PROPOSALS for a new Hereford rail link have been scrapped after a report found the scheme did not offer value for money.

A report signed off at cabinet level this week said no further work would be undertaken to progress the scheme for a new link between the city’s railway station and the Rotherwas Industrial Estate.

It comes after the release of a Herefordshire Council’s ‘New Station High Level Demand and Business Case’ study, which also found the scheme would require an ongoing subsidy.

The study, which followed standard transport business case methodology and was carried out by Parsons Brinckerhoff for the council, found a new station on an existing rail line would need to generate an annual passenger demand of at least 70,000 journeys.

However, the forecast of current demand – if the new station was operational now – would be 19,300 journeys per year.

The future total demand – incorporating the full development of the Rotherwas Enterprise Zone and housing – would be 34,100 journeys per year, while the link was estimated to cost £11.5m. Further figures quoted a predicted revenue shortfall of £118,000 per year.

Adrian Bridges, a Belmont rural parish councillor and one of the biggest campaigners for the Rotherwas rail link, said a “golden opportunity” has been missed.

Cabinet agreed in January to carry out an initial development plan to see whether there was a business case for the new rail link.

In February it was agreed additional funding of up to £125,000 might be drawn from reserves to commission more detailed feasibility work – based on the outcome of the initial report.

That £125,000 will now be retained for reserves.

Councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for infrastructure, said the report showed there would never be enough demand to support the rail link scheme financially.