Lance Marshall of Whitecross Road, Hereford, says strangely, no lessons have been learnt from Widemarsh Street development for Broad Street (From Hereford Times)
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Lance Marshall of Whitecross Road, Hereford, says strangely, no lessons have been learnt from Widemarsh Street development for Broad Street
8:00am Friday 15th June 2012 in Letters
FORTUNATELY we can still comment on the proposals referred to in your article headed “shape of city to come” (Hereford Times, May 31) before they are set in stone.
Your timely article also reminds us to look again for a vision for Hereford’s future.
£100,000 was spent making over Widemarsh Street. The distracting road patterns have proved confusing to drivers, while miniature, non-functional and erratically placed kerbs have hospitalised walkers.
A “consultant” subsequently explained that people would get used to these kerbs. What people? Are there no strangers in Hereford? No elderly people?
No blind people? This judgement ignores the function of street planning – which is to be safe, to be easy of access, and to be unobtrusive.
Strangely, no lessons have been learnt from this trial run. The architect now proposes to spend £2.8 million on more of the same. He seemingly has not read his brief.
He is unaware that Hereford attracts elderly tourists whose eyesight cannot judge low and randomly-placed kerbs. He is unaware that Hereford is home to the world famous Royal National College for the Blind, whose graduates need recognisable kerbs for mobility.
He is unaware that “creating space for cycle movements” will be hazardous for everyone, without the safe haven of a pavement free from cyclists.
He is unaware that “a space for trading activities between the cathedral and High Town”
conflicts with the cabinet's plans to direct retail trading away from the city centre. He is unaware that his “pedestriandominated space” can no longer “complement the recently refurbished Cathedral Close” as the latter has now been separated by high railings.
This does not seem to me a very sound prospectus for the spending of £2.8m of our money.
Nor do I believe that directing local people to the cattle market shops is the only future Hereford deserves.
Hereford’s future prosperity must depend on new visitors, bringing new money in. They will visit for its historic architecture, for its festivals, and, when we have it, easy parking (especially for the disabled and elderly) plus an inviting access to the River Wye.
I do not believe these visitors will come a second time to edgeof- town parking, to hazardous road surfaces, unsafe walking, and an inaccessible River Wye.
Widemarsh Street is the first visible outcome of this cabinet’s developments. You might think a team of ex-businessmen would have recognised an irrelevant response to the city’s needs, still less to have approved an outcome of such suburban mediocrity.
LANCE MARSHALL, Whitecross Road, Hereford.