A HEREFORD shop owner and former councillor has labelled a local business's proposed move to the Old Market shopping centre as a 'disaster'.

Mark Hubbard, who runs Fodder in Church Street, says that MandM Direct's possible move to the retail development would undermine the viability of the city.

He was leader of It's Our County, an independent local party for Herefordshire, before stepping down in 2013.

MandM Direct, based in Leominster, has said it wants to move into the upper floors of the old Debenhams shop.


Mr Hubbard said that while the proposal might make sense to British Land and its shareholders, it doesn’t make economic, social, or environmental sense to Herefordshire.

He said: "British Land was given the lease because they said they would use their contacts as a large multinational to bring new employment to the county.

"Instead, they are poaching established local businesses, while undermining Leominster’s employment prospects.

It's Our County argued that the idea of large scale retail units was already past its tipping point when Herefordshire Council approved the development.

The party said that there was reluctance from any of the county’s three main political groupings to question the commercial wisdom of the scheme.

He said: "We warned the council that if you invite a huge multi-national company into the city, it will act in its own interests and look to make a profit in any way it can.

"They made all these promises when they arrived and now they're selling us down the river, as I warned they would. It's a disaster."