Holme Lacy Road
- Straight Mile
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UPDATE AUTUMN 2019
With the Herefordshire Council’s transport programme under major review this project is currently suspended! HCS chooses not to comment.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2018
HCS committee, members, many Herefordians and visitors have been concerned by the appalling design of the new City Link Road. Nobody has a good word to say about it; we are advised it was designed by using out of date software. It presents a most disagreeable gateway to the City of Hereford. HCS wants to see a much more contemporary approach to highway design. The design work undertaken by Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) who designed the so called improvements to the west end of Holme Lacy Road is not to our liking; so we were prompted into taking some professional advice from Witteveen and Bos UK. Consultants don’t like criticising each others’ work and we decided that a better approach would be to ask for an Inspiration Study to encourage officers and local politicians to consider a different approach to the highway improvements through to the Straight Mile.
We are pleased to report positive meetings between Herefordshire Council, BBLP, Witteveen and Bos and ourselves; the Inspiration Study will be part of the Council's consultation in November.
UPDATE MAY 2018
HCS remains concerned by the confusing layouts described in original post. The image above shows an extension towards Rotherwas with cyclist and pedestrians competing for space. Pre-consultation on the Straight Mile into Rotherwas is happening with our input, but we are demanding better than this.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2017
HCS first highlighted our concerns over the design of the improvements in Holme Lacy Road in our magazine PLACE in Autumn 2016. In December 2016 we met with Geoff Hughes who eventually sent this reply in May 2017.
We can only draw from this that are no procedures within the contract with Balfour Beatty Living Places that allow the questioning of their work; further we query the process of requesting work under this contract. HCS is currently enquiring further into the commissioning procedures.
Many apologies for the delay in my written response and many thanks for your patience, though I understand that Richard Ball may have given a verbal response some time ago.
The procedure for dealing with design queries is the same as for any other request for service / complaint and can be raised via customer service or direct to BBLP or me.
In terms of how schemes come forward for implementation. Schemes are identified through our Local Transport Plan. This establishes the Policy Framework for transport improvements in Herefordshire, alongside a number of other Council documents. Based on the Local Transport Plan, an Annual Plan of works is developed during the proceeding financial year. The Annual Plan proceeds through Officer and Cabinet Review before finally being signed off by the Cabinet Member ahead of the start of the new financial year. Following this due process for approval of schemes, Balfour Beatty are commissioned to deliver each individual scheme.
I am informed, that in the case of Holme Lacy Road, this commission involved a feasibility study of improvement options, which was developed in consultation with key local stakeholders (parish and County Councillors as well as other interest groups). This study established a number of design options. These options were consulted on with Local Councillors, the Hereford Enterprise Zone and statutory consultees, in order to establish a preferred design. The preferred design was then taken to public consultation. Following public consultation, a cabinet member report was prepared in order to provide a recommendation to proceed. Cabinet member approval was received on 21 January 2016.
On behalf of the Council, BBLP carried out a detailed design processes. This ensured a number of elements were considered as part of the design, including: non-motorised user analysis; road safety assessment; speed surveys; and accident statistics. They identified the design standards required for the scheme, including the Manual for Streets, Sustrans Design Manual, Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic. Balfour Beatty’s design review process follows a robust process through an established Engineering Design Manual. This includes a clear process of design iteration and independent design review of subcontractor work. Whilst the design is not a “shared space” scheme, within the budget constraints it achieves the aims of project to address issues of congestion associated with the use of Holme Lacy Road for access to the Hereford Enterprise Zone (HEZ) and the impact of this on pedestrians and cyclists accessing local amenities and the HEZ. The scheme complies with all the relevant standards for design and has been audited for safety purposes for all road users.
Regarding your comments on capability, Balfour Beatty are an internationally recognised infrastructure provider with over 100 years of experience managing and delivering schemes. They employ their own chartered design resources in Herefordshire to provide design scrutiny over their subcontractor WSP Ltd. WSP Ltd are an internationally renowned design consultant with more than 10,000 designers working around the world. Both of these organisations maintain ISO 9001 quality systems that ensure the effective management of their works. I understand that the design team on the Holme Lacy Road scheme included professionally qualified designers with some considerable years of experience in the design of public realm schemes.
I am satisfied that the governance process associated with Council decision making has been followed and that a robust and reasonable approach to design has been taken. Whilst stakeholders will have varying views on the success of the scheme, it has been well received with praise for the scheme from the ward member and complies with the appropriate design standards.
I hope this of help.
Geoff Hughes, Director for Economy, Communities and Corporate