27 September 2019
Jesse’s Hereford Times column: Investment in Hereford

As Hereford Times readers will know, I am a hopeless optimist by nature.  But even I am starting to get really excited about all the new investment taking in place in Hereford.

There is the £23M investment at Hereford Hospital, and the replacement (finally!) of the hutted wards. Then just down the road, the creation of the new Hereford Medical Centre, bringing GP practices from across the city to offer primary care together. 

Then there is the investment now under way at the old boys school on Blackfriars Street by NMITE, the county’s pioneering new Herefordshire university project. And the Council’s new student accommodation block, to be shared with the art college, right next to the station. 

In due course the station itself will see a new multimodal transport hub. But for the time being, it has a parking zone for the city’s excellent new Beryl bike scheme.  Plus a promise from Great Western Trains to get the direct train to London down to 2 hours 50 minutes by the end of this year.  

But there have also been some flagship private investments as well. The Green Dragon is looking spectacular after its restoration, as I discovered when I spoke at the NMITE transition conference for local veterans last Friday. And so is the newly designed and created Bookshop restaurant just behind it on Aubrey Street, from the team that brought you the Rule of Tum Burger Shop. 

It's yet another fantastic outlet for top quality local food, adding to the city's growing reputation as a foodie Mecca. And if you fancy a beverage to go with it, you've got specialists such as the Hereford Beer House, Beer in Hand and an array of terrific pubs and coffee places within a short walk.  

These investments aren't just good for the city, they are good for the county as a whole.  Better healthcare, quicker trains, more higher education and wonderful food and drink benefit everyone, directly or indirectly.  

But we could go further.  We need a proper tourism strategy for the county, with a massive array of events to bring people in and excite them.  We need to turn Hereford into a wonderful cycling and walking city.  And we need to use the new £25M in new local city funding to transform some of its major streets.  What price a renovated Broad Street, King Street and Bridge Street, anyone?