Herefordshire Council has come under fire again for the temporary measures introduced in Hereford and the surrounding market towns in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses in Leominster say trade has fallen off a cliff edge since the local authority introduced the closures affecting High Street and Corn Square from 10am to 1pm Monday to Saturday.

A 20 miles per hour speed limit, in force all the time, also covers the town centre and Hereford Road as far as Leominster Primary School.

But the changes, implemented by the council as part of a national scheme funded by Government to provide safe space for people during the pandemic, have had a dramatic effect, traders say.

Hereford Times:

Although the measures are designed to increase the space between shoppers and prevent the virus spreading, cafe owner Jo Geerlings hit out at the council.

Mrs Geerlings, who took over the Flying Dutchman cafe in Corn Square around 40 years ago, said she is not the only business to have seen a drop in trade.

“I’ve walked around and spoken to most of the people in the businesses in town to see how they feel about it. I’d say 98 per cent of the people I’ve spoken to are having a bad time with it,” she said.

“There’s been comments like ‘dire’, ‘devastating’, ‘I could cry’ and ‘I’ve sold one pair of shoes’.

“It’s my opinion, that it’s definitely going to damage the town and it’s not the right time to do it.”


Mrs Geerlings, 68, employs 23 staff at the family-run cafe but fears for the future of shops in the town if the road closures remain.

She said: “One of the councillors said give it time, but the fact is if you’ve been doing no business for three months, how much more time have you got to get your business up and running and try and get through this period and properly get back on our feet?

“We don’t need any more obstacles, there are enough.”

Herefordshire Council had not replied to questions from the Hereford Times before going to print.

Other market towns have also seen speed limits reduced to 20mph, but there have been no road closures put in place.

In Hereford, shop owners criticised the council for closing roads including parts of King Street, Bridge Street and Broad Street to encourage more cyclists and pedestrians.