AN AMBITIOUS man who wants to resurrect a disused 25-mile railway through Herefordshire has been labelled “totally impervious” to critics’ concerns – but he's fighting back.

Tom Fisher, of WBL Greenway, has been meeting with local groups and councils to update them on plans for the former Worcester, Bromyard and Leominster railway line, last used in 1964.

But Hatfield Group Parish Council was left less than impressed, with questions raised about how keen landowners were for the idea, with the old railway land now not in public ownership.


“The gentleman giving the presentation was totally impervious to the comments and concerns of people present,” minutes of the council's September 28 meeting said.

Ward councillor John Harrington, Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, told the meeting that the county council was not fully in support of the proposal, which would see the route be turned into a walking, cycling and horse-riding route.

Coun Harrington said Mr Fisher “hadn’t thoroughly researched the project or carried out accurate surveys” and hadn’t contacted any of the landowners concerned – but he says that's the next step.

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Coun Harrington said he had also received “numerous complaints” about the meeting and the “inaccuracies”.

But Tom Fisher has now hit back, saying the Greenway is being promoted by a community interest company.

That has five directors, 15 members and more than 400 supporters, with 1,500 people responding to an online survey about plans, with 95 per cent in favour.

A feasibility study, carried out by professionals, found the route would cost around £6.6 million to build, following the route of the old railway line from Worcester to Leominster, through places such as Bromyard and Rowden.


That study found that there would be improvements to physical and mental health, tourism and the number of local jobs.

Those benefits could be worth "five times that amount", Mr Fisher claimed, adding: "Thus delivering a very high return on investment."

He says the next step is to engage with landowners.

"We had previously informed landowners of the project in early 2020," he said.

"We are very much aware of their wide variety of concerns and we are determined to do everything we can to reach resolve them. Indeed, the project cannot proceed without landowner agreement."