A row has broken out between a Herefordshire town’s representatives and the area’s MP over who should take credit for improvement works now under way in the town.

North Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin wrote to Leominster residents on April 30, on House of Commons stationery, appearing to take credit for ensuring work to improve the town’s Corn Square had not disrupted Christmas events and trading.

The work “is being paid for by the £1.3 million that Leominster received though the Government’s funding for High Street Heritage Action Zones”, his letter added.


But local resident Jill Hanna, a town councillor but speaking in a personal capacity, said that the final tender for the amended Corn Square works contract “was not even launched until after Christmas”.

The £1.3 million Historic England grant funding for the work has been more than matched by  nearly £1.9 million funding from Herefordshire Council, she pointed out.

Hereford Times: How Corn Square will lookHow Corn Square will look (Image: Herefordshire Council)

And she claimed Sir Bill’s letter was party-political, saying: “I would have expected it to be a Conservative Party communication rather than something sent by first-class postage financed by taxpayers.”

A meeting of the town council’s planning and highways committee on May 13 resolved to forward the letter to Herefordshire Council’s monitoring officer, who upholds standards among the county’s elected members, though usually only its councillors.

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Defending his letter, Sir Bill said: “The closure of Corn Square is an important issue. Parking will be affected in a major way, and it is important that people from the area were made aware of the changes.”

Having passed on local concerns about possible disruption over the Christmas period to Herefordshire Council chief executive Paul Walker, “we found a workaround to save Christmas for Leominster businesses”, he said.


“The Council subsequently announced a delay to the works – good news for many people.”

Sir Bill added that his letter had been approved by the House of Commons Accommodation Services Team.

Herefordshire Council has said it expects the improvements to paving, road surfacing, seating and planting in the square, the last of the town-centre improvement programme, to be completed in September.

“All areas will remain open to pedestrians during the work, however there will be road closures in place,” it said.

A Herefordshire Council spokesperson said it had yet to receive any correspondence over the matter, but confirmed the council is match-funding the work.