Hereford can expect some big changes in the coming years, according to a new draft masterplan for the city.

The main focus of the plan, intended to guide Hereford's development betwen now and 2050, is on transport, specifically how to deal with its perennial traffic problem and make getting about simpler, healthier and more sustainable.

To this end it proposes some radical measures, including:

  • Preventing parents from dropping off and picking up their children at school by car at key times.
    This would “reduce road danger, make it safer for children to walk or cycle to school, and lower air pollution outside schools”, the draft document says, and suggests that it could be enforced using automatic number plate recognition, or by volunteer parents or teachers.
  • Extending more permanent low-traffic neighbourhoods, where through-traffic is all but eliminated, and short car trips disincentivised, to cover most of the city.
  • Moving to a franchising model for bus services instead of the current, less prescriptive partnership with private bus providers.
    This could lead to better integration of bus services with other forms of transport, and to a unified “brand” with integrated ticketing.
  • Measures to cut traffic in Hereford’s historic core, including more one-way and pedestrianised streets, and “modal filters” to, for example, only allow buses through.
  • Allowing “considerate cycling at all times in the city centre”, including in pedestrianised areas, and the “wrong” way down one-way streets, is also being considered.
  • Also being considered will be new or improved road crossing points at key spots along a proposed walking and cycling network within Hereford.
  • Further afield, better integration of bus, rail, cycling and walking, including enabling more “e-cycling” for longer trips, and recreational and leisure routes for cycling, to benefit the county’s towns and villages.
  • The masterplan also restates the “long-term aspiration” of reopening Pontrilas railway station and creating a Hereford Parkway station at Rotherwas, “should it become economically viable”.


Away from transport, the draft masterplan proposes:

  • Bring the city's historic defences "back into the public consciousness", with a continuous, accessible historic walls trail, new tree planting, and marking of the five city gateways, now all but invisible.
  • Bringing in a more coherent and consistent look for paving, furniture and lighting in the historic centre.
  • Rethinking High Town, where paving could recreate the historic channels while making it navigable to cyclists, and "large-stature" trees planted.
  • Neighbouring St Peter’s Square would be re-established as a civic square for pedestrians and events, rather than the present transport hub.
  • Many other central streets and passages will also get makeovers.
  • Car parks at Gaol Street, Venn Close and East Street be turned into new residential accommodation, while Bath Street car park would become a public green space.
  • A "dynamic and flexible role" for the now largely empty Shirehall, with multiple uses and sources of income, including a performance space "that can attract touring acts".
  • The current Tesco store on Bewell Street, with its underground car park, should eventually be redesigned, "to establish a more sympathetic townscape in this part of the historic core", potentially including student accommodation.
  • A "loose Knowledge Arc", based around the existing NMITE should stretch around the north-east of the historic core.
  • A "long-term ambition" is also to create an Enterprise and Innovation Corridor running northwest from the city centre.
  • The "Station Quarter" between the railway station and football ground should be radically redeveloped as an "intergenerational urban village" with new green space.
  • Redevelopment of the County Bus Station should form part of a wider scheme to develop a Commercial Road "spine" with reduced motor traffic.
  • The Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal in the city should be revived for leisure and as a transport link.
  • The river Wye through the city should be enhanced for people and nature.
  • The floodplain of the river Lugg to the east of the city is also to become a "green lung" for the city, with new walking and cycling routes.

As a long-term strategy document, the draft masterplan “does not specifically commit the council to future expenditure at this point”, it explains.

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But the county “will need to secure significant long-term public and private investment” to meet the masterplan’s ambitions.

“Having a vision and strategy aligned to government’s ambition puts the council in a good position to seek government funding as bidding opportunities come forward,” it says.

However the council will also need to work with the Government to secure revenue funding for the expanded public transport envisioned in the plan, it adds.

A preliminary public consultation at the start of this year drew nearly 400 survey responses and more than 2,000 comments, while over 300 further comments were added to an online “engagement map”.

More consultation on the proposals will be held later this year.

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