Agenda item

Hereford Transport Package (HTP)

To consider: feedback to the HTP Phase 2 consultation, assessment of the shortlist of possible bypass route corridor options, the recommended preferred bypass route corridor, the development of associated walking, cycling, bus and public realm (active travel)improvements and to confirm the scope of the Phase 3 consultation.


The cabinet member infrastructure introduced the item. He highlighted that:

·         the Hereford bypass was a key infrastructure project and a priority in both council and regional transport policies;

·         the Hereford Transport Package would enable delivery of essential future housing and employment;

·         the bypass would provide an alternative route for traffic which currently travelled through the city;

·         significant improvements to the city’s public realm and active travel measures would be delivered alongside the bypass to encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport;

·         the report presented to the meeting set out the response to the consultation on the approved short-list of route corridors for the bypass and technical work which had been completed, culminating in a recommendation that the red route be selected as the preferred route for further development;

·         subject to approval of the recommended route the next phase of work would see more detailed proposals developed and a further round of public consultation;

·         the council continued to engage with relevant Government departments and agencies regarding the funding for the scheme; and

·         the cabinet member and officer team were available to meet with any directly impacted property owners or those close to the route.


The head of infrastructure delivery and the project director from contractors WSP gave a presentation on the phase 2 public consultation and technical work undertaken, and summarised the reasons for the recommendation of the red route as the preferred route for the bypass.


It was noted that:

·         the recommendations from the general scrutiny committee discussion of the draft report were set out in paragraphs 58 to 61 of the report and each recommendation had been accepted;

·         there were a number of technical reports which formed appendices to the report, the hierarchy of these documents was explained and their purpose summarised;

·         a pairwise methodology had been used, which split the bypass corridor into three sections and then further sub-sections before comparing the performance of the shortlisted routes through each sub-section, this was an established approach endorsed by Highways England and other national agencies;

·         the main differences between the performance of the shortlisted routes were environmental and social impacts, the other criteria assessed did not vary much between the shortlisted routes.


Councillor Bramer left the meeting at this point


Views from the General Scrutiny Committee


The chairperson of the general scrutiny committee gave feedback from the committee’s consideration of the draft report. He stated that the committee had discussed the matter very thoroughly and noted that the recommendations made to cabinet had been accepted. The committee had not considered whether there should be a bypass as part of the transport package as this had already been agreed by full council and did not form part of the decision before cabinet in this report. Following its discussions, subject to the recommendations made, the committee felt that it could support the red route as the best performing of the shortlisted routes. The chairperson concluded by thanking members of the general scrutiny committee and all those who had given their time for the meeting. He noted that the scrutiny committee would continue to take a keen interest in the issues going forward.


Views of group leaders

The leaders of the political groups on the council were invited to give the views of their groups on the matter under consideration.


It was noted that the leader of the Its Our County group had declared a schedule 1 interest and was not present. As his deputy was unable to attend a written statement had been provided and was read to the meeting. The statement set out that:

·         the group had made a detailed response to the phase 2 public consultation which was included in the appendices to the report;

·         the group did not believe that any of the shortlisted routes would deliver what was claimed for the bypass; and

·         the group supported the use of sustainable travel measures as an alternative to road building and believed this would cost less than the proposed bypass.


The leader of the green group set out that:

·         the group were not convinced that this was the right way forward and felt that the case for improved air quality and journey times had not been robustly made;

·         the group were concerned that there would be temptation to scale back on the active travel measures; and

·         the group was unsure if 20mph zones could be delivered as they would have to be self-policing.


The leader of the Herefordshire independents group stated that for the past four or five years his group had been unanimous in supporting an eastern route for a bypass. However there were members of the group, particularly those with wards south of the River Wye, who now felt that it was in the interests of their residents to make the western route work as well as possible.  


Ward members statements


Councillor Bowes (Belmont Rural ward) was unable to attend the meeting. It was noted that Councillor Bowes had declared an interest due to the proximity of her home to the proposed route of the bypass and had received a dispensation to participate in the meeting by providing a written statement. Councillor Bowes’ statement stated that that:

·         traffic problems in Hereford needed to be addressed;

·         the proposed bypass would not address the issues faced by residents as the majority of traffic was local and housing growth would increase the number of people wanting to access the city centre;

·         feedback from residents in the ward did not support the red route, their stated preference if the road went ahead was for the olive/black route as this had less impact on Belmont residents;

·         walking, cycling and active transport measures should be prioritised;

·         a bridge across the river to the east should be explored;

·         the proposed route would have a significant impact on land and listed buildings covered by the neighbourhood development plan for Belmont Rural; and

·         the views of residents should be listened to.


Councillor Matthews (Credenhill ward) spoke as a ward member. He stated that:

·         he thanked members of the public who had attended the meeting and concurred with their views;

·         he had always supported a new bridge to the east of the city which he believed could be delivered with no impact to the Lugg Meadows, this route had previously been supported by the county’s MPs, national partners and businesses;

·         public transport options should be delivered;

·         new housing should be focused where the infrastructure already existed;

·         he did not believe that the bypass scheme would deliver the well paid jobs predicted.


Discussion of item by cabinet members


In the discussion of the item the following points were made:

·         modelling had been carried out on air quality along the proposed route, emissions would disperse quickly due to the nature of the area and pollution levels would be below legal limits, further modelling would be carried out moving forward;

·         cabinet members could be assured that the Human Rights Act had been considered in assessing the impact on communities, the Act required positive impacts to be weighed against adverse impacts;

·         the screening report had identified the impact on Hereford Community Farm as one of the issues to be looked at in the next stage of work;

·         the red route had been set out as a 50m corridor, preliminary designs would be refined in the next stage of work and minor modifications within that corridor would be looked at as part of the mitigation measures to be worked up;

·         consideration should be given not only to those people and features affected within the preferred route corridor but also those just outside it and what support might be made available to them;

·         an additional recommendation was proposed by the cabinet member finance and corporate services that officers bring forward a report on options to support those impacted by the route;

·         the level of response to the questionnaire in the public consultation was a meaningful sample, the cluster diagrams in the report showed the spread of home locations of those who responded and examples of consultations on road schemes elsewhere in the country showed this to be a good level of response;

·         a meeting had taken place with the Bay Horse Inn and further work was required to design safe access both during construction and once the bypass was open, the tender document for construction could include clear expectations for delivering continuity of access to mitigate impact on businesses;

·         work done on the options for the river crossing showed that the yellow, cyan and orange routes clearly performed worst in terms of noise over that section of route, there was very little difference in terms of number of properties impacted between the olive/black 1 and red/black 2 routes but noise from the olive/black 1 route was more difficult to mitigate as this would impact on the Belmont park historic landscape, despite being the closer route the red/black 2 route performed best over this section;

·         the techniques used for assessing noise impact and mitigation were well established and followed national guidelines, such techniques were constantly reviewed;

·         the scheme would be reviewed against the new national planning policy framework but had also referred to national guidance specific to road and rail schemes, the NPPF was less focussed on such schemes;

·         it was expected that conditions would be attached to any planning permission, when the scheme reached tender stage the council could be very clear about expectations for issues such as maintaining access, control of dust and access for construction vehicles, there were many examples of best practice which could be drawn on;

·         parish councils and councillors often had in depth local knowledge which should be drawn on to identify issues that would require mitigation and suggest possible solutions;

·         there were a range of noise mitigation measures which could be employed on any elevated sections of road around the river crossing, such as treatments applied to the road surface, parapets on the bridge and solid screens;

·         it was intended that only the roundabouts would be lit by street lighting, impact of headlights on nearby properties would be mitigated.


The leader of the council summed up the discussion, noting that this was a significant decision and not to be taken lightly. He recognised the potential to achieve many of the long term objectives for Herefordshire but that in taking these decisions cabinet members should be fully conscious of the impact on some residents. He then put the recommendations, including the additional recommendation (e) proposed and seconded during the meeting, to the vote.




Resolved that:

(a)  having regard to the feedback to the HTP Phase 2 consultation report, the Stage 2 Scheme Assessment Report, the Stage 2 Environmental Assessment Report, the Route Selection Report and the Preferred Route Report, the red route (as identified in Appendix 5) be approved as the preferred route for further scheme development for the Hereford bypass;

(b)  subject to approval of recommendation (a) above, a further round (phase 3) of consultation on the detailed proposals for a scheme based on the red route corridor and complementary active travel measures be undertaken to gather stakeholder feedback to assist with informing a future decision by Cabinet to confirm the route for the bypass and recommended active travel measures which will together form the Hereford Transport Package, prior to submission for planning and other necessary permissions;

(c)  the director for economy, communities and corporate be authorised to take all necessary steps to progress detailed design and, consultation including commissioning external professional advisers as required to inform future decisions on the Hereford Transport Package to a maximum cost of £2.45m;

(d)  the proposed responses (at paragraphs 58 to 61) to the recommendations of General Scrutiny Committee be approved; and

(e)  officers bring forward a report on options for supporting those who may be affected.


Supporting documents: