OBJECTORS to the Southern Link Road compulsory purchase orders say the council is at risk of creating a ‘21st century folly’ by building it before plans for a bypass are approved.

Gareth Davies, speaking on behalf of Hereford Transport Alliance last Friday, said the status of the road, which will connect the A49 Ross Road with the A465 Abergavenny Road, had now changed.

He said it now formed part of the wider bypass project west of Hereford and that it was premature to consider it in isolation from the rest of the infrastructure scheme.

“It has changed from being a relief road as part of the local south Wye Transport Package to becoming the first phase of the Hereford Bypass as pronounced by councillor Philip Price, cabinet member for infrastructure,” he said.

“The bypass is and will be subject to its own procedures, leading undoubtedly to a public inquiry, therefore it remains premature to consider the SLR in isolation.

“A process which could lead to a 21st Century folly but which the SLR is left in isolation as the local SWTP road while the justification for a bypass is overtaken by transport, economic and environmental developments.”

He also proposed the idea of a tram link connecting the Hereford Enterprise Zone with the city centre as part of a sustainable transport plan.

“The Herefordshire Council response makes no mention of electric buses, active cycle walkways as defined by Hereford Sustainable Transport Group.

“However, it is encouraging that the councill response recognises the wider vision of a light rail route connecting the important land uses of the Hereford Enterprise Zone, the new university, South Wye housing and the city centre, where journeys would only be partially satisfied by a bypass to the west of the city.

“Growth and development in the south Wye area add much to the viability of low-cost light rail route.”

Council representatives said they had considered alternative transports such as light rail.

But these schemes were discarded due to their viability and financial affordability and risk.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The analysis has been carried out in accordance with the Department for Transport guidance.

“This process identified key issues which led to certain options including light rail being sifted out whilst others were taken forward to a subsequent stage of the assessment.”