Suggestions to improve employment and tourism in Ledbury include the creation of ‘high tech’ business units and the relocation of the town council.

A report being put before Herefordshire Council’s cabinet this week says Ledbury needs more employment land to accompany the influx of new homes in the town.

The Market Town Investment Plans (MTIP), if approved by cabinet members, will guide how the council spends money to support economic recovery and development in Ledbury, Leominster, Bromyard, Ross-on-Wye and Kington.

The report, which has been drawn up by external firm Rose Regeneration, identifies a number of issues in Ledbury and also makes suggestions on where funds can be directed..

New housing in Ledbury “has not yet been accompanied by additional employment land and other infrastructure necessary to promote a sustainable community”, according to the MTIP.

It also has “limited options for skills development” and a “weak visitor economy”.

Ledbury Reporter: The report says more parking is needed at Ledbury train stationThe report says more parking is needed at Ledbury train station

The report says the three hectares of land on the viaduct site allocated to employment offers “potential for high tech business units to provide incubator space that NMITE and spin-out businesses would be looking for”.

It also suggests Ledbury should capitilise further on the new NMITE university in Hereford by including student accommodation on the site, as it would have close access to the train station.

Relocate the town council?

Other proposals include utilising 6.7 acres of brownfield land and a further 19 acres of greenfield land (identified in the Ledbury NDP as employment land) that Heineken is looking to sell as it seeks to consolidate and increase efficiency at its Little Marcle Road site.

Another suggested project would increase car parking space at Ledbury Station and open up pedestrian (including disabled) access to the eastbound platform. Revenue options for such a scheme include small business units and a farm shop.

The MTIP also proposes Ledbury Town Council relocates to the Masters House, allowing its current home in Church Street to be repurposed for “holiday let and wider tourism facilities”, which would generate revenue and add to the town’s heritage tourism offering.

Herefordshire Council says identifying priorities for each town, and the business cases for them, will make it easier to bid for central government funding, particularly where such bids have to be made by communities themselves.