Historic England - Urban Panel Review Paper

Historic England’s Design Review Panel visited Hereford in October 2017 and published their report in April 2018. They last came here ten years ago to review the proposals for the Edgar Street Grid.  Their main purpose was to consider the proposal for Hereford to become a ‘University City’ and reflect on the mechanisms and changes necessary to successfully achieve that ambition. 

 

The panel emphasised the opportunity presented to the creators of University premises to design and build to a high quality, commensurate with, and complementary to the historic quality.  They reflected on the ‘sheer quality of buildings and townscape of the historic core’ but were also quite critical.

  • 3.10 (New City Link Road) looks to be a very over-engineered solution. As a result, what appears to being created is a road which will provide a rather unpleasant pedestrian environment.

  • 5.22 The sense of arrival at Hereford Station is quite awful. A decade ago…….there were plans under consideration to create a new high-quality public space in front of this rather attractive mid-nineteenth Century railway building. However, nothing has happened.

  • 5.23 ……the creation of an attractive footpath route between the station and the City Centre might also facilitate enhancement of the setting of its two most important heritage assets - Coningsby Hospital and Blackfriars’ Priory.

 

Members of the Panel were also worried that pressure to ensure delivery by Autumn 2019 of all the buildings for the new University may lead to diminution of architectural quality.

  • 5.25 the Panel were concerned that the Council currently has no access to the expertise offered by an independent Design Review Panel.

  • 5.32 ……an urgent need for a long-term transport strategy looking at how Herefordshire Council might affect modal change and encourage people to use modes other than the private car.

Much else in the report refers to subjects raised by HCS over the last decade, and we worry about the ability of Councillors and Officers to actually deliver;

 

Hereford Civic Society is urging the new Leader of the Council and Chief Executive to take notice of the sensible suggestions made in the Urban Panel Report. The full report is available from https://content.historicengland.org.uk/content/docs/committees-panels/urban-panel-review-paper-hereford-oct17.pdf

Hereford Civic Society is an independent local charity representing people who care about the city.Registered Charity No 503504

All material is not necessarily the view of the Society, which primarily acts as a forum for discussion around built environment matters, past, present and future.