• Gareth Davies

A Tale of Two County Towns. February 2021

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Shropshire and Herefordshire have a great deal in common. They are both essentially rural shire counties with county towns at the heart and a number of smaller market towns that look to be connected and feed into them. Both Shropshire and Herefordshire are Unitary Authorities.

But that is where the similarity fades. Shropshire wants to demolish Shrewsbury Bus Station, sell off the land and banish county bus services to the outskirts at park and ride sites where passengers would change onto p & r services into the centre.

Herefordshire, on the other hand, wants to encourage bus use. The full council recently voted to abandon new road building plans and concentrate on a policy of active travel measures and enhanced bus services. This hopefully will include extensive enhancement of county and rural bus services as well as those of the city.

As regards public transport there is also another difference. Both Shrewsbury and Hereford railway stations are grade II listed buildings and are managed by Transport for Wales (TfW). TfW have recently held consultations on the upgrade of Shrewsbury station. However, Hereford station languishes in a wilderness of a new four lane highway, health centre and new student accommodation. It desperately needs some tender loving care.

There has been talk of a new transport hub and enhancement of the forecourt area at Hereford station for some twelve years, but the whole area remains a disjointed planning mess. Getting to the station for pedestrians and cyclists is a veritable nightmare.

Thus we have a tale of two county towns. Can we not have the best of both of them?

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