THE Hereford bypass project will not cause financial crisis akin to that of Northamptonshire Council, the cabinet member for infrastructure has assured.

The East Midlands council may have to cut its adult social care, children’s services, road maintenance and school transport as it grapples with the need to save £70m by next March.

Councillor Philip Price, who is responsible for the bypass project, refuted claims that Herefordshire Council was risking its very own future by pushing ahead with the proposals without a business plan.

Speaking at July’s cabinet meeting, which approved the red route as the council’s preferred option for the western route, Breinton resident Liz Morawiecka warned that there was no business plan for the road.

She asked: “In view of the situation in Northamptonshire which has had its second warning, is this cabinet confident to ignore the viability assessment of the planning inspector on the core strategy local plan?”

She said that there was currently no funding in place for the bypass project and the authority will have to borrow £2.45m for the next stage of consultation.

“Even if the council is successful with their current bid, the council would then have to borrow a minimum of £65m to deliver just the road, even if they are successful with the housing infrastructure fund,” she added.

“There is no decision yet.

“Is cabinet here today, to risk the financial viability and the future of Herefordshire Council itself?”

Councillor Philip Price said the cabinet was not there to risk the viability of the council.

He said: “We are here to be responsible in what we do and the business case for this route is being built up and the funding comes as part of that business case and it is worked up with our national funding partners.

“We have to follow the process of getting to a point to be able to get the funding to deliver the road.

“The partners will look to this and our public realm contractor and the evidence from the business case is sound for this scheme. I cannot repeat that any more often.

“I believe our financial officer is comfortable with the situation to be able to ensure we do not become Northamptonshire but we are robust in our financial decision making and we will carry on with this project to get it to a point that our partners are sure the business case is robust.”