Hereford livestock market revamp plans 'may split city'
Traders in Hereford have called for a meeting with councillors and the developers of an £800m revamp plan for the old livestock market which they say could hit their businesses.
Business owners said they feared new shops coming into the city would choose the new site, rather than the historic High Town area, which has empty shops.
The new site, on the other side of the ring road, will have a shopping centre.
Council chiefs said any shops moving to the new site would need their approval.
The £800m plans for the former livestock market were approved a year ago and are expected to include a new shopping centre, a Waitrose store, a multi-storey car park, a six-screen cinema and restaurant complex.
Luke Conod, who owns clothes shop FIT in High Town, said the last time traders had met developers Hereford Futures had been two years ago.
'Pile of scaffolding'
A fire in High Town two years ago caused considerable damage to several shops there, and two of the damaged buildings remain empty.
Mr Conod said: "We were promised that River Island would be coming back and they would be ready to trade again by Christmas but nothing's happened - there's just a pile of scaffolding."
He said he feared River Island and other big names would decide to move to the new site instead and the empty shops would remain unused.
Roger Phillips, Herefordshire Council's cabinet member for enterprise, said the developers were not allowed to approach existing traders in High Town and any businesses looking to move to the new site would need council chiefs' permission.
He said: "We have the mix of big names and independent names, which Hereford is so well known for, and we want that to continue."