Herefordshire could be about to blow its only chance at getting its new multi-million-pound city transport hub right, a local group has warned.

The Hereford Civic Society has not only formally objected to Herefordshire Council’s formal proposal for the hub, in front of the city’s railway station, but is submitting its own alternative plans.

Ex-HCS chairman Coun Jeremy Milln, who is also vice-chair of the city council’s planning committee, said the county’s proposal, backed by £6.3 million of government cash, “shows a fundamental lack of ambition”.


With just four bus bays, the new station “doesn’t add to what’s there, when it has to also succeed the county bus station”, nor does it accommodate the city’s new free quarter-hourly Zipper bus service, he said. “It’s still geared towards the assumption that people will arrive here by car.”

The student accommodation and medical centre which now flank the site constrain what could have been a more ambitious transport hub, he added. “But we are where we are, trying to shoehorn it in.”

Given this, the practice Weston Williamson + Partners, commissioned for the design, “have done their best given the inadequate brief from the council”, Coun Milln said.


“But it should never have got to the planning stage. There has been no mechanism for taking outside advice first.”

Current HCS chairman David Fowler said that though the group screens all city planning applications and sits on the city council planning committee, “we had no foreknowledge of this”.

“It gripes with us that the council talks about ‘stakeholder consultation’, but that hasn’t been done,” he said, adding the society has now formally complained to the council on this point.

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This could have addressed issues such as the limited secure cycle storage at the hub, which he claimed will deter riders of electric bikes in particular given their cost.

He also pointed to a “glaring conflict” with the county’s policy of reinstating the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal, as the proposed bus layover beyond the medical centre would prevent the planned reinstated basin at the canal’s end.

This last point has prompted the trust which leads on the canal reinstatement project to also object to the transport hub plans.

“Millions are being spent on a facility for the next 40-50 years, not just for Hereford,” Mr Fowler said.

“If we get it wrong, we can’t go back and redo it.”