I find the comments by Councillor John Harrington, the Infrastructure and Transport cabinet member (Hereford Times 18 February), incredulous.

Mr Harrington opposed a proposal by fellow councillor Nigel Shaw, for some of the funds from the New Homes Bonus could be used to fund parish lengthsmen to clear drains and culverts.

He claims that this was a spurious attempt to take money away from sustainable transport plans.  

Based on Band D council tax (Herefordshire average £1,800), the Bonus is paid by central government for each new dwelling. In FY 20/21 Herefordshire received £2.24M. According to the DCLG the Bonus is intended to provide incentives for councils and local people to welcome growth and to improve communities.

Councillor Shaw’s proposal was for just some of these funds to be spent on local tackling flooding.  

The bonus income from just one house, for every parish in the county would cost the authority approximately £270,000.

A small price when compared with the £2.24m income from the scheme, and would pay for a lot of lengthmen's time helping to prevent flooding, which as the Lead Local Flood Authority, is the responsibility of Herefordshire Council.

Instead, it appears the authority is not willing to invest even a modest sum in real terms on local drainage schemes.

The cost to ordinary residents is obvious, damage to property, risks to people, increased insurance costs, disruption to travel. Why won’t Herefordshire Council use the Bonus income to invest in communities, as the Bonus Scheme intended?

Jon Lee

Canon Pyon

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