A CIVIC group has said the planned £2.5 million refurbishment of Hereford's High Town is "entirely frivolous".

Public consultation on the Herefordshire Council-led idea, which could take up to four years to complete, is due to end on January 3.

But Hereford Civic Society, which called a special meeting of its members to discuss the plans, says the money would be better spent elsewhere.

"Clearly there are areas of paving that need attention, but the wholesale replacement of hard landscaping is entirely frivolous, especially in times of austerity," said the Society in response to the planned refurbishment which would be carried out in three phases, less than a decade after a similar project in High Town was completed.

"The three-phased approach will mean disrupting trading three times. The current paving does not discourage visitors to High Town. The new paving will not attract additional visitors.

"It is unlikely there is one person in the whole of Hereford who would dig up his or her driveway and then replace it again within eight years of installation."

The group admits there are a few areas which need more attention than others and urged the council to stay local with the work.

It also believes the budget for the work should be transferred to junction improvements including Church Street/East Street and Blueschool Street/Commercial Road, with more focus on a city square in High Town.

"If one thinks of Hereford, we suggest many think immediately of High Town," said the group. "It should be a grand space with café tables spilling out from restaurants, not a cluttered area of kiosks, gas bottles and waste bins.

"Perhaps it should also sport a great screen on which to display special events, with a magnificent sound system."

One part of the consultation features the potential introduction of on-street parking charges in a number of streets close to the city centre including Broad Street, St Owen Street, Gaol Street and King Street.

The council says it is considering a 20p charge for the first half hour which would rise to £1.50 for one hour and £3 for two hours.

The public can take part in the consultation by visiting herefordshire.gov.uk