Hereford Bypass

Notes from Rob Hattersley.

EAST or West for the relief road? North or south for the housing? These are the question asked by the taxpayer-funded Herefordshire council propaganda publication Herefordshire Matters which dropped through my letterbox this week. letterbox this week. How gullible and ignorant do they think we are? Very, it seems. It suits the council and its growth agenda

t suits the council and its growth agenda to keep the general public in the dark about the reality of Herefordshire’s situation. The very words “relief road” suggest that the proposed bypass is to relieve current congestion. Yet the council’s own documents make it very clear that this is not the case at all because it can only be funded by massive housing development which will create more not less traffic. more not less traffic. The Government will not fund a bypass. One reason it gives is that, despite the huge cost to taxpayers, a bypass would not work here. Most of Hereford’s traffic is internal and so would not use a new road. Even for through traffic, the time saved by using a bypass would be very small because the route would be so much longer than a direct route through town. Apart from during the rush hour, much traffic would still find it faster going through town.

Even for through traffic, the time saved by using a bypass would be very small because the route would be so much longer than a direct route through town. Apart from during the rush hour, much traffic would still find it faster going through town. Those are not my views but those of Government reports. A 10 per cent reduction in traffic – what happens during school holidays already – is all that is needed for the remaining 90 per cent to flow freely. per cent to flow freely. This 10 per cent can be achieved much more cheaply and effectively through improving pedestrian and cycling conditions – which would also make our streets more attractive as a by-product. Other cycling cities have already achieved this. Other cycling cities have already achieved this.

Never much bothered by anything as sordid as evidence, the bypassobsessed leadership of our council ploughs on regardless. So where to get the finance if central Government says it won’t waste central Government says it won’t waste money

I know – housing developers. Let’s give carte blanche to developers to build huge amounts of new housing for mystery people who don’t even live here yet. What wonderful political leadership. As part of the deal the developers have to fund the road. Fantastic. There is a rather unfortunate side effect – all this development generates even more traffic. The council’s own research suggests traffic levels in our city centre will at best stay the same even with a bypass – and may even get worse.

When local people object to these proposed huge new developments, the Tory council’s response has been that the Labour Government has set housebuilding targets which we cannot object to locally. So you’d think that when Tory leader David Cameron states that his Government would abolish such targets, the local Tories would be pleased. Not at all – we’ll build the houses anyway. the local Tories would be pleased. Not at all – we’ll build the houses anyway. all – we’ll build the houses anyway. So Hereford will be changed out of recognition into some western version of Birmingham. She will lose what makes her special and attracts the important tourism trade. She will be more congested than she is today. To spend our money on flashy magazines telling us that the only choice is a western or eastern relief road is dishonest.

The real choice is between a sustainable solution and an unsustainable one, between one that works and one that simply creates more traffic, between one that recognises Hereford’s individual character and one that simply imposes a bog standard solution from elsewhere(more unaffordable homes, more congested roads). This consultation is therefore entirely bogus.

Text from Hereford Times