New parking charges in Herefordshire “will put more pressure on the motorist”, an opposition councillor has said.

The council’s radical draft budget proposes widening the area of Hereford where on-street car parking charges will apply, and to increase car parking charges, in a bid to balance its budget.

But True Independents leader Coun Bob Matthews said at last week’s (January 26) cabinet meeting: “If you want to get the motorist out of the city centre, you provide park-and-ride on the outskirts, you don’t purge people coming in from rural areas.”

Cabinet member for transport Coun John Harrington replied: “We have plans for better park-and-ride. The masterplan will allow people who need to use their cars to come into the city and park. We are talking about inflationary rises primarily.

“We have to manage our spaces, it’s a balance. Unfortunately, our bid for £18 million for better buses was thrown out by the Government.”


Coun Matthews questioned why the budget figures did not mention the proposed new road crossing over the Wye to the east of the city.

The Eastern crossing “is funded and on track, and you will get an update next month on that”, Coun Harrington said.

Conservative group leader Coun Jonathan Lester said the Government was continuing to fund the county’s highways.

“In 2019 this council received £12 million towards roads maintenance, last year it was £15 million, so since 2019 the council has had £63 million,” he said.

“So saying that the Government has not supported councils where they need it is not an accurate picture.”

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To which Coun Harrington said: “the capital funding we still get for road surfacing has seen a 33 per cent reduction in real terms since 2011. And the revenue has almost completely gone.

“The county is crumbling, and we cannot function without government support. And why should we? We’re not an independent kingdom, we’re part of the United Kingdom, and should be funded fairly.”

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