Plans for a new £10-million transport hub in front of Hereford railway station have been approved. But the Herefordshire Council planning meeting which confirmed this yesterday (May 1) gave it a less than ringing endorsement.

For Hereford city council, Karen Davis wanted the plan refused, saying four bus bays “seems inadequate” given the planned future closure of the nearby county bus station.

And there appears to be no provision within the hub itself for the city’s free and “very popular” Zipper electric bus service, she added, while city councillors also felt there was inadequate room for taxis and cars picking up passengers.

Will Frecknall of pressure group Rail & Bus for Herefordshire, also speaking for Hereford Civic Society, warned that without constant supervision, the main bus shelter building “will inevitably attract unsocial behaviour”, and claimed aspects of the layout were “dangerous”.

But Herefordshire Council’s project manager Laurence Butterworth said the chosen layout “places highway safety at its forefront” while accommodating up to 50 buses an hour.

Ward member Coun Polly Andrews said the proposed scheme “misses a once-only opportunity to develop a proper full-scale transport hub for the city”, with all city buses calling there at some point.

And rattling off a list of what she saw as shortcomings of the proposal, committee member Coun Elizabeth Foxton called it, it the words of then-Prince Charles, “a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved friend”.

Coun Richard Thomas also felt the design was “poor”, with the “drive-in, reverse-out” format for the bus parking “a no-no for safety”, and called for the approval decision to be deferred.

Coun Stef Simmons wanted more dedicated drop-off and disabled spaces in front of the station, which planning officer Adam Lewis said could be included as a condition.

But committee chair Coun Terry James thought the “plainness” of the design “means it doesn’t compete with the station itself”.

And Coun Brice Baker said he was “a bit angry with some of the comments”.

“Everyone’s an expert,” he said. “But [civil engineering firm] Arup have designed many similar major developments – surely we should accept what they say? We have to bite the bullet on this.”

Approval for the scheme was eventually carried by a majority of the committee.