People in Herefordshire will soon get to have their say on Hereford’s two flagship modernisation projects before work on them begins next year.

“It’s important the people of Herefordshire get behind this,” Herefordshire Council’s service director for communities Amy Pitt said.

She was speaking as she gave an update on the planned museum in the former library on Broad Street, and the new library and learning resource centre for the Maylord Orchard shopping centre.

A final bid for government funding for the two projects was submitted last month, along with a commitment to co-fund the two from the council’s own coffers.

“We expect to have government approval [of the £8 million Stronger Towns funding] in a couple of months,” the council’s acting director for economy and environment Roger Allonby said.

“What we have submitted to the government is the business case – how it will deliver for the city.

“While they are deliberating, we are looking at the design of both projects, so when they sign off on the final funding, we are ready to start – which is important given the money must be spent in a limited period.”


Public consultation, expected to begin at the start of next month, will be a requirement of a further £5 million that the council is seeking from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to whom a formal bid will be submitted in November, Mr Allonby added.

Some design issues are “still evolving”, he said, such as whether to site the new museum’s café on the top floor, from where it could spill out onto the proposed roof terrace.

“But with a listed historic building, the physical changes only go so far,” he said. “It’s what goes in it that’s key.”

Part of the reason for tripling the building’s exhibition space is that it needs to be bigger to be self-sustaining, according to video for the project likely to be used in the public consultation.

This will enable it to house the Herefordshire Hoard, which the council has just confirmed it now owns, as well as other artefacts it owns but which are not on public view – “including a Turner”, Mr Allonby said.

On this, Amy Pitt added: “It’s the heritage of the people of Herefordshire, and we want them to feel ownership.”

The revamped Maylord Orchard will meanwhile have “nature-inspired” detailing and signage throughout, starting with timber frontages at both entrances, as well as new seating and planting inside and out.

Building work on Maylord is scheduled to begin next spring, while planning permission and listed building consent for the museum is expected in October. Construction can then begin next summer, with opening scheduled for spring 2025.

Mr Allonby did not think a change in the political weather either nationally or locally could now derail either project, despite a new Prime Minister, with likely cost-cutting plans, expected to be in place next month, and elections for all Herefordshire’s council wards next May.

“There has been universal support for this, from councillors, from the county’s two MPs and from other key stakeholders and partners,” he said.

Ms Pitt said: “These are services that haven’t seen investment for some time, and consulting across the political parties has been key to getting to this point.”