Photo Credit: Just Jon Simpson

A planning application has been submitted to install a new footpath, crane and boat ramp next to the River Wye in Hereford, as part of the Stronger Towns fund.

The Applicant is Vega Marine Services Community Interest Company (CIC). This CIC comprises the Hereford Rowing Club, Hereford Sea Cadets, Hereford Rugby Club and representatives of the Leftbank Village.

The Applicant has made a full planning application for the proposed development comprising the following works:

Construction of boat ramp, siting of crane and construction of associated hardstanding, construction of footpath.

The project forms part of the River Wye Infrastructure project, building on the delivery of the #StrongerHereford investment plan.

The project will be facilitated by the Stronger Towns Fund, promoting investment in the strategic development of the City and County of Hereford and Herefordshire to support regeneration, growth and long-term sustainability.

The site lies on the banks of the River Wye, immediately adjacent to the Hereford Rowing Club, Hereford Rugby Club and Hereford Sea Cadets.

The River Wye here meanders gently through a relatively flat landscape, with only subtle undulations on the nearby banks. The river’s width varies but remains substantial, allowing for boating activities, a feature capitalised upon by the Hereford Rowing Club and Hereford Sea Cadets.

The riverbank is flanked by a mix of mature trees, shrubs, and grassy stretches, contributing to a lush riparian ecosystem. 

This verdant corridor supports a diverse range of flora and fauna, making the site of ecological interest. Moreover, the presence of wetland habitats along certain stretches provides nesting and feeding grounds for a variety of bird species and aquatic life. 

The site is highly sensitive from an environmental standpoint, with it forming part of the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

To the immediate vicinity of the rowing club are a series of built structures, mainly pertaining to the rowing facilities. These include boat storage areas, club buildings, and associated amenities. Architecturally, the buildings are functional and designed to complement the riverside setting. 

The wider area sees a mix of residential and recreational structures, characterised by their traditional English designs, often with brick and timber facades.

The site boasts good accessibility, being linked by local roads that connect back to Hereford’s city centre. 

Pedestrian pathways are well-laid out, facilitating easy movement for those on foot or bicycle. These pathways offer serene views of the river, enhancing the recreational value of the area.

Unsurprisingly, boating and rowing activities dominate; however, the riverbanks also see runners, cyclists, and casual walkers, making it a focal point for community recreation. 

The green stretches serve as informal picnic spots, and one can frequently witness bird watchers and nature enthusiasts immersing themselves in the local biodiversity.

While the immediate area’s primary heritage value lies in its connection to the historic city of Hereford, the River Wye itself is historically significant. 

As one of the major rivers of the UK, it has played a pivotal role in shaping the settlements and activities along its banks.

The proposed development will allow for the Hereford Sea Cadets and the Hereford Rowing Club to lift vessels on and off the River Wye. Additionally, the proposed development will:

Enable inclusive ‚Äėaccess for all‚Äô facilities to the river.

Increase footfall around the river environment.

Aim to boost the tourist numbers visiting Herefordshire.

Encourage take-up of commercial pop-up establishments along riverbanks in the vicinity of new power outlets.

Ensure greater safety and security of the riverside walks.

Assist emergency teams, lifeboat services, and river operators for launching and

recovery of river craft in time critical situations.

Sea Cadet Boat Ramp ‚Äď The proposed boat ramp, measuring 20m by 7m, will be of concrete construction on the bank of the River Wye, immediately adjacent to the Hereford Sea Cadets building. 

This ramp will feature a stepped section for river users and cater to water level variations to ensure seamless boat access and egress. 

Integral to the design is a reinforced concrete foundation with a minimum rebar requirement of 11kg for durability. Assisting with boat operations, a non-permanent davit arm will be used on the foundation and stored within the Hereford Sea Cadets building when not in use. 

Access to the ramp will be facilitated via the current footpath and riverbank sections already used by the Sea Cadets for their river activities. 

The design ensures optimal functionality while maintaining integration with the surrounding environment and existing infrastructure.

Rowing Club Boat Crane ‚Äď Permanent siting of full-rotation pillar jib crane for lifting vessels on and off the river, with underbraced beam, construction of hardstanding (crane pad), sited immediately adjacent to the Hereford Rowing Club. 

Theoretical deflection under nominal load of approximately 1/250 the of the span + height, without exceeding 1/100 the of the span. Yellow polyurethane finish. 

Maximum hoisting speed = 16m/min. Access and power to be gained via the Rowing Club.

Footpath ‚Äď construction of 1.2m wide footpath, parallel to the existing footpath adjacent to the Rowing Club, connecting the existing footpath from the club car park to the existing river footpath. 

The proposed diversion of the footpath is subject to a separate application (case ref. D550) for a diversion order of footpath HER20, under s119 of the Highways Act 1980.

Formal pre-application advice was received from Herefordshire Council prior to the

application being submitted (Ref. 214180/CE).

The advice noted that ‚ÄúThe proposals when taken together, look to enhance the public realm along the River Wye within Hereford and enhance existing cultural and recreational facilities along the river‚Äôs northern banks. 

‚ÄúThis would include improvements to the existing public walking and cycling routes. The proposals in principle are therefore judged to be acceptable, subject to a consideration of the proposal’s environmental impacts‚ÄĚ.

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