In Herefordshire, local economic recovery and resilience are top priorities for our Independent/It’s Our County/Green coalition administration.
We have a clear, shared vision – stronger communities, a thriving economy, and an enhanced environment – and we’re putting those principles into practice as we ‘build back better’ from COVID-19 and from flooding.
A central ambition is to start building council housing again; too many families struggle to find affordable homes. But with historically low borrowing costs, there’s never been a better time for a council with vision to tackle this market failure.
We plan to build 2,500 affordable, net-zero carbon, high-quality homes for local people over the next 10 years. This will deliver social and environmental benefits, as well as create new jobs – a triple win!
This integrated approach characterises other Herefordshire initiatives. For example, last year, we bought Maylords shopping centre, a key chunk of Hereford city retail space, to help regenerate it using social value principles.
We’ve used it to help new local businesses set up shop, and to support creative projects that bring new life and footfall to the area.
In the longer term, our community-led Town Investment Plan envisages relocating the library there, alongside new skills training facilities – part of a strategy to rejuvenate the high street through mixed-use development.
It’s not all about the city, of course– after all, two-thirds of our population lives in market towns or rural areas. We’re helping the market towns draw up their own economic development investment plans, and earmarking £20 million to support job creation outside the city.
Our beautiful countryside is one of our greatest assets, so we’ve been investing in developing our visitor economy, too. Herefordshire is a ‘hidden gem’ – so do come and experience our fabulous countryside and fantastic hospitality for yourselves, once lockdown is lifted!