HEREFORDSHIRE has never been in such a mess and there is huge anger at the council for splashing more than £1 million on a cyclepath less than quarter of a mile long.

That is the message from group leader for Liberal Democrats Coun Terry James who has hit out at the council and the way it is managed.

Under the Independents and Green Party Coalition currently in power, with that possibly changing in May's local elections, Coun James said Herefordshire Council was in a mess.


It was currently approaching the budget, where, among other factors, it will decide how much to raise council tax by.

This year it could be as much as five per cent, with the Government upping the cap before local authorities need to consult.

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"I have never seen it in such a mess," he said, adding the council had overspent by £11 million and it would be "catastrophic" for services in the county over coming years.

"It will be a disastrous time ahead," he warned.


One councillor has warned of tricky times ahead of years to come. Picture: Rob Davies

One councillor has warned of tricky times ahead of years to come. Picture: Rob Davies


Coun James, who represents the Kington ward, said there was anger in Hereford about the overspend on various projects, including the St Owen Street cycle path – which eventually came in around £400,000 over budget, at a cost of £1.1 million.

During January 9's full meeting of Kington Town Council, he said the work to create a contraflow for cyclists had "destroyed what was a very pleasant street".

He said staff had been leaving Herefordshire Council "in droves" over the last six months and it was very difficult to get hold of staff because of the way things are being managed.

He also said there was low morale among staff.


Nearly two-thirds of the predicted overspend of £11.2 million is due to costs associated with improving the failing children's services department, a council report said.

Coun John Harrington, the cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, recently said the St Owen Street bike contraflow scheme was an idea inherited from a former administration.

He said: "It’s a very good idea in my opinion, because it’s a desire line, people were going up it anyway.

“The issue is how do we protect people [from cyclists] going the other way [from traffic].

"The previous administration’s scheme did that, but it wasn’t compliant with new legislation saying you had to segregate cyclists where you could.”

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