Hereford should have fewer traffic lights, but the county struggles to maintain its “crumbling” roads and to meet its legal obligations on footpaths, according to head of transport Coun John Harrington.

Facing questions from the public ahead of today’s (March 3) full meeting of councillors, Coun Harrington was frank about the transport challenges the county faces.

Asked by a Ms Searle of Hereford why such a “horrendous amount of traffic lights in the city” are needed, Coun Harrington said “there are far too many and we are looking at reducing or removing them”.

Herefordshire Council would like to remove lights at the Asda/Belmont junction and at the Tesco/Steels roundabout in the city, but faces a “battle” over this with National Highways, which manages England’s trunk roads.


“On the roads we control, we are looking at putting a roundabout in at the bottom of Aylestone Hill and potentially the Kerry [A465/A438] junction,” Coun Harrington said. “Generally we should be reducing traffic lights.”

Asked about the state of the county’s roads, he said he was “absolutely aware that they are crumbling”. But safety considerations mean “we have to concentrate on fast roads like A and B roads, to the detriment of C and U roads and urban streets and footways”.

As a rural authority, Herefordshire used to be eligible for extra government funding for roads maintenance, but this “has been almost completely withdrawn”. Patching up roads is, meanwhile, “a far more cost effective solution to simple re-surfacing”, he added.

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Coun Harrington recently approved a £1 million package of improvements to roads in Herefordshire’s five market towns, to be equally divided between them.

According to a council spokesperson: “Consultations are happening right now with parish councillors to ascertain what each market town requires. Priority spots haven’t been identified yet.”

Coun Harrington also responded to a question from a Mr Fisher of Bromyard about the council’s delays in determining applications for additions to its “definitive map” of public rights of way in the county, as directed to by Government agency the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).

Though this is “a statutory duty”, the council has “insufficient resources to deal with the volume of work that PINS has generated”, Coun Harrington said.


The council’s public rights of way team is “now being wholly insourced” as part of changes to its public realm contract with Balfour Beatty, leaving them “more able to determine their priorities”. But they have lately been “pulled away to other, equally pressing, activity” due to a lack of suitable recruits for these positions, he said.

The council has started work on just one of the 39 applications directed by PINS, each of which “cost thousands to progress”, he added.

“I have asked the team to submit a growth bid to seek assistance from external parties that are experts in the field,” in order to speed up the work, Coun Harrington said.

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