Herefordshire’s business community is to launch a…
Road campaigners: People are right behind us
Press release 11th September 2019
Herefordshire’s bypass campaigners have been overwhelmed by supportive messages after they invited the public to back their cause.
Business leaders launched a crowd-funded campaign last month after Herefordshire Council called an overnight halt to long-developed plans for a bypass, which would relieve traffic congestion in Hereford itself and improve access to key areas of the wider region.
Now the scheme is under review after years of planning and negotiation. Herefordshire Business Board fears the opportunities which the bypass would bring will be lost forever – together with tens of millions of pounds in Government investment.
A series of advertisements has invited the public to give the board their views and now messages received have demonstrated overwhelming backing for the scheme to go ahead.
Comments ranged from a simple “Yes to bypass: this rethink is a disgrace!” to “This has dragged on for far too long – I implore you to get this sorted to enable business growth and security.”
One supporter said: “I have lived in Herefordshire for 50 years and still waiting for the bypass. Sadly I do not come into the city of Hereford any more due to traffic and delays so shop elsewhere.”
Another gave this more-detailed analysis: “It has taken 30 or so years for our council to agree that a bypass for Hereford is necessary, during which time the minutia of every possible pro and con must have been debated time and again, to a point where the Council has expended approximately £10 million on preliminary work, only to have second thoughts and the possibility of the project being cancelled.
“Without apparently any previous view one way or another, Councillor Hitchiner has stated that a bypass ‘is not a solution’, and that it ‘often attracts traffic’, which I rather thought was the purpose of the exercise.
“If it only reduced traffic in the City by 20 per cent, a bypass would offer quite a large number of people an alternative route in to, out of, or around Hereford which is bordering on the impossible today. thanks to the expected nimby brigade, and years of political infighting.”
Frank Myers, chairman of the business board, said: “When you launch a campaign and then ask for pubic support you always hold your breath to see what comes back.
“We were delighted when comments began to arrive. Of course we had a handful which questioned our stance – but the vast majority have been keenly supportive.
“Not only that – they have shown a real appreciation of the issues involved and an understanding that we are in danger of spurning a massive opportunity.
“People realise we need this bypass if we are to create a cleaner environment, attract investment, create jobs, boost wages, care for our old folk and create a future for our youth. It’s that important – and people get it.”
Council’s enterprise “investment” pointless without bypass
Press release 16th August 2019
Councillors’ promises of a muti-million pound investment boost for enterprise will amount to “phantom funding” unless Hereford’s bypass scheme goes ahead, business campaigners have warned.
Herefordshire Business Board was responding to the announcement by Herefordshire Council of a planned £5.231m investment at the Enterprise Zone, located at Skylon Park in Rotherwas.
Council leader David Hitchiner suggested the spending would cover “essential infrastructure such as access roads and cycleways, ultrafast broadband and utility supplies.”
But business board chairman Frank Myers MBE said: “This announcement completely overlooks the fact that the only infrastructure that really matters for the Skylon Park site is the long-promised bypass.”
The board this week launched a crowd-funded information campaign in favour of the bypass scheme going ahead after the council called a halt to work for a review of the entire project.
It has produced a dossier highlighting the lasting damage to the county’s jobs market, prosperity and overall economy if the bypass is scrapped.
Mr Myers said: “On the one hand the council is acknowledging the huge potential of investors wanting to move onto Skylon park, but then talking about peripheral investment on things like cycle lanes.
“That is all well and good, but we have clear information that only a fraction of the potential enterprise zone footprint can be developed without the bypass connecting it to the national roads network.
“Without the bypass none of this will matter because the site cannot be fully developed. It is a phantom investment. With the bypass Skylon Park can be the promise land. Without it, large parts will remain a waste land.
“If the council wishes to be serious about enterprise, job creation and attracting hi-tech inward investment, the bypass is the only way forward.”
This press release by the Herefordshire Business Board is in response to Herefordshire Council’s announcement of £5.231m investment to support the creation of new jobs. You can read that in full on the Herefordshire Council website.
Business launches major campaign to get relief road back on track
Press release 12th August 2019
Herefordshire’s business community is to launch a major campaign against moves to halt the county’s long-promised relief road.
They fear that, if the road scheme does not go ahead, a once-in-a-generation opportunity will be lost to put the local economy back on track, solve longstanding problems of traffic congestion and choking fumes and, even more importantly, facilitate much needed inward investment and economic growth.
Well-established plans for a relief road to counter congestion in Hereford have been thrown into doubt after May’s local election changed the political make-up of Herefordshire Council. The council had been working closely with the Department of Transport and other major stakeholders towards finally getting the bypass scheme underway after decades of debate and analysis.
Now Herefordshire Business Board, which aims to keep government and investment agencies updated on the views and needs of local business, is set to mount a multi-pronged campaign to restore the relief road plans as an urgent priority.
Backed by crowd-funding, a series of major advertisements is planned setting out the detailed reasons why the road is needed – not just for business but for the whole county. This will work alongside a social media drive and postal information blitz.
The business board argues that squandering the relief road opportunity now would mean long-term and irretrievable damage to investment, the economy and jobs. This is especially so when all of the funding has been put in place by central government.
The campaign will say that it would be wrong to saddle future generations locally with an ailing economy, traffic jams, pollution and shortage of housing and jobs, just because of a one-off protest vote based on national issues.
It assesses that a no-road decision would severely reduce local investment, trade and business rates contributions, which in turn could have a drastic impact on areas such as health and care provision.
Chairman Frank Myers MBE said: “People must realise that, if we want to be looked after in our old age, we will need a sound local economy and a prosperous, younger working population. No road will mean fewer jobs, fewer young people because they will leave, meaning less money to pay for care provision.
“Currently our average wage is one of the lowest in the Country and we need to change that by attracting investment in higher paid jobs.
“After decades of careful progress and negotiation to get everything in place including funding and government approval, we finally got to a position where we are ready and raring to go. If councillors now throw it all away there may not be another opportunity for decades more and the writing off investment already made will seriously undermine the Council’s finances.
“That would be a tragic waste and run completely against the wishes of so many local people who know how badly the road is needed and how important it is for our future prosperity.
“Nobody wants more traffic and more fumes, nobody wants less investment and prosperity.
“Politicians who are party to this decision should realise they will be judged against its consequences for many years to come.”
The winning company who will go forward to the Herefordshire and Worcestershire finals in Worcester on the 9th May are:
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Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading enterprise and financial education charity, empowering young people to learn, to work, and to live.
We believe that the potential of the UK’s young people is unlimited. Why? Because for over 55 years we’ve shared their energy and enthusiasm and admired their strength of character.
Since 1962, we’ve been creating and developing programmes that complement the school experience and encourage young people to realise the extent of their own talents.
Each year we work with 250,000 young people aged 4 to 25, making the foundations of business – resilience, team work, creativity, problem solving and communication – relevant to the daily lives of each and every young person. You can help them realise their potential by giving your time, business expertise or simply donating
For more information about Young Enterprise in Herefordshire please contact:
Beth Walsh Young Enterprise Area Manager for Herefordshire
If you are looking for information and support on Brexit preparation for businesses, you can visit the dedicated information on the Marches Growth Hub website or contact one of our growth hubs by calling the numbers below:
The Government has published new information to support businesses and individuals in preparing for EU Exit. The “Prepare for EU Exit” website is the central site for guidance aimed at businesses and individuals in the UK.
A number of guides are available to help businesses prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU, please visit the Marches Growth Hub website to find more information
COUNTY business leaders gave their Brexit predictions to delegates at the Three Counties Hotel in Hereford.
With the Brexit deadline looming ever closer and the government at loggerheads with itself, business leaders gathered at the conference held on to discuss what the future may hold for Herefordshire when the UK leaves the European Union.
Speakers included Richard Butler, regional director of the Confederation of British Industry, Frank Myers, chair of the Herefordshire Business Board, Harrison Clarke Rickerby’s Robert Capper, Nicholas Groffman and Beverley Smith.
The conference covered many of the shared concerns of businesses as the country stands on the brink of exiting the EU, with speakers giving reassurance and advice to attending business delegates, 32 per cent of whom have explored markets outside of Europe since the referendum.
Richard Butler said: “We are cautiously optimistic that Theresa May will be able to get something through Parliament; they may not want what is on the table, but they want a ‘no deal’ even less.”
Drawing on his own experiences and concerns, Mr Myers said: “We need to redouble our exporting efforts. Especially if we can now sell anywhere.
“What concerns me is the paperwork and how that will increase.”
A vote taken during the conference revealed that 82 per cent of the delegates would vote the same way now as they did in the referendum, whilst 46 per cent were less confident of their business success post Brexit.
An online Brexit survey for businesses across the region will remain open until March at www.hcrlaw.com/brexit-survey
Herefordshire hosts House of Lords Rural Economy Select Committee
Lords committee told that rural economy can thrive with improved infrastructure and skills
(l-r) Lord Foster of Bath, The Earl of Caithness, Baroness Mallalieu, Councillor Jonathan Lester (Leader of Herefordshire Council), Baroness Rock, Councillor David Harlow (Cabinet Member for Economy and Communications)
Better physical and digital infrastructure alongside improved access to skills will enable further growth of the rural economy in Herefordshire, members of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy learned today.
On a visit to the county, where they met representatives of business organisations, council leaders, business owners and local residents, the committee heard of many success stories – from businesses developing night vision equipment to food supply chain software provider – but also of the challenges facing further growth or the establishment of new businesses.
The committee plans to make recommendations to government about measures which will help benefit the rural economy in England.
Chairman of the Committee Lord Foster of Bath said:
“As in many other parts of the country, Herefordshire’s rural economy is doing well, helped by close working between bodies such as the council, Local Enterprise Partnership and the Chambers of Commerce. The planned new engineering-focussed university in Hereford will provide further stimulus for growth. But the expansion of existing businesses and the establishment of new businesses is hampered by unreliable infrastructure, with a strong call for better mobile and broadband coverage.
“At the same time, we heard that agriculture remains the backbone of the rural economy but is also facing challenges not least in attracting new recruits with the technological skills now needed in the industry.”
Councillor David Harlow, Herefordshire Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Communications, took part in the roundtable discussion and said:
“The committee’s visit was a great opportunity to showcase local businesses and explain Herefordshire Council’s support and plans for future business development in the county.”