Dr Ellie Chowns

MP for North Herefordshire

Dr Ellie Chowns

for North Herefordshire

Dr Ellie Chowns

for North Herefordshire

Ellie's plan for Herefordshire

Ellie listening to residents in Leintwardine

Ellie has spoken with thousands of voters in North Herefordshire and has found their concerns share a lot of common ground. You have told Ellie about: 

  1. feeling tired of being taken for granted, 
  2. how the cost of living is grinding you down or you’re worried about the impact on people close to you,  
  3. your struggle to get medical appointments, the fruitless search for NHS dentists and your fears about social care costs, 
  4. hearing news about pollution in our rivers and witnessing local changes in nature and wildlife, which are worrying too. 

    You’ve also been keen to tell Ellie about the pride you feel in Herefordshire’s strong communities and beautiful countryside. All these conversations have shaped Ellie’s plan for North Herefordshire. 

    Three actions cut across all of the detail. 

    First that Ellie will fight for fair rural funding, to make sure our transport systems, our health and care provision and our farmers all get funding that reflects the difficulty of providing rural services. It’s obscene that Londoners receive more funding per capita than Herefordians when services are so much cheaper to provide there. 

    Second that Ellie will keep on listening to everyone’s hopes and concerns. There are deep problems facing the services we all depend on and solutions will emerge from listening to and working with all sides. 

    Third that Ellie will be pushing for a fair tax system to help fund the investment we all need. Costs are so high at the moment because investment has been too low for too long. Investment will unleash benefits that will bring down costs and raise further tax revenue.  

    Ellie with the team at Bosbury Brew

    Renew our Economy 

    We have a real opportunity to renew the local economy so that it’s fit for the future. Ellie’s plan for Herefordshire is full of practical solutions that are ‘win-win-win’: good for business, good for people, and good for the planet. 

    1. Attracting and keeping younger people in the county with excellent training opportunities
    2. Boosting tourism, bringing more money into the county
    3. Supporting small businesses to continue thriving 
    4. Improving housing, old and new, so everyone can afford to live in a cosy home 
    5. Expanding cheap renewable energy 
    6. Upgrading transport options, including roads, rail, rural buses and disabled access (for more detail, see below)

    What will this really look like? Learning from our neighbours like the successful fflecsi buses in rural Wales. Better paid jobs in the county. Rent controls to bring the housing market within reach of younger people. 

    Repair our NHS 

    We all rely on strong and effective public services. We need to support the frontline workers who care for us in our times of need. 

    1. Ensuring health and social care are fully joined-up and free at the point of need 
    2. Training more doctors and nurses, and ensuring NHS pay keeps up with inflation
    3. Investing more in preventive healthcare, helping us all live longer, healthier lives and reducing demand on GPs and hospitals,  

    What will this really look like? Attracting NHS staff to the county so there are more appointment available and less waiting. Offering training to local people so they can make the most of NHS employment opportunities too. Promoting every chance for people to be more active in their community to combat loneliness.

    Ellie with Chris Boardman at the opening of new cycling facilities
    Ellie by the Wye

    Restore our Rivers 

    We have a responsibility to protect nature. We need to stop pollution and take action on climate change. 

    1. Supporting nature-friendly farming, and ensuring that farm subsidies pay for environmental and social benefits 
    2. Helping farmers to sell more produce locally, including through a free primary school meals programme for all using locally grown food 
    3. Ensuring the polluter pays so companies stop using nature as a dumping ground by boosting the powers of the Environment Agency and bringing water companies back into public hands. 
    4. Protecting Herefordshire’s meadows, orchards and woodlands and planting many more trees 

    What will this really look like? Farmers proudly meeting best practice with the involvement of their local communities. Water Protection Zones for the Lugg and the Wye, so that we all know the rivers are improving.

    More detail on transport

    I’m just as frustrated as everyone else by the state of our roads.  It’s a very obvious symptom of 14 years of Conservative cuts to public services.  Council funding has been slashed year after year, and our MP has voted for these cuts each year.  The result is that it would now cost £310 million to get Herefordshire’s roads and pavements back into decent condition, and yet the government has only given us an extra £3m this year – just 1% of what is needed.  The only solution to our crumbling roads is to reverse the cuts to local council funding and that’s what I’m campaigning for.  I think we also need fairer funding for rural areas as we have more miles of road to look after!

    I also share all the concerns I hear about traffic congestion in Hereford. I know what it’s like crawling up and over Aylestone Hill. Having read hundreds of pages of evidence on the topic, I’m convinced that a bypass is not the answer:

    1. First of all, most traffic won’t use it.  The large majority of Hereford traffic is trying to get somewhere within the city, not trying to get around it.  We need to make it easier for people to get into the city.
    2. A bypass will open up land for over 6000 new houses in the west, each of which will have probably 2 cars, each of which will end up clogging up the city streets even more, eg driving from the west over to the colleges or hospital in the east.
    3. A bypass will cost so much – at least a quarter of a billion pounds.  It’s really bad value for money. And the funding just is not available and there is not prospect that it ever will be.
    4. There are lots of cheaper and quicker things we can do to reduce congestion.  For example: we all know the traffic is far worse in term time, during the school run.  If all kids had free public transport, imagine how many journeys would be removed from the roads!  It’s unfair that older people get a free bus pass but children don’t.  Of course there’s no single magic bullet; instead we need a combination of things to give people far more choice on how to get around: park and ride, better buses, bus lanes, safer cycling and walking, last mile delivery hubs, set hours for freight deliveries and I could go on. All these things would help reduce congestion at low cost and help free up space on our roads for people who really need it, like those with mobility problems, and small businesses.
    Ellie by a rural pothole

    Dr Ellie Chowns

    for North Herefordshire

    About Ellie