HEREFORDSHIRE Council contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places has been labelled a "disgrace" for saying it could take two years to cut a speed limit on a dangerous stretch of road.

Kington ward councillor Terry James launched an attack on Balfour Beatty Living Places, saying he was "sick to death" with the company which undertakes public realm works for the council.

It came as town councillors discussed at a full meeting on Monday whether to press ahead with plans to cut the limit from 60mph to 40mph after a crash in September left a husband and wife dead.

While there was no suggestion yet that speed was a factor in the crash between a motorbike and the couple walking with their dog, the council said "a history of fatalities on that stretch of road" was one of the reasons why the limit should be cut.

As well as that, it said the location of footpaths and public rights of way crossing the road means that walkers do end up on the road.

Town clerk Liz Kelso said it had to be a formal process to reduce the speed limit, and certain criteria had to be met. As well as that it could take more than two years.

Liberal Democrats ward councillor Terry James slammed the contractors, saying the issue of the speed limit on the A44 between the Headbrook roundabout and Floodgates was a matter of life and death.

He said "I think it's a disgrace. I think some of us, and including most of the council, are sick to death of Balfour Beatty putting things in the way of doing something that desperately needs doing.

"We're talking about life and death not about reducing the traffic speeds, it's a matter of an emergency."

He added: “We’re sick to death of bureaucracy built-up, they’re a hindrance to providing the services which are necessary.”

Coun James said that something had to be done “pronto” about the stretch of the A44.

Documents supplied to councillors showed that applications should be made for roads with a speed-related crash history and those outside schools and care homes, or in densely populated built-up areas.

But a typical application, if funded by Herefordshire Council, could a minimum of two years.

But if the applicant paid, in this case the town council, it could be a maximum of three months. But Ms Kelso said the cost could start from between £4,000 and £10,000.

The town councillors decided to write a “strongly-worded” letter to Herefordshire Council on the matter and to find out more information about funding any such speed limit cut.

Between 1999 and 2020, seven serious crashes were reported along the stretch of the road, shows.

Another nine classed as "slight" severity were recorded on the map.

Herefordshire Council has been approached for comment.