WITH the ongoing controversy about the Hereford ring road, relief road, or whatever you wish to call it, perhaps it is time to look back.

Road numbers were designated in the 1920s with the A49 as a main artery between the North West and the A40 to South Wales, with the portion between Shrewsbury and Ross designated as a trunk route.

Almost immediately ways were sought to improve it, with the road through Wem, north of Shrewsbury, being completely rerouted via Prees, and closer to home the Church Stretton bypass coming into being just as World War II commenced.

With war and austerity throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s little happened, but as the 70s slid into the 80s, according to some authorities there were more cut offs and bypasses constructed than on any other comparable road in the country.

Tarporley, Whitchurch, Weaverham, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Brimfield, Leominster, Ross-on-Wye and others all received attention.

Improvements to the road were legion, the Dinmore Hill realignment and Wellington dual carriageway to mention just two examples.

The question must be why Hereford remained the only major conurbation to still have a trunk route passing through its centre.

Certainly there have been a number of schemes over the past 60 years to remedy this anomaly.

With the expenditure on the previously mentioned road improvements the additional cost of a Hereford bypass would have been fairly insignificant.

Far be it from me to question the wiser heads making decisions, but logic would suggest, as has been said previously in correspondence to the paper, that if the proposal is intended as a relief road it would make far more sense to route it to the east as previous schemes which were not proceeded with, thence picking up all the more important routes to the east.

In conclusion, lethargy and incompetence have left us in the position we now find ourselves in, with a proposed road that as far as I can see will do little to improve the road network at a great deal of cost to the taxpayers.

Ian Savagar