To: Herefordshire Council and Marches LEP
Stop the Herefordshire Southern Link Road
We call on the Herefordshire Council and their unelected colleages at Marches LEP to cancel this deeply flawed scheme. So flawed in fact that reports from the participants are at odds with themselves. The plan is to build a road through Grafton Wood between the A465 Hereford/Abergavenny Road and the A49, with an odd link on to the B4349 to the west which was not in the original plan.
Why is this important?
It is clear that this scheme (South Wye Transport Package) will do nothing to relieve traffic through Hereford as it is presented to the public. It is to unlock land (some of which is already owned by the council - therefore us) for the wholesale industrialisation of South Herefordshire with roads, industrial buildings and cheap housing.
What, you might ask, is wrong with this? Doesn't Herefordshire need jobs and homes? Yes, arguably it does but the devil is in the detail. Herefordshire may need selective, attractive developments - both commercial and residential - that tie in with and support its USP of tourism, agriculture and just being attractive. What Herefordshire does not need is broiler sheds, ugly retail and industrial parks and acres of soul sapping, shoddily built hutches that now degrade and blight so much of the country.
Examples of flaws:
The Marches LEP says:
“Scheme business cases should therefore demonstrate high value for money and contribution to economic growth, reducing carbon emissions, reducing social exclusion, improving safety and promoting health / well being”.
The Parsons Brinkerhoff report to Cabinet on the Southern Link road options clearly states that “all scheme options will have a slight adverse impact on greenhouse gases due to vehicles travelling greater distances and at higher speeds.” and adds
“All route variations will have an adverse impact on walking and cycling levels in the rural area, discouraging these activities by increasing severance on existing routes and loss of rural amenity through the introduction of traffic noise and proximity to traffic.”
The Highways Agency were clearly fed disinfo by our council cabinet (made obvious by their response) and in a passage missing from the council report state:
" ...under current guidance the building of new road infrastructure could only be justified in policy terms when other avenues such as travel planning and sustainable travel modes had been developed and shown not to address the transport needs and issues identified. We note the commitment to improve cycling and walking environments on the A465.“
No such mention of cycling and walking provision appeared in the subsequent Cabinet presentation. None of the alternative remedies have been tried. These are only some of the flaws, and others are under review by teams concerned with the resulting impact.
Proper consultation has not taken place, to the extent that at least one retired couple we know of were the last to know that an add on to the scheme is due to go through the middle of their garden and ploughing through 500 yr old oak trees. Today it is their garden under threat, tomorrow it could be yours as the SLR is clearly the tip of the iceberg to the plans If you are on the outer edges of the city of Hereford, now is the time to act and lobby your local councillors and MPs. Responses should be made to Herefordshire Council re Planning Application 151314
This kind of development will eventually destroy Herefordshire: it will destroy its beauty. It will destroy its individuality. It will destroy everything that makes it special and, worst of all, it will destroy its local, home grown businesses and local economy by making the county so unappealing, bleak and blighted that no-one with any choice will want to visit it let alone invest in it and live in it.