• Gareth Davies

What Boris Didn’t Tell Herefordshire. August 2020

Updated: Aug 30, 2021



On the 11 August Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Hereford’s new Super Surgery. The state-of-the-art surgery brings together many smaller Hereford surgeries under one new roof. The Prime minister was reported as commenting “It was fantastic to see this brand-new GP surgery being built right here in Hereford. When it opens its doors this autumn, patients around the city and surrounding communities will benefit from excellent care and access to a number of services under one roof.”

This is all good news for Hereford except for one vital missing ingredient. How do patients get there? If you are a pedestrian then you have to cross a new super highway without any crossing. If you are a cyclist there are no cycle lanes to guide you safely there. If you want to use the bus then the city bus services go nowhere near the place.

However, you can use the train, the station is not far away and some country bus services terminate there. So if you live in Abergavenny, Leominster, Ludlow, Ledbury, Kington, Llandrindod Wells, Hay on Wye or Brecon you should be OK. But for the people of Hereford there is only one choice, use the car.

The new Super Surgery presents a good example where joined up integrated transport and land use has been abandoned in favour of encouraging car use. That this takes place at a time of climate emergency and government encouragement of sustainable active travel together with increased use of public transport is indicative of the lack of a national transport policy. As a fan of two wheels, surely Boris must have been struck by the dreadfully poor arrangements for cycling along the City Link Road in front of the super surgery and lack of facilities for public transport.

The interaction of land use and transport demand is well known and yet consistently abandoned in a country where government has no integrated transport policy and is intent on a relaxation of land use planning. If we are seriously to tackle climate change and the move to zero carbon transport, together with improving the health of the populace, a dramatic rethink of land use and transport is needed at both national and local level.

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