CONSERVATIVE councillors were successful in convincing the majority at Herefordshire Council to back plans to spend £2m allocated for the bypass on road repairs instead.

The council will allocate the funds from the £3.6m put aside for the Hereford Transport Plan which includes the proposed bypass west of the city.

A total of £2m of this will instead be used to go towards maintaining the county’s unclassified roads.

As the transport plan is currently paused and under review, the Conservative group felt it made no sense to keep funding for the project at that level.

Councillor Nigel Shaw proposed the amendment to the capital spending programme for 2021at last week's full council meeting.

“This amendment reduces the capital allocated to the Hereford Transport Plan from £3.6m to £1.6m and provides the released £2m to be used to repair and maintain our U and C roads,” coun Shaw said.

“The bulk of the Hereford Transport Plan capital funding was predicated on the need to purchase early properties that might be blighted by the route of the Hereford bypass.

“With the scheme now under review and any funding application for the scheme, should it go ahead, further delayed, it makes no sense to keep this capital allocation at the current level.

“The Conservative group would ask others to consider the plight of the U and C roads in our most rural communities.

“In the unlikely event that additional capital above the £1.6m is suddenly needed for the HTP, then the general reserve and the financial resilience reserve (standing at £13.6m) are available.

“Although A and B roads in Herefordshire are the fastest roads and carry the most vehicles, the C and U roads are the capillaries that feed these roads and, in the more remote places the arteries for local transport too.

“Since the one off spending of £20m in 2014/5 there has been minimal investment in the U and C road infrastructure and drainage and the results are visible for all to see.

“This additional £2m will not fix all of the issues, but is seen as a responsible step by this council to address the concerns of the rural third of this county’s population.”

Most Herefordshire Independent, It’s Our County and Green Party councillors opposed this measure but their votes were fewer than the total of those who supported it which included Liberal Democrats and True Independents as well as the Conservatives.