A shock move that could shelve plans to move Hereford’s library to the Maylord shopping centre has been met with dismay by the councillor who drove the idea forward.

The county’s new Conservative cabinet is expected to back an “urgent” motion to consider putting the planned new library and learning resource centre elsewhere in the city, when it sits for the first time next Thursday.

But Gemma Davies, who until last month was the Independents for Herefordshire cabinet member for assets, said it was “incredibly worrying” that the move “ is coming up so late in the process”, with planning permission for the Maylords proposal already granted and funding committed.


Herefordshire Council bought the centre for £4 million in June 2020 when it was struggling with the impact of the pandemic.

The previous administration’s decision to move the library to Maylords, a key part of its regeneration plans for the city centre, “was not taken lightly” she said. “The council underwent rounds of scrutiny and had a huge amount of feasibility studies completed.”

This was to be part-funded by the Government's £22-million Stronger Hereford package of improvements to the city, which is overseen by an independent board but with the council taking a lead on the city library and museum projects.

“The Stronger Towns board and government were impressed with our ambitions to redesign the High Street, in an area that was failing before our purchase,” according to Ms Davies, who lost her seat in last month’s elections.

“Leaders of all groups stated that the key to getting this right was to deliver on time and on budget,” she said.

“Any delays to the work not only puts the budget at risk but the entire Stronger Towns programme. I implore cabinet to reconsider this decision.”


A Herefordshire Council spokesperson confirmed: “As part of their plans to develop a strategy for city-wide rejuvenation, the new council administration is considering a review of the options for the relocation of Hereford library.”

Chair of the Stronger Towns Board Abigail Appleton said the board “understands that projects change and evolve, and we are fully committed to working closely with the council to explore the options”.

She added: “If an alternative site is proposed, our priority will be to ensure that this project delivers on its original outcomes, which is fantastic library and learning provision in a city-centre location.”

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