Why shopkeepers in Hereford’s Widemarsh Street are angry

The figure comes from a survey by Hereford Business Improvement District (BID), which also found poor communication with Hereford Council and daytime deliveries being restricted or refused.

The group sought compensation on behalf of its “struggling” members at a meeting with council officials on July 10, but without success.


“We were told there is no obligation in law to compensate traders, and to do so would open the floodgates to claims around the county,” BID chief executive Mike Truelove said.

“It has impacted all of us, it has been quite brutal at times,” according to Heather Smith, who co-owns the Home and Country Store on the street with husband Nick.

As well as the physical obstruction, with passing customers effectively split in two by the roadworks, “the noise and dust have put people off”, she said.

She was disappointed but not surprised not to be compensated, as “we didn’t even get anything for Covid”.


Les Black, who runs fashion store M Black & Sons, said: “It’s not been good, particularly when the work was right outside our door. It’s been noisy and smelly with not much room on the pavement, which puts people off.

“People see the signs saying, ‘road closed’, so they think it’s closed to everyone and go somewhere else.”

He added: “This is the second time. When they put in the original surface in 2010, it was like a war zone.”

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This partial pedestrianisation measure featured low kerbs which many shoppers have since claimed were a trip hazard. Work to remove them costing over £1.2 million began in mid-March and was expected to take 17 weeks.

“We have unfortunately experienced delays with some of the materials for the works,” a Herefordshire Council spokesperson said, but added that a revised schedule will “ensure we complete the works as soon as possible”.

“We have been working with local businesses throughout the project to minimise disruption and ensure access and delivery arrangements are in place,” they said.

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