I am seriously concerned about the way plans for road closures and limited vehicle access will affect the towns of Herefordshire, especially Leominster.

I am also concerned about the increasing trend by councils, both at county and town levels, to railroad decisions through without the necessary forethought, consultation and transparency.

Having lived most of my 74 years in Herefordshire and had various local businesses, I am deeply committed to the fortunes of the county and to Leominster in particular.

However, in recent years I have witnessed a disregard for the people and businesses that make up a healthy community, with decisions imposed from above without thinking through the consequences properly and carefully.

When money becomes available it seems to burn a hole in the council’s pocket without adequate forethought being given to what is really required.

This cavalier attitude has contributed to Leominster always seeming to have to come from behind despite being Herefordshire’s second largest town.

This attitude also makes it extremely hard for independent businesses to survive, let alone prosper and leads to erosion of pride in the town.

Witness the appalling state of some of the roads, the poor state of some of the buildings, limited facilities and the general disillusionment because people and especially businesses are not consulted properly, if at all.

On occasions I have felt ashamed when visitors comment how shabby the town has become.

I try to defend the town, but I always feel on shaky ground.

This is a clarion call to both the county and town council: get a grip on what is really required; consult businesses and residents, and be prepared to take a strategic view on how to rejuvenate the town.

We must get our town back firing on all cylinders.

There is much goodwill among businesses and residents, but please don’t ride roughshod over them.

Represent and help them with what is really required, not gimmicky traffic schemes that will see businesses fold and older residents struggle to manage.

Jane Cooper

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