We learn from the Hereford Times of 20 September that the Broad Street Scheme is to be put on hold. According to the paper, Councillor Powell, ‘cabinet member for infrastructure, said it had become clear following consultation that “now is not the right time” for an overhaul of a city centre street’ and that instead ‘the council will carry out a major expansion of city cycle networks’ including ‘direct cycle access to the city centre from St Owen’s Street’.
This is a surprisingly sensible decision to come out of Herefordshire Council, given the origins of the Broad Street scheme.
St Owen Street always should have been the top priority for a scheme to promote sustainable transport, public realm enhancement and economic regeneration (the Department for Transport’s funding criteria).
And note the words ‘on hold': what we can work for now is a scheme which is properly planned in the context of improvements to the city centre environment and traffic management.
A Masterplan, developed in proper consultation with the city centre’s business and residents and visitors, is still needed.
And now, of course, we assume, some of the contentious issues will merely shift location. But we can hope that the Council will go about it more openly and sensitively this time.
Possibly too last minute, but there may be scope to revise the Broad Street proposal and spread the spend a bit further. You can send your views to the Council, but please do so before the end of July. Read on.
The Council appears to have got the message that the scheme is more controversial than they might have first assumed. At least they are now asking about the possibility of spreading the spend, asking questions about parking provision and for other comments.
This new approach coincides with the appointment to the cabinet of Cllr Graham Powell (Golden Valley South) for Education and Infrastructure following Adrian Blackshaw’s departure. In his letter to the Hereford Times of 28th June, Cllr Powell says ‘I am committed to ensuring that this funding is spent wisely.’ And ‘I am keen to hear all views about how this should be done to make sure any enhancement of the street provides a better environment for all, whilst helping to strengthen and support the economy of the city.’
Please visit the Destination Hereford webpage to see the latest proposals (July 2012 exhibition boards). There is a webpage on this website (nothing to do with Herefordshire Council!) where you can download their questionnaire. Please send your response to the Council BEFORE the end of July 2012.
Ben Hamilton-Baillie’s latest presentation, with explanatory text, is also posted on this website because the version on the Destination Hereford page only reproduces the images.
Last night 19th April Herefordshire Council held another meeting for Broad Street stakeholders. The purpose of the meeting was to ‘pick up and address some of the concerns expressed at those meetings and outline next steps’ and ‘to share with you some work our consultants having been doing to set out priorities for the wider city centre.’
The Council and consultants Hamilton-Baillie Associates have a lot to juggle and will have to consider confusion-management. What people saw very much depended on their relationship to the scheme.