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LOCAL NEWS | Today £1.3 Million Improvement Works Begin On Widemarsh Street Hereford

Hereford Voice

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The original layout was installed back in 2011 under the previous Council Administration, so this work and extra cost is as a direct result of continuous complaints and issues arising from the low kerbs in particular, which were installed at that time.


This work is long overdue, over a decade after the road was redesigned and this hazard has been allowed to continue for too long.

Hereford Voice would like to thank campaigners like Barb Tilling and Anna Gardiner from local group Widemarsh Street Trips and Falls for their hard work over the years to raise awareness on this issue and also want to thank the coalition administration who have took the decision and secured the funding for the levelling of the kerbs after nothing was done by the previous administration. 


The existing Widemarsh St design since its completion in 2011 has been subject to a number of specialist design and safety reviews. All of these have concluded that the scheme is fully in line with design guidance and best practice.

However, the public have continued to lobby local councillors as well as the Cabinet Member regarding incidents personal to them. In light of this a Cabinet Member decision made last year ensured that a budget to enhance Widemarsh St was included in the HCCI programme.

Councillor John Harrington, Cabinet member infrastructure and transport said:

“The existing layout of Widemarsh St was conceived with the best of intentions, conforming, I believe, to design and best practice guidance, and with the aim of promoting pedestrian safety. And this remains the professional view of officers and our public realm contractor. However, it is our opinion as an administration, that unfortunately and undeniably, the design has caused difficulties for some pedestrians, and this is something we were keen to remedy.

“Widemarsh St is a key part of the City centre, being a popular route for pedestrians and vehicles, home to many shops and businesses, and providing an important link between Old Market and High Town. It is a central component of our transport network and economy, along with the status and appeal of Hereford as a visitor destination and place for local people to enjoy their leisure time. As such it is important that we listen to feedback from the public to make it as safe as possible.

“We explored a wide variety of options, with emphasis on aesthetics, safety, ease of use, drainage and cost. Unfortunately, no matter which way we cut it in terms of trying to remove the kerb and its negative effects - balancing that out against best value in trying times financially - nothing provided the certainty that we insisted on other than this optimal solution of removing the kerb completely. This will be expensive but it is a cost we are certain we must pay to ensure this street scheme is what the visitors and residents of Herefordshire deserve. I am only sorry that it has taken so long to address”.

A spokesperson for Hereford Business Improvement District said;

"The enhancement works to Widemarsh Street which is planned to last around 17 weeks.

A letter will be/ has been sent to businesses explaining plans.

The arrangements for deliveries are as follows:

ONLY PRE-NOTIFIED DELIVERIES WILL BE ALLOWED BY CALLING 07880 342090 (please note the number does not yet work but we expect this to do so in the coming weeks).

Smaller Vehicles - Access Maylord Street via Blue School Street by turning left into Maylord Street service yard.....continue across the yard and turn right opposite Specsavers down Maylord Street to Widemarsh Street. A banksman will be there to help vehicles turn around and exit via the same route.

Larger Vehicles - Access Maylord Street via Blue School Street by turning left into Maylord Street service yard.....use Maylord's service yard to turn around and exit"

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I have tripped along here a few times over the last couple of years, so this work is definitely required. It's a pity that the current council have to pick top the costs and all the flack, when it was the Tories that got it wrong in the first instance.

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Sniping at the previous administration by Cllr Harrington is all well and good, but at least the work was done to a very high standard with very high quality materials. Under his watch, we have the opposite with the St Owen's St cyclepath, with some of the shoddiest and sub-standard construction I've seen with 40+ years experience in construction. Who's he going to blame that on? 

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Agreed, and I don't imagine for a moment that it will be done to the same standard and his successor will be left to take the flack after May. There's a certain irony in the fact that they've created exactly the same 'trip hazard' by raising the tarmac level in St Owen's Street, despite all of the agreed drawings showing the stepped kerb was to be maintained. Pedestrians now use the cycle path as an extension of the narrow pavement.

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