Investment plans to guide future funding to support economic recovery in Herefordshire’s five market towns have been approved.

Following extensive local engagement, the market town economic development investment plans (MTIPs) for Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury, Bromyard and Kington identify potential projects in each, and funding opportunities for them.

They were published some months ago but have only now been formally backed by senior councillors.


Councillor Ellie Chowns, Cabinet member for economy and environment said: “The council will now be working with the town councils and other local stakeholders to help take forward projects and seek funding to turn the plans into a reality.”

Presenting the MTIPs to cabinet colleagues, Coun Chowns said such funding could come from council borrowing – “but we need to be able to may that back, and not all of the projects we have identified will generate a return”.

For those which cannot be funded in this way, the MTIPs “provide an evidence base to help us to put together applications for grants like the Government’s Levelling Up Fund and Shared Prosperity Fund”, she said.

“These live documents are important foundation stones for future projects, whatever their funding source, and projects will be added.”

Meanwhile, each town “will have a named development officer who will help look for sources of funding”, she said.

The council has already identified two projects as suitable for Herefordshire Council’s Employment Land and Incubation Space (ELIS) funding – “for which we have set aside £20 million”, Coun Chowns said.

One is “a potential mixed development” on the council’s Model Farm site in Ross-on-Wye; the other, development on land currently owned by Heineken in Ledbury.


Cabinet members highlighted other development priorities for each town. Coun Gemma Davies said the council-owned Ross Enterprise Park was local councillors’ “key priority for regeneration, especially with the influx of young families to the area as a result of new housing”.

Coun Pauline Crockett said Leominster’s MTIP “contains two exciting and transformative projects on brownfield sites” - the phased development of 15-acre Dales site on Marsh Court, where a new medical centre has just been approved, and the relocation and redevelopment of the current fire station site on Broad Street.

Coun Toynbee highlighted the EcoHub employment space, which she said “has come out as the top priority in Bromyard, and is a really example of how work, health, quality of life, training, jobs and land use are all connected”.

Coun Liz Harvey said Ledbury “won’t be alone in feeling left behind on council investment in previous years”, but this oversight “is now being put right”.

“Disproportionate and mostly unplanned housing growth with no commensurate growth in local employment”, has led to over 40 per cent of workers having to commute daily from the town, she said.

Council leader David Hitchiner said Kington “lost nearly a quarter of its jobs between 2015 and 2018”, and that “some small-scale industrial units would be helpful for food manufacturing”.

Meanwhile a proposed new area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) designation for the borderlands “would really push Kington as a walking town”, he said.

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