DESIGN decisions made during one of Hereford’s biggest projects have been criticised by councillors.
The newly built Station Medical Centre and student accommodation block, which flank Hereford’s Victorian station building, were built using land freed up by compulsory purchase orders made as part of Hereford’s transport package.
But councillors at a meeting of Hereford’s Cabinet on July 22 criticised the buildings as “extremely ugly” and as a barrier to one of the elements of the transport package – a transport hub aimed at linking cycling, bus travel, and rail travel in the city.
The council is contractually obliged to build the hub after receiving £14million funding for that purpose from the Marches LEP.
“When I came as a Cabinet member, we clearly said out ambitions were slightly different on how the transport hub should look, and that we wanted it to function better, and we were very disappointed to see that we had put two huge buildings either side of the hub, or where the hub might go, so we were struggling to find out where we were going to put the actual hub,” said Councillor John Harrington, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure.
And he was not alone in his comments, with fellow Cabinet member, Coun Felicity Norman, also voicing her disapproval of the buildings.
“I was on the planning committee that gave permission to both of those extremely unattractive buildings that are on either side of the station, and along with a number of other councillors strongly objected due to the lack of any sort of design, plan, masterplan or whatever that was going to put them in context,” Coun Norman said.
“So we have got what we have got. Very important buildings, very valuable, offering a great service, but it could have been so much better.”