Plans to spend over £12 million reviving Hereford’s southern link road (SLR) plan have been attacked as “extremely risky”.

The SLR, along with the new bypass and river crossing west of the city, were cancelled by the previous Independents for Herefordshire/Green coalition in 2021.

The new road was to run from the A49/B4399 roundabout south of Hereford to the A465 near Clehonger Court, from where the western bypass would then extend northwards.


A key pledge of the Conservatives’ successful campaign in May’s county elections was to bring back both projects.

But in a letter to ahead of today’s (October 5) cabinet meeting, previous council leader Coun David Hitchiner claimed that seeking approval in its capital spending plans for £12.3 million towards the SLR “represents huge risks”.


While formal backing for the project is expected to be given at a second cabinet meeting later this month, a report setting out the business case for the scheme has yet to be published.

“Am I to take it that [cabinet member for transport] Cllr Price is asking the cabinet to start a journey to gain approval to spend up to £12.3 million on a project before it is known whether or not that project has a business case in support, and whether, even with a good business case, finance may not be available to complete it?” Coun Hitchiner asked.

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“Can he please follow the example of the previous administration and make decisions based on a current business plan and up-to-date evidence, rather than take the huge risks which this proposal represents?”

Coun Price replied: “Subject to the decision of cabinet and the support of full council to approve the proposed changes to the capital programme, we will of course ensure the necessary business cases are presented as part of the decision-making process.

“The proposal to allocate £12.3 million is part of that process to ensure we are able to deliver on those commitments.”

To be spent over four years, the sum will “enable land negotiations to commence and initial works to start while a full business case is developed”, according to a report for the meeting, which outlines total capital spending in the county of £148 million this financial year.