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