Your voices need to be heard!
Hundreds, if not thousands of letters have been written to Herefordshire Council, Local MPs, local civic organisations and pressure groups like Wye Ruin It? in protest against the Bypass and to point out that there are better, faster, cheaper solutions to reduce congestion, regenerate the city and provide affordable housing now. Here are a few examples of what people have written.
Letters to local politicians:
Dear Cllr. Price,
I cannot believe you have chosen the 'RED Route’ for the projected bypass. The whole bypass project is so totally wrong and this has now added insult to injury.
The bypass itself is in the wrong place, far too close to the City in what, in the future, is going to hold a burgeoning population with expanding borders and the ‘theory’ that this is going to improve the present traffic gridlock in Hereford has effectively been disproved. Your motivation for the bypass - that it will cover in part the costs of housing development in that area plus your own ego (which is evident) is suspect.
Selecting the RED route is like driving a Route Nationale through the Champs Elysee. Kings Acre road’s approach into Hereford is one of the most attractive features of the County and City’s road complex. With one stroke you are about to ruin it. It really is unbelievable - yet neither you nor the so-called Cabinet are seemingly able to see it.
Dear Councillor Price,
I am appalled that the decision to go ahead with the western bypass may be about to be further approved.
As a life-long Conservative party supporter and former branch secretary, I am shocked by our Herefordshire Council's behaviour over nearly every aspect of this major decision-making process; it can be doing nothing for the council's image and in future may well damage local support for our two Members of Parliament.
My own position will be regarded by many as pure "NIMBYism". That is not so. I think I'm a reasonable, thinking individual and I truly believe:
1. The case for any bypass - east or west - has not been made; it flies in the face of so much evidence.
2. Both western or and eastern routes would be environmentally damaging.
3. Together with with new housing developments of up to 7,000+ homes, a single lane bypass and existing congestion on Roman Road, it is obvious that many more people will struggle to access the city centre. Therefore, the proposed bypass (like many others) will not cope. Congestion and pollution will increase.
4. Development of the Rotherwas Industrial Estate will need good access to the east and north east, the railway station and housing estates to the north and north west of the city. A western bypass will do nothing to assist this; an eastern one might. There must be better solutions and you should investigate these with much more enthusiasm and better consultants.
5. It would be naive to embark on the western bypass scheme, based on cost estimates that many intelligent people can see as being unrealistic. Since the eventual construction will probably have to involve a dual carriageway roadway, the cost estimate becomes even more unreal.
6. Vandalism is the wanton destruction of something of great value. Most cities would give anything to have the countryside beside the Wye - from Wyeside to to its source - as a breathing space for its own citizens and a growing tourist attraction for many others. In 20 years time, if this project should go ahead, Herefordshire's Conservative Councillors will be wondering how such a short-sighted, costly and inefficient project could ever have been perpetrated by a Conservative council.
I wrote to Bill Wiggin last week and told him that I felt the Council's handling of this whole business had been inept. There are so many legitimate questions that have been asked and not answered properly...I think you know what those questions are...
Best wishes and thanks for so much that you do do and get right. In my eightieth year, I need you!
Dear Councillor Price
I am contacting you to voice my absolute opposition to a bypass in Hereford.
Herefordshire is one of the most rural counties in England whose beauty, quintessential British landscapes, history and heritage cannot be matched. Hereford is famous for its cider, cattle, rich and diverse agriculture the mighty River Wye and Mappa Mundi, to name a few. From the city centre it is possible to walk in either direction along the river walkways and be in countryside within minutes with no major roads and just the sound of nature. These are some of the reasons people chose to live here and are undoubtedly its best assets.
Born in Hereford in 1983 I have since worked, lived and explored more countries than I can count on my hands, including England, and recently gained a BSc (Honours) Environmental Science degree. Armed with this experience and knowledge I can assure you that Hereford is truly special and unique, and I am immensely proud to come from such a breathtakingly beautiful part of England. Breinton has always been my favourite part of Hereford as it is the most beautiful and tranquil. It is home to an array of flora and fauna, many of which as rare and endangered, and a region that I and countless others use for walking, cycling, bird and wildlife spotting, dog walking, swimming, picnicking and exercise.
I am absolutely dumbfounded that it is even conceivable to devastate this part of the countryside and build a dual lane bypass in the name of economic growth, at the cost of all the people who will lose their home and be affected visually and audible by this monstrosity, at the cost to all the plants and animals that live there, at the cost of the health of the River Wye, at the cost of the heritage buildings and landscapes and at the cost of the health of the people of Hereford. This road is simply being built to get goods in and out of Rotherwas Industrial area and to open up land to build more homes that will lead to more cars on the road with the opinions and well-being of Herefordians being of no concern.
To suggest that building new roads to solve congestion issues is akin to making bigger clothes to deal with obesity. 80% of Herefords congestion traffic is local, not through traffic and there is higher than average short journey times. This is due to an expensive and infrequent bus services, nonexistent free school buses, poor or nonexistent cycle and pedestrian pathways and a lack of steering from local council to encourage and promote active travel and invest in improvements to public transport.
The Hereford Transport Package (HTP) claims to “encourage healthy lifestyles by encouraging more people to walk and cycle”. How can building a new road that promises to reduce journey times and congestion in the city possibly encourage people to walk and cycle? We do not need a bypass to deliver this objective. We do not need a bypass to build a university that will prohibit the use of vehicles by students.
As a leisure and commuter cyclist for many years in Hereford, and other countries, I know firsthand that improvements are needed to develop and enhance the current limited cycle network in Hereford. Many of my friends drive their children to school then themselves to work as there are no or unaffordable school buses and there are a lack of linked, safe cycle routes for them and their children to use. As I teenager I used buses to get across town with a return costing 50 pence. The bus service in some areas is now so infrequent and expensive it is quicker and cheaper to drive.
Hereford is small, flat and very pretty making it ideal for walking and cycling. Invest in active travel measures, develop more cycle and walking networks, enhance and develop more green spaces, provide free or heavily subsidized school buses and provide affordable and frequent public buses. For economic growth develop eco-tourism in the county, the region’s history, wildlife and opportunity for adventure activities is endless and use rail for the Hereford Enterprise Zone, the infrastructure exists and takes countless HGV’s off the roads. Encourage a community of active, healthy individuals who are proud of where they live. All these measures would lead to less vehicles on the road, better air and water quality, reduced noise pollution and reduce pressure on health services, with access to green spaces and regular activity well known to improve mental and physical well-being, focus on that.
Of equally major concern is the apparent total disregard to loss of people’s homes, heritage buildings, landscapes and endangered and protected species and habitats the council and Balfour Beatty have in undertaking this bypass. There are numerous areas or historic and cultural significance as well as ecological significance, many of which have national and European protection, that will be directly and indirectly effected by this project. How is it possible for this bypass go ahead with all this knowledge, you cannot just ignore the protection statuses and just do as you like.
Tell me, Councillor Price, have you ambled down the county lanes of Breinton and along the river path with your family? Have you drunk straight from Breinton Spring? Have you seen the otters in the Wye? Have you gazed at the beautiful historic buildings and the huge trees along Kings Acre Road and Warham House, have you been bird watching in Drovers Wood? Do you understand climate change and how we rely on ecosystems to provide us with clean air and water and food? Did you know air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths worldwide? I can answer yes to all of these, can you?
There is global pressure and international binding agreements between nations to reduce CO2 emissions to limit the extent to which humans will be effected by climate change. Do you not, as a Councillor, have an obligation to act in the best interests of your constituents and future generations? Building this bypass for industrial growth and housing development instead of investing in active travel, green transport and rail for the Rotherwas Enterprise Zone is in direct contradiction to your duty. Using road transport is not reducing CO2 emissions or improving air quality which is already above the national acceptable level for Nitogen Dioxide along the A49. This bypass, which is in fact a dissection acting as a barrier between a community and access to a green space, will not solve congestion but make them worse, further increasing air pollution and green house gas emissions.
We simply cannot keep destroying natural landscapes, decimating ecosystems, polluting the air and water ways and reducing therapeutic access to green spaces, all in the name of economic growth. I love Hereford for it rural town feel, the ability to be in countryside within minutes, the River Wye and all the wonderful animals that flourish here. Sustainable growth is not building road, it is building healthier communities and natural environments. Invest in smart transport and active travel, invest in enhancing wildlife and biodiversity and invest in sustainable tourism, that it true growth.
Letters to Herefordshire County Council:
Recently the Council resolved to abandon Scrutiny of its Cabinet decisions after they had been taken, and resolved instead to insist on ‘pre-Scrutiny’ of such likely decisions. This has resulted in the absurd situation, as at 17 July 2018, of the General Scrutiny Committee being given less than 24 hours to read what Council Officers assume are the pre-Scrutiny points the Committee needs to consider, arising out of 17 questions from members of the public which, again, the Committee are being given less than 24 hours to consider, before their meeting on 18 July 2018. This indecent haste is occasioned by the Council’s determination to press on with a Bypass proposal, shrouded in a Transport Package blanket, before the start of the summer holidays. The Council’s actions are making a mockery of pre-Scrutiny, and the General Scrutiny Committee should recommend that the old system of reviewing Cabinet decisions after they have been taken should be re-instated immediately. It would save hard-pressed Council Officers an enormous amount of time.
Letters to Wye Ruin It? about the Bypass:
All power to you in stopping this idiocy. We need integrated, rational transport policies in this country, not ever more road building and environmental destruction.
Hi. I attended some of your meeting at WX School and have to say I found it fascinating - so many independent issues, legacy topics and historical matters that are major elements in their own right but linked to the overall problem of Hereford congestion.
I have lived in Hereford for nearly 22 years and I have to confess I have always believed a bypass would be the correct solution to traffic problems, However, I am now of the opinion that we do not as the congestion is self-inflicted as there are other solutions
I admire everyone’s input with regard to car sharing, use of public transport, cycling, walking etc and acknowledge all avenues have to considered / proposed / utilised as it’s a combined effort. But I have always felt that the British government / councils are far too soft and appeasing when trying to solve major issues so compromises or weak solutions are always employed that only scratch the surface. To make a definitive change for the better requires radical action which at the time causes grief but very quickly the population soon gets accustomed to them and life carries on – take the London congestion charge as an example.
I believe that 2 strands would serve the county (and probably the country!) extremely well:
Alternative access to a defined area of the city, by day or week, to cars with registrations ending with odd or even numbers. I believe Paris already does this and I’m sure there are other cities in the world. It would immediately reduce by 50% cars that can actually access the congested areas of the city (exemptions for some types of vehicle), it would therefore reduce pollution, it would force and encourage in a responsible way commuters to car pool/use public transport/walk/cycle, it would create more business for public and private transport, it would create a new business opportunity in the city on the arterial roads for car parking / car meeting / carpooling areas. To police this I would suggest a team of clampers operate within the city to clamp offending vehicles. Population would very quickly adjust and get used to it.
Congestion problem - solved.
Business – increased and no impact.
Cost – a fraction of the cost of a bypass.
Ban HGV lorries on defined roads / areas over rush hour periods.
Cost – negligible.
After going to the shire hall council meeting last week I know now why we are in such a mess, they spent at least 40 minutes self-congratulating themselves on what a great job they have done (even though Councillor Price mentioned to us Hereford needs change or we will die) but it’s the council who are killing Hereford.
We want a council who listens to its people and are not deaf, someone who acts in the right way and are not arrogant, who brings prosperity to its city and is not selfish – our council does none of these.
We need to get rid of these Flintstones from Bedrock.
Let’s vote Independent party and get rid of these people, bring in a fresh approach.
Thanks for this, [the new Solutions page] WRI.
I would add that a German friend I met in London told me that many German basements were cycle parks.
Such thinking would stop a lot of traffic congestion related to Herefordshire's 'open season' for property developers, I think!
The bypass will go through some of our most beautiful countryside on the edge of our lovely city. I believe that other measures should be taken to keep our countryside pristine, and avoid a large road that will desecrate areas close to SSSIs, take away people's homes, add to pollution and (in terms of housing) will require massive flood mitigation. As a city, we need to think more creatively about how to avoid the need for a bypass, e.g. by ensuring that we have a park and ride on several edges of the city, safer cycle routes car share schemes and similar - and I agree with the signatories above that we need a progressive, fit-for-purpose, properly-funded travel plan, that will avoid the need for a bypass.
Jane Smith, Hereford
Letter to Hereford Times – Unpublished
(Published by Hereford Civic Society July 2018)
Better than a bypass for Hereford
Whether pedestrians, cyclists, motorists or bus users, Herefordians agree that something needs to be done about city transport. We look to Herefordshire Council for enlightened leadership, so it's disappointing to see that their 1970's style 'Transport Package' is really only about a bypass. Cabinet is hoping to announce its 'preferred route option' on 27th July, despite only around 15% of vehicles being A49 through traffic which might use it, and the fact Highways England hasn’t decided whether to adopt it. The Council says it will consider active travel measures, if it gets its bypass.
Bypasses are a failed prescription; they quickly fill and the settlements they ring congest. Instead we should prioritise solutions for the 85% which are local movements, projected to increase as population grows. We must make public transport demand-responsive, more reliable, electrically powered and integrated across modes - bus, train, even tram. As numerous European cities have done, we should commit convincingly to walking and cycling so that these become attractive, safe and healthy choices for people of all ages, with comprehensive route networks, extra bike parking and perhaps another bridge.
Hereford needs a progressive, fit-for-purpose, properly-funded travel plan, sharing the experience of the St James Travel Plan across the whole community; starting with schools, colleges, employers and the University (which has pledged to be car-free). For residents of rural areas seeking congestion-free access to the City reliable bus/cycle/train (or tram) linked park & go schemes are needed. On a 'twenty is plenty' basis, traffic lights and street clutter could be carefully designed away, easing movement across shared spaces, making roads safer and improving the public realm. Go further and limit the walled city to permitted vehicles, restoring its wasteful surface car parks to domestic or creative uses. City parking could be concentrated at sites round the edge.
Do all this and, at a fraction of the cost of a bypass, Hereford will thrive as a great place to be; an historic city set in glorious countryside which no bypass should be permitted to despoil.
Adrian Bridges, Belmont Parish Council
Mo Burns, St James & Bartonsham Community Association
Gareth Calan Davies, RBfH, Herefordshire Sustainable Transport Group
Anna Coda, Labour
David Fowler, Hereford Civic Society
Dr Nichola Geeson, Environmentalist
Amanda Martin, Cyclist
Jeremy Milln FSA, Hereford Civic Society
Dr Elizabeth Morawiecka, Breinton Parish Council
Emil Morfett, C Eng MIMMM, Wye Ruin It?
Councillor Felicity Norman, Hereford Green Party
Rob Palgrave, Hereford Green Party
Councillor Anthony Powers, Its Our County
Carole Protherough, DMS, Hereford Transport Alliance
Dr Patricia Ronan, Wye Ruin It?
Diana Toynbee, Hereford Green Party
Dr Victoria Wegg-Prosser, Fields in Trust
Professor John Whitelegg LLB, Liverpool JM University
Excerpts from Facebook comments:
I'm sure that this applies to many, many places in this country. The 'politicians' are arm-in-arm with the 'contractors' to promote 'development' for mutual profit, at the expense of the people and the land.
This is blatant gangsterism.
Nowadays, the notion of 'growth' is pushed to its maximum, whereas cutting edge research on the matter would suggest that more 'growth' is the last thing we need - consolidation and conservation are what we need in order to ensure an acceptable standard of living for future generations.
Real 'growth' has to be vertical - no longer horizontal. It is no longer acceptable to simply splurge ever on into the countryside, knocking down who knows what in the name of nothing at all (nothing but a temporary bank boost for the evolutionarily unfit, at least). Quality has to be improved; not quantity. We have enough people, enough services, enough infrastructure: the problem is that none of it barring most of the people is actually working.
This is because money is not put into sustaining past projects; it is eternally siphoned into future projects, because 'the future™' is 'where the money is' (according to the people who make money off 'predicting' [that is, engineering] the future).
I have spent large portions of my life travelling this country, through cities and towns, through the wilds, on trains and on buses, on odd adventures that very few people ever seem to have the time to go on. I've seen a lot of what goes unseen around here, largely because it's not on anyone's trajectory.
What I've seen, by and large, is that we already have everything we need - houses, offices, industrial estates, power plants, recreational facilities, transport infrastructure etc. The problem is that the bulk of these are dilapidated. They're out of date.
Rather than being updated - at a fraction of the cost of building new edifices - they're left to rot. The land becomes unusable; commerce and production halt entirely in those districts; the areas become the residences of criminal gangs before emptying absolutely (nobody wants to deal coke out of a damp, crumbling factory when there's a deserted office block down the road).
What's left is a small ghost town, nestled some five minutes from where you live. You will likely never see it. But you will also never see anyone going to work there, using that office space, using that industrial space, using that boarded up mechanic's, restoring that boarded up hospital. Increasingly these areas are getting to the stage of degradation where they cannot be rebuilt - they are structurally undermined by neglect, meaning they will need to be knocked down before that land can be used.
And yet they're not. That pub with the boarded up windows is owned by the council. They won't do anything with it. They'll just let it sit there. Not a gentleman's club, not an old folk's home, not a youth centre - just a boarded up old pub (and that probably does have a few junkies lingering around, because it's comfier than the crumbling factory).
Meanwhile hundreds of millions of British tax pounds are going on new developments not fifteen minutes away.
Developments which will also become outdated, dilapidated, and deserted in time.
It is more profitable for politicians and contractors to contract new building developments than it is for them to develop or rehabilitate old buildings.
The development culture in this country (and in most others that I've seen) is utterly crooked, based essentially on a set of loopholes which - as is ever the case in these modern business-states - allow the initiated to make money out of neither work nor (real) investment.
These people make money by contracting buildings. Before the buildings are finished, they have made their money. They contract more new buildings before the old new buildings are finished. Sometimes they give up on building the old new buildings before they're even built - and yet they still make the money. How is this even remotely possible if this practice is economically salient?
We are removing bricks from the lower levels to build ever higher. This is a national game of jenga. Only a few get to play. Everyone loses when the tower falls - but thank God, we all fall equally to the ground.