Funding for the Broad Street development came from Destination Hereford: a programme funded by the Department of Transport that aims to reduce congestion, increase low carbon transport use and support sustainable economic growth around Hereford. Following a number of consultation events with the local community organised by the council, it became clear that, whilst there was support for the refurbishment scheme generally, the lengthy period of disruption (over 12 months) whilst construction was underway, could harm local businesses.
Councillor Graham Powell, cabinet member for education and infrastructure, said: “Although improving Broad Street would have completed improvements made in the city centre over recent years, it is clear that in the current economic climate, now is not the right time to go ahead with the scheme.
“We have paid particular attention to the concerns of retailers who do not want to face the months of disruption which would have been required to implement the scheme. People have also told us that they want the funding spent on sustainable travel projects that would have a more immediate and tangible impact on the community.”
“Every weekday morning during the school term, over 10,000 car journeys start and end within Hereford. People on those journeys are travelling less than 5km. By investing in cycle routes we will be making it easier for those people to move about the city, supporting the economy and tackling congestion”.
The council has listened to and acted on this feedback to reallocate the funding to a programme of other pedestrian and cycling projects aimed at supporting sustainable travel in the city.
The Destination Hereford programme includes the Hereford Connect 2 Greenway scheme which the council has committed to delivering over the coming year. This will link pedestrian and cycle pathways from north east Hereford directly to the Rotherwas Enterprise Zone, a key location for employment growth over the next 10 years.
The reallocation of funding from the Broad Street scheme will allow a number of other important cycle schemes to be developed so that we have better networked cycle routes in the city.
Further details of new cycle schemes will be announced over the coming months and are likely to include extending the cycle network out to Clehonger, providing a cycle route along Whitecross Road and Kings Acre Road and providing direct cycle access to the city centre from St Owen’s Street.
“It is important that we listen to the views of all interested parties and make decisions that are in the best interests of Herefordshire people and represent good value for money,” continued Councillor Powell.
“The Destination Hereford programme is a tremendous opportunity to make a significant difference to the way in which we choose to travel. I want to make it easier and safer for everyone who is able to walk or cycle and for this to be a genuine alternative to the car.”