A western bypass around Hereford remains a distant prospect even if the county favours it, a meeting in Hereford to debate the issue heard.

Councillor Paul Rone, who represents the city’s Redhill ward for the Conservatives, said that as a member of the county’s previous ruling cabinet, “we were ready to go” with a western bypass plan. “We were that close,” he said.

The scheme was controversially cancelled by the current Independents for Herefordshire / Green administration in February 2021.

Non-aligned councillor for Tupsley Jim Kenyon said: “We should have a yes-no referendum on the bypass and take that to the Government.”

But Coun Rone said that even with such a mandate, “you would have to start again, and no one in this room would live to see it”.

“We lost that opportunity, and won’t see it again,” he said.


The Conservatives lost control of Herefordshire in 2019 not because of the bypass issue, but “because nationally, voters wanted anyone but the Tories”, he added. “I got an atrocious reception on the doorstep because of Theresa May.”

Coun Rone, who has already said he will not contest the next county elections in seven weeks’ time, still believed Hereford would benefit from a bypass that would divert lorries from the city, pointing out that it is the only large conurbation that heavy goods must pass through between Shrewsbury and the Northwest, and south Wales.

“There are many schools and nurseries within 100 metres of the A49,” he said. “HGVs give off three times the emissions of a car, made worse by their braking and accelerating.”

Hereford Times: Many lorries take the A49 take through HerefordMany lorries take the A49 take through Hereford (Image: LDRS)

And while the bypass issue was previously tied to the westward expansion of the city, potentially enabling up to 4,500 new homes, “40 per cent of these would have been affordable or for social rent”, he said.

Coun Kenyon, who will stand again in May, said that what Hereford in fact needed was “a bypass right round it”.

“The new masterplan for the city makes me angry as there’s no infrastructure with it,” he said. “There is some good stuff but you have to take the motorist with you.”

Labour’s candidate for Newton Farm ward Joe Emmett, who organised the evening, said his party had yet to adopt a position on a renewed western bypass bid.

But this week’s Budget “shows there isn’t the money” for large scale infrastructure projects, he said, while even the city’s MP, a transport minister, “doesn’t back it”.


“I don’t think a bypass will now happen,” he concluded. “Can we do 100 little things instead?”

Amanda Martin, a transport campaigner who contested Coun Rone’s seat at the last election, said a western bypass “won’t make a dent in Hereford’s traffic problem, as due to ‘induced’ traffic you would lose the benefits almost overnight”.

The previous administration “commissioned a stack of reports to give their plan legitimacy”, but these failed to show significant savings in journey times, she said.

Several speakers pointed to the long history of bypass proposals for Hereford, by one account going back the 1940s.

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