HEREFORD Green Party has criticised the recent consultation by Herefordshire Council about the proposed Western Bypass, labelling it as 'not fit for purpose'.

"Consultation must be at a time when proposals are at a formative stage," the statement says.

"The proposal on whether to have a bypass is not at a formative stage. Council cannot have an open mind on the responses...and conscientiously take them into account because it has already decided that a bypass should form part of the package by including it in the adopted Local Plan Core Strategy of 2015."

This was confirmed at the Full Council meeting on March 9 when Cllr Philip Price responded to a public question.

"This is a consultation not a referendum," he said.

"It would be wrong to set a percentage in relation to a single question as you do so would be to disregard the comprehensive evidence base which informed the Core Strategy adopted by Council in 2015 and which confirms that the bypass scheme is needed to deliver the county's growth."

The Green Party also finds fault with the information provided in the consultation on the relative harms expected to result from the seven different bypass routes, deeming them "inaccurate and incomplete" and preventing respondents from making informed judgements on which bypass is preferred.

Press officer for Hereford Green Party Rob Palgrave said: "The current consultation is an expensive sham: it pretends to ask residents if they think the bypass is needed, it overplays the benefits, and gives incomplete and misleading information about the damage that will be done.

"What is needed is a fully considered master travel plan for Hereford that addresses the needs of all residents and businesses across the whole of the city and not a 'package' consisting of a new trunk road and a very short list of small scale interventions which are not joined up.

"Investment and creative thinking needs to be applied to public transport so that it can provide a viable alternative to car trips."