Ledbury traders are calling for a new drop-off point for coach visitors to help create a better first impression of the town.

Herefordshire Council will be asked to consider building a bus shelter outside the old Cottage Hospital to serve the proposed new drop off point.

A bus stop already exists outside the hospital, which has stood empty for more than a year.

Homend Mews retailer Len Huff, chairman of the Ledbury Independent Traders Association, said: "Currently, the drop-off point is the Market House, which leads to traffic congestion when arriving and trying to park outside the Market House or war memorial.

"LITA proposes that coach drivers should be encouraged to arrive from the Gloucester or Worcester road direction and drive in a straight line through Ledbury to provide passengers with an initial sight of the town.

"They could park and drop off their passengers at the Cottage Hospital before proceeding in the direction of the railway station, to go around the by-pass to the parking area, which could be at the Countrywide Stores."

Ledbury Town Council is currently investigating the possibility of siting a dedicated coach park at Countrywide Stores, with a view to having it in place by this summer.

Mayor Keith Francis said: "Plans are now with Herefordshire planning department. It is progressing."

Money for the work would come from £20,000 from Pettifer Estates, secured as part of permission for it to build the new Homebase store on the Lower Road trading estate.

Coun Francis said the LITA proposal was worth considering.

"It would ease congestion in the centre of town," he said.

Mr Huff said: "We believe that as visitors walk downhill towards the town centre, they will have the advantage of seeing and possibly patronising the many shops in the northern end of the Homend that they perhaps would not otherwise see."

Mr Huff said an arrival point in New Street or Bye Street would not necessarily give visitors the greatest of first impressions of the town. He said: "Coming from the Gloucester Road or Worcester Road direction, visitors will quickly be able to see what a fine town Ledbury is."