Hereford By-Pass

You may be interested in this article about the Hereford by-pass written by Conservative Councillor Elissa Swinglehurst.

Hereford By-Pass
There has been a very strong reaction on social media to the likelihood that the new Council will be cancelling the Hereford by-pass.   A great many people are understandably frustrated by the Council's dithering around at this crucial stage.   The Conservative administration was proceeding with the planned by pass - it had been consulted over, examined, challenged over a long period, it was embedded in the local plan, it was the way we hoped to grow the economy to meet the needs of future generations and support the delivery of Nmite but....since the local elections...the Conservatives are not in charge of the Council any more.   It is therefore a bit unfair to blame us for changing our mind - we have not changed our mind, the Council is not under our control any more.   Instead the Council is under the control of a coalition formed by the Independents (some of whom are members of political parties/lobbying groups against the road - look at their register of interests), Greens (avowedly against any road building) and It's Our County (against the western bypass).
The split with the Real Independents over the East West route, the appointment of anti road councillors to critical cabinet positions, all points to the reasonable conclusion that the cabinet and Leader (who, I believe, lives close to the proposed route) are likely to stop the by pass one way or another. I am curious, given the vast amount of consultation that went into progressing it (initially 80% in favour), whether there will be any consultation or, dare I say it, a referendum, on what the majority of Herefordians want - bypass or no bypass??
We were on the brink, within fingertip distance of an investment of around £180m into the infrastructure of the county, including money for sustainable travel measures in Hereford to improve bus, cycle and walking networks but now that is all at risk.   It is important to remember that this is not 'our' money and cannot be put to any other use, it is money from central government and if we don't use it for the by pass it will simply go somewhere else.   The other popular theme in the comments on this posting (on Your Herefordshire and comments on the Hereford Times) is that the road should go East - this is not a good idea because of the Lugg meadow and the fact that the money for the road is conditional upon the delivery of housing.   The best strategic sites for housing lie to the south, north and WEST of the city.   If we don't open up the strategic sites the funding for the road will not be forthcoming.   Where better to put new housing in the county than proximal to our largest urban area - close to jobs, services, shops, restaurants, businesses, schools etc.   It's all very well for people who are living in large country houses to protest the building of these new areas of housing but the earnings to house price gap in Herefordshire is one of the worst in the country and these strategic sites would have delivered 30-35% affordable housing for our young people, key workers and families.   Herefordshire property is cheap if you have retired here from London or the South East, but it is not a massive retirement village with picturesque rustics propping up the farm gate, it is a place where people actually live, and work, raise families, shop and - yes - drive.

Within the foreseeable future cars will be 100% electric and the grid will be 100% renewable.   Even if you cycle to work, or car share, or have a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla the chances are - unless you drive Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - you are using a tarmacadamed surface known as a road.   It is not the road that creates the problem so much as the technology travelling on it in terms of greenhouse gasses.   However, one thing that does not change is the impact on air quality - actually not so much to do with exhaust gasses but with road dust resuspension, brake dust and tyre fragmentation - all of which is massively worse when in stop start traffic.   Don't the children of Hereford deserve to breathe clean air?   The Greens have for many years lobbied for a second by pass for Leominster...and I would support that ambition to improve the air quality but why can't they support the same thing for Hereford?

If you would like to help save the by-pass please click on this link to sign the petition.

Please note this has not been organised by us but is an incredibly important issue! This petition is about improving the prospects for Herefordshire and its residents.