Your Comments

If you have anything to say, or draw our attention to – we will post your comments.

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39 thoughts on “Your Comments

  1. Helen thank you for your response regarding the monument question. As requested could you please give a full report on the process that accompanied the resolution made at council. My investigations cannot support any reports from” several” unnamed councillors who carried out the “inspections” It would appear that the resolution was based on the report of one person and precursored by “I have looked at the monument……..”I find no reference to anyone being tasked by council to inspect the monument on their behalf and report back their findings.
    Could you please therefore give a complete account of the full process the council followed in dismissing what is thought by some people in the community to meet their obligation for the monument’s maintenance.

    It is mentioned that the cost of getting professional assessment was not considered a necessary expense at the moment. Can you please also include the investigated costs involved in getting such professional estimates which were put before council prior to their being asked to vote.

    Yours

    Ken

  2. Helen, thanks for your comment regarding the minuted item on the cleaning of the War Memorial. This unfortunately is again not a very good explanation on such a community matter. Who actually decided or recommended that it did not require any work at this time? Was a single or more councillors delegated to inspect the monument and report back their opinions to council upon which this resolution was based or was professional specialist assessment sought to arrive at the report to the council for their decision?

    As you can see having such fact void minuted statement does nothing to inform the community of what or why their PC decides matters on their behalf.

    Perhaps you could give a full report on what actually happened in this matter which drew the conclusion that cleaning was not required at this time

    Ken

    • Ken, in response to your comment. A number of Councillors had inspected the War Memorial and all felt that no work was required to be done. There is some moss on the lower stones, but this was considered attractive. To do any work on the War Memorial needs a specialist team and it was felt that it was not necessary to spend money getting such an assessment from a specialist organisation at this time. Regards Helen.

  3. Helen, You will recall that you agreed to put forward to council the suggestion that they would look at having the War Memorial in Rectory Lane cleaned to mark the 100 years since the end of WWI.
    The matter was before council at the Feb meeting and recorded under item
    13.2 War Memorial: It was RESOLVED not to take further action at this time.
    Whilst it is appreciated that minutes are there to convey decisions made, surely they must also be there to convey the decision making process as well so that those interested and unable to attend the meeting know WHY” no further action at this time”
    It may well be that there are private individuals who feel a private initiative is called for on the PC’s unintelligible decision.
    Perhaps you could let people know why the PC made such a decision and the reasons for it. After all this site is all about communication is it not?

    Ken

    • Ken,
      Your comments regarding more detail in the minutes have been noted. The discussion that took place at the meeting debated whether the War Memorial needed restoration and cleaning works but it was felt that nothing needed to be done at this time. Helen

  4. Helen, ref councillors declaration of interests.
    Thank you for your reply which again is somewhat astounding. Whilst councillors do make a judgement as to declarations of interest on agenda items at council meetings their statutory declaration, which Cradley PC has had as an annual declaration requirement at the Annual PC meeting. I do not note that a PC resolution to change this has been made or resolved by council.
    Any changes to the statutory declaration to Herefordshire is not restricted to pecuniary matters and includes all interest of councillors (and their partners or family) which may give concerns regarding their unbiased judgement in matters before council. as stated to not do so is in direct conflict with the Nolan principles which councillors agree to abide by.

    I sincerely hope that this matter is resolved quickly so that the official course of action proposed is not necessary saving further embarrassment to the Parish Council’s credibility.

    Ken

    • Dear Ken, I note your comments but have nothing further to add to my initial response. There is no requirement to declare on an annual basis. Regards Helen

  5. Helen, in response to the Chairman’s reply of the 20th February, He says that – Decisions can be revisited within six months if substantial new information is received which I understand is what happened during the time the Parish Council was inquorate.
    Can you please let me know what the substantial new information was. Also I cannot find any reference to this procedure in the Standing Orders, therefore can you advise where this information came from.
    Regards
    Derek

    • Derek, in response to your comment regarding the website domain name. I can advise that the advice was received from HALC and we are assured that the Parish Council is in compliance with all statutory requirements. Regards Helen

  6. Helen (Bruce) I note your answer and take on board what has been said. I find it strange that classing money to a cause discussed at council over a considerable time is deemed not important enough to declare to the community,

    Unfortunately the main question was regarding the updating of the registered interests by the three members. I think that you will find that the requirement is not just on an annual basis but must be updated if the annual declaration changes. It is noted that at the May 2017 AGM none of the councillors altered their declarations from the previous year despite the previous ones being inaccurate and incomplete. The details of the changes have already been given to the PC so nothing to gain by re-quoting them here to their embarrassment. I look forward to councillors meeting fully THEIR obligation to honesty openness and transparency with the community

    Ken

    • Dear Ken

      I note your queries but declarations of interest remain the sole responsibility of each individual councillor and it would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment.

      Regards
      Helen
      PS. There is no requirement to update registers of interest on an annual basis.

  7. Helen perhaps you could look into a matter of concern regarding councillors declarations of interests which you know is a requirement of members of the council.

    I note that three members of the council declared non-pecuniary interests in the planning notice of the withdrawal of the HOV application. Whilst this may not have been necessary as no debate or discussion was entered into can you look into the fact that two of those councillors have indeed given some substantial amounts of money to this organisation over the last couple of years.

    Can you also look into the fact that all three of them have incomplete and incorrect mandatory annual declarations registered with Hereford.

    I think it inappropriate that councillors should ignore such an important basic issue of transparency and honesty.

    I know this matter has already been reported to the PC but ignored.

    Ken

    • Dear Ken

      It is the judgement and responsibility of each individual councillor to assess whether they consider a declaration of interest in any agenda item is relevant and whether that interest is pecuniary or non-pecuniary. I therefore passed this comment to the three Councillors you refer to and their response is as follows:

      Dear Mr. Nason,

      Thank you for this letter to Helen about the declarations of interest regarding the HoV project. Such an accusation, which is calling into question our ‘transparency and honesty’, would normally be passed straight to the Monitoring Officer for an investigation as it relates to our Code of Conduct. The reason that this has not happened is because Alan Eldridge has already had this matter looked into by the Monitoring Officer and the judgement delivered was that we were correct to declare a non-pecuniary interest in HoV rather than a pecuniary interest. The reason given, and the reason we declared a non-pecuniary interest, is that the money donated to HoV was a GIFT, not an investment. Therefore there was no financial gain to be had by any of us. You are aware that HoV is set up as a Community Benefit Society so if it had started to trade and make a profit then all money raised would have been donated to community projects.

      We are of the opinion that we only have to declare PECUNIARY interests annually. (Statutory Instruments 2012 No. 1464)

      We are aware that we needn’t have left the room at the January meeting when an update about Hov’s planning was read out, but we felt that we might be critised if we didn’t. It comes as no surprise that we are critised for leaving. All three of us correctly left the room at the August meeting when the HoV planning came up at the PC meeting after declaring a Non-Pecuniary Interest in HoV.

      Given that we have followed the correct procedure, I trust that you will find this answer satisfactory. If you still wish to pursue this matter, then we cannot enter into any further discussion with you, and I suggest you contact the Monitoring Officer at Herefordshire Council yourself directly.

      Bruce Herriot
      Chairman of Cradley Parish Council

  8. Dear Bruce and CPC,
    As Hereford list us as Cradley then I’m content with the current title of the new and much improved.gov.uk website, I don’t think there is a requirement for another change.
    Looking at the draft budget for 2018, approximately 30% goes on the worthwhile work of the lengthsman, however, with no grant this year perhaps under Jeff’s guidance a volunteer group of between 6-8 people could venture out once or twice a week for 2-3 hours and undertake the trimming and essential works. Saving both cost but a useful way in which to foster friendships, get some fresh air and serve the community.
    With the recent snow and watching 20 plus people gather at the memorial and point at the snow and ice , perhaps a list of volunteers could be registered who could be called on when either snow needs clearing or those of us with chainsaws can help with fallen branches and trees, what would have helped would have been a couple of grit bins one near the memorial and one near Hawkhurst House, the CPC could purchase some snow shovels and store them in the village hall. It might only be a once on 5 years requirement, but at east we’d be prepared.
    The Crowns of Cradley and the 3 Villages Festival brought together the villages and whilst “ unrealistic dreams “ resulted in unreasonable behaviour that’s the past, so to move forward could the CPC consider a B.Y.O picnic, the Scouts could provide the BBQ the RBL the outside Bar the WI Cakes and Tea , the PC fund some entertainment ( music , bouncy castle ) and as a community without an agenda we just meet, socialise , converse, smile even laugh and reignite the very reasons why we were attracted to and wanted to live in Cradley originally.
    Just a thought.
    Mike Sherriff

  9. Dear Helen

    Thank you for your reply; I agree with the Chairman regarding the closing date for items published in the CMS Newsletter. However, I would point out that my first letter to the him regarding the web name was on the 5th January, he replied on the 6th January and I responded on the 7th January saying-:

    At an August 2017 meeting of the Cradley Parish Council’s Risk Management Group a detailed specification was discussed and approved.
    The document heading was
    Cradley and Storridge Parish Council (C&S PC) – Website specification.

    As a member of that Working Group you will recall that the domain name to be adopted was – ‘cradleyandstorridgeparishcouncil.org.uk ‘

    This was unanimously approved at the August meeting and quotes were invited.
    At the October meeting the council under item 6.1 unanimously RESOLVED to follow the Working Group recommendation to request Eyelid Productions to set up a new interactive word press website for Cradley Parish Council.

    This decision cannot be revisited as set out in our Standing Orders, before 6 months have lapsed (i.e. 10th Feb 2018). On the 19th of October the Chairman (GF) instructed Eyelid [by e-mail to Mark Millmore] to proceed with the new web site and to include the domain name. [I.e. the .org.uk domain NOT a .gov.uk domain]

    In your email you say that-:
    If you feel that this decision should have gone through full Council then I apologise, but I personally feel that it was a sensible decision and has enabled us to have the new interactive website up and running in time for the next PC meeting.

    As Chairman, you had no authority to make this decision .The decision had gone through full council but you decided to change it without any consultation. This is exactly what happened at the Oct 10th meeting [refn Interview Panel] and you know the outcome of that.

    In Conclusion
    Therefore the Chairman was fully aware of the issue and the breach of Standing Orders nine days before it was published in the CMS Newsletter. Surely with the issue of the web name and the breach of Standing Orders the letter from the Chairman should not have been published again.

    • Hello Derek,

      My apologies for the delay in replying to your comment regarding the website name and alleged breach of standing orders. As you know this was discussed at the Parish Meeting last Tuesday. Decisions can be revisited within six months if substantial new information is received which I understand is what happened during the time the Parish Council was inquorate. Following this, a decision was made at the Extraordinary meeting on 29th November to proceed with a .gov.uk website address and as such the only name that could then be used is the official parish name of ‘Cradley Parish Council’. However, it was decided at the meeting last Tuesday that we research the possibility of changing the official name of the Parish to ‘Cradley and Storridge Parish Council’ which may then enable us to change the name of the new website. I shall report back regarding the proposed name change in due course.
      Kind regards
      Helen

  10. Helen, our comments appear to have been made at the same moment. I accept that you will be reviewing the communications group discusions for placing before the council for a decision.

    The point being made is that the Chair had no right or was not authorised to make such statements as to what would and would not be acceptable as communication acceptable and answerable by the PC from members of the community.

    He exceeded his authority and went against all principles of the PC in that it is the PC who make decisions not the chair.

    As with your assurance to Mr Scully, can the following be passed to councillors for their information.

    There are people in the community who are precluded from communicating their needs to the PC for whatever reason one of which is them being identified and judged for their opinions expressed. Their communication with the PC should be eased not censured by insistence of full identification as a requirement by the PC

    Members of our community should be encouraged to forward their opinions to the PC however they feel most comfortable with doing and not censured by the invented of rules they cannot comply with (for whatever reason).

    Why is it that ALL branches of public sector, including Herefordshire council will communicate quite openly with members of the Public via just an email address but apparently Cradley is somehow different. The Police, Housing and NHS accept completely anonymous communications without hesitation and receive supportive information that assists them by doing this. Why not Cradley?

    Effectively by doing this you are alienating a larger section of the older members of our community which is in complete disregard for your requirement for communication and transparency. According to your minutes it has already been put down to alter the website to further restrict free and open communication with yourselves.

    This completely against what the Parish council should be doing

    Ken

  11. Helen thank you for your response to my posting of 5th Feb (although I note no response to my question of the 4th). Can I point out that as far as the War Memorial is concerned there are deadlines in place for applications for funding to enable work to be completed by a meaningful deadline. As the memorial was erected by private monies it sits on land controlled by the PC and as such they should take responsibility for it’s upkeep as a community landmark’

    I hope a swift decision could be made by inclusion in the February meeting as I am sure agendas are not yet closed

  12. The complete closure of the A4103 will have an adverse effect on all local businesses and communities despite the works taking place beyond Fromes Hill. It is vital to the survival of The Red Lion that this is not allowed to happen again. Please sign the online petition using the link below. Thank you.

    https://www.change.org/p/the-leader-of-herefordshire-council-stop-herefordshire-council-from-closing-the-a4103-again-in-may?recruiter=133358250&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page

  13. Dear Chairman
    Letter in the CMS Parish News Letter
    I read your letter again with interest and especially this statement “We have been made aware of rumour and gossip about all sorts of Council issues” Could I suggest that the way to prevent this happening is for the Council to be open and honest about all matters discussed, which is clearly not the case at the moment. For instance you were asked at the November meeting whether there would be an enquiry as to why there was a mass resignation of Councillors, you replied “No” result-gossip. I was somewhat surprised to see that your letter was published in the CMS News Letter advertising the new web site again. When it had been posted originally on the old web site I wrote to you to say that it had not been ratified by the full council and that you are in breach of the Councils Standing Orders again. I also attended the last Parish Council Meeting and reiterated my statement and it was agreed that it would be discussed at the February meeting. I have since the last meeting written to you again strongly urging the Council to consider the name as I believe it should refer to Storridge in the title as this was agreed by full Council at the October meeting hence cradleyandstorridgeparishcouncil.org.uk .
    Therefore to see that the letter had been published without any explanation behind the web address is misleading the residents of Cradley and Storridge as they believe this is the agreed name which it isn’t, the rumours and gossip are starting again
    Perhaps you will reply via this forum and explain to the residents of the Parish exactly why the Standing Orders were not adhered too. I do not have a problem with the contents of my correspondence to you being shared.

    • Dear Derek

      In response to your query, I have spoken to Bruce and am responding accordingly. The Chairman’s letter was written at the very beginning of my employment early in January and posted on both the new and old websites. The copy deadline for the CMS Newsletter was, I believe, the 16th January and so the letter had already been submitted for print before the meeting on the 23rd January when it was agreed that the name of the website would be an agenda item for further discussion at the February meeting. I acknowledge receipt of your emails which will be forwarded to the councillors with the agenda.

      With a new Parish Council and a number of new councillors, we are trying to move forwards and make strides to develop an open, transparent and honest culture and it is not felt that looking back into what happened in November would be helpful in achieving this.

      Kind regards
      Helen

  14. Helen, as we are now entering into the 100th year since the end of WW1, and as a Parishioner I feel that it might be a fitting project for the Parish Council to fund the cleaning and restoration of our War Memorial in Rectory Lane.

    I am sure this would get a lot of support from the community as a whole and to have it completed in time for the Remembrance Day celebrations held every year at the memorial

    • Thank you Ken, there are grants of up to 75% of eligible costs available from the War Memorials Trust which I am currently looking into for exactly this purpose. I hope to have information to feed back to council for the March meeting. Kind regards Helen

  15. Looking after the Infrastructures of Cradley and Storridge Parishes.
    I fully support the continuation of the lenghtsman scheme in its old format which worked well, even Storridge was beginning to be included in the work program. The scheme run last year was going to be used as an exemplary model by Balfour Beatty because it worked so well, so hopefully this will continue. The added bonus is that the Council pays for one man but gets the work of two week in week out. If its not broke then why try to change it. Also congratulations to Geoff Fielding he is one of the hardest working Councillors I know, I hope everyone supports his continuing efforts.

  16. Looking after the Infrastructures of Cradley and Storridge Parishes

    Members of our community will know only too well how difficult it is for a cash-strapped HCC to deliver the care and maintenance of our beautiful villages . That is why your Parish Council took on the work of looking after the infrastructure of Cradley and Storridge Parishes .
    For over 3 years now , your Lengthsman and I have worked diligently to maintain our minor roads [ especially minor potholes ] , public footpaths , verges , drainage , signage , dog bins , notice boards , hedge overhangs , road visibility splays , gates , steps , stiles , fence and railing repairs , culverts and various flood prevention measures .
    We work to agreed budgets and an annual maintenance plan and are properly insured . Our Lengthsman is fully qualified for the work he carries out . We operate risk – hazard assessments and have a full programme based on funds available .
    Both Cradley and Storridge folk have always shown very positive and continuing support for our work .
    Your Parish Council’s budget proposals for 2018 -19 recommend continuing support for the work .
    Please let your Parish Council know that you continue to support this vital work to look after your villages . We appreciate your support .

    Geoff Fielding [ Councillor ] and Jeremy Phillips [ Lengthsman ]

  17. Helen, perhaps you can clear up a question that has arisen from statements made by the chair on several occasions that last one being included on this site.
    “I would just like to reiterate that the Parish Council can only communicate with those who contact us directly with a verifiable name and address. ”

    I have served on the Parish Council for some considerable time and having searched the minutes of the Parish Council I cannot find anywhere that this policy, quoted by the chair, was in fact adopted by the council. Perhaps you or he can enlighten me as to where it was?

    Now whilst in days of old (pre-computers) a letter to the PC without a name and address would make it impossible for the PC to answer the complainant directly (though not restrict their responding to its contents) in modern times where emails are accepted as the normal for communication why is the receiving of an email from a member of the Parish treated as “anonymous” and ignored?

    Surely if an email is drawing attention to a genuine matter of concern rather than just being abusive it is the PC’s duty to investigate and respond to the matter and the email sender.

    With an email address there is no reason not to.

    One of the requirements of the new website is that “interaction with the community” is a priority. Interaction and communication is a two way matter.

    Yours
    Ken

    • Dear Ken,

      In response to your query, I can advise that the Communications Strategy Working Group met last week to develop a strategy for improving communication and interaction with the community which will be presented to full council for discussion and agreement at the February meeting next week. This includes the process of attending to anonymous comments and/or questions which I am sure will address your concerns. I shall pass on your comments for inclusion in the debate.

      Kind regards
      Helen

  18. Hi
    Could you please let me know if the council has the intention of getting Balfour Beatty or the lengthsman (if that position has been filled) to resurface the road from the School to Finchers Corner. It is appalling and instead of being patched up when ‘craters’ appear, it needs to be resurfaced.
    Thank you

    Lucy Tudor
    Cradley

    • Dear Ms. Tudor

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention – I have spoken to Balfour Beatty today who have advised that they undertake quarterly statutory inspections of this road, which was last inspected on 12th December 2017 when no major defects were identified. However they completed a further inspection on 12th January 2018 following a report of potholes and have implemented a schedule of pothole repairs which they hope to have completed by mid-March. I am advised there are currently no plans to resurface the road. I hope this has been helpful.

      Kind regards
      Helen, Clerk

  19. Hi thanks for your answer which doesn’t address the problem of supplying the community with details of progression or result of any planning application for the parish. Many feel that this is something that is important along with decisions taken on planning by the PC. These details should be available very quickly in light of the speed at which applications are processed by Herefordshire. Having to wait for minutes to be published is rather obstructive to getting this information. Complicated and by inference of more concern are long term applications “which fall off” the RSS feed and got forgotten about,

    The old website was providing all required information to the community years before websites were to become a requirement for PC’s. The fact that it did not meet a particular specification devised between yourselves and HALC did not make it “not fit for purpose” as you state but not changed by the PC to meet your specifications.

    I personally visited one of the “training” courses organised by HALC on website design which turned out to be purely a thinly disguised session on yourselves “selling” your web site design to Parish Councils.

    When your spec for a website is given via HALC for PC’s to follow when updating their websites is it any wonder when your company win the order?

    Like all websites of course when updating is left to individuals then it is not surprising that they become out of date and in-accurate and by your definition “not fit for purpose”

    • Hi Ken
      Thanks for your comments – I’ve handed the website over to the parish council and will not be replying to comments in future. There were a number of reasons the old website was no longer fit for purpose.
      1. The transparency code requires accessibility the old site failed here because it was not responsive meaning it did not adjust its content to different devises. ie mobile phones etc.
      2. The website must engage with the community – as you can see from this comments page we are engaging.
      3. The parish council must have control over its content – this was not the case with the old site – you had that control.
      4. There are a number of functions in this website which will become apparent – such as the ability to subscribe and receive email newsletters – further engaging with the community.
      5. There are also a number of security elements to this site such as SSL (https) which was not part of the old site.
      6. The back end includes automated website and database backups.
      7. The editor is easy for none techie people to use and has many features that you are unaware of as you can only see it from the front end. Also members of the PC have access to a video training and support site.
      8. This website model has just received a star award from the National Association of Local Councils and it now being adopted across the country by many PCs.

      I’m aware that for many years you did a great job for the PC. However, in this business technologies change and the PC has to change to remain relevant to its local community. Complying with the transparency code is part of that.

      I’m sure the local people of Cradley thank you for your efforts in the past and you should feel proud of your contribution.

  20. Whilst I appreciate that the feed is set up to just give the last 20 it appears that it does not inform those interested in planning in their area vitally important information on existing positions of applications as per the two examples given. Effectively this information is not being made available via the site only by hunting for it. Perhaps it could be taken up with Herefordshire or at the very least made clear what people have to do on the new site and that their expectations of information cannot be met.

    • Thank you for your comments Ken. It is good to see the comments section is already working. You will have to take up the rss feed with Hereford Council not Cradley Parish Council we are simply running their feed. This website still has some development to do but is already performing better than the old website. As you may have noticed it works on all mobile devises, is properly secured with an ssl certificate, with encrypted forms and runs off a GOV.UK domain. In fact this comments function together with the back end features such as email newsletters, surveys and security features are some of the advantages over the old site, which was unfit for purpose. If you are a resident I suggest you sign up for the email newsletter at the foot of this page.

  21. Why does the RSS feed not show updates on existing planning applications and only NEW applications. The latest important updates Church Stile Farm refusal of appeal and Heart of the Village withdrawal are not accessible. Perhaps this could be rectified by contact with Herefordshire’s IT dept

  22. Two key Cradley applications have recently been decided but the details of neither are linked to this website:

    Application 160601 – Change of use to community use etc (Heart of the Village) withdrawn after Planning officer advised that it would be refused.

    Application 162155 – Outline permission for 29 houses at Church Stile Farm – refused on appeal.

    In both cases the details are on HCC’s planning website and are of such material note and interest to members of the Parish that a full briefing should be on the PC website.

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