The longstanding controversy surrounding the proposed western bypass around Hereford remains a hot topic as local elections draw near. Two years after the coalition government cancelled the plan, the idea remains on the table, with candidates on both sides of the argument.
Councillor John Harrington, leader of Independents for Herefordshire and cabinet member for transport, opposes the bypass, stating that supporters are not addressing the government's call for alternative solutions. The party's website states that a revived plan would take a decade to complete, cost over £250 million, and encourage the construction of car-dependent homes.
The Green Party also opposes the bypass, with leader Councillor Ellie Chowns stating that it would not solve the congestion issue. Both parties highlight surveys showing that only 7% of traffic in Hereford is crossing the city. "To tackle congestion, we need to give the 93% other options," says Chowns. Councillor Bob Matthews and Labour candidate Anna Coda have also confirmed their opposition to the plan.
On the other side, Liberal Democrat leader and former council leader Councillor Terry James has supported the bypass plan for over 20 years, claiming that 85% of Hereford residents want the bypass, according to their polling data. Conservative group leader Councillor Jonathan Lester argues that the project's cancellation cost the county £22 million and believes the bypass is the only viable way to create economic growth and ease traffic congestion.