Page last updated at 19:07 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 20:07 UK

City relief road plans rejected

Plans for a relief road for Hereford have been rejected by the government.

Herefordshire council had asked for £60m of funding from the Department of Transport towards the £130m project.

But it has refused and told the authority to focus on cycling, walking and public transport schemes to cut down on congestion through the city.

A council-commissioned report, seen by the BBC, predicted traffic levels and journey times would increase near the city if a new road was built.

An exact route for the proposed road had not been finalised before the application was submitted to the government.

Slower journeys

The government said the council's proposal would not be considered again until 2014.

Similar plans for a bypass were rejected on environmental grounds in 1998.

The report, by JMP of Birmingham, suggested car journeys would increase by from 26,000 to 31,000 during the morning peak time and from 25,000 to 29,000 during the evening rush hour.

It said this would be due to housing that would be built if the new road was constructed.

The extra cars on the road would also result in slower journey times, the report said.

Councillor Brian Wilcox said he had not expected the bid to succeed as it was reliant on about £70m from housing developers.

He added: "It's useful to have it put back because the latest recession and reduction in housing it is unlikely that we would be able to afford our part to get the road under way within the next five years so I'm grateful."

The government has said 8,300 homes should be built in or around Hereford in the next 20 years.

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