For the superstitious, Friday 13th is a day known for its unluckiness. And so opponents of the Edgar Street Grid project did their best to make Friday 13th November a very unlucky day for the council.
Hereford Solidarity League members and supporters marched on the Shire Hall displaying banners and joining up with the hundreds of It’s Our City supporters their to lobby the council.
A petition signed by almost 10,000 signatures in just ten weeks in opposition to the ESG was handed over to Cllr John Stone. Inside the meeting a motion had also been put forward to suspend the project.
But luck was never going to be enough. In the face of such strong opposition, the ruling Tory group voted down the motion by a huge majority. It became clear that Herefordshire Council–for now–are intend on carrying on with their development.
Like the council, we too believe that Hereford needs developing, but not in the way that they are proposing. We don’t need more empty shops, we need to support our existing local and independent retailers. The council obviously believe that our lives are less fulfilled without large shopping centres, but we don’t need them. What Hereford needs is more housing, more community-controlled projects. We need a new library, better sports, media and arts facilities–somewhere we are proud to call home!
Hereford is a creative, vibrant and unique place. We have one of the best art colleges in the Midlands, a technical college that turns out hundreds of useful engineers, nurses and social workers every year.
Think of your favourite towns and cities to visit: Hay-on-Wye for its unique secondhand bookshops, Ludlow for its food and history, and even Birmingham for something different. Hereford is one of those last remaining market cities where homegrown products like food and drink, arts and crafts can still trade on an independent level. Creating a shopping complex and splitting the city in two will destroy Hereford’s character and atmosphere. Local pubs, shops, restaurants will close under the enormous competition that will arise from moving the beautifully developed city centre–that now revolves around the Black & White House across–to the cattle market, further north of the river.
So it may be one-nil to the council, but this fight is far from over. We will not stand by and see our city ruined. See you for the second leg.