AS far as the new road strategy for Hereford is concerned, it is both worrying and disappointing.

Once again, this minority Conservative administration is proposing to spend many, many millions of public money trying to resurrect their zombie western bypass without being honest with the public about its implications.

The eastern river crossing is a road project specifically for the residents and businesses in the city. The western bypass road project works against the interests of residents and businesses and in favour of a few landowners and developers, and benefits people who don’t live or work in Hereford.


What little information is provided in support of this decision makes it clear that the eastern bridge can be delivered sooner, for less money and that it will reduce rather than add to the city’s traffic troubles.

In contrast, the western route is not a bypass but a distributor road for large housing developments in areas that are increasingly blighted by floods, and which will be beyond the pockets of local people.

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The western roads will ultimately result in causing even greater congestion in the city than that currently experienced, and – with the de-trunking of the A49 – will cause responsibility for the repair and upkeep of Greyfriars Bridge to fall to the county, just as the structure approaches the end of its engineering lifetime.

If, in the dying days of this Conservative government, Herefordshire is to be thrown a bone in the form of some significant funding for local infrastructure, it is wrong to pre-commit these monies to further Hereford-centric projects without properly weighing in the balance the benefits that £100m of investment could achieve for communities across and throughout the county.

The opportunities to invest this funding more fairly and for wider public benefit must be given thorough consideration first.