THE application for SC2 - Hereford’s £25 million southern link road – has been put to Herefordshire Council planners.

This morning, the council confirmed that the formal planning process for the road – a top priority for the council’s majority Tory group – is underway.

Running between the A49 and  A465 - with a link to B4349 - SC2 is  part of a package of measures proposed to address congestion and delay in South Wye while easing access to the Hereford Enterprise Zone at Rotherwas.

Formal consultation over the route is due to start next week following validation and registration of the application.

If all goes ahead, the application could be determined by September to be built by 2018.

In December, the previous minority Tory administration stood by SC2 as the favoured option for  the route despite concerns from the then overview and scrutiny committee that the selection process could have breached the council’s own rules.

The then cabinet rejected such concerns citing the “satisfaction” of council officers and outside consultants at the potential for the process to withstand procedural challenge.

A report to cabinet recommended renewed support for SC2 as appraised “appropriately and in accordance with” relevant national guidelines.

The same “satisfaction” applied to the financial case for the road after an assessment by the council’s chief finance officer.

Route appraisal and related consultation was estimated to have cost £505,000 over the past financial year - funded through the council’s revenue budget for the scheme.

Confirmation of SC2 as the preferred route enabled the council to capitalise the cost of preparing a planning application and the future costs of completing the detailed design, land and construction requirements.

It is anticipated that these capital costs associated with the scheme to remain on programme will amount to £600,000 found through the council’s transport funding, pending any draw down of government funding.

The process the council will need to follow to draw down that funding is being developed by the Department of Transport.

Earlier in December, a single vote saw SC2 sent back to cabinet for re-appraisal after a near five hour meeting of the then council's overview and scrutiny committee.

Just seven councillors were left in session at Hereford Shirehall when the vote was called.

The current case for SC2 was rejected by a 4-3 majority with the committee citing concerns about the extent of consultation and the accuracy of the route's costings.

Three councillors called cabinet's support for SC2 to the committee saying evidence suggests issues around the choice of route have not been handled in accordance with the council’s constitution.

Amongst grounds for the call in were:

 - SC2, as backed by cabinet, passes through Grafton Wood, designated ancient woodland, a factor that ruled out four other route  options presented by the council’s consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff.

- Questionable capacity constraints identified on the A49.

- English Heritage and Sustrans - the body behind the city's Greenway foot and cycle route - not being properly consulted.

- No detailed appraisal of the case for not building a road at all.

These concerns were raised at the meeting that saw cabinet support the route.

There, members were warned then that SC2 could end in court with the related consultation process running the risk of judicial review and public inquiry.

Cabinet put its faith in legal advice given to the council’s own project consultants Parsons Brinkerhoff  that said the process was sufficient.

As proposed, SC2  leaves the A49 to pass through the centre of Grafton Wood and continue westwards over Grafton Lane and Withy Brook before veering north-west to a proposed new roundabout near the A465/B4349 junction.

At a cabinet meeting in November, Grafton Wood was said to be of a “lesser ecological standard”  than Newton Coppice and Hayleasow Wood through which other route options would pass.

Questions were raised about the extent of consultation with English Heritage over scheduled sites the road would impact on.

Much of the political opposition in the chamber was against the route as opposed to the building of a road.

SC2 was recommended to cabinet on the basis of a route options appraisal by  Parsons Brinkerhoff.

The resulting report found four of the initial eight options represented “feasible  solutions” with the other four sifted out due to environmental considerations.

Public consultation took place in July / August where the results of the four route appraisal of these four routes were set out and feedback was invited.

Following consideration of  this feedback detailed appraisal of  a number of alternative alignments took place.

Cabinet was told that the council’s own project team has reviewed the resulting report and is “satisfied” with its conclusions and the highest score being given to SC2.

SC2 also scored highly in the public consultation and legal advice suggest the appraisal process - to date - is sound enough to go up against objections.

The route is also a projected £1 million-£1.6 million cheaper than the other options.


The council has backed a route pitched as improving connections between the A465, A49 and the Rotherwas industrial estate/enterprise zone.

As proposed, SC2 would be a single carriageway connecting the B4349, the A465 and the A49.

Environmental factors were crucial to the determination of the chosen route with designated ancient woodlands like Newton Coppice and Hayleasow Wood within the development area.

Four route options were rejected as affecting ancient woodland.

Leaving the A49 at the Rotherwas access road roundabout, much of SC2 passes through farmland but a section does cut through the centre of Grafton Wood - which has no environmental designation and a low tree density – to cross over the Hereford-Cardiff rail line and under Haywood Lane in reaching a new roundabout near the A465-B4349 junction.

An impact is recognised on the significance of Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings at Haywood Lodge and the setting of Grade II listed buildings and sites nearby along with buried archaeological remains in four fields.


THE cost of SC2 is covered by a provisional allocation of £27m in government secured through the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership to support the overall South Wye Transport  Package (SWTP).

Any match funding required to deliver the overall package is anticipated to come from private sector contributions and existing transport capital  allocations.

The £500,000 costs of carrying out route appraisal and consultation have been met through council’s revenue budget.

A confirmation of SC2 as the preferred route means the council could capitalise the costs of a planning application and detailed design, land and construction.

Capital costs associated with the scheme are estimated at £1.6 million funded through council’s transport capital allocation.

That allocation is estimated to be £600,000 this year and £1 million in 2015/16, pending the drawing down of government funding.

The current estimated cost for SC2 is £25 million. Any remaining funding goes into other initiatives identified in the SWTP.


Residents and statutory bodies could lodge successful objections if the council’s appraisal process is not seen as robust - though legal advice suggests the process so far is sound.

Funding could be withdrawn if a preferred route is not selected and a planning application submitted in accordance with the project programme.

Whilst a provisional allocation of government funding has been made to fund the SWTP, the council will be required to complete further funding  submissions to the Department for Transport.

Delays to funding  being released by the Department for Transport could see in a delay to the delivery of the scheme and the need to continue covering costs from existing funding.


SC2A - a variation on SC2 with the road crossing underneath the Hereford-Cardiff rail line.

SC5 - a route located further north of SC2/SC2A and south of Merryhill Lane crossing underneath the railway line and Haywood Lane.

SC7 - similar to SC5 but more twisted in nature to avoid environmental constraints.