Health officials and Herefordshire Council have done a U-turn over plans to bring Covid testing to Ledbury this autumn, but other market towns already have the units in place.

The announcement to the Reporter that Ledbury will miss out, at least for the time being, led to a urgent enquiry from the town council to Herefordshire Council, which is helping to co-ordinate the roll out of testing sites.

And confirmation that Ledbury will not get a NHS Test and Trace site, despite earlier indications that it would, has led to a call for a re-think from the Mayor of Ledbury, Cllr Daniel Vesma.

He said: "Even with Ledbury's rate of infection estimated at being less than 10 per cent of some other areas in the county, we would all like Ledbury to have its own testing centre as soon as possible.

"Clearly having people travelling to and from higher-risk areas for their tests is not ideal, and the town council stands ready to help however we can."

There are actually new testing sites in Ross and Leominster, but Ledbury people needing a Covid test will still have to travel, with no plans confirmed to change that fact.

Herefordshire’s Director of Public Health Karen Wright said: “We are working on expanding the testing offer, but we don’t have any more plans confirmed at the moment.

"Testing can be accessed through Merton Meadow in Hereford, Ross-on-Wye and Leominster or home testing kits at the moment.”

This announcement has comes a surprise, given earlier indications.

Speaking at a press conference on October 23, Karen Wright said the intention was to open testing centres in Leominster, Ledbury, Kington, Ross and Bromyard.

An official statement from Herefordshire Council, on October 28, stated that the intention "be able to offer mobile testing facilities in the other market towns in Herefordshire in the coming weeks, to make it more convenient for residents to get a test".

Ledbury Town Council understands that a relatively low rate of Covid infection in Ledbury is a factor in the decision not to bring in a mobile testing unit, but that could change.

Town clerk, Angela Price said: "Currently, Ledbury has a 7-day case rate of less than 30/100,000 compared to over 400/100,000 in other areas of the county, which would need to be prioritised for access to more local testing.

"Should the case rate in Ledbury change then those would be looked at and the appropriate action taken, and the introduction of new technologies in testing that are being developed continuously will be so important.”

But the news about missing out on a testing unit, at least for the time being, has caused some dismay among Ledbury residents.

Emma Davies said: "We need one in Ledbury; there are a lot a key workers here and quick testing is needed on our doorstep."

Former town mayor, Debbie Baker said: "Nothing unusual here, we are always either left out or left behind. It is as if Ledbury does not exist."

And Andrea McLean said: "I needed a test and it was in Hereford in an industrial estate. It's a difficult thing, as I had to self isolate afterwards. Not everyone can drive, and it would be wrong to return to Ledbury on public transport."