County council leaders are considering axing proposals for a Hereford bypass west of the city.

Herefordshire Council’s new cabinet has asked officers to compile reports on the financial implications of stopping major infrastructure schemes such as the proposed bypass and southern link road.

They are yet to make any formal decisions on the future of both schemes, but an announcement is expected in the very near future.

Former infrastructure chief Philip Price said the immediate cost to the council of stopping the bypass would be in the region of £10m but that the potential growth cost to the county would be ‘immeasurable’.

“The immediate cost would be the funding that has been committed so far,” he said.

“The previous administration was bidding for around £182m worth of funding which would deliver the road and active travel measures associated with it.

“The county will be in a very difficult position if the decision is taken to drop the bypass.
“One bridge is not sufficient to get over the river in Hereford and attract business to the city.”

He fears lack of progress over the proposed bypass would lead to a dwindling of business in Rotherwas and it would dissuade new firms from relocating here.

Liberal Democrat group leader Terry James said axing the bypass would be ‘financial suicide’ for the council.

“It would be very bad for business,” he said. “And the council would have a £12m hole in their budget.”

But Green Party group leader Trish Marsh said stopping the bypass was an electoral promise many of the new councillors were elected on.

She said they were looking at other ways of addressing transport issues in the city.

“Any decision will go through the proper process so that we can weigh up the implications however it goes,” she said.

“The timescale for making a decision is quite short and I think the bypass scheme has been overtaken by pressing issues such as the climate emergency.

“What we are looking at is changing the model to look at other forms of transport like cycling and walking.”

John Harrington, cabinet member for infrastructure, said the new administration is carefully considering all the implications of deciding whether to proceed with the road projects.

“The cabinet is taking into account the full financial implications before a decision is taken,” he added.