South Wye Transport Package – Where is the Evidence?

Here for Hereford reported back in April how the Leader of Herefordshire Council had misled the people of Hereford over transport issues in Hereford, particularly the A49-A465 “Southern Link Road”. ( Here for Hereford Article April 2014 ) .We quoted evidence from the Highways Agency that traffic on the A49 has fallen in recent years and that the Highways Agency has placed no barriers that could inhibit the development of the Hereford Enterprise Zone (HEZ).

Despite this and our request for evidence to be made available to support Herefordshire Council’s claims be made available, the current South Wye Transport Package consultation brochure contains misleading statements and incomplete information. In particular the brochure states (Pg 5) that all of the options for the Southern Link Road “reduce congestion and improve journey times”. As the Council’s own JMP Phasing Study Reports (May 2014) show, congestion does not reduce with any of the options for the proposed Hereford Relief Road links, of which the Southern Link is the first part. Transport modelling for the Southern Link Road on its own, has not yet been completed, despite the consultation having started a number of weeks ago.

The brochure also states on (pg 5) that the options for the Southern Link Road “provide many benefits to the economy by unlocking barriers to the development of the Hereford Enterprise Zone (HEZ) and further housing development”.

The A49 and A465 do not provide barriers to the new Hereford Enterprise Zone. When the site was chosen by the government for Enterprise status no mention was made at national level, by the LEP, or by Herefordshire Council, that the site was constrained due to transport difficulties. The Marches LEP website clearly states that “the Enterprise Zone already benefits from the new Rotherwas access road, completed in June 2008, giving the estate quick and easy access to the A49, M50 and the rest of the motorway network”. ( Marches LEP ).

If anything new sustainable transport measures such as the new Sustrans/Connect 2 cycle bridge, which is currently used by over 250 people per day, has reduced vehicle traffic volumes into the Enterprise Zone. In addition, the “Sustainable Transport Max” map on page 6 of the consultation brochure does not even show this bridge as a route into the Rotherwas Estate; the Great Western Way is depicted as finishing on the south bank of the river Wye and the Victoria footbridge is also omitted from the map. The map also fails to show many of the cycle/quiet routes and footpaths that already exist in South Wye.

Here for Hereford would like Herefordshire Council to provide the taxpayers of Herefordshire with accurate information within its consultations, to ensure proper informed debate in resolving traffic issues within Hereford rather than repeating skewed misinformation not supported by independent evidence.

If you would like to respond to the South Wye Transport Package Consultation we suggest that you write or email as per “Herefordshire Council South Wye Transport Package webpage” or contact Balfour Beatty Living Places at Rotherwas, HR2 6JT for alternative formats of their questionnaire. The deadline for consultation responses is 8th August 2014.

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