Ludlow Town Council has tonight declared a Climate Emergency. It’s a good move. Now the hard work starts

Tonight, Ludlow Town Council joined more than one hundred other councils in declaring a climate emergency. This is great news. The council adopted a straightforward motion:

Ludlow Town Council declares a Climate Emergency, with an aim of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. It commits to identifying ways in which it can support this objective and to explore, with the community, the development of a Ludlow Town Council climate change strategy, and to consider establishing a Climate Action Partnership.

Now the hard work begins. The council will need a to review its policies and practice to meet this objective. Not all at once. But over the next few years it must buy power that is carbon neutral, use vehicles that are carbon neutral and promote polices that are carbon neutral. It must ensure that it promotes biodiversity wherever it has an influence and scrutinise planning applications for their impact on climate change.  

Ludlow made a great step forward tonight. I congratulate council members for so decisively declaring a climate emergency.  

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Shropshire Council’s chaotic scrutiny meeting ignored the 18% downturn in trade since parking charges were hiked in Ludlow

On 5 June, the Performance Management Scrutiny Committee met to discuss the controversial changes to parking charges. Committee papers were sent out just 26 hours before. I doubt that all committee members had read all ten documents. Officers also sprung a huge amount of crammed onto overcrowded slides on a hard to see screen. I am not convinced that any member of the committee was adequately briefed for the decisions they were to make. Certainly not the chair of the committee who was unaware that officers had proposed a series of recommendations.

The committee and officers seemed to be oblivious to the evidence gathered by Ludlow Town Council that shows independent trade is down by 18% in the first few months of this year compared to last year despite the milder weather.  

The committee agreed to review the extent of the Red and Blue Zones. Residents with on-street permits will be able to park in car parks and may also be able to apply for a second permit. Owners of a holiday let will be able to apply for an on-street parking permit for guests. Tickets purchased on a phone will be 10p cheaper.

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Plans submitted to create a new bar area in the Feathers Hotel and repaint the shopfront

Crest Hotels have submitted plans to convert the reception area of the Feather Hotel into a bar. This is a sensitive application for listed building consent which will be scrutinised in detail by Shropshire Council conservation officers and the Ludlow Conservation Area Advisory Committee. A related application seeks advertising consent to refurbish the fascia of the former bar area, which is now a tearoom.

The Feathers is a major part of Ludlow’s historic landscape. We can no more do without it than we could do without St Laurence’s Church, the Buttercross, Bodenhams and Ludlow Castle. These are the anchor attractions that bring people into town along with the market, butchers, bakers and so many other traders.

These plans need studying in detail. But they look good on a first reading. It is great to see the Feathers coming back into use and getting the level of investment it deserves.

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Foldgate Farm housing application runs into trouble over heritage, ecology and trees

Shropshire Council’s conservation team have called for a redesign of the development of five detached dwellings in the orchard of Foldgate Farm on Foldgate Lane because the applicants have not followed advice given before the application was submitted (19/01940/FUL). Ecologists at the council have called for the scheme to be rejected for failing to meet local and national policy requirements. The council’s tree team have called for the scheme to be rejected or revised because it ignores pre-application advice and does not comply with local and national policies.

That is a hefty set of criticisms. The plans will need to be revised or face a risk of rejection. We are already seeing extensive destruction of a biodiverse landscape along the A49 with the Crest Nicholson development. More trees will be planted to compensate but they will not become a biodiverse environment for a couple of decades. If this development is to go ahead, it must reduce its impact on heritage and the environment.

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Shropshire Council reconsiders bus cuts – that’s good news but we await the details

Update

On 12 June, the Cabinet agreed the following:

Local Bus Services

  • To not implement the reduction or removal of services as consulted, but where the consultation feedback has highlighted genuine efficiencies or cost pressures those will be focussed upon.  
  • To amend the Council’s 2019/20 budget and reduce the planned reduction in the public transport budget from £405,000 to £180,000.

Future Public Transport Services

  • To commence a review of the current operation and future opportunities for, improved public transport services across Shropshire, including reviewing concessionary travel and the opportunities for bus franchising.

The Cabinet also recommended increases on some Shrewsbury park and ride charges but deferred other increases until they have been reviewed.

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