Herefordshire Council’s planning committee has approved a controversial £27m link road.
According to the BBC, nearly 2,000 people objected to the plans, raising concerns that it would destroy ancient woodland but would not reduce traffic in the city.
An aerial view of the proposed Herefordshire Road
When it opens in 2019, the Southern Link Road will join the A49 with the A465, south west of Hereford.
The council said it marks the first phase of a bypass for the city and will help deliver new homes and jobs.
It said construction will also ‘facilitate the implementation of active travel measures in South Wye’, including weight restrictions, shared use cycleways, new pedestrian crossings and new speed restrictions in residential areas.
Cllr Philip Price, cabinet member for infrastructure said: ‘Today’s decision is a significant move forward as it is the first step towards a long-awaited bypass. Hereford can now move towards a more financially sustainable future, with the provision of more homes and jobs.
‘We still have far to go, but this decision is the vital first step forward and allows us to continue to develop in line with the county’s emerging economic master plan.’
The council has secured £27m of Government funding for the new road. It said the rest of the bypass will be completed between 2022 and 2027, subject to funding from the Government.
Nearby Staffordshire CC will begin work this month on a £5m road project that will pave the way for a major business and housing scheme in Burton.
The Branston Locks development will see 400 acres of land immediately west of the A38 developed with 2,500 new homes, a range of community facilities and a 50-acre employment site.
The council will deliver a package of road and infrastructure works that will enable developers to move on site to carry out the main project, together with residential developers.
The road project is being funded through the Government's Local Growth Deal and a ‘substantial contribution’ from the developers.