WITH regard to the proposed closure of market town centres in Herefordshire, these proposals are loosely based on a government policy designed to a) cut down air pollution from traffic in city centres, especially London and b) reduce overcrowding on public transport, which may be contributing to the spread of Covid-19.  

In these London conditions bicycles are a sensible mode of transport for those young and fit enough to use them (although unsuitable for carrying heavy loads).

However, one size does not fit all!

This bicycles-only policy has been misappropriated by Herefordshire Council and directed at the market towns, where neither air pollution nor overcrowding on buses is a problem.

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We have some of the cleanest air in England and our buses, where available, are half empty most of the time.

Closing off the town centres to cars and buses will not make those of us who live outside the towns (which is most of us in rural Herefordshire) get on our bikes to go to work, to go to the pub or to shop at our high street shops.

It will force us either to drive on lengthy new routes or order everything we need from large supermarkets and online retailers, with consequent damage to local trade – particularly shops and hospitality – as well as an increase in delivery vehicles on our roads.  

Visitors, too, will be discouraged.

Most of us, especially the Hereford Times, are trying to support local businesses.

The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership is putting a significant sum into helping promote tourism in the county.  

Closing the market town centres will achieve nothing and the collateral economic damage could be devastating.

Herefordshire Council should think again as a matter of urgency and, if it wishes to promote cycling, find a way of doing so which is more appropriate to our area.

Julia C Evans