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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 11:18 GMT
Firms' concerns over development
Artist's impression
The council says the plans will be a "fantastic opportunity" for the city
Business people in Hereford affected by plans to redevelop the city centre say they are worried about their futures.

The Edgar Street Grid scheme will transform 100 acres of the northern part of the city centre.

But Phil McCabe, from the City Forum of Private Business, said store holders would be forced to leave and have their livelihoods "removed from under them".

Herefordshire Council has called the plan a "fantastic opportunity" for the city.

The development will lead to many buildings being moved to make way for new roads, houses, shops and a leisure complex.

'Too little'

Mr McCave said his members had many questions they wanted answered.

"I think the regeneration per se is welcome. People want to see Hereford revitalised," he said.

"The problem that our members - some of whom lie in the wake of this development - have is that, apart from the lack of consultation, they have had over this move, is that their livelihoods, their businesses that they have built up over the years, will just be removed from under them - they will be kicked out basically."

He said there had been some consultation with the council including a "well-attended meeting" in Hereford on Thursday night.

But many businesses felt it was "too little too late".

"They wanted to be involved in the process before the master plan was drawn up so they could have a say and could be really part of this plan," he said.

ESG Herefordshire Ltd said they had undertaken a rigorous series of consultations and had been engaging with local residents and businesses, which had been extremely helpful. "This work will now continue and grow as the project moves forward over a number of years," they said.

"ESG Herefordshire Ltd, Herefordshire Council and Advantage West Midlands recognise the importance of retaining and growing existing businesses not only for employment growth and opportunities but also for the future vitality of the city."

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