HEREFORDSHIRE has over £100 million pounds of new government money to spend on transport projects in the county.

But it can’t do so until the government sets out how the money can be spent.

Green councillor Mark Woodall said at a full council debate on Friday that while welcome, it appeared the money would be handed out over seven years, and asked: “How much of it will we get to use this year?”

Conservative councillor Dan Hurcomb said that while it could enable a long-awaited Hereford bypass, “local transport infrastructure needs go beyond a new road and bridge”.

He called for some cash to provide step-free access across Ledbury railway station - 12 miles from Ross - “and to invest in the transport needs of areas which may not benefit from a Hereford bypass”.

Council leader Coun Jonathan Lester said the funding was “very welcome news and will make a huge difference to helping us meet our long-term objectives”.

But he cautioned: “I would like to have it tomorrow so we can get cracking, but it won’t arrive tomorrow. The Department for Transport have promised guidance within a month on how this money is to be spent.

“When that is forthcoming, we can start spending it on progressing our infrastructure priorities,” he said.

“It won’t be solely for road infrastructure – we have a need for rail and active travel measures and we will have to be strategic in how we use this money,” Coun Lester added.

He acknowledged that the Ledbury station issue “should have been dealt with years ago and this money is an opportunity to restore that service to what it should be”.

Independents for Herefordshire leader and Ledbury councillor Liz Harvey urged not to “do Network Rail’s job for it” by funding work at the station.

“Let’s get our MP to hold their [Network Rail’s] feet to the fire, getting them to recognise their responsibilities to disabled travellers,” she said.

Coun Lester stopped short of an outright commitment to a western bypass around Hereford, saying: “As soon as Cabinet is able to discuss and publicise the Road Strategy, we will be able to clarify that.”