/or PAT testing) we have to recommend recycling instead.  Other items requiring spares only available from the manufacturer could not be repaired here (but if the spare was obtained, we could fit it in a future session).  But most problems were simple, eg. broken leads, loose fixings, corroded battery terminals, etc.

We do our best to fix anything from clothes to furniture, electrical appliances, crockery, toys and much more (but not bicycles - though this is a future project we aim to undertake in conjunction with Cycles Clements).  Please note: we cannot attempt repairs on items under guarantee - in such cases, your first contact should be the sales outlet from which it was purchased.

Organised by Sustainable Ledbury (Facebook page here), this will become a regular event, usually taking place in the Burgage Hall on the first Saturday of the month, from 10:00 to 13:00 (last entry 12:30).  Our primary aim is to prevent household goods from going into landfill.  We do, however, welcome a donation on your way out, to help keep it running - these will be used to pay for venue hire, insurance, buy specialist kit (rather than having to borrow PAT testers), etc.  About £300 was received from grateful 'customers' and sales of cakes, etc.

For more information, or to support Repair Café Ledbury, you can contact us on:
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No more trees
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Wednesday, 22 January 2020 20:01

A line of trees planted 50 years ago to screen the Lower Road industrial estate from nearby houses has now almost gone:

Before (courtesy Google - taken in 2011)

After (taken 22nd January 2020)


Hereford Hospital parking charges one of the highest in England
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Friday, 20 December 2019 20:10

According to Which?, Hereford County Hospital is 4th= (along with North Bristol, and Ashford and St. Peter’s), all of which charge £3.50 for up to one hour’s parking.  Only North Tees and Hartlepool, Royal Orthopaedic (Birmingham) and Liverpool Women’s are more expensive.  A recent article in the Torygraph bears this out.

Some hospitals charge less, or not at all, for disabled parking - but not Hereford.  However the Conservative Party has stated on its Twitter page: “We will end unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need, including disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts.”We wait with bated breath...

Update 27th December: According to the BBC, “Thousands more NHS patients and visitors will be able to access free hospital car parking, the government says.  From April (2020), all 206 hospital trusts in England will be expected to begin offering the concession in line with the government’s manifesto promise.  Those with the ‘greatest need’ will benefit.  That includes groups such as people with disabilities and NHS staff working night shifts.”

Hereford County Hospital states that the first 10 minutes is free, but I can speak from experience that this is insufficient to get a disabled person out of a car and taken safely into a waiting area within the building.

Hospital parking is free for everyone in Wales and Scotland, except in those few cases where older contracts with car park management companies are yet to expire.

According to a Freedom of Information request made in September 2016, “The carparks at the acute hospital site of the County Hospital Hereford are administered by Mercia Healthcare, our PFI Partners.  They in turn contract out to CP+ (Carpark Plus).”

Mercia Healthcare’s ‘Nature of business’ is listed on the Companies House website as being “Other specialised construction activities not elsewhere classified”, with an address in Bristol.  According to Bloomberg, its ‘Industry’ is “Engineering & Construction Svcs” and ‘Sub-industry’ is “Non-Residential Bldg Const” - obviously not much to do with ‘healthcare’....

A ‘Mercia Healthcare Holdings Ltd’ that has the same address as the County Hospital is listed on Yell.

No company information is listed on Google for “CP+” or “Carpark Plus”.

So it is very unlikely charges made for parking at Hereford County Hospital benefit the NHS in any way whatsoever.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 December 2019 16:40
England’s blue and pleasant land...
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Friday, 13 December 2019 11:05

Unsurprisingly, Tory Bill Wiggin was returned in the North Herefordshire constituency, which includes Ledbury - and with a 1% increased majority.  Also unsurprisingly, Labour suffered the greatest percentage loss (-5.6%) and was pushed into third place by Ledbury’s very own Phillip Howells (Lib. Dem).  The Labour loss could partly be due to their candidate (Joe Wood) being yet another ‘plant’ from the West Midlands.  (In recent elections, only the 2017 Labour candidate was local - from Bromyard.)

Adhuc in excremento sumus - sed profunditas aucta est.

Wiggin not considered to be a 'good MP'
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Wednesday, 04 December 2019 19:05 has published The People-Power Index: How did your MP score? listing all current MPs (ie. those elected in 2017) in order of 'goodness'.

Bill Wiggin (Conservative - North Herefordshire) is listed as 595th (out of 650). used ten data sources to make the index: these measure the following (in priority order):

  1. Your MP’s availability to their constituents.
    This looks at how your MP is available online (email and social media), offline (holding “surgeries” in your local area and a caseworker), and whether your MP is distracted by a second (or third) job;
  2. Your MP’s participation in Parliament.
    This looks at your MP’s participation record for voting in Parliament, so that your constituency is counted when new laws are passed, and how often your MP raises issues from your constituency in Parliament;
  3. How an MP listens to the public.
    An MP’s top priority is their constituency, but they also have a responsibility to the wider general public to bring political attention to public campaigns and priority issues by discussing them in Parliament.

Update: Even a certain J. Rees-Mogg came in at 555th and his ERG chum Marc François (whose French surname is spelt here as it should be - with a cedilla) was 560th.  Jesse Norman (Conservative - Hereford and South Herefordshire) did somewhat better, at 341st position.  It has come to something when former senior Tories Sir John Major and Lord Heseltine are both advocating voting for independents or Lib Dems.  However, voting tactically in North Herefordshire would be pointless, according to - not surprising since even a sheep with a blue rosette attached to it would stand too good a chance of getting in....
(“Numquid quis oves mentionem?  Speeble.  Squirp..” “Errm.. Yes, Boris - no, Boris....”)

Jonathan Pie’s rant about austerity and Boris’s appalling track record says it all:

Warning: contains colourful language. Nil illegitimi carborundum...

Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2019 21:20

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