13 September 2018
Jesse’s Hereford Times Column: The future of business in Herefordshire

The past few days have yielded two examples of the very best of Herefordshire, big and small, urban and rural, from two very different parts of my constituency.

Last week, I was invited to open Phase One of the new Priority Space at the Hereford Enterprise Zone in Rotherwas. This is a new highly flexible development, in a range of formats, aimed both at office and industrial use and for lease or freehold ownership. 

But what’s exciting about it is that this is speculative investment in the Enterprise Zone. Hugh quality investors are choosing to put their money at risk in Hereford.  In other words, it is a huge vote of confidence in Herefordshire, and a huge tribute to the Zone, ably led by Mark Pearce.

By contrast at the very southern end of the county, last week I had the honour to cut the ribbon on the new community Shop and Post Office in Gorsley. Over 150 people attended, highlighting just how important and popular the shop is for the local community.

The Gorsley shop is a perfect example of how a small number of people can galvanise a village. Jacky Bentham, the manager, put it best – the shop is “run by the community, for the community, to aid the community.” It has a great history, originally starting life as Royal Stores in 1897. More recently local residents Gordon and Diane Martin ran a shop for nineteen years before retiring. 

The shop’s latest incarnation has been the result of a huge amount of hard work from a small team led by local resident Andrew Gardner, with the strong support of the Gorsley Baptist Church. They got the shop up and running from a standing start in a year—surely a world speed record!

Finally, in my role as Transport Minister I was pleased to announce this week a £2 million funding boost to support the use of e-cargo bikes. These have huge potential to make last mile deliveries, so that diesel vans can be used for out of town journeys. Result: less pollution, less congestion, better air quality. Just what our cities need. 

We are very lucky to have forward-thinking organisations already in Herefordshire. Companies like Hereford Pedicabs and Pedicargo are leading the way, providing same-day deliveries with zero emissions from their bikes.

More investment, community energy, forward-thinking companies. With these things we can have a fantastic future ahead of us.