Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ugly Hereford | High Town

On February 7th Herefordshire council announced it would be transforming Hereford High Town with a total face lift. This followed the successful refurbishment of Eign Gate. I’ve written about Eign Gate’s refurbishment before. It genuinely made the area look much, much better and more stylish but the cramped conditions throughout the re-paving 12 months ago led to many small businesses closing down.

I’m still weary of going into town centre. It is an assault course through Hereford now thanks to all the safety fences lining the works and caterpillar trucks weaving through the crowds. Now though they’re at the half-way phase. 50% of the works have been revealed to the public and I can excitingly tell you that the new look Hereford High Town is…

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… a stinking pile of shit. It looks awful. The new stonework is a terrible light grey colour that just doesn’t seem to gel with the area like the reddish paving of old. In places the old paving remains albeit relayed in order to make the new surface look arty. It doesn’t, it looks scruffy. There are about 7 different styles of paving within 100ft and it looks an utter mish-mashing, clashing mess.

The new paving also seems to be tarnishing very quickly. It’s been in use barely a month and already there are stains a plenty. The worst aspect of the works is that there are no kerbs where a main road runs through the centre of town. So in peak times when this road is in use I’m concerned that the less visually able might well stumble into the path of an oncoming double-decker bus not realising where the pavement ends.

It seems that the designers just haven’t considered Hereford’s image. Why couldn’t a stylish brickwork be used throughout the whole of the town centre like Eign Gate where it really works? Why the half-dozen different styles? Why hasn’t the site of the old Market Hall been marked like the old paving respectfully used to? Also, why, if the scheme was about removing the ‘clutter’ is there now more crap filling up the centre of town in the shape of an unneeded coffee bar and juice bar when Hereford has had 5 new coffee houses opening in the last 2 years?

Hereford councillors you should be ashamed of yourselves. High Town is now ugly. But it’s not the only part of Hereford that’s suffering these days… I will reveal more soon.

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