Minutes,  Rail for Herefordshire  AGM March 13 2014: Shire Hall, Hereford

  1. 18 people attended. There were no apologies for absence.


  1. The Minutes of the 2013 AGM were proposed, seconded and accepted.

3. Reports Report by Membership Secretary (Naomi Bell): The number of members is approximately the same as at this time last year; a few members have resigned and a few new members have joined. Most members have paid their subscription for the coming year; if you haven’t, please pay promptly.   Report by Treasurer (Rachel Allum) The total income of £708 was made up of 87 subscriptions @ £8 and £12 of additional donations. There was therefore a reduction of 9 subscriptions compared with 2012-3. The reduction in Hire of Room was due to fewer meetings in the year. The meeting/social cost refers to our meeting with the Leominster Group in December 2013. There was a surplus of income over expenditure of £379. The bank balance at 31 January 2014 was £1325 and there was a petty cash balance of £17.  Our finances remain in a healthy state as we enter the 2014/5 year. Accounts for the Year ended 31st January 2014

  2013/14 2012/13
  £ £ £ £
Subscriptions & Donations   708   800
Stationery and Postage 183 186
Hire of Room 94 132
Speaker Fees 20
CLPG Sub. 10 10
Calendars (balance after resales) 5
Meeting/Social Costs 37 93
RFH Leaflets 241
  329   682
Net Surplus of Income Over Expenditure   £379   £118
Balance Sheet at 31.01.2014   £   £
     Current Assets        
     Bank Balance   1325   946
     Cash in Hand   17   17
    1342   963
     Current Liabilities    
    £1342   £963
     Equity   £   £
     Balance b/f  01.02.2013   963   845
     Add Surplus   379   118
     Equity at 31.01.2014   £1342   £963

      Report by Secretary (Mike Ledlie) Since the last AGM, we’ve had 4 meetings in Hereford, one in Ross and one in Leominster.  Ian Baxter, who used to work for Chiltern Railways, gave a vivid account of what a TOC can achieve beyond the strict terms of its franchise if it really wants to. In October we contributed to hEnergy week by arranging for two speakers from Arriva Trains Wales to talk about Rail Travel and the Environment, and in November Gareth Davies gave a lively presentation on Transport hubs/interchanges as a contribution to our campaign to encourage Herefordshire Council to honour their commitment to the provision of a hub in front of Hereford Railway Station.  In July we held a meeting in Ross in the hope of finding out the views of residents on the rail services that they use and also on the bus services in the area, and in December we had a meeting in Leominster with members of Leominster Rail Users and a social gathering afterwards. We also arranged, in collaboration with Hereford Ramblers, a bus walk on each of the days of hEnergy week. For rail users the most obvious development has been the start of work on lifts at Hereford Station.  These were scheduled for construction some years ago, and we were beginning to despair of ever seeing them, and so were delighted to see work starting before Christmas.  The estimated completion date of March seems unlikely, but we hope to see the lifts in action before too long. Ledbury will soon be the only station in Herefordshire without easy access for travellers in both directions, and I’ve been in contact with Bill Wiggin, the MP for Ledbury, in the hope of supporting his campaign to provide easy access to both platforms there. The other obvious change at Hereford station is the new car park on the Rockfield site; following a suggestion by Committee member Philip Bauer, we objected to this car park on the grounds that it does nothing to encourage sustainable travel to and within the city, and a number of individuals, nearly all members of RfH, also objected. Following the objections, the plans were modified to provide for an extra bus bay and more parking for cycles, and I was allowed to speak to the planning committee for the statutory 2 minutes to highlight the difficulties for bus users of getting to and from Hereford Station, and the urgent need for a proper transport interchange there.  The car park has only been given permission for three years, and we of course will be pressing for an interchange whether or not the link road is built during this time. Another wider development for rail travellers is the aspiration of the Welsh Government that powers and funding for specifying and procuring the next Wales and Borders franchise should be devolved to it from the UK Government. We submitted a response to the Welsh Government’s consultation on this proposed devolution, and were then invited to a meeting in Cardiff with Welsh Assembly members. We were glad to see that the protection and enhancement of cross-border routes was emphasised in the final charter that the assembly produced, and we were also gratified that the committee of Welsh Assembly members that produced the report into the future of the franchise chose to visit Hereford Station to launch their report; bizarrely, no official representatives of Herefordshire were present, presumably because Herefordshire had not submitted a response to the consultation, and it was left to me to welcome the visitors and enjoy their hospitality in the form of a Pumpkin bacon roll and cup of coffee. There are similar proposals for the devolution of the West Midlands rail network, including the line from Birmingham to Hereford, to Centro and 14 local authorities, including Herefordshire, and I’ve been invited to a meeting next week with Centro to find out more about this. During the past year, I’ve also attended meetings of Leominster Rail Users, Worcestershire Rail User Groups, London Midland and Passenger Focus, and a meeting with Councillor Adrian Bridges and representatives of Network Rail and London Midland. On the bus front we re-launched Save Our Buses by distributing a large number of leaflets to passengers on subsidised bus routes that are at risk from the cuts to bus services that have been agreed in principle by Herefordshire Council’s cabinet.  A good number of people responded to the suggestion that they should write to Graham Powell, the cabinet member for transport, to remind him of the importance to them of their bus service.  There is currently, until April 21, a consultation on the Council’s website which bus users are invited to complete, but there seems little doubt that some services, especially on Sundays and in the evenings, will be cut or removed altogether.   Report by Chair (Les Lumsdon): In addition to the meetings mentioned by Mike, we’ve also been involved in discussions with Hereford MP Jesse Norman regarding potential rail developments at Rotherwas. Our standing as a campaigning group is firmly assured; we are known and listened to by Herefordshire Council, Network rail and the Train Operating Companies.  But we have limited agency to influence strategy, policy and even small scale infrastructure developments and operations. Therefore, our only chance of gaining momentum is through (a) building alliances and (b) increasing our membership.  These should be two of our main tasks this year.  As far as alliances are concerned, we hope to develop contacts with other rail user groups on the Marches Line, and also on the Birmingham/London line.  With regard to increasing membership, we are very grateful to Jim Davies for agreeing to update and maintain our website, and we will also be trying to distribute our membership forms more effectively. We also need to address major challenges with regard to Hereford Station forecourt and the proposed transport interchange – again through developing alliances.   5. The sum of £8 was approved for next year’s subscription.   6. All the current officers and committee were re-elected: Chair: Les Lumsdon,  Treasurer: Rachel Allum,  Membership Secretary: Naomi Bell    Secretary: Michael Ledlie Committee: Michael Sullivan, Sue Warren, John Thorne, Philip Bauer, Roger Lind There were no nominations for further election to the committee.