Herefordshire Council’s decision this week to spend nearly £600,000 on planters to adorn Hereford’s “ring road to nowhere” has prompted an angry reaction.

The council will also spend £715,000 on putting right the much criticised kerbs on the semi-pedestrianised section of Widemarsh Street, as part of a £6 million package of spending on its Hereford City Centre Improvement (HCCI) project.

Opposition Conservative councillor Ann-Marie Probert said the announcement made her “ashamed to admit I was a councillor”.

Noting that the council has just approved a 3 per cent increase in its council tax share from next month, she said: “There are people living on the breadline and we are throwing money around. This is not the time – help our residents first.”

Over £800,000 will be spent on planters, over £570,000 of which will go to adorn the City Link Road, which Coun Probert said was “a disgusting amount of money” to spend on “the ring road to nowhere”.

The controversial road project spiralled in cost from a budgeted £11 million to an eventual £16 million by the time of its completion, under the previous Conservative administration, in late 2017.

She added: “We apparently have pulled the plans to build a new fire and police station as it will cost too much money! Wow.”

The delegated decision approving the spending package was made by the council’s recently appointed corporate director for economy and environment Ross Cook, following outline approval of the programme last October by the cabinet member infrastructure and transport Coun John Harrington.

The £6 million package breaks down as:

  • Kerb improvements to Widemarsh Street: £715,000
  • Cycle contraflow on St Owen Street: £700,000
  • HCCI project management costs: £582,260
  • High Town enhancements: £572,407
  • City Link Road planters: £570,191
  • Façade improvement grants and business grants: £500,000
  • “Hostile vehicle movement”: £500,000
  • City greening: £362,000
  • Cathedral and River Wye Quarter design: £340,000
  • City trees: £320,000
  • Cathedral and River Wye Quarter planters: £262,500
  • Public art and installations: £243,000
  • High Town area minor works: £211,642
  • CCTV: £60,500
  • Market and event infrastructure: £30,500
  • Cycle shelters for City Green: £30,000