HEREFORD MP Jesse Norman has said it could be hard for the county council to get government funding for an eastern link road.

Mr Norman said the Department for Transport may be sceptical about future road plans in the county given the current Herefordshire Council administration’s wish to cancel the western bypass.

Speaking at a general scrutiny meeting last week, councillor Bob Matthews asked if the Hereford and South Herefordshire MP could assure the council that the necessary funding would be made available to take forward an eastern river crossing.

“I would love to be able to tell you that the eastern link road would be funded by central government now,” Mr Norman replied.

“When I last looked at it, when the council could have pressed it forward a few years ago it was a £22m to £25m project. It will be more expensive now.

“I have to tell you that I think it is going to be a hard, hard line and there’s a reason for that.

“There’s going to be a high level of scepticism about whether the council is serious about this new road having rejected the £200m that were lined up for the western bypass or whether it isn’t serious about it.

“And if it was serious now, whether it would be serious in future.

“So, I do think the council has got some serious questions to ask.

“And there is the further issue of whether there are moneys that require being repaid to the local enterprise partnership from the southern link road.”


Mr Norman said he always supported an eastern link but explained that it would never be a bypass due to the environmental protections associated with the River Lugg catchment.

“It is a little road with one lane each way which goes from Rotherwas, in my original view, up to the Ledbury road,” he said.

“What it does is it takes the pressure off Edgar Street and it allows the very active movement into the eastern parts of the city from the south.

“The bypass on the western side is a separate thing and that has to do with detrunking the A49 in the centre of the city and potentially opening up development land to the south and west.”

Cabinet members agreed last month to drop the two road projects but the final decision will be made at a meeting of all county councillors at a meeting in February.

Council leaders want to look into the possibility of a link from Rotherwas to the A438 Ledbury Road and improve walking, cycling, bus services and parking measures to reduce traffic in Hereford.

Work on the western bypass and southern link road in Hereford was paused after the local elections in 2019.

The new coalition administration, made up of Independent, Green and It’s Our County councillors, agreed to pause and review the schemes which had been planned by the Conservative Party.