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Hereford City Masterplan - Spring 2023

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At 220 pages this looks like the most beautiful consultants’ report I have ever read. Colourful maps, pictures and super ideas about the environment, albeit largely copied and pasted from others. It concludes with ten Big Ideas, which sounds a bit childish to me. But for a Council, who profess to be green, to commission a document for the future designed to be printed in hardcopy, with no easy way to scroll down for those of us living in the 21st century is remarkable.


So whilst I see merit in a draft of an important document I don’t understand why there is so much justification throughout – of course we want cleaner air, easier connectivity etc. etc. but I don’t want pretty pictures of other towns with refurbished buildings. 

What we have here is a great many words describing many ideas that are far from pragmatic.

With no index it is difficult to find one’s way around the document - I wanted to see what was written about the proposed eastern crossing – but could find nothing? Here are a few comments that I’ve tried to fit into their five themes.–

  • Movement - Dividing a restricted highway between road users is madness, there isn’t the room in Hereford. Why should a cyclist have the right to cycle down a reserved lane at 30 mph? Surely Shared Space is the only answer, and one that was discussed more than ten years ago at cabinet level. HCS are running a feature in the next edition of PLACE Online.

  • Communities and Culture - Creating routes based on the medieval street pattern in High Town, hold on we are in the twenty first century leading a quite different lifestyles.

  • The Economy and Opportunities - Reviving the canal basin that barely existed for ten years or so two centuries ago, including painting a dingy tunnel to create an underground walking and cycling route at Aylestone.

  • Landscape and Wildlife. Creating a city centre wetlands. Wetlands are for wetlands not in a dynamic city delivering city services; put the Yazor Brook in a pipe?

  • Places and Spaces. Nothing about the location of the new strategic (one of their words) car parks – two words that must not be linked to the future in their dreams. For decades we have needed three or four on the periphery of the City. Car parks are two words that don’t fit in with the agenda; but personal transport is convenient and buses will never be able to provide the sort of utopia sought.

I fear this is yet again another consultants’ report to add to the many previous ones that, regretfully, end up languishing on bookshelves. Pragmatism seems to have been forgotten – dreams of infrastructure projects should surely be practical.

Next Steps for the Hereford City Masterplan


The report says:-

‘This masterplan is published as a draft for consultation.

Comprehensive consultation will be undertaken to seek the views of residents, businesses and wider stakeholders in and around Hereford.

The feedback gained through this consultation will inform the development of the final masterplan. Within this we will include further detail on the delivery of each of the Big Ideas.’

I fear this masterplan will likely line the shelves of those interested in trying to find the best for Hereford but end up superseded; whilst lining the pockets of the consultants. By the way -whatever happened to the 2018 Hereford Design Guide?!

So that I can prove the point here is a picture of the boulevard that was promised by the developers in league with the Herefordshire councillors in 2009 in another glossy report. Please comment on this rant - we must stand up to popularism and consultants! 

John Bothamley - April 2023

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