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Citizens who care

We are a group of citizens from many age groups and different walks of life who care not only about the trees but how our city is being degraded by the rush to pave a beautiful area with endless, soulless concrete. Trees, apart from aesthetic value, provide the much needed oxygen in an area with heavy traffic, and a necessary barrier to the eyesore facing residents living opposite the concrete jungle and the PUBLIC HAVE NOT BEEN CONSULTED.

Why is this important?
Far too many decisions, to our detriment, are being made behind closed doors and it is time the affected public were properly consulted! These trees are in a conservation area and the air on the stretch of road is already being monitored for excessive pollution, indicating there already is a problem .. the addition of an additional lane of traffic revving to get away through the many lights will not improve this situation. Furthermore the light pollution for residents living opposite the service area, and deliveries through the night, with associated noise is not acceptable and will not be mitigated by 2 metre high replacement trees. So, apart from the ecological issues the scheme is ill thought out and will make the traffic issues worse, not better.

Pedestrians are road users too, and, considering this is additionally (whether by accident or design) an add on to the new shopping center, it pays no attention to pedestrian safety in crossing an extra lane of traffic. A more acceptable idea is shared space as in Poynton, for example, where traffic is successfully made to pay heed to other road users, keeping pleasant space for pedestrian shoppers in the new space! Traffic is kept moving by users showing respect for others and not being bottled up by endless sets of traffic lights. Surveys have consistently shown that only approximately12-15% of traffic on A49 through Hereford is 'through' traffic; meaning most of the congestion is locally generated. We need to reduce traffic not add another lane to increase the problem, and at the same time destroying the environment for residents of this street in the process with the associated extra pollution.

Jesse Norman MP (South Herefordshire) responds saying " The HA has consulted with the Council, but not directly with residents; it appears to have complete discretion here since the trees fall within the highway itself (this itself raises a serious issue of democratic accountability). I have pushed the HA to (a) consult directly with local residents on this issue, (b) delay the process pending a fuller review of options, and (c) look much more closely at treating Edgar Street as a street not a motorway, as Mo has urged, with trees used to calm traffic, as well as for their beauty and environmental benefits."
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INFO has come to light showing 'possible' dishonesty, both to the public and the funding authority in the council's application for funding.
This following reply to a standardized question in the application form for funding may actually constitute something approaching incompetence, and possibly wilful deceit. The Council were asked, as part of the procedure to secure funding for the scheme at this point on the A49, if the Highways Agency had consulted HEREFORD'S RESIDENTS.

The reply was that the scheme was proposed to the Highways Agency by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, with support from Herefordshire Council and that the Highways Agency had been proactive in liaising with Herefordshire Council for this scheme. Now liaising and consulting are two different things. And the application for funding did not ask if the Highways Agency had been liaising with the Council. It asked if the residents of Hereford had been CONSULTED.

The answer is NO. Tacking on the amendment that a meeting was held on the 9th of August between the Highways Agency and Herefordshire Council etc where 'a' resident of Edgar Street was present is irrelevant to the application and in our opinion designed to deceive the reader into believing consultation had taken place previous to the application, and allocation of funding. It is our belief, based on advice, that the original application for funding for the Edgar Street pinch point is flawed (at best) and should be resubmitted.'

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