Enterprise park £19m funding bid proposed

Tuesday 5th July 2022 6:00 am
The proposed Ross Enterprise Park could create up to 1,250 jobs ()

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THE county council is seeking £19m as part of a £43m Government Levelling Up bid to develop the proposed seven-hectare Ross Enterprise Park it owns, with hopes of up to 1,250 new jobs.

The bid, which is designed to address an identified shortage of employment land in the area, also includes cash to develop transport links to the rest of the town from the site.

And a Herefordshire Council report says if approved, it could generate £195m of business over ten years.

The council Cabinet meets today (Wednesday, June 29) and is expected to approve the bid to the Levelling Up Fund, which must be submitted by July 6.

The full £43m proposed bid also includes measures to boost sustainable travel in Hereford, and a package of built heritage improvements for Leominster and Ledbury.

The report says that if successful, the £19m Ross bid would “provide opportunities to build on the county’s significant strengths in cyber-security, and to enable the county to benefit from increasing strengths in engineering and technology”.

It adds: “The bid would pay for site clearance including of existing farm buildings; groundworks to create platforms for development plots;

internal estate roads, cycleways and walkways; utilities and communication networks, and drainage; soft and hard landscaping and ecology enhancement including a buffer between the park and nearby houses.”

The proposed creation of the Hildersley-based park at Model Farm could be the biggest economic project in Ross since the building of the M50 if it goes ahead.

It follows doubts last year that it would ever see the light of day, with a council spokesperson saying at the time: “Following detailed design and tendering of the proposed development of Ross Enterprise Park, the identified costs were significantly higher than expected, and the project is no longer considered value for money.

“The council is currently working with the town councils, businesses and other local stakeholders in each of the market towns to develop an Economic Development Investment Plan to enable the growth of the towns in the future.

“For Ross this includes considering the need for employment land, and the options available for meeting this need whether this be on model farm and/or other sites in the town.”

The Hereford part of the Levelling Up bid, for which the council is seeking £20m, consists of 20 schemes which the council says are deliverable by March 2025, and include the long-awaited transport hub at the railway station, integrating cycling, walking and buses with rail.

Funding is also sought for – a cycle scheme from Aylestone Hill along the A465 and Commercial Road, linking the north and east of the county to the transport hub and the rest of the city;

Bus priority measures along Blueschool Street and Newmarket Street;

Improvements to the Great Western Way walking and cycling path, including access across the A49;

Improvements to St Owen Street one-way cycle scheme;

The introduction of a 20mph speed limit in parts of the city;

Introducing or improving “quiet routes” to the Hereford Enterprise Zone, to encourage walking and cycling to work;

Measures to make Holme Lacy Road between the A49 and the Hereford Enterprise Zone more cycle-friendly.

Another £4.6m is being sought to revamp Leominster’s Corn Square, turn part of the Old Priory into office and accommodation space and bring forward other public realm improvements in the town centre, plus landscaping at Ledbury’s Masters House and St Katharine’s car park.

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