Two new railway stations and a national park for Herefordshire are among proposals in a strategy for the county due to be agreed this week.

The Big Economic Plan to guide Herefordshire’s development up to 2050 is expected to get political backing at a council cabinet meeting this Thursday (January 26). And while much of it draws together existing policies and priorities, there are a few surprise inclusions.

On transport, it proposes that in the next five years, the county will “develop the case for investment in a new Hereford Parkway Station at Rotherwas”.

Intended to support the development of the city’s Skylon Park enterprise zone, the idea of re-establishing a rail connection was first mooted over a decade ago.

The Royal Ordnance Factory in Rotherwas was previously served by a station on the former Hereford to Ross-on-Wye and Gloucester railway.

According to a “technical note” published by the council in 2015, this new station, rather then the city’s main railway station, would be the start and end point of services to and from Birmingham.

But this was unenthusiastic about the economics of the project, concluding it would generate fewer than half the passengers need to make it self-funding, so would require an ongoing subsidy.


The Big Economic Plan also proposes that the county should “explore the case for reopening Pontrilas station”.

On the Hereford-Abergavenny line, the station in the southwest of the county closed in 1958, but much of its infrastructure remains.

Three years ago a proposal by local councillors to have it reopened was backed by the Welsh Government. Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman said at the time: “We will be taking the campaign to Westminster to seek ministerial support for this important project.”

The plan also revives the idea of a Shires National Park, previously described as running from the river Severn below Worcester to Chepstow and Monmouthshire in the south, and covering most of south Herefordshire.

Mr Norman has also previously backed this, saying in 2020 he thought the idea “deserves the closest consideration and support”. But little has been heard of it since, and a dedicated website,, is still described as “coming”.

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On land and the environment, the plan foresees farmland being taken out of production within the next five years, saying the county will “restore some land as a net carbon sink, whilst still retaining productive land for farming”.

The plan is the outcome of Herefordshire Council’s work with businesses, voluntary and community groups, colleges and others in the county.

“From the outset, partners were clear that they wanted a vision for Herefordshire’s economy that went beyond economic growth for its own sake or increasing output at the expense of our environment and communities,” the document explains.

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