MORE than 20 business in Hereford say they have no confidence in Herefordshire Council after "radical changes" to the city centre.

As part of the active travel measure orders to encourage more people to cycle and walk, as well as ensuring sufficient space for shoppers to socially distance, parts of Bridge Street, King Street and Broad Street have been closed to vehicles.

Businesses in the area, including Andrew Morris Estate Agents, Pritchard’s and Sarah Jane's Joy of Flowers, say the council has used it's power in an "ill-judged, prejudicial and draconian way" at one of the city's most vulnerable times.

The group of businesspeople, headed by Luke Conod who owns FIT in Widemarsh Street, want the changes reversed. They are then demanding the council consult with them over measures which will be more "coherent and workable"

"We, the undersigned local businesses, believe Herefordshire Council has used their power in an ill-judged, prejudicial and draconian way at one of our city’s most vulnerable times to drive through a programme of works which has resulted in our streets being ripped apart to make them Inaccessible to motor cars using the excuse that our national government is funding new cycle lanes," the petition by Luke Conod said.

"Whilst we all want and need to see our Hereford become a greener place live, work, shop, visit and enjoy with far more cycling and walking , we simply have to implement these radical changes in a more coherent and consensual way and our council should take account of the simple fact that our city’s commercial future is on a knife edge and that it only works when respect is paid to the fact we are a market town and we need good roadways, easy access parking for goods and people or the concept of sound commercial business is lost."


As well as the 25 business listed on the petition, it has so far mustered up more than 600 signatures.

The petition, which also has the support of Jackson’s Property, King Street Kitchen and  Cafe Bodega, added: "Many of our businesses were starting to manage the changes as a result of Covid-19, then this latest little project that someone thought would be fun to try comes along and kicks them in the commercial teeth, this cannot stand, if this goes on unchallenged and not reversed so many of our local businesses will simply give up.

"We simply ask that those in political power grasp the nettle and instruct officers to change the policy, reverse the changes made and then properly consult with the people who trade and live here and who make our city work and then perhaps we will have a coherent and workable strategy."

Herefordshire Council has been approached for comment, but previously transport chief Councillor John Harrington has said measures will be adapted if there is evidence to do so.


Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure John Harrington said on July 31: "In terms of responses, people have been mixed in their views and a lot of people have expressed concern.

"A lot of the concerns were not based on enough time to make a decision, so people making claims footfall and retail takings were down, I'd say it was a little bit early to say that and a little bit unfair to make those assumptions.

"And also I think we've got to remember that this is something the Government has asked us to do, and it's been done for two reasons

"One of the most important reasons, as highlighted by the return of spikes throughout the country, is to make sure people realise we're still living with an active, live virus and we have to try and provide space on the streets as we get busier and busier.

"It might look a bit empty now as some of the space which we've taken looks a bit redundant, but if we get busy we need to be maintaining those distances.

"We've also got a responsibility to try to provide people the opportunity to continue travelling by cycling or walking if they want to, that's one of the requirements of the funding awarding."