‘Hereford is dying … and it’s all the council’s fault’

Herefordians are concerned that the city isn’t what it used to be and blame the council for its collapse.

Personally, we’re blaming the council for the snow last week

Locals and commenters on social media sites—and the Hereford Times website in particular—seem to want to blame the council for everything, including for why they can’t find the TV remote.

“Hereford is dying,” they say. “The whole town is in a mess thanks to the backward council.”

One commenter on the Old Hereford Pics Facebook page claimed: “a friend visited last week after being away for many years – she actually cried when she saw how dirty and empty the city looks.” (Is ours the only city like this?)

The basis for this despair is the empty shops. The empty shops and the ESG and the lack of a bypass, and the prospect of a bypass … and the empty shops. You’d be forgiven for thinking that people in this city are obsessed with shopping and town planning.

Some people have even been blaming the council for the Cook’s Haven closing, despite the owners citing internet shopping as the main reason for their downfall (and many shoppers citing their high prices).

For many Herefordians the visual state of High Town seems to be the city’s most important problem.

Or is it what goes on behind closed doors: the struggle to pay the rent or mortgage; the inflation-busting price rises on our weekly shop; job insecurity and the threat of redundancy; the below-average wages workers are paid in the county and arrival of more part-time, minimum wage jobs to replace skilled labour; the increased reliance on food banks; the prospect of low-income families having to move into more cramped living conditions.

Next to none of these problems are anything to do with the council and a lot of the fault lies squarely at the door of national government and the international economy. What we have in Hereford (and the county beyond) is an epidemic of parochial thinking and a strange reaction to blame the council for everything.

So is Hereford dying because the shops are empty or because no one can afford to shop? And if no one can afford to shop, why, and who’s to blame? That is the real issue.

18 thoughts on “‘Hereford is dying … and it’s all the council’s fault’

  1. In my humble opinion the massive supermarket/store chains are to blame for the demise of our independent retailers resulting in empty shop after empty shop. I’m sad that the Cook’s Haven has closed not because I used to shop there especially, but because it’s the small independents that make each and every city individual, but who can compete with the convenience and price of stores like Asda etc.? They sell everything under one roof, cheap prices, free parking, perhaps we should blame the council for allowing stores like this within reach of the city centre traders, they simply can’t compete!

    • Interesting comment Sharon: “I’m sad that the Cook’s Haven has closed not because I used to shop there especially,”
      That’s why they close! They are not there for decorative purpses only, so if you want to retain a city full of small independents – then use them!

  2. It says on the councils website ‘Herefordshire Council is committed to sustainable development and good environmental management. It has an adopted Environmental Policy and an Environmental Management System in place.’
    ‘Sustainable development’ is Agenda 21 (global fascist agenda) which discourages individual initiatives and decries private ownership of homes as well as businesses. National pride is discouraged and history is slanted away from county’s successes and focused solely on failures.
    The council have no right to charge anything for parking, it’s unlawful – the land is held in trust for local people. We are not the trustees of our legal title therefore we are not liable for any charges or taxes.
    Councils are not local authorities they are corporations, they have a CEO and they call us customers. The council award contracts for ‘local services’ to other private corporations. Hmmmmmmmm!!
    If they are corporations and we are customers, we do not have to buy their services.
    We are policed and governed by consent. Remove that consent otherwise their planned agenda will be successful.

  3. As a young person who left the city and then returned I welcome the ESG, it brings more job opportunities and, hopefully, will draw people in from the surrounding towns and villages for shopping. I also believe that having well known names such as Debenhams and Waitrose within the city will be good for many people such as myself because I hate having to travel to visit these stores. My only issue is that shoppers will have to come into the city centre to get to the new shops and congestion will be even worse than it is now so we need some form of road planning by the counsellors to prevent it as traffic in this city is the worst I’ve seen it anywhere especially when coming from south of the river, most mornings it takes between 45 minutes and an hour to get down Belmont Road and it should’ve been sorted a long time ago.

  4. ESG is the future of Hereford, however there is no middle-ground and for sure the city centre will suffer because of it and will die – see Kidderminster town centre to view Hereford within a decade. However, the city centre looks as though it’ll die even without ESG and this can be attributed to many things, all mentioned by those above. So maybe ESG IS needed to keep Hereford ticking over long term.
    If i had a wish-list, i’d have turned Hereford the other way round – instead of bringing Hereford into the future with a new, state of the art shopping centre (ESG), get the relief road made (ease congestion), invest in the independent shops (hasn’t done Ludlow any harm) and embrace this cities PAST – more local markets, more themed days, more drive to recreate the medieval history the city has. Hereford doesn’t need to be another Milton Keynes, not when it has it’s own unique history within the city walls…. and THAT is it’s unique selling point!

  5. In a former life when i worked for the council, the majority of the retail space in Hereford was owned by multinational insurance companies or large property investment companies, who were/are largely faceless corporations who were/are situated in the larger cities around the UK. These are companies who are there to get a return on their investment (for their shareholders & investors); hence why so many town centres all look the same. The high cost of the rent, coupled with inflexible terms (having to pay quarterly) deters local entrepreneurs from setting up independent shops as the hurdles are set so high to get a business established.

    Has anyone looked into the cost of leasing shop space in Hereford recently? Perhaps this could be a starting point.

    The internet is an easy target to pass the blame, but a well positioned business can have a high street presence along with an internet one, to ensure that it does not get left behind. I’m sure there’s more that the council could do to help, but people have to help themselves, for example, local business people getting together to help support start ups.

    It’s time for the ‘fordians to stand up and be counted

  6. Let it die, like most other towns, it’s a shit hole anyway, having been slowly bled dry by both greed, short sighted planning, and inept council twats.

    Maybe in the future there will be a renaissance involving creative independents, but it’s unlikely as they seem to have left the county, or is that country?

    And what’s the call to action? What’s the incentive? shopping, shopping, shopping….. waitrose, debenhams, our saviours!!….
    come off it, yet more wealthy fuck head corporations, if only they would choke on a wild rocket and hand-caught wild cray fish sandwich. The very companies that have been hugely responsible for the transformation of thriving, bustling market towns full of independent traders into the soulless, grey, empty streets they are today. Full of people whose eyes are dim and flesh is pallid. Zombie Nation. Yet they are welcomed in with open arms. Dying? I think it died years ago and it’s just a matter of a delayed burial.

  7. Perfect observations of a town that time forgot well done
    A town that did quite well for the few when in the ownership hands of the few
    The same hands partly responsible for its downfall
    a town heavily dependant on grant funding
    historically pragmatic living for today with no aspirational long term objective or planning
    When its gone its gone reactive not pro active
    Rolling out formulaic urban development schemes that lack any unique perspective or imagination an opportunity to do
    Something new and innovative a chance missed

  8. I blame Councillor bloody Jarvis and anyone who thinks differently disagrees with me! My bloody nemisis Jarvis, first slid onto my radar when I saw him leering at me from the Hereford Times, pointing at the Hereford Bulls testicles sign saying, ‘Here You Can’.
    From that moment on he and I became enemies. For my part, I’ll be damned if I sit back and witness good men and woman, cozying up to a bovine or any other member of the animal kingdom. breaching mans covenant with our sweet loving Jesus and his father God, in order to satisfy Jarvis and his desire to see us mate with this beast or indeed, any other beast.
    It aint going to happen. Never! Not on my watch. I’m an open minded person, keen and willing to embrace all forms of difference but I’ll not sit back and watch my fellow citizens descend into this form of illicit and unhealthy activity.
    As for Jarvis who leads this unholy and chaotic Council leadership that is destroying my homeland. All he touches turns to rat excrement! He lurches from one badly thought out gimmick and scheme to another equally doomed rancid, flea bitten dog and still he’s there poking me with a stick and wasting our deminishing funds on drivel and tripe.
    I mean, look at other towns within the West Midlands. They find things. Interesting things. Valueable things that can be used to trade. The Staffordshire Hoard for example. A lovely find. As soon as I heard they’d dug up that Anglo Saxon gold and silver I thought, ‘Lovely. What a lovely find’.
    Us, here in Hereford? What do we get?. Bloody Nickel and a small three hundred year old silver bloody button. Its so bloody depressing and I blame it all on Councillor Jarvis for no other reason than I can and I bloody will.
    I fish. I fish the Wye and the Lugg an awful lot. If ever Jarvis approached me, being carried and swept away by the current of the swollen Wye and he shouted, ‘Save me. Help me. I’m being washed away toward Bristol’, I’d shout, ‘Get stuffed Jarvis I’m fishing for Chub and Barbel’.
    This Council Leader has gotta go and for purely selfish reasons, namely personal mental health, I want to see him removed from Office.

  9. Remember, it’s not all doom and gloom for independent shops in Hereford, I noticed Berry Red has upgraded a bigger store in Church Street, also White Hall has added a second shop in St Owen Street. There is also a new hi-fi shop at Rotherwas called Hifi Gear where they also sell online – http://www.hifigear.co.uk , so some businesses seem to be coping with the changing retail environment.

  10. i think its disgusting to be honest hereford was such a lovely nice place full of toursits but since all the shops are empty hereford
    just seems dead and we cant blame the council its our fault for not standing up for our council and saying you know what we need to do something to save hereford and make it a better place!!

  11. We visited Hereford Bank holiday Monday the city centre was covered with litter it is the worst place I have ever been to, we will never visit again.

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