HEREFORD'S High Town is set for a £2.5million refurbishment – less than a decade after £2million was spent on a lengthy upgrade of the very same area.

Herefordshire Council bosses hope to bring High Town up to the same standard as nearby Widemarsh Street which underwent its own regeneration in 2010.

The move is part of a project called Hereford 2020 which the authority calls its vision for the county over the next five years.

But just eight years ago, a major refurbishment costing about £2million was completed in High Town which included commemorative slabs featuring brass letters, which began to crack a short time afterwards.

That particular project took the best part of a year to complete and saw large parts of High Town blocked off to shoppers while work was carried out by Wrekin Construction who were later nominated to receive a Considerate Constructor award for their work in the city's historic core.

The specifics of the latest High Town project are yet to be agreed, with a public consultation planned for next month.

But the Herefordshire Council leader, Councillor Tony Johnson, has pointed to an increasing number of maintenance issues in High Town of late.

"The refurbishment of Widemarsh Street in 2010 has contributed to the lift in the economy of the street by providing an attractive connection between the Old Market and the historic centre of the city," he said.

"The aspiration for the centre is to bring it up to the same standard as Widemarsh Street, using the same robust materials for longevity, removing clutter and creating a consistent aesthetic.

"We have been aware of the increasing maintenance issues in High Town and this has led to a greater need for routine maintenance.

"This means that we need to consider what could be done to improve the quality of the High Town environment and reduce current and future maintenance costs.”

The refurbishment has also won the support of city centre businessmen Jim Kenyon, who owns the Victory pub in St Owen Street, and Luke Conod, the man behind Denim Nation (Hereford) Ltd.

As reported by the Hereford Times last week, the council's cabinet member for transport and roads, Cllr Paul Rone, suggested the refurbishment could include children’s rides, buskers, flame-throwers and even a ‘band unplugged’ opportunity.

The work would also complement proposed improvements to two of Hereford’s busiest roads, Commercial Road and Blueschool Street, with the former providing a “more pleasurable” route into the city centre from the railway station.

Hereford 2020 also draws together the impending city link road and southern relief road.

A public consultation on the High Town refurbishment will be held on November 18 and 19 at a venue yet to be confirmed.