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Rotherwas, verb. To ruin; to bring to naught; to put an end to; to annihilate; to consume for no justifiable reason.

Remember the Rotherwas Ribbon?

It’s right under here. It’s been rotherwassed.

If you think the road seems quiet, it is. It’s little used as it connects a small moribund-looking industrial estate which has an existing connection to a main road to the same main road a couple of miles further on. A government Inspector ruled that grants would not be given for building it as there was no need for it to be built.  Twice. He was right. Twice. And everyone in Herefordshire knew it. That’s why it was dubbed from the start “the road to nowhere”.

Strangely, although the ribbon was discovered during the road construction it somehow didn’t get reported to the full Council for many months. And although the County Archaeo said it was on a par with Stonehenge and unique in Europe somehow English Heritage decided they’d delay scheduling it for “some time” (which was the one and only way the road could have been legally stopped) and they still haven’t, and have now dropped it as a topic. As a matter of fact, it conformed with every one of the statutory criteria for scheduling better than any ancient monument you can name, bar none.

1000 people were taken to see it by bus, but somehow two separate prompt applications for a place by the Heritage Action Chairman both got accidentally overlooked until he was informed of this the day after the bus trips had all suddenly ended.

Somehow, it wasn’t protected from flooding and would you believe it… it flooded, and was damaged. It was said not to be damaged but trust me, I went and it was.

A couple of elderly protestors, including an octogenarian, were prosecuted for protesting (they did a sit down in the Council chamber, the dangerous terrorists). Yes, I did say octogenarian. A member of the Majority group on the County Council  told the Council Meeting that he thought a “pile of broken ceramics had got washed down the hillside”. Word was spread that a landowner was resistant to anyone investigating the extent of the ribbon across his land. He point blank denied that was the case. At one point the High Court ruled that Herefordshire Council had manipulated the democratic UDP process to allocate land for housing at Bullinghope simply to fund the Rotherwas Road.

Since the road has been built it has been established the ribbon stretches for hundreds of yards and is even more significant than previously thought and of course it is totally, totally unique.

The road is little used. There are lots of factories lying empty on the industrial estate and plenty of development land up for sale but unsold. The whole place smells of misapplied investment. Oh, and Advantage West Midlands, the quango that pushed the whole scheme through? That’s to be wound up. On the grounds it isn’t delivering value for money.


March 2011

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