Based on a detailed questionnaire, surveys and meetings held over a period of two years, the Parish Plan Group has produced a challenging list of recommendations to improve the quality of village life. This is a call to action which has already started to bear fruit. The Group Parish Council is implementing some recommendations immediately and the Memorial Hall Committee has rapidly responded to Parish Plan suggestions.
Need for land
Improving sport and leisure provision is a major long-term challenge and demands the involvement of the whole village working together towards a common cause. Although there are financial grants available, there is not enough community land in Ewyas Harold to develop extra outdoor sports facilities. Land acquisition is a sensitive subject but we must clearly state the need for more space.
Modernisation of Memorial Hall
The majority of Questionnaire respondents suggested that the Memorial Hall requires modernization and some respondents put forward detailed suggestions. There’s a grand opportunity here and the Memorial Hall Committee has moved swiftly to announce a fundraising campaign. The assistance of all the groups in the village will be needed to ensure improvements reflect the real needs of Ewyas Harold and the surrounding parishes.
Poor public transport impacts every aspect of life
Our Council Taxes pay for all sorts of urban amenities – theatres, libraries, swimming pools, IT centres – which we cannot access for lack of public transport. Hardest hit by this injustice are the young, the elderly and the disabled. This Parish Plan shows that lack of public transport affects every aspect of life from job opportunities to health and welfare. Improving transport facilities is vital and it is important that we continue to support the campaign to reopen Pontrilas Railway Station.
Who’s going to do it?
As far as possible the Parish Plan identifies who should carry out the action recommended. The list of recommendations is long and it will not be completed without the assistance of the community. Please join us and help put this Parish Plan into action so that we can make a real difference to life in South Herefordshire.
Ewyas Harold, Dulas, Llancillo and Rowlestone Parishes
Ewyas Harold is a historic village lying close to the Welsh border in rural South Herefordshire. It is linked to the adjacent parishes of Dulas, Llancillo and Rowlestone. All four parishes are governed at local level by Ewyas Harold Group Parish Council (GPC). The Parish Plan is part of the council’s strategy to deliver better service to the local community and to achieve Quality Parish Council status. This will enable Ewyas Harold GPC to bid for more local control and enhanced financial support for the parishes.
The Parish Plan grew out of studies made while completing the Ewyas Harold Design Statement (2002) however it is a very different document. The Design Statement was primarily concerned with planning considerations and limited to considering the built environment of Ewyas Harold village. The Parish Plan has a wider task, to thoroughly investigate local opinion and to plan for the future of all four parishes on a wide variety of topics.
Four parishes – all a bit different!
We have prepared separate Parish Plans for Dulas and Rowlestone because the Parishes are physically quite distinctive. Whilst Ewyas Harold is a thriving village, the population of the parishes of Rowlestone, Llancillo and Dulas are rural in character. Residents of the rural parishes generally use the facilities of Ewyas Harold which acts as a convenient “village centre” however they have specific requirements of their own.
WHAT IS A PARISH PLAN?
The Parish Plan is a blueprint for the future of the local community. It is based on a detailed survey of the needs of the parishes and the opinions of the residents. It draws up a list of objectives with an action plan and timetable to enable them to be achieved.
When it is formally adopted, the Parish Plan acts as a policy guideline for the Group Parish Council and Herefordshire Council. It can be used as a reference document for other agencies that may be concerned with developing services or providing support to local groups.
The Parish Plan supports community initiatives at local level. By providing impartial assessment of need, it will assist groups to tap into funding for community projects. Grant aid is normally only given to groups who can demonstrate the viability of their scheme and involvement in a Parish Plan is often a requirement for grant application.
WHO WILL USE THE PARISH PLAN?
The Parish Plan will provide a framework for action at local level and will inform decision-makers at county level by providing well-researched information and opinion.
It will be updated regularly and will be accessible on our website www.ewyasharoldgpc.org.uk
It will be used by:
The Parish Council – as a blueprint for action.
Statutory bodies and public authorities – for information.
Planners and developers – for guidance.
Local community groups – as evidence to obtain the grants they need.
WHO HAS PREPARED THIS PARISH PLAN AND HOW?
At the suggestion of the Group Parish Council, a working party of Parish Councillors and local residents formed the Ewyas Harold Parish Plan Group in 2003. A grant was provided by the Countryside Agency to cover the cost of meetings and publications.
The Parish Plan Group included: Liz Overstall, Isabelle Devereaux, Lloyd Rickards, Jane and Ian Matheson, Graham Sprackling, Mary Williams, Helen Waites, Paul Sheen, Jean Addis, Ann Bradley, Pam Haywood, Stella Phillips.
We are grateful to all the residents who attended our meetings and supported us throughout the two-year development of this Parish Plan.
PUBLIC EVENTS HAVE BEEN HELD TO INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY AND TO OBTAIN OPINION
A465 Road Meeting (27th February 2004) with Paul Keetch MP, the Police, the Highways Agency, and Herefordshire Council to discuss road safety issues on the A465.
A series of 16 meetings at the Baptist Chapel, Ewyas Harold and The Barn, Dulas between 2003 and April 2005.
A stall at the Summer Fair July 2004
Cheese and Wine information gathering party in Rowlestone (21st April 2004)
Cheese and Wine information gathering party in Dulas (20th May 2004)
Happy Hour for business people at the Temple Bar Ewyas Harold (19th January 2005)
Questionnaire presentation (9th March 2005) in Ewyas Harold
A detailed questionnaire was send to every household in the four parishes to obtain opinion on key issues. A response of 41% confirmed support for the Parish Plan and provided a framework for the final draft. The results of the Questionnaire were presented at a public meeting on 9th March 2005 at the Memorial Hall. This meeting was attended by representatives from the Police (to discuss Law and Order) and the Memorial Hall Committee (to discuss suggestions and complaints).
DOWNLOAD THE RESULTS TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE
BY CLICKING THE BLUE BUTTON
ON THE WEBSITE: www.ewyasharoldgpc.org.uk
It’s hard to believe the quiet village of Ewyas Harold was once strategically important and the size of a small town. Thanks to the interest of a group of keen local people and the present owners of Ewyas Harold castle, the ruins are going to be the focus of exciting archaeological activities.
As far back as the fifth century Ewyas Harold village was part of an ancient Welsh kingdom called Ewias. A border area, it was prone to warfare. The Saxons built a defensive burh on the end of a high promontory overlooking the present settlement. The Normans arrived sometime before 1066 to construct a wooden castle on the same site. It was one of the first motte and bailey castles constructed in England. Rebuilt in stone by William FitzOsborne, it became a powerful garrison of strategic importance against the Welsh. A local lord, Harold of Ewias gave the castle and the village his name.
At the time of Alfred de Merleberge Ewias Harold was one of only five boroughs in Domesday Herefordshire. Assuming a garrison of 200 soldiers with their women and families, their armourers, their smiths and provision merchants, it is likely that Ewyas Harold was a thriving community during this period, with a population of many hundreds. Robert, son of Harold, moved the Benedictine Priory from Dulas to a site near the castle. The 13th century was the heyday of Ewias Harold’s importance. The priory was dissolved in the mid fourteenth century. Although briefly re-fortified against the attacks of Owain Glyndwr in 1402 the castle lost its strategic importance. Pillaged by generations of locals for building stone, it gradually disappeared and by the seventeenth century it was described as “ruined and gone”.
Overlooking the village, the remains of the castle is an Ancient Monument, enjoying the highest level of protection. The lower bailey lies in the field below, and traces of ancient fishponds and the Priory can be found.
ACTION: The Parish Plan and the GPC should support the Ewyas Harold Castle Archaeology Group in its bid for funding which may act to revitalize the village economically as well as create a deeper knowledge of our heritage.
ACTION: GPC and HC should ensure the protection of the Castle as an Ancient Monument together with surrounding areas of archaeological interest.
2 BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Planning recommendations for Ewyas Harold Village.
Copies of the Design Statement are available at Ewyas Harold Post Office and on the parish website www.ewyasharoldgpc.org.uk
Residents have strongly expressed the view that there should be no more bungalows constructed in the village, explaining that they wished to live in a thriving community of all age-groups and that in villages where bungalows dominate, younger people are priced out of the housing market. (The majority of respondents were over 60 years of age themselves.)
2.2 Targeting existing open spaces for infill by new housing is not desirable.
2.3 It is important to retain a suitable village boundary.
2.4 Archaeological remains in the village should be protected.
2.5 Residents would like to see more attention paid to interesting and appropriate design that reflects the character of the village.
2.6 Affordable housing should be encouraged so that young people are no longer forced to move away for economic reasons.
2.7 Developers should be responsible for installing appropriate lighting on new developments.
2.8 Road and street signs should be restrained and duplication should be avoided.
2.9 Where new names are required for streets or buildings, these should be chosen to reflect the history of the site, or the village.
2.10 Cables should be sited underground and a real effort made to reduce the number of poles carrying telephone and electricity wires.
2.11 Ewyas Harold and the parishes have many traditional post-boxes and telephone boxes which should be retained whilst taking into account present-day needs.
2.12 The provision of suitable rural bus shelters is required.
Architectural recommendations for developers and improvers
2.13 There are opportunities for designing interesting new buildings that will sit comfortably with Herefordshire traditional styles. New buildings do not have to be copies of old ones but they should respect them.
2.14 New buildings that incorporate innovative environment-friendly design characteristics should be encouraged on appropriate sites.
2.15 As there is not a predominant traditional style in the village, there is scope for a variety of sympathetic influences e.g. Victorian brick and quoining, carved bargeboards, decorated ridge tiles, porches, and interesting window shapes.
2.16 Designers should take into account the relationship of new buildings with existing properties and should seek to use traditional materials such as local stone with the aim of sympathetic harmony.
2.17 The size and scale of a new building should reflect that of adjacent properties.
2.18 Roof lines in the vicinity should be carefully assessed before altering an existing building radically or building a new one.
2.19 Villagers feel that rural character depends on retaining space around houses and preserving rural views. It is recommended that curtilages should be spacious, except in the heart of Ewyas Harold village where higher-density housing is normal.
2.20 Any further creation of a “hard edge” to the village by permitting unsuitable high-density housing on the outskirts should be avoided. Any further housing development on the edge of the village should be suitably landscaped with native trees and hedging to blend with the surrounding countryside.
2.21 Stone walls are a feature of the area and should always be preserved. Where new buildings or alterations to existing buildings are planned it should be noted that the impact on older nearby properties can always be softened by using local stone for new walls. Hedges or low fences may also be appropriate.
3 HEREFORDSHIRE UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN
The Unitary Development Plan (UDP) provides the land use framework for the future development and protection of Herefordshire up until 2011. It details the policies that control development proposals by setting out the criteria by which planning applications are assessed.
It guides developers and landowners on:
where new homes should be built
where new jobs should be located
which land will be kept open and free from development
The Plan consists of two parts together with detailed maps known as the Proposal Maps. Part I explains the Council’s long term objectives and strategy. It deals with land use and development, the protection and improvement of the environment and strategic transport proposals. Part II translates the broad strategy into detailed policies and proposals.
It is expected that the UDP will be adopted in 2006.
To see the UDP Timetable, Revised Deposit Draft, Proposed Changes and details of Public Inquiries, UDP Maps go to: www.herefordshire.gov.uk/udp/index.asp
3.1 How does the UDP affect Ewyas Harold, Rowlestone, Llancillo and Dulas?
3.1.a Landscape Character Assessment: Most of the countryside is designated “Area Less Resilient to Change” which acknowledges the fragile nature of rural South West Herefordshire and the need to protect landscape features such as hills and skylines, woodlands, established hedgerow and tree patterns and water features, especially river valleys and flood plains.
3.1.b Ewyas Harold has been defined as a ‘main village’, therefore a settlement boundary has been defined for the village. Housing development is permitted within this boundary in accordance with UDP policy H4.
3.1.c Protected open space. Two areas of land are allocated for proposed open space under UDP policy RST5 and two areas are designated safeguarded open space for public use under policy RST4. Island Field is protected from housing development as “open space” and Long Meadow is designated “open space for public use”. These UDP designations are simply indications of Herefordshire Council planning policy and are made without consultation with the landowner or the GPC. They do not permit the public any rights of access.
3.1.d Housing development. Land adjacent to Lower House Farm is recognised as suitable for housing development under policy H5. Other areas within the settlement boundary may be considered for housing under policy H4 providing the infill proposal is in accordance with the relevant UDP policies relating to design, landscaping etc.
3.1.e An area of land on either side of the Dulas Brook is designated “land liable to flood”.
APPEAL AGAINST DESIGNATION OF “LAND LIABLE TO FLOOD”
The Deposit Draft UDP showed a large area on either side of the Dulas Brook designated “land liable to flood”. Ewyas Harold Group Parish Council appealed to the Unitary Development Plan Public Enquiry against this designation which has serious implications for villagers; affecting house values and insurance premiums.
Following receipt of new data from the Environment Agency the area has been substantially reduced in the Revised Deposit UDP. The Public Enquiry objections will be considered by the Planning Inspector and recommendations for further change (if any) will be made in a report expected in 2006.
Ewyas Harold is not a dormitory village or a retirement village. This is a working area comprising all age groups. We have a substantial number of retired people but they have said (Design Statement 2003) that they want to live in a lively community of mixed age groups and that local policies should support this aim.
4.1 Suggestions from the Business Community
4.1 Members of the local business community were invited to a “Happy Hour” meeting at the Temple Bar on 19th January 2005. Thirty people attended including a number new to the area. A questionnaire was distributed and suggestions were proposed.
4.1.a A local Business Directory would be useful. ACTION: GPC to seek working party.
4.1.b Better signage on the A465 would bring business to Ewyas Harold. ACTION: GPC
4.1.c Local map for centre of village, ACTION: request GPC.
4.1.d Local Village map and Parishes map with footpaths should be produced for sale in shop – should show B and Bs as well as footpaths. ACTION: Request GPC to use new P3 funding.
4.1.e Website: Who’s Who business section with map for B&Bs and prominent businesses. ACTION: GPC to seek funding for extension of website.
4.1.f Website: Parishes map showing footpaths, ACTION: GPC webmaster to investigate.
4.1.g Liaise with Business Link and Herefordshire Council Partnership Officer to provide business training locally. ACTION: Educational Working Group (See Lifelong Learning section).
4.1.h Investigate ways in which suitable small-scale businesses can be encouraged to come into the area and rent the business units which lie empty. ACTION: Web pages describing business accommodation needed. Funding to expand website required.
4.1.i The Questionnaire (March 2005) suggested that poor transport facilities are currently restricting business and employment opportunities. Walkers staying in local B&Bs need better public transport ACTION: Herefordshire Council to be alerted to provide better rural services in Transport Plan.
4.1.j Business people want a rail link. ACTION: Herefordshire Council to be alerted by Parish Plan.
4.1.k Low-cost housing is essential for local workforce. ACTION: GPC and Herefordshire Council to facilitate.
4.2 Comments and suggestions from residents (not businessmen/women)
4.2.a Potential business opportunities were listed in the Village Design Statement 2003. This list could be placed on the village website. ACTION: Webmaster.
4.2.b It is considered essential that any economic growth should leave a small footprint on the rural environment and should be sustainable. IT businesses are considered suitable. Tourism without traffic should be encouraged by promoting bus services for walkers and supporting the reopening of Pontrilas railway station. Furniture-making and other timber based businesses which add value to local timber production are to be encouraged. Quality food production and organic food sales could support local farming. Farm diversification businesses are important to the parishes.
4.2.c Ewyas Harold is a historic village which is about to benefit from an archaeological investigation on the Castle. Could Ewyas Harold be developed as a “history village” attracting businesses linked to this theme? A history film archive business has already been set up and there may be potential for other history-linked enterprises. ACTION: GPC consult Business Link.
Public transport in the rural parishes is limited and most people feel obliged to run a car. People who cannot drive have particular problems. Many elderly people are less confident car drivers and need better public transport. Teenagers cannot access leisure activities in nearby towns, and there is little provision for this age group locally. Workers who cannot afford a car have limited employment prospects.
Almost 30% of respondents travel to work by car (Questionnaire 2005). The majority of other residents (60% from Census) run a car to access basic facilities. This contributes towards pollution and traffic congestion in local towns as well as congestion in Ewyas Harold where car parking is now frequently a problem
8% of Questionnaire respondents felt that their employment options were limited by transport difficulties, particularly problems with the bus service. The timetable is limited with no late buses; many bus users find the routes unsatisfactory. Others simply don’t use public transport. There is only one bus a week passing through Dulas and no bus service at all to Rowlestone.
84% of respondents thought that reopening the train station at Pontrilas would be sensible and said they would use the station. Most thought an adjacent car park and a good shuttle-bus service would be desirable.
5.1.a Residents would prefer a direct bus service. The elderly and disabled have difficulties getting on and off buses and fear missing connections and getting stranded. The possibility of a direct mini-bus service to Hereford or Abergavenny should be investigated. ACTION: GPC to liaise with Herefordshire Council with a view to including an enhanced local service in the Herefordshire Council Transport Plan.
5.1.b Ensure all Stagecoach buses are met by a shuttle. ACTION: GPC to liaise with HC
5.1.c Young people in particular need a better transport service for leisure activities in local towns. Early buses and late buses should be investigated. ACTION: GPC to liaise with HC and/or youth providers.
5.1.d The GPC should support the campaign to reopen the Railway Station at Pontrilas with a suitable car park. ACTION: GPC to liaise with Paul Keetch MP who spoke positively on this issue at the Parish Plan public meeting on 27th February 2004 at the Memorial Hall. Keep local people informed through the Newsletter.
5.1.e Better transport publicity is required. (Timetables essential, particularly for the shuttle bus to Pontrilas. Also Dore Community Transport Group information) ACTION: Ensure up to date bus timetables available and put shuttle timetable in the Newsletter.
5.1.f Bus stops should be marked and bus shelters provided at key sites. ACTION: GPC to liaise with HC and to reconsider possible sites for shelters.
5.1.g The idea of establishing a cycle track to Hereford and/or Abergavenny was supported. Suitable safe routes would need to be identified. ACTION: GPC Contact Sustrans
5.1.h Taxi services and community transport services should be better advertised. ACTION: Newsletter and website to provide information.
5.1.i Reduce rural road use (Transport Act 1999) ACTION: Newsletter and GPC to encourage car sharing and use of public transport by demanding improved services and providing information.
5.1.j Suitable bus shelters should be provided. ACTION: GPC
6.1.a Increasing traffic along country lanes poses problems. Larger delivery vehicles, farm diversification, barn conversions and increased residential development generate significant additional traffic in the rural parishes. ACTION: Planning Authorities to be aware when granting Planning Permission.
6.1.b Fast traffic remains a cause for concern in Ewyas Harold village and throughout the parishes. People are concerned about speed limits in the village asking that the Pontrilas Road should be 30mph and the centre of the village 25mph. ACTION: GPC to continue to press Herefordshire Council on this issue.
6.1.c Larger lorries and increased traffic are breaking up verges along rural routes. ACTION: more passing places.
6.1.d There is a lack of continuous footways in Ewyas Harold Village. This is a particular problem for disabled people. ACTION: GPC to take this matter up with HC.
6.1.e There are no car parks in Ewyas Harold village and there is congestion at certain times. Changes to car parking at the Temple Bar public house have resulted in customers parking on the road. ACTION: GPC to investigate alternatives. HC to restrict development in he village centre to buildings with integral car parking space.
6.1.f The importance of traditional footpaths in Ewyas Harold village cannot be overemphasized. Our poll has demonstrated that the majority of villagers use them frequently. The existence of a network of footpaths through fields and gardens acts to counter the divisive effect of traffic in the village community. ACTION: GPC to press for improvements in the local footpath network.
6.1.g In the rural parishes, narrow roads make cycling (and walking) dangerous. Ideally children should be able to walk or to cycle safely to school but there are no cycle ways in the Parishes. ACTION: GPC to investigate ways of providing traffic-free cycle paths in the village, as well as in the parishes. Access to long-distance cycle networks to be investigated.
6.1.h Road Markings: It has been suggested that road markings should be standardized ie. “keep left” at the roundabout by EH doctors’ surgery. ACTION: GPC has considered this matter in the past and should keep the issue on file. It is difficult to make changes that accommodate heavy vehicles.
6.1.i Hill Lane: This defunct road should be downgraded to provide a safe footpath. (Questionnaire 2005). PARISH PLAN IN ACTION: The GPC has already investigated. A budget of £30,000 is needed to drain the road and surface a footpath. Herefordshire Council is the agency responsible for maintaining this road, but does not have this funding to hand. The GPC should seek alternative funding or assistance for this project.
All junctions need a box for traffic waiting to cross.
The right turn to Rowlestone is unsafe and needs to be improved.
Safe pedestrian access between Pontrilas and Ewyas Harold needs to be provided.
ACTION: GPC joint working party (with Grosmont Community Council and Kentchurch PC. to ask Highways Agency and Herefordshire Council reconsider the above issues.
It is believed the traffic disregards the advisory 40mph signs. People are calling for a proper speed limit and asking that the police monitor this section of road. PARISH PLAN IN ACTION: The GPC has investigated this matter. As the A465 is a trunk road, it is controlled by the Highways Agency which states that a legal 40mph limit is
not permitted on a Trunk Road in England. (The criteria are different in Wales which is why there are 40 mph limits near Pandy.) If the A465 road were “de-trunked” it would be managed locally by Herefordshire Council and the 40mph limit would be possible. However as the A465 is an important route linking North and South Wales, the status of this route is unlikely to be changed in the near future.
6.1.l Passing places: There is a demand from the public to keep the verges in good condition and keep the roads clear of mud which is a hazard to traffic. ACTION: Designated passing places are the only way to resolve this difficulty. Refer to GPC.
6.1.m The road west of Dulas Court below the wood is narrow. The verge is seriously eroded and needs major costly repairs to make it safe. Vehicles pulling over to avoid oncoming traffic are in danger of rolling down the bank. Warning posts have been installed but have fallen over. ACTION: Refer to GPC for urgent action by HC.
6.1.n Access to the Common: Signs to Ewyas Harold Common at Springetts Lane have been illegally removed. Residents complain that lorries and delivery vehicles seeking houses at the Springetts Lane end of the common) are driving up Cwm Dulas Pitch to the NW end of the Common in error. Clear directions as to access should be provided because Cwm Pitch is a narrow, dangerously twisty road. Drivers must be dissuaded from driving across the Common to reach destinations which are already properly served with a road (Springetts Lane). ACTION: Refer to GPC to consult with residents replacing signage.
6.1.o Residents claim they are prevented by intimidation from parking near the gate at the top of Springetts Lane when they want to walk on the Common. It is legal to park within 15 metres of the entrance but rocks have been placed on the Common as a barrier to parking and their immediate removal is demanded. Many people are demanding a properly designated car park. The car parking difficulty is hard on the elderly as they cannot walk up the hill to the Common and are particularly vulnerable to unpleasant verbal abuse. ACTION: GPC to continue to consult with the Police, the Lord of the Manor, the Graziers, the Commoners’ Association and Springetts Lane house owners concerning public access.
6.1.p Clear signposting of footpaths on and off the Common is requested. Numerous incidents of walkers getting lost as they try to identify rights of way. ACTION: GPC to organize signage to be positioned just outside the Common boundary.
7.1.a Landscape Character Assessment: Most of the countryside in the four parishes is designated “Area Less Resilient to Change” in the draft Herefordshire Unitary Development Plan (Revised Deposit UDP) and this must be taken into account by decision-makers in the planning process. This designation acknowledges the fragile nature of rural South West Herefordshire. Measures to protect the landscape include safeguarding significant landscape features that make up the essential character of the area including (amongst others) skylines and hill features, woodlands, established hedgerow and tree patterns and water features, especially river valleys and flood plains.
7.1.b Wildlife protection: Protection is afforded to several Special Wildlife Sites through policy NC4 of the UDP but there are no areas of SSSI locally. This is surprising as the four parishes are actually very rich in wildlife. Buzzards and ravens are seen daily in the rural parishes and goshawks are frequent visitors. Hobby breed in the area and both Merlin and Peregrine are occasionally seen. Large village gardens support a wide range of birds and the community has been enthusiastic about environmental matters at every Parish Plan meeting.
7.1.c The Dulas Brook is one of the few streams left in England supporting native White Clawed Crayfish and it is an important breeding stream for trout which is of economic importance. A survey of invertebrates has shown it to be one of the most interesting streams in the area. Otters use the Dulas Brook as a corridor through the village of Ewyas Harold.
7.1.d The rarest habitat in the parishes is unimproved grassland. Little survives but a number of farmers have entered the DEFRA Countryside Stewardship Scheme and improvements in the environmental management of farmland have resulted in beautifully laid hedges (a characteristic of Herefordshire) which provide nesting places for birds. Changes in the management of pasture encourage a richer flora and more attention is being paid to environmental matters. Recent changes in DEFRA farm payments will increase the number of farmers taking positive action for wildlife.
The Design Statement Questionnaire showed that two thirds of respondents regularly visit Ewyas Harold Common for recreation. It is a magnificent wild space of 125 acres overlooking the village and was part of the Lord’s Wood of the old manorial system. It is now an important local amenity containing numerous relics of past use including quarries, lime kilns, orchards and a cider mill, abandoned house sites and enclosures. The approach from the village is via a deeply sunk lane with wide steep banks. The Green Lane which crosses the Common is part of an ancient ridgeway road system used for centuries to reach Abbey Dore and the Cefn Road.
Ewyas Harold Common is a registered Common and the public has legal right of access on foot (CRoW Act 2000). There are restrictions e.g., unauthorized vehicles may not drive across the common but are permitted to park within 15 metres of the entrance. Dogs must be kept on a short lead when animals are grazing on the common.
The land is owned by the Lord of the Manor but some residents enjoy Commoners’ Rights to graze animals. These ancient rights probably date from early agricultural settlements in the area somewhere between one and two thousand years ago.
A wildlife oasis, Ewyas Harold Common is rich in rare butterflies and flowers. It is a good spot for birdwatching and raptors are commonly seen. Meadow saffron can be found in September, a remnant of medieval cultivation undertaken to produce dyes by monks at Dore Abbey.
Over the last ten years the Common has become a vital axis for several adjacent farms in the Dulas valley which have joined the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. Linked together, the combination of an extensive tract of common land and a substantial acreage of sympathetically managed farmland provides a unique range of habitats for wildlife in Southwest Herefordshire. The Common is not protected as an SSSI but has been mapped by the Countryside Agency in accordance with the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW).
7.2.a We should promote understanding of the wildlife of our area (Design Statement). ACTION: Include wildlife information on Footpaths and Village maps and request articles for Newsletter and Website on wildlife subjects from knowledgeable contributors.
7.2.b Ewyas Harold Common is a priceless wildlife and recreational asset. (Design Statement). ACTION: The GPC’s long-term responsibility is to defend public rights and to deny illegal encroachment. GPC to support the development by the Graziers and the Ewyas Harold Common Society of a sensitive management plan for the Common to include access arrangement for the public.
7.2.c Strategic trees should be planted using native species (Design Statement). ACTION: GPC to be aware. Include information in Newsletter.
7.2.d Promote Herefordshire’s rare orchard trees. Suitable for small gardens, they are a local feature and there is often grant aid available (Design Statement). ACTION: Newsletter
8 FLOODING AND DRAINAGE
(Design Statement and GPC)
8.1 There are two areas in Ewyas Harold village which are susceptible to flooding:
The centre of the village
The Dulas Brook backs up at the bridge adjacent to Bridge View and overflows in the centre of the village affecting the village store and post office, Brook Cottage, The Dog Inn, The Malt House and the Old Stables. During times of flood, the stream seeks to follow its old course down the main street to the finger post where it rejoins the brook below the bridge.
The B4347 between Caemain and Chatsworth Vale.
At times of heavy rainfall, the sewers become overloaded due to the ingress of surface water. This rises into the road through manholes causing flooding. Runoff from the hills to the south of the village contribute to the flooding because of the poor condition of the culvert leading to Pontrilas.
Available maps of sewer and storm drains appear to be inadequate.
8.2.a Flood control responsibilities for the village should be clearly understood and monitored by the Group Parish Council. ACTION: GPC
8.2.b No planning permission for any development should be given until the sewage system is proved to be adequate. ACTION: GPC
8.2.c Drainage records should be regularly updated and made available for public inspection. ACTION: GPC to investigate.
Sustainability is all about people making the minimum impact on the environment. All local government departments – from Planning to Highways – must try to limit the negative effect of urbanization, In an era of climate change and uncertain weather patterns, we need to care for resources that previously we may have taken for granted.
Water: Most Ewyas Harold residents use mains supply but over 70 farms, properties and fields rely on water piped from St. Martins Well. The right to extract water from the springs on the Common was granted by Elizabeth 1st to the Lords of Abergavenny in the sixteenth century and the supply is now owned by the Lord of the Manor.
Six reservoirs supply spring water to the area. In times of drought the water held in the reservoirs drops very low during the day, causing cracks to develop in the clay liner. As the reservoirs fill at night, water is lost from the system causing shortages locally.
Rural residents without access to piped water usually have private wells which vary in efficiency. ACTION: information about water shortages to be made available via posters, Newsletter and website when appropriate.
Recycling: There is a limited Blue Box scheme operating in part of Ewyas Harold village, but numerous respondents have asked for a proper recycling centre. In the past, the Memorial Hall committee has rejected suggestions for a centre be based at the Hall because previous experience has shown that it causes litter.
ACTION: GPC to approach the Memorial Hall Committee to discuss the possibility of a properly managed and tidy facility.
9.3 People need ready information about the Freighter Service (mobile public skip). ACTION: Publish dates in GPC newsletter and on website as well as on notice board.
Keen to be Green: A number of respondents have shown considerable interest in recycling and green issues. Ideally, these enthusiasts should get together. Are there enough keenies to form an eco-building club? Or maybe a gourmet-gardening club?
ACTION: If this is you – please contact the Newsletter to find green soulmates!
Planning: The Design Statement (200) encourages innovative building – but it needs to alert people to the need to “think green” when designing buildings in the countryside.
ACTION: GPC and HC to encourage developers to incorporate “green” design characteristics in plans for housing and to encourage innovative environment-friendly design.
9.6 Road use: ACTION: GPC and Herefordshire Council to reduce unnecessary journeys by road by supporting local shops and businesses. GPC to advertise transport-sharing schemes in newsletter.
9.7 Cycling: GPC and Herefordshire Council to encourage the safe use of bicycles by constructing both long distance and local cycle-paths.
9.8 Education: People want to know how they can make a positive difference to the environment. ACTION: Newsletter and website to include regular items on environmental issues with contact names and addresses.
10 Lifelong Learning
10.1 Adult Learning
There is considerable interest in an extension of local adult learning opportunities. (Questionnaire 2005). The questionnaire offered people various options for courses, based on subjects which had emerged from previous consultations as the most popular and almost half the respondents expressed an interest in classes as follows: Exercise (100 people), Computing (80), Arts and Crafts (67), Language (59), Creative Writing (23). Additional suggestions included yoga, tai chi, DIY, music, dancing, household management and a financial investment club (25). 38% of respondents preferred daytime classes, 43% evening classes and 17% would attend weekend courses. Childcare needs should be considered and actively investigated.
Ewyas Harold has a number of venues which are potentially suitable for adult learning – the Memorial Hall offers a large space suitable for exercise and fitness and a smaller room appropriate for other classes; also available are the new Baptist Hall and St Michael’s Hall. The Primary School can be used out of school hours. In Rowlestone parish there is a community-owned village hall. In Dulas parish there is a private hall the Dulas Court Barn is available for public use. It is owned and managed by Dulas Court. Keep Fit and Art classes are held for residents and open to the wider community.
There are some locally organized classes and EH has a strong and well-supported branch of the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA). However many people requiring adult learning and training have to travel to Hereford, Abergavenny or Ross-on-Wye. This involves a journey of at least 30 minutes by car and longer by public transport.
Data from the 2001 Census indicates that post school qualification levels are similar to figures for the county with almost 45% of residents having few educational qualifications. This indicates there is scope for the development of short accessible courses in IT, adult literacy and numeracy. Business people have asked for short courses related to skills needed for local businesses.
10.2.a Form an education working group. ACTION: volunteers to consider group’s remit and report back to the GPC
10.2.b It is suggested that the working group liaise with Learning Partnership Officer (Herefordshire Partnership) and local providers to distribute the education-related data that the Parish Plan has gathered and to gain information on current opportunities and funding for development of adult learning. ACTION: to liase and report to GPC
10.2.c GPC-nominated governor to enquire from the school about the current position on the Extended Schools Initiative which attracts financial aid to extend the facilities for both the community and pupils at the school. ACTION: GPC Governor
10.2.d Set up on Parish website a directory of venues suitable for adult learning, indicating the facilities availability, costs and contact names. Ask providers to list their courses on the website and in the Newsletter. ACTION: The working group to provide website administrator and Newsletter Editor with data.
The nature of this community means that the numbers requiring childcare provision in percentage terms remains small (just 4% of Questionnaire respondents). Although for those who have young children this is an important issue. There is demand for childcare particularly for school age children, 4% saying they would use a breakfast club, 9% an after school club and 10% a holiday club. In the past the Church Summer Holiday Club has been well supported. (Questionnaire 2005)
The community is well served by an excellent preschool for children of 2 ½ years and above. There is also the private nursery at Wormbridge which provides good quality care for children all week. The main need appears to be for more flexible childcare at different times. The Preschool share the village hall with other users which restricts their flexibility. If they had their own facility they would be able to extend their childcare provision.
11.2.a Ensure people know how to access Childcare Services by including contact numbers in newsletter and website. ACTION: Newsletter and Website administrators
11.2.b Improve communication between GPC, school, pre-school and playgroup to ensure local needs are met. Obtain regular reports from the school on it’s numbers etc and the “after school” clubs it runs. ACTION: GPC to improve liaison and request regular reports.
11.2.c Liaise with school concerning the Extended Schools initiative which provides extra finance for providing community facilities at the school. ACTION: GPC to ask nominated governor to report.
12 YOUTH and RECREATION
The lack of leisure provision for young people was deplored at every Parish Plan meeting. Older people are better catered for with over 40 clubs in the area. Providing facilities is one thing – the challenge is to find volunteers willing to work alongside young people. There is increasing help available from youth services but it still needs regular local support. The activities that already exist need better publicity.
Through focus groups, the Midsummer Event and the Questionnaire, young people expressed a strong desire for better youth facilities. Their priorities are: a place to meet; better outdoor facilities such as a skateboard park and tennis courts.
We have thriving football clubs and cricket clubs for adults but there is a complete lack of provision for women’s sport and as well as a need for youth sports clubs. ACTION: encourage women to form sports groups and to apply to the GPC for support.
ACTION: GPC to liaise with football and cricket teams with a view to developing youth teams of both sexes.
12.1.b Clearly these projects would have significant financial implications and whilst over half of residents felt that a small increase in the parish precept would be acceptable, a great deal of additional funding will be required.
12.1.c In the short term simple, cost-effective improvements such as basketball nets should be discussed with the Memorial Hall Committee and the Recreation Ground working group. ACTION: GPC
12.1.d In the long term a working party needs to develop more extensive projects which will bring together existing and new groups across the community. The young people themselves have offered to help with fundraising by holding a “fun-day” and it has been suggested that a Youth Council should be formed to enable youngsters to actively participate in improving their own facilities. ACTION: GPC to look for volunteers to form a Leisure Development working party and a Youth Council to investigate funding opportunities, liaise with the Recreation Ground and the Memorial Hall. The group will need to work with bodies such as the HC Youth Service and set a realistic time table for action.
12.1.e There are already some good things happening in the community and we need to ensure that people know about them. ACTION: Newsletter editor and Hereford Times correspondent to include reports and publicity. Website to include information.
GROUPS and ACTIVITIES
Currently there are both Brownies and Guides in the village operating out of St. Michael’s Hall. Although there are no Cubs and Scouts groups for boys, there is a thriving Air Cadets group meeting in St. Michael’s Hall for those aged 13+. There is a gap of provision for young boys.
12.2.a The Young People’s Fellowship (a youth group for 10-13 year olds) meets in the Baptist Hall. PARISH PLAN IN ACTION: In response to young people who presented their views at the Parish Plan focus groups in 2004 a Tuesday “Drop-in” group for those aged 13+ now meets at the Baptist Hall.
12.2.b Recently the Herefordshire Youth Services have begun running courses from the Baptist Hall which will hopefully develop in the future. In addition to the above there are often day workshops through the year and during the summer the churches together run a successful holiday club. ACTION: encourage similar activities and engage parents in Working Party.
12.2.c The village has a strong Young Farmers group who are actively involved in a wide range of activities and are keen to contribute to the wider community by supporting events like the annual bonfire and the recent Memorial Hall celebrations. The young farmers meet at a variety of venues. ACTION: Involve Young Farmers in Youth Council and fundraising activities.
13 THE MEMORIAL HALL
The Memorial Hall is central to village life, built as a memorial to servicemen who died in both World Wars. After ten years of fundraising, it was opened on Easter Sunday, April 10th 1955 to serve the parishes of Dulas, Ewyas Harold, Kentchurch and Kenderchurch. It actually serves a much wider area, including Rowlestone, Llancillo and Abbey Dore. A large building, the Memorial Hall is particularly useful for functions that require extra space for dancing or display areas.
The Memorial Hall Committee is committed to implementing improvements with the support of the Trustees (the GPC) and the wider community. Lighting is about to be improved and disability issues are currently being discussed.
The 2005 “Fiftieth Anniversary Celebrations” were successful in focussing people’s attention on their village hall and it is hoped that significant improvements will be possible if more offers of help are received from the village and the parishes.
The majority of respondents (Questionnaire 2005) say the Memorial Hall needs modernisation. If the Memorial Hall is not modernised, users will undoubtedly go to other halls in neighbouring communities. If this happens the Memorial Hall will lose vital revenue and may struggle to cover its costs.
ACTION: Trustees (GPC) should support the Memorial Hall Committee so that the hall is used for the maximum benefit of the local community.
Ewyas Harold and the adjacent parishes have a higher than average percentage of elderly people in the population (Census). The public asks the Memorial Hall management committee to comply with the spirit as well as the law of the Disability Act 2001 to provide:
Designated disabled parking near the front entrance.
Disabled access ramps at the front of the Hall.
Improved lighting in the parking area around the hall.
Improved easily accessible disabled toilet provision for men and women.
Hearing loop system
ACTION: Hall Management Committee
13.1.c Clearly printed directions – well displayed – so people know how lighting and heating systems work. ACTION: Hall Management Committee
Modern toilet facilities with additional toilets and washbasins suitable for small children.
ACTION: Hall Management Committee
13.1.e Enquire how much interest there is to form film club in connection with the Memorial Hall. Black-out roller blinds would be required. ACTION: Article in the Newsletter to stimulate local interest.
13.1.f Investigate the proposal for an all-weather/hard surface multipurpose recreation area near the hall for activities such as skateboarding, basket ball, tennis etc. This could double as car parking. ACTION: GPC and the Hall Management Committee
13.1.g Separate fenced outdoor play area for young children ACTION: GPC and the Hall Management Committee
14 THE RECREATION GROUND
Situated in a beautiful setting, surrounded by trees and bordered by the Dulas Brook, the “Recreation Ground” is the only property actually owned by the GPC and it is a priceless asset. Its value lies not in terms of land value but in its worth as a centre for open-air recreational and social activities for the whole community.
The history of this field goes back to medieval times. The deeds (lodged in Hereford County Record Office) show in a conveyance of 1928 that Church Meadow was purchased by EHPC from Mary Wegg-Prosser for £450.00. The field was slightly enlarged in 1953 when the hedge near the present Priorsfield Estate was moved by agreement with Mr C. H. Smith.of Down House.
14.1 A Right of Way (footpath) runs from the entrance gate across the lower corner of the field. This has certain implications regarding public access. A number of suggestions concerning further facilities came out of the Questionnaire 2005. Many people called for a tennis court and there was a request from young people for a multi-sport hard court and a skateboard park.
14.2 In considering these, we are restricted by the small size and irregular shape of the field. We can’t get a quart into a pint pot! There is no doubt that much as we value it, we cannot fit all the recreational requirements of the parish on to this plot of land. Some extra recreational facilities might be located at the Memorial Hall but its isolation from the village centre would make it unsuitable for some children’s activities. More land is required for activities such as tennis and bowls etc. ACTION: GPC Working Party and Youth Council (if formed by the village) to consider the acquisition of land and related fund-raising issues.
14.3 Vandalism is a problem on the Recreation Ground but the GPC is encouraging people who see vandalism to report it at once to the Police. ACTION: Policy of “no tolerance” of vandalism with publicity and provision of phone numbers to report incidents.
15 LAW AND ORDER
39% of respondents (Questionnaire 2005) thought that local policing was either effective or very effective. 36% thought it was not effective. Many complaints were based on the difficulty of accessing and communicating effectively with the Police. The West Mercia Constabulary have responded by attending a public meeting. The Police advise that it is not cost-effective to have a local policeman based in Ewyas Harold as the crime rate is low and part of the area is regularly patrolled by MOD.
How to increase the effectiveness of local policing
15.1.a Beat officer or other to attend GPC meetings on a regular basis. ACTION: GPC to invite Beat Officer.
15.1.b Less bureaucratic procedures when a crime is reported by telephone. The public dislikes having to repeat the same information many times to different people on the telephone. It puts people off contacting the police. ACTION: Parish Plan to advise West Mercia Constabulary.
15.1.c Evening visits to Ewyas Harold Recreation Ground and village centre by police required to deter vandalism and petty crime. ACTION: GPC to request West Mercia Constabulary to comply.
15.1.d Public display of local contact numbers and Crime Stopper telephone number. The Police have requested that we encourage individuals to report incidents as soon as possible. ACTION: Ensure Police Newsletter is available in the Post Office and put contact numbers in the GPC Newsletter. Contact numbers also to be placed on the Recreation Ground to deter vandalism.
Many people think Neighbourhood Watch is just a cosmetic exercise. Better publicity is required. ACTION: Article for the GPC Newsletter.