PLANS to close a road near Hereford have been abandoned after a backlash from the local community.

The B4224 Fownhope Road, which was shut for 13 months due to storm damage and only reopened in March, was due to be shut again from today (August 23).

But Balfour Beatty Living Places, Herefordshire Council’s contractor, backed down from its plans after criticism.

Katie McCullen, from Balfour Beatty Living Places, said the surfacing and drainage works on the B4224 around Fownhope would instead take place in the autumn.

She said the community had concerns over the impact on local tourism and leisure after the Covid restrictions eased.

Ward councillor John Hardwick said cabinet member for infrastructure and transport John Harrington made the call for the works to be pulled.

He said the works needed were highlighted in early 2020, but budget constraints meant they could not go ahead during the 13-month closure.

“Having lost a lot of Government money annually, the works couldn’t be progressed at the moment in time.

“Disappointing as it was, that was the fact, hence why they’ve got to be done now after the road has been reopened.

!We’re in a new financial year now and obviously the finances have been found to do them now they will be progressed as soon as possible.

“My job now is to now make sure when that road closure does take place it is at the least inconvenient time for local businesses and residents.”

Ms McCullen, of Balfour Beatty Living Places, said the work was planned for the summer holidays to “minimise distruption to commuters and school traffic”, but then concerns were raised over the “impact on local tourism and leisure” in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions easing

The road reopened in March after landslides caused by Storm Dennis in February 2020 were fixed.