The board of Hereford Futures Ltd will meet for the last time on 25 April 2014 having agreed that the company should be wound down. All of its obligations within the joint venture agreement for the development of Hereford will be taken over by Herefordshire Council.
Throughout its life, the company remained small, efficient and effective: the local taxpayer has contributed around £2.9m to its running costs. In return over £130m of capital investment has been brought into Hereford, a gearing of 45:1.
The chairman, Ted Willmott, said,
“The reduction of the risk of major flooding from Yazor Brook and the high quality development by Stanhope Ltd of the Old Market marks the achievement of the first step in the Master Plan to improve Hereford. Employment created will complement the opportunities available in the Enterprise Zone and with current major employers. Hereford can now look forward to a bright future. The board of Hereford Futures Ltd is proud of their part in achieving these initial steps towards the ambitious vision set out by Herefordshire Council in 2003.
Having secured key planning permissions for the Urban Village and inner city Link Road, we are confident that the right conditions have been created for continuing growth in the city.
We are grateful for the wholehearted support given to us and our partners Stanhope Ltd by the cabinet and officers of Herefordshire Council and many councillors. We offer our best wishes as they move onto the next phases in this development and urge them to maintain focus and momentum.
The anticipated successful outcome to the current public inquiry into the Link Road should enable construction next year, opening land for the building of up to 800 much needed homes. Opportunities will also then be available for the creation of a transport hub and for the proposed university. We also are delighted to have created over 1000 new jobs in the city with many more on the way. ”
The Leader of Herefordshire Council, Cllr Tony Johnson said:
“In 2003 plans were set out to develop the city of Hereford and so sustain and improve the economic and community wellbeing of our county. Realising that we did not then have the skills to deliver the plan, we sought the expertise of the private sector. A board of local experienced people was assembled with the necessary abilities to guide and assist the chief executive, Jonathan Bretherton who had the competence and experience for this ambitious project. That the first phase in the development of the ambitious vision has been achieved with the successful Flood Alleviation Scheme and the creation with the Old Market of a modern high quality extension of the city centre, is remarkable since it was developed during the financial crisis and the worst recession in our time.
We have reason to be very grateful for the work of the board of Hereford Futures Ltd and especially for the directors who gave their time, expertise and experience free of charge for the public good.”