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Tip opening hours to be extended
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Thursday, 08 April 2021 12:18

Herefordshire Council has given itself planning permission to open the Little Marcle Road waste site for a full 10 hours on Sundays.  This means the tip will be open for 3 full days a week.  The statement made on the application includes: Refurbishment of existing household waste site, including extension into adjacent land, for the importation, handling, sorting, screening and temporary storage of waste materials.  One might ask into which land any extension might be made.  The Town Trail runs along one boundary: the area beyond that is a wildlife haven for many animals and birds, including green woodpeckers.

Update 2nd May: This came into effect today.  Although opening time on Sundays remains 09:30, the site will stay open until 18:00 on future Sundays.  The revised hours are: 08:00 to 18:00 on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and 09:30 to 18:00 on Sundays.  The site will remain closed on other days.

Whilst this is a welcome move, this merely brings the Ledbury site in line with those at Bromyard and Kington: smaller towns whose sites are already open three full days a week (though they shut 2 hours earlier from October to March inclusive).  Sites in Hereford and Leominster are open 7 days a week - as is that at Malvern, which also takes contentious waste such as antifreeze: this is probably more convenient from Ledbury for those who need to dispose of such items.  All sites in Herefordshire and Worcestershire are available to residents of both counties (but not those of Bromsberrow and Dymock [Gloucestershire] - the booking system [qv.] has made sure of that).

One does wonder if just extending Sunday hours will be sufficient when the extra 1200 houses that have been forced onto Ledbury are all occupied.  The inconvenient booking system has significantly reduced availability of the site, especially now the gardening season has started.

Enquiries have been made to Herefordshire Council, to which a council spokesperson has replied (shown in italics, followed by my further comments):

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 May 2021 21:03
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An April evening bike ride
Written by A. Cyclist   
Sunday, 18 April 2021 22:41

If foreign holidays are out this year, leaving staycations as the only alternative, there are fewer places to beat Herefordshire.  An evening bike ride on a sunny April evening just to the west of Ledbury reveals how beautiful our county is.

Leave Ledbury via the Town Trail as far as Little Marcle Road, or via Bridge Street.  Cross the bypass at the bottom of Lower Road and carry on past UBL.  After about a mile, bear left and then right.

After about 2 miles out of town, you will find this interesting tree house (left).

After another mile or so, turn right on the A4172 and take the next left.  Carry on towards Putley.  Just before you get to Aylton, there is a sharp turn to the right:

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Bromsberrow Heath's oldest resident dies
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Tuesday, 09 February 2021 22:36

We were saddened to learn that Roy Thompson, Bromsberrow Heath’s oldest resident, passed away on 31st January.  This was only a few weeks short of what would have been his 101st birthday.  Our condolences extend to his family and friends.

I will not write an obituary here: anyone interested in knowing about his very interesting life can find out more from the Portal article celebrating his 100th birthday on 29th February 2020.  Roy had intended to hold further parties during 2020 because there wasn’t room in his home to invite all those he had wanted to on the day.  Sadly, Covid (or more precisely, Covid restrictions) prevented these other gatherings taking place.  I am privileged to have been counted as one of Roy’s close friends to celebrate with him on his great day.

Suffice it to say, Roy did not die of Covid: he died because of Covid.  I say this because he became increasingly lonely during the last 10 months of his life because Covid restrictions prevented his friends (including me) visiting.  The last time I saw him was in November 2020, by which time he was clearly suffering from dementia, almost certainly brought on by his enforced isolation.  I had considered several times ignoring lockdown rules because the risk to his mental health from having no visitors was greater than the remote possibly of his catching Covid from me.  I phoned a few times since: each time he seemed less ‘with it’ - which is so sad considering that, until shortly after Boris locked everyone (except his mate Dom) down, Roy was a bright as a button.

There must be many other sad deaths for similar reasons, which have not figured in any statistics.

 
Market Theatre to become flats??
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Friday, 05 February 2021 22:05

A LADS (Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society) member recently had a phone call from a journalist with The Stage, enquiring about an objection the Theatres Trust is making to a planning application regarding The Market Theatre.

LADS Member:  What???!!!
Journalist:  This is The Market Theatre in Hitchin?
LADS Member:  No, it’s The Market Theatre in Ledbury, Herefordshire...

Doh...

According to the Hitchin Comet, the Ledbury theatre’s namesake has been threatened with transformation into five flats by the listed building’s owner.  The Comet has since reported the planning application (to North Herts District Council) has been withdrawn.

The Market Theatre in Ledbury is owned on behalf of the community by LADS, so such a fate is most unlikely befall our theatre.  Whilst the Market Theatre has been forced to close, as have all others, since mid-March 2020 owing to Covid, it is still in a sound position and fully intends to reopen when it can.  It chose not to during the brief spell last summer when theatres and cinemas were allowed to do so owing to lack of notice and the lead time required to programme events.  Instead, it has undertaken a full risk assessment and has put in place a fully Covid-secure system, ready for reopening when this becomes possible.

See the theatre’s website for updates. #WeWillBeBack

 
No Lidl - so what now?
Written by Steve Glennie-Smith   
Saturday, 30 January 2021 20:28

Herefordshire Council has refused developer Deeley’s outline application to build a supermarket, medical centre and nursery on the remaining triangle of land between the bypass and Dymock Road, so what will be the fate of this area?  It does seem that what's good for Aldi is not good for Lidl!  The land has clearly been set aside for some purpose, otherwise Hawk Rise would have spilled into it.

Of the 92 representations in total (ie. including organisations as well as individuals) on the relevant planning page of Herefordshire Council’s website, I counted 40 objections and 21 in support.  The remainder were comments neither for nor against.  Yet the recent storm on the so-called ‘Voice of Ledbury’ Facebook page indicates a strong feeling in favour, particularly of Lidl.  So why didn’t those who felt so strongly respond on Herefordshire Council’s web page when they were able to do so?  (Consultations were open for 6 months!)  Unsurprisingly, the over-priced Co-op was one of the objectors, and even Aldi threw in its twopennorth with a veiled objection.

Ledbury now has an unwanted housing estate in construction next to the site, which was forced through appeal by Gladman (who are well-versed in getting their way with the Planning Inspectorate: they have now pocketted the proceeds and moved on).  Sadly the town has to accept the reality of over 600 new residents and accommodate their needs.  Having a supermarket on their doorstep will decrease the likelihood of further clogging up the town centre with cars (and/or the section of the bypass between the site and Aldi getting over busy, or of Hawk Rise becoming a dormitory ghetto for Gloucester).  However, Deeley’s plans for this site were completely car-centric: if they had included direct pedestrian and cycle access from Hawk Rise, that would have added green credentials and ticked a few more boxes.

Herefordshire Council has missed a trick here: it could have insisted on this 'green' access and slapped a S.106 condition to improve non-motorised access to the site from the rest of Ledbury by requiring the developer to pay for upgrading the Town Trail from the muddy track it has become through over 20 years of neglect.

So what now for this isolated triangle of land? A hotel has been mooted - but that would almost certainly evoke objections from the over-priced hotels already in town.

We can now look forward to the traffic light above Aldi’s entrance being red more often....

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