The design chosen for the bus station within Hereford’s planned new transport hub could be lethal, senior councillors have been warned.

Opposition Conservative councillors are unhappy about the “DIRO” (drive in, reverse out) format selected for the new station, planned for the area in front of the railway station, group spokesman Coun Nigel Shaw told a council cabinet meeting last Thursday.

“A quarter of work-related vehicle deaths occur when vehicles are reversing,” he said, citing examples of fatalities at DIRO-format bus stations in Banbury, Huddersfield and Plymouth.

In Dudley and Stourbridge meanwhile, DIRO designs have recently been rejected over safety concerns, he said.


A document with the transport hub proposals weighed up the competing merits of DIRO, “sawtooth” and “island” formats for the new bus station, giving DIRO the highest overall rating.

This “incorporates as much greenspace as possible and provides the best separation of people from vehicle movements, retains the best view and enhances the setting of the grade II listed station building”, the council document recommending approval said.

“Any safety issues can be managed and mitigated” with the DIRO format, as with the other two candidate formats, it added.

Coun Shaw claimed this was inadequate, and “would surely concern the HSE [Health & Safety Executive] should any incidents subsequently occur”.

Given the £6.3 million of council funding that will have to be found, the plans will have to first be approved by a full meeting of councillors, expected to be next month.

“I think that council will want to see a full safety analysis before allocating further capital,” Coun Shaw said.

Cabinet member for infrastructure and transport Coun John Harrington responded: “DIRO was the preferred choice of professionals in this field, and is how many bus stations in the country operate, including Gloucester’s, which is operating very well.”

But he said the council “will look into the deaths and see what the causation was”, and “will provide answers in relation to safety audits or any further work that might be done”.

Independents for Herefordshire group repesentative Coun Peter Jinman said: “It’s important that we get a safety report, and I’m pleased to hear that’s happening.”

He added that he also “looked forward to some comment” on the scheme’s likely impact on adjacent areas such as the Station Road junction, given the expected increase in traffic.

Coun Harrington said the design will proceed within the context of wider proposed transport changes in the area.

“The hub has very much a radial design, you are going in 180-degree directions, and I expect our design team to understand the implications of that,” he said.

Green Party group representative Coun Trish March said “We are glad it’s under way, and regret that over-runs under the previous administration have made this a longer process than one would have liked.”