Local MPs Bill Wiggin and Jesse Norman have met with representatives from the Department for Transport to discuss plans for Hereford’s bypass.
Following the Council’s decision to rule out an eastern route, citing ‘environmental’ complications, Bill suggested that it might be helpful to meet with Roads Minister Mike Penning and run through the different options.
Commenting afterwards he explained:
‘The meeting was worthwhile and Mike brought experience, expertise and perspective to the table.
Obviously, any solution must relieve the congestion in Hereford itself, but less than a third of the county’s population actually live there. Rural residents will be footing the bill too and their needs must not be ignored.
Ledbury, Ross, and Bromyard are all situated to the east. Local families and businesses want to be able to access central Hereford or, if necessary, get around it.
Economic growth is a major factor which has to be prioritised. Poor transports links are currently masking Herefordshire’s true potential and acting as a break on investment.
If a job’s worth doing then it’s worth doing right. Especially when up to £130 million is involved.
The current challenge facing our County Council is to deliver jobs, prosperity and infrastructure whilst staying within planning law.
It members have some tough choices to make. I want to ensure that the Department for Transport is offering all the advice and support available.
If they are helping us then the chance of success increases and bringing them in at the earliest possible opportunity reinforces that.”
Also in attendance were Mrs Patricia Churchward and Mrs Liz Morawiecka, both of Breinton Parish Council, and members of the pro-alternative pressure group ‘Here for Hereford’.
If given the go ahead a western corridor would pass close to the city, encompassing a new bridge at Breinton and bringing 3,500 homes with it. Up to 15 years may pass from start to finish.
Supporters of an eastern route say this approach would be quicker, less expensive and more feasible. Yet the County Council’s contracting partner, Amey, concluded that any such venture would face significant environmental and legal hurdles.
Notably, the River Lugg Special Conservation Area is a ‘European Designated’ nature site. Current national planning policy (PPS9) also states that decisions must avoid harming biodiversity interests.
The multi-million pound measures were first suggested over three decades ago – only to fall down following a Public Enquiry in 1991.