Coun David Hitchiner has restated the council's commitment to a second road crossing over the Wye in Hereford after being re-elected unopposed as Leader of Herefordshire Council for a fourth year.

At the council’s annual meeting this morning, Coun Hitchiner, the Independents for Herefordshire member for the Stoney Street ward, received cross-party backing, with only non-aligned councillor Jim Kenyon abstaining.

Coun Hitchiner said that in the coming year, “we must continue our focus on the children’s directorate improvement, the recovery from Covid, finding solutions to the high levels of phosphates in our rivers, and dealing with whatever else is thrown at us”.

“We will improve the resilience of the county by developing plans for an eastern river crossing, a city masterplan, active travel measures, and our continued response to the climate and ecological emergency,” he said.


He praised the council’s chief financial officer Andrew Lovegrove for having delivered an underspend over the past financial year, as well as its chief executive Paul Walker, appointed a year ago, “who has coped with some curved balls we have sent him”.

And he welcomed the recruitment of four new service directors over the past year, saying: “Having the right people at the top of an organisation is fundamental to its success.”

At the meeting, Coun Sebastian Bowen was re-elected unopposed as chairperson of the council, with 34 votes from his fellow councillors. Coun Kema Guthrie retains the role of vice-chairperson.