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Wyenot News - The Weekly News Magazine for Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Issue No. 179 - Wednesday, 2nd January 2008
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Page 1 [WNTV News - New Year's Eve at the Market House and at the White Lion and Prince of Wales]
Page 2 [2008 can only get better - Ross children welcome Santa - Packing presents for Santa]
Page 3 [A nice start to Christmas - Mike Jennings - Jumpin' Jive from the Jiveoholics - White Lion Nativity]

Page 4

[Fab Four on Boxing Day - Panto fun at Nature's Choice - Jagged Hands at the Prince of Wales - VOSA vehicles]
Page 5 [Updating What'sOn? - Christmas Day Lunch for the elderly - WRVS Christmas Lunch]
Page 6 [Car Vandalized - John Dickinson's closes after 50 years - Snowy weather warning]
Page 7 [New Year's Day Fun Run - Y-Zone - Rugby Club Raffle - The President's Game]
Page 8 [News from around Herefordshire County]
A nice start to Christmas, courtesy of Mr. Grayer and a dangerous driver!

On the Saturday immediately before Christmas I was sat in my living room with Tina and her son's girlfriend, Kirsty. We were just thinking about going Christmas shopping and were eating our lunch when we heard the lunatic wheelspin his car out of Hillview Road and accelerate dangerously fast along Three Crosses Road. The screech of brakes and the bang immediately followed of course, as the lunatic driver hit Kirsty's parked car, shunting it over two metres, up onto the kerb and into mine, writing both of our cars off just prior to the Christmas period.

Everybody rushed out of their houses to see what had happened. 'I slipped on some ice!' The lunatic immediately exclaimed.

Maybe the usual laws of physics do not apply in Ross because, at 8 degrees Centigrade it actually felt quite mild outside.

'Call the police, he looks as though he's on something to me,' advised one of the neighbours.

I cannot comment on that, although I must admit that my own instincts were sounding alarm bells. I tried calling the police after the initial shock had calmed a little. They did not want to attend because nobody had been injured and driver had not left the scene.

Continued . . .

A shiny new fence, insisted upon by a jobsworth and the resulting three car 'accident' - half the fault of the lunatic driver
of the white vehicle and half caused by Herefordshire Housing's Mr. Grayer and his jobsworthy, bureaucratic lunacy.
Had the fence not been insisted upon, neither of our cars would have been there to get hit.

It was November 1997 that I first moved in to live with Tina in Hillview Road. At that time, there was a place to park in the garden. It had been there since before the house had been refurbished by Herefordshire Council and Tina had moved in 6 years prior to that, so the parking space had been there at the very least, for 16 years!

About four years ago now, Herefordshire Housing took over administration for all of the Council houses in Ross-on-Wye. At that time, the Hillview Road House was inspected - several times by Herefordshire Housing officials. The off-road parking was going on at that time - no problem.

In late October of this year, I received a letter from a Peter Grayer of Herefordshire Housing which read, and I quote exactly,
'It has come to my attention that you have taken down a section of your hedge on Three Crosses Road and are using your garden as a driveway without the permission of Herefordshire housing'.

The letter went on to demand that I reinstate the fence or boundary (which I had not removed) within 7 days.

I was livid, as you might imagine. The letter was accusing me of something which I had not done, and which, in any case was doing nobody any harm whatsoever and was in fact helping to keep one (occasionally two) more cars off the road and one small part of Ross a safer place.

Continued . . .

The wheel spinning, fast accelerating car driver (left) talks to Tina's son, Russell
after his diabolical driving had ruined our Christmas.

I wrote back to Mr. Grayer about the removed boundary, and again, I quote exactly,

'I would like to point out that whoever brought this to your attention has their facts completely wrong. I have not 'taken down a section of the hedge' at all. That section of hedge was not in place when I first moved into the property, which at the time was rented from Herefordshire Council, 10 years ago in 1997.

I personally have photographic evidence of this section of hedge being missing and that part of the garden being used to park a vehicle dating back at least ten years. Even then, back in 1997, the gap in the hedge had been there at the very least for five years and that part of the garden had been used for parking a car.

When Herefordshire Housing took over from Herefordshire Council, the gap in the hedge and parking area had already been there for well over a decade. This was not objected to at the time, despite various Herefordshire Housing checks of the properties, which had been acquired under the new scheme.

I believe, and will check on this, that planning permission for something which has been in existence longer than seven years is not necessary. Parking on this section of the garden has been taking place for 15 years or more by myself and by Tina Jones' ex-husband, Mr Brendan Jones before me. Brendan Jones was the previous occupier of the property before I.

I am not being awkward here and will willingly try to comply by concreting the area at some stage in the future, should this become necessary. I am however currently short of the money to do so. I hope that you are able to understand this situation.

Three Crosses Road is crowded every day with parked cars and is also used as a 'rat-run' by drivers (driving far too fast) heading to and from Brampton and Greytree. It is a busy road and a bus route. The main Ross-on-Wye school is located in the road and children (dangerously) play football and other games in the road. It is also a road which is particularly prone to vandalism and theft. I had my current car window smashed and various contents stolen earlier this year and other cars parked on the road have been and are being continuously vandalized.

Surely, parking my one car off road in the place that I had always thought was intended for that purpose is doing no harm whatsoever to anybody, and is of benefit to the local community, rather than a problem.'

Mr Grayer, telephoned me and arranged to come to visit - I assumed to come to an amicable arrangement about sorting the situation. When he arrived, I invited him in. Far from being pleasant, he was a real 'jobsworth' type of man with an ID badge to prove it. He displayed not even an ounce of friendliness and he immediately produced his rules and regulations document, stating that I needed,
'An access or dropped pavement approved by us; a hard-standing approved by us; the approval of the Highways Agency and, where required, planning permission from the Council.'

He was not willing to give even an inch whilst I sorted the problem properly!

'That is just typical bureaucracy' I suggested, 'I have said that, although I did not take down the fence and the garden has been used as a drive for the past 16 years, I am quite willing to sort out the hard standing when I can afford to do so'. '

No it is not bureaucracy,' he demanded, 'It clearly states here in black and white . . .'. He continued to insist that I was not allowed to park there any more.' (What does the word 'bureaucracy' mean then? I wondered'.)

'Can I do the work myself?' I asked.

'No. The work has to be done by an approved Council builder.'

'What is the problem with doing it myself?' I asked.

'You need a drop kerb.'

'Why do I need a drop kerb? Hardly any of the other drives in the road have a dropped kerb!'

'Those houses are not owned by us, so we cannot do anything about them. You need a drop kerb because driving over the kerb will damage it!'

'Can you see even the slightest amount of damage to that kerb after 16 years of having been driven over?' I asked.

No response was given to this one. There was, of course, no damage whatsoever and he did not know how to deal with the question.

Anyway, feeling more than a little angry, I decided that I could not be bothered with the stress of arguing for months with Mr. Grayer and told him I would reinstate the fence, which I had not removed in the first place, and was indeed missing when Herefordshire Housing bought the house.

'We bought thousands of houses in Herefordshire at that time and could not inspect every single one.' Mr Grayer insisted. (Would you buy a house without looking at it first?)

I just could not be bothered to argue. Mr. Grayer's jobsworthiness obviously showed no bounds and I decided it was just not worth it. I put building a fence on my list of things to do.

A day or so later, I had been out working and on returning home, out of nothing other than habit, formed over the past 10 years of doing so many times per day, Mr. Grayer's idiotic insistence had slipped my mind and I parked on my garden. I did this only once!

Two days later, I got a letter from Mr. Grayer stating that he had seen that I had ignored his warning and that I had 28 days to fit the fence or he would take legal action. He must have such a sad life that he had nothing better to do than watch me!

I am pretty damned sure I would have won any legal action taken but my life is stressful enough already and I just could not be bothered with it, so I just purchased the parts (£100 in total) and built the fence. (Or rather, dug a couple of holes, bought the goods and got my friend, Dave, from the White Lion to build it for me.)

It was within two weeks of the fence being built that the cars were written off as both were deemed 'beyond economical repair'.

Christmas might be a rest for most but for me, it is several days, packed with news coverage work, every job of which I had to struggle to until I managed to get a hire car on Friday, 28th December. I cannot carry the two bags of heavy camera equipment plus tripods very far or I would have just walked.

Thank you Mr. Grayer. I hope you are proud of the accident, caused half by an imbecile who was driving dangerously in a built-up area, and half by yourself and your pathetic, jobsworthy, 'I've got a powerful job and an ID badge to prove it,' type of behaviour. I will certainly never get the true value of my only means of transport back from the insurance and buying a new car, a necessity for my business is going to cost me several thousands of pounds which I will have to borrow. The incident has effectively taken care of virtually all I have earned over the past year from my business of promoting the town of Ross-on-Wye.

I guess somebody, somewhere must love you but I (and everybody who has seen the resulting fence) think you're an idiot! I do hate to say, 'I told you so' but there are just some occasions when that is the only thing left to say.

The usual laws of physics obviously do not apply in Ross. Water apparently freezes at 8 degrees celcius.
This photo was taken at the time of the incident.

My old van parked safely off-road and in the garden back in December 2000, behind the section of 'removed border'.
I do have much older photos than this but this was a digital one, so it was quick and easy to find and use.
'The Halt' Self Catering, Homs Road, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.

Walford, Ross-on-Wye

Give Graeme a call to discuss all your business and home telephone and networking requirements.

For no obligation quotes call 07876 683238

Late News: The Death of Former Ross Mayor, Mike Jennings

We at Wyenot News were very sad to learn of the death of former Ross-on-Wye Mayor, Mike Jennings, who passed away on New Year's Day.

Mike had been ill for some time and retired from the Town Council just prior to the 2007 elections.

More information will follow in next week's edition of the news.

Our thoughts are with Mike's family at this time.

Jiveoholics get the White Lion Jumpin'

Monmouth band The Jiveoholics gave a terrific performance at The White Lion on Sunday, 23rd December. The place was packed with White Lion regulars and visiting fans of this great jump 'n' jive band who all had a brilliant time, dancing and foot tapping to some excellently performed music. Watch this space for details of a return visit but in the meantime, catch a glimpse of the evening on this week's edition of the WNTV News programme.

The Jiveoholics at The White Lion. Ref: DSC_3672

White Lion Nativity for Macmillan

An irreverent but hysterically funny version of the Nativity was staged in the White Lion pergola on Christmas Eve, to raise money towards the Macmillan Renton Appeal. The house (and the pub) was packed as this modern day account of the nativity was performed after just a few secret read throughs and a dress rehearsal.

Landlady Jacqui began the proceedings by introducing the characters played by Sue, Sarah, Wiz, Linda, Rhi, Ave, Paul, Carlos, Andy and Arkwright (Dave) before the play itself began, then the story unfolded:

The first scene opens with ex hooker Gabriel, forced into angelship and forcing the three wise pimps into liquidation due to her sagging body and lack of boobs . . . Want to know more? If so, a DVD of the play, costing a mere £5 will be available shortly from the White Lion to raise even more for the Macmillan Renton Appeal.

I did not realize until after the event but many in the audience were under the impression that I was filming this play for our weekly WNTV programme. This was not so, I am afraid. Although the play was very funny when performed in a pub setting, those watching were warned beforehand of its irreverence and had the option not to watch - the play could be considered offensive by some viewers. Also, if it were available on WNTV, the object of the White Lion Inn selling DVDs to raise money for the Macmillan Renton Appeal would be defeated.

The three wise pimps. Ref: DSC_3678

The 'Angel Gabriel' shares the news with three shepherds. Ref: DSC_3680

Whoopie Goldberg in disguise (Jacqui) leads the singing after the play. Ref: DSC_3683

The audience show their apprectiation not only with applause. They also raised £130 for Macmillan. Ref: DSC_3685

Nick Stephens catches me filming for the DVD. I actually thought at the time that Nick had asked for the still camera to photograph the performance! I'd have worn my best hat, had I known. Ref: DSC_3677


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