A LAST ditch pitch to save a Hereford heritage site will go straight to Herefordshire Council’s cabinet on Thursday.
Campaigners fighting for the former Hereford Working Boys Home, now the council’s Bath Street offices, say the site doesn’t have to be a new fire station when the current County Bus Station will do.
The council wants a land swap with Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Authority (HWFRA) that sees the Bath Street offices making way for a new Hereford fire station.
In return, the council gets the current fire station site in St Owen Street as, at this stage, a car park.
On Thursday, cabinet will be urged to hold off on any deal and re-engage with the idea of a Hereford transport “hub” based around the city's railway station - as proposed in the initial stages of the Commercial Road-Edgar street link road plan.
The fate of the former Working Boys Home is the latest issue to challenge the council over its approach to asset disposal and decision-making.
Hereford Civic Society, which has lead much of the opposition to the land swap, has directly accused the council of not sharing its intentions in its haste to get a deal done.
Both the Bath Street offices and Hereford Fire Station are said to be unfit for contemporary and future operation.
English Heritage rejected an application to have the Bath Street offices listed.
Campaigners for the Boys Home will now make a direct pitch to cabinet on Thursday over the idea of a hub and its “immediate” consideration.
They make a case for a hub at the railway station freeing up council-owned land behind the city’s Odeon cinema for the new fire station - with three access points, the widest of which in Commercial Road being just metres from the eastern end of the proposed link road.
The Hereford Times has seen a copy of what cabinet will be asked to consider. It’s a plan that puts a “much reduced” county bus station close to the railway station and the National Express stop in a parking bay on Commercial Road.
With the co-operation of the four principal bus operators and Arriva Trains - Network Rail’s tenant at Hereford Station - it should, the plan says, be possible to “plan and execute” the move of the bus services to the station in parallel with fire station's design preparations and needs.
The pitch ends with a call on cabinet to set up a round table of all the interested parties that could make the “ visionary concept” happen.