ROSS-ON-WYE councillors fear funding set aside to develop a new business park in the town will be spent elsewhere in the county.

Herefordshire Council had previously identified Ross Model Farm in Hildersley as a site which could create up to 1,000 jobs.

In 2019, council leaders praised the £7m regeneration scheme and included it in their capital investment program.

But the county council now says that a detailed design and tendering of the development has shown significantly higher costs than they had anticipated.

They say the project is no longer considered value for money.

However, Ross town councillors believe the “pessimistic” report is an excuse to spend the funds elsewhere.

Councillor Chris Bartrum said: “There was some concern expressed by the county council that they really could not see any way of making an employment site at Model Farm work.

“However, Paul Sampson has been trying to resuscitate a scheme to make it work.

“He’s talking to businesspeople, developers, the county council, to try and resuscitate Model Farm as an employment site.

“We had pushed quite hard to keep that as a project, so we are trying to achieve that.”

Councillor Phil Cutter said he could see no reason why the scheme could not go ahead.

“It would bring valued employment and various other things to the town.”


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Councillor Julian Utting said he too would like to see the site developed.

“I see this review to be pessimistic about it and an excuse for the county council to nick all the money back to them, so Ross gets nothing,” he said.

“I do want to see that regeneration at Model Farm so that we can have some more employment.”

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said they are currently working with local communities to create an economic development investment plan to grow the market towns.

“Following detailed design and tendering of the proposed development of Ross Enterprise Park, the identified costs were significantly higher than expected, and the project is no longer considered value for money,” they said.

“The council is currently working with the town councils, businesses and other local stakeholders in each of the market towns to develop an Economic Development Investment Plan to enable the growth of the towns in the future.

“For Ross this includes considering the need for employment land, and the options available for meeting this need whether this be on model farm and/or other sites in the town.”