£2million revamp for Hereford’s Commercial Road next on slate, inquiry hears

Commercial Road and Blueschool Street could be remodelled to become more like pedestrian-friendly Widemarsh Street.

Commercial Road and Blueschool Street could be remodelled to become more like pedestrian-friendly Widemarsh Street.

First published in News
Last updated

A £2million revamp of Hereford’s Commercial Road is next on the slate, once the city’s Link Road is completed, an inquiry into the project heard last week.

A final decision from that inquest will come out in August, but Herefordshire Council has taken several big steps towards breaking ground on the project, last week securing land deals with Royal Mail and Jewson.

Chief financial officer for the council, Peter Robinson, outlined the several smaller projects that go alongside the £26.9m Link Road to form the Hereford City Centre transport package.

The ‘Commercial Road Tree Line Boulevard’, including a central reservation similar to that installed on Newmarket Street, and a ‘Blueschool Street Interchange’ will cost £2m each.

There is also £500,000 earmarked for improvements to the bus system in the city, with upgrades scheduled to stops between the Link Road and bus station.

Funding for these projects is dependent on a bid made to the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, and on New Homes Bonuses paid to the council for building the Urban Village – another project still awaiting an official start date.

This has drawn criticism from It’s Our County who have accused the council of taking a ‘relaxed approach’ to funding the project.

Party leader Anthony Powers said: “The council’s figures on this project simply don’t add up in a way that gives us confidence in the budget for the project and its affordability in these tough times.

“The only breakdown of the financing presented to the inquiry has been in response to questioning and to the inspector’s request for more detailed figures.”

Cllr Powers also raised concerns over the use of the New Homes Bonus.

A grant given by central government for building houses, it is intended to benefit the community it is awarded for, but IOC insist that no public consultation had taken place, and using it to finance the Link Road project presents a narrow view of ‘benefitting the local community’.

However these claims were dismissed directly by Mr Robinson during the inquiry, who insisted that all financial estimates for the project were robust.

He said: “Estimates have been presented on a prudent basis.

“The Link Road will create homes, leisure and business opportunities which will help secure funding of council services in future years.”

Similarly, Mr Robinson said, the eventual development along Blueschool and Catherine Street – an office and residential project referred to loosely as Phase Two – would return more funding.

The inquiry heard that following the Old Market retail quarter development, the council have received a net receipt of £0.4m from developers – after allocating funds to other capital schemes.

Comments (12)

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9:23am Thu 8 May 14

RogerLFC says...

How can this be financed when the Council can't even afford to cut the grass?
How can this be financed when the Council can't even afford to cut the grass? RogerLFC
  • Score: 24

9:29am Thu 8 May 14

mizza21 says...

There's a lot of vanity projects going on in Hereford.
The council should be there to quietly get on with the efficient administration of the county.
Only then can they think of Grand Designs for the future. The dreadful OLM and this rubbish and the Road to Nowhere are not grand in any sense.

The claim that the link road to nowhere will create homes, business and leisure opportunities is laughable. That's £29.6 Million we'll never see again.
There's a lot of vanity projects going on in Hereford. The council should be there to quietly get on with the efficient administration of the county. Only then can they think of Grand Designs for the future. The dreadful OLM and this rubbish and the Road to Nowhere are not grand in any sense. The claim that the link road to nowhere will create homes, business and leisure opportunities is laughable. That's £29.6 Million we'll never see again. mizza21
  • Score: 12

10:39am Thu 8 May 14

walter b says...

This bloody council is fine for spending our tax payers money on bloody things our city don't need ie a road that goes to nowhere if like me im disabled we are getting all our care cut when we need it most
This bloody council is fine for spending our tax payers money on bloody things our city don't need ie a road that goes to nowhere if like me im disabled we are getting all our care cut when we need it most walter b
  • Score: 11

10:58am Thu 8 May 14

drjazz says...

This is beyond a joke! Use our council tax to pay for the things people really want like public toilets and social care. I notice the story about HFDS Council and the savings it was making on social care was slipped in quietly and went pretty much unnoticed a couple of weeks ago.
This is beyond a joke! Use our council tax to pay for the things people really want like public toilets and social care. I notice the story about HFDS Council and the savings it was making on social care was slipped in quietly and went pretty much unnoticed a couple of weeks ago. drjazz
  • Score: 13

1:33pm Thu 8 May 14

oldergit says...

When will it all end. Just repair the bloody potholes!
When will it all end. Just repair the bloody potholes! oldergit
  • Score: 11

1:50pm Thu 8 May 14

Herefordian07 says...

Mizza21, when dealing with the council elite, remember you are not dealing with people of logic, but with creatures motivated by pride, vanity and arrogance. Prudence has never been a trait followed by our administration.
Mizza21, when dealing with the council elite, remember you are not dealing with people of logic, but with creatures motivated by pride, vanity and arrogance. Prudence has never been a trait followed by our administration. Herefordian07
  • Score: 5

4:58pm Thu 8 May 14

mizza21 says...

It would be funny Herefordian07 me old china but it's our blimmin money.
The millions spent. When we are told there's no money for proper social care and weekly bin collections.
It's not funny really. This is peoples lives and the council has a responsibility for them. The power they have is given by the people.
My suggestion is to withdraw from the process.
Do not vote.
Actively show your displeasure in a party political system which continually delivers failure and incompetence by refusing to take part.
It would be funny Herefordian07 me old china but it's our blimmin money. The millions spent. When we are told there's no money for proper social care and weekly bin collections. It's not funny really. This is peoples lives and the council has a responsibility for them. The power they have is given by the people. My suggestion is to withdraw from the process. Do not vote. Actively show your displeasure in a party political system which continually delivers failure and incompetence by refusing to take part. mizza21
  • Score: -2

5:08pm Thu 8 May 14

Ivor P says...

About time the road is an eyesore..
About time the road is an eyesore.. Ivor P
  • Score: 6

7:07pm Thu 8 May 14

Dementinator says...

Get it done!
Stop talking and start doing...
It needs tidying up big time.

Not sure why so many of the resident whiners never want anything to change.
Left to them we wouldn't even have electricity in Hereford.
The OLM is great and is already bring more people in, tidy the rest of the city and it will be even better.
Get it done! Stop talking and start doing... It needs tidying up big time. Not sure why so many of the resident whiners never want anything to change. Left to them we wouldn't even have electricity in Hereford. The OLM is great and is already bring more people in, tidy the rest of the city and it will be even better. Dementinator
  • Score: 9

9:29pm Thu 8 May 14

ad47uk says...

the city need a good tidy up, High town needs to be first, looking very tatty. Should have been done before money wasted on the old market to be honest.
the city need a good tidy up, High town needs to be first, looking very tatty. Should have been done before money wasted on the old market to be honest. ad47uk
  • Score: -1

9:12am Fri 9 May 14

drjazz says...

They need to sort out and tidy up what we've already got before blowing any more money on something that doesn't really need doing.

The OLM is already done but how incongruous to be surrounded by 2ft high weeds, derelict building and roads that are falling apart.

Apart from these issues looking unsightly they are extremely dangerous - it's difficult to see oncoming traffic through barriers of weeds and overgrown bushes at junctions etc.

Don't the Council/HA have some kind of "duty of care" towards the people that use the roads to ensure that they are fit for purpose?
They need to sort out and tidy up what we've already got before blowing any more money on something that doesn't really need doing. The OLM is already done but how incongruous to be surrounded by 2ft high weeds, derelict building and roads that are falling apart. Apart from these issues looking unsightly they are extremely dangerous - it's difficult to see oncoming traffic through barriers of weeds and overgrown bushes at junctions etc. Don't the Council/HA have some kind of "duty of care" towards the people that use the roads to ensure that they are fit for purpose? drjazz
  • Score: 7

2:50pm Fri 9 May 14

preecer8 says...

Good if it can get done and funding properly secured. Potholes, grass, cleaning the river - all things that need to be done too.
Good if it can get done and funding properly secured. Potholes, grass, cleaning the river - all things that need to be done too. preecer8
  • Score: 4

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