To walk away from the smouldering car wreck that was ESG Ltd without a scratch, then calmly settle behind the wheel of an even larger ‘development vehicle’, the supercharged Hereford Failures shows recklessness even Top Gear’s Richard Hammond would admire.

Yet that is just what ESG’s former chief executive, Jonathan Bretherton, has done, becoming CEO of Herefordshire Council’s renamed development company Hereford Failures, which will be “…taking its lead (according to a saccharine-flavoured council Press statement) from the priorities voiced by residents in the council’s successful (sic) Shaping Our Place consultation…”.

The statement is long on Blairite hyperbole but short on hard facts.

Hereford Failures, it seems, is to be charged with [deep breath] creating new and better-paid jobs, affordable homes, vibrant communities, an energy-efficient urban village, new retail and leisure attractions, a new relief road, a second river crossing, all flood alleviation engineering work, [inhale] sustainable transport projects (including improved public transport connections), the creation of a higher education campus, strategic business parks for knowledge-based industries… oh yeah, and a retail quarter on the Edgar Street grid site and a new link road. Same as before then.

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