Final planning application submitted for 67 houses on Fishmore Road quarry

Shropshire Homes has submitted a detailed planning application for 67 dwellings, including four blocks of three-storey apartments on the former quarry site on Fishmore Road. This follows outline approval for 74 dwellings on the site granted in February 2019.

The site layout is heavily constrained by the former quarry, its mudstone cliffs and a buried quarry face – which the developer calls the “High Wall”. Because the ground above the High Wall could subject to movement, it will be a car parking area.

This site needs developing and it is good to have plans come forward, especially as many of the homes are small.

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Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency on Thursday – but its leader would not agree to emergency action

On Thursday, Shropshire Council voted to declare a climate emergency. It was a good move and a late negotiated amendment got a deal on the table. But the Tories insisted that the “emergency” was taken out of “climate emergency” by removing all references to the target date of 2030. It was the best we could get through in the face of opposition from the Conservative leadership who refused to accept any deadlines for action. There will be opportunity for negotiating dates and a move from the council’s environmentally destructive business as usual approach over the next sixth months. I wish we could have got to that point on Thursday.

The final motion was drafted by me and revised in cross party talks minutes before the meeting began. It was approved unanimously. The Labour motion and Green amendment were defeated despite support from many Conservatives.

There was a huge public attendance, with well over one hundred people attending the public protest before the meeting. Many sat in an overflow room watching a livestream during a less than inspiring debate.

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Climate emergency – the motions debated at Shropshire Council

We always knew the opposition motions would be defeated, even though they got support from several Conservatives. The focus was therefore on strengthening the Conservative motion through a cross party amendment. In a second article today, I will report on the meeting itself. This article publishes the two amendments and one motion that were discussed in the council chamber.

Amendment to Motion 4 from the Lib Dem Group

This amendment to the original Tory motion was accepted unanimously.

Recognising that there are three motions and one public petition, we seek to amend Motion 4 to ensure that the council treats climate change as an emergency and accelerates its actions. The council cannot act alone. It must work with citizens, businesses, the wider public sector and national government to accelerate action on climate change. This Council believes that Climate Change presents a serious threat to humanity with the potential impacts on weather systems and biodiversity being catastrophic if allowed to continue to increase unchecked. Urgent action is needed to prioritise the climate emergency that we face.

Local authorities have an important role to play in encouraging behaviour changes that will help to reduce emissions both locally and further afield. It can ensure its policies encourage a rapid transition to carbon zero or net zero in all sectors that support the economy and people of Shropshire, including decisions on planning and economic development.

We have responsibility for our own emissions as an organisation, A Corporate Carbon Reduction Strategy is being developed, a cross-party Task & Finish Group on Climate Change has been established by the Place Overview & Scrutiny Committee and an officer Working Group has been set up to drive forward our strategy for the whole county. It is planned to introduce an officer position to coordinate the Council’s response to Climate Change and the sustainability agenda. This is welcomed by the Council.

We recognise the role that local authorities must play in informing and influencing national Government policy.

Therefore, this Council resolves to:

  1. To declare a ‘Climate Emergency’.
  2. To support the work currently being undertaken by Shropshire Council in this field and reaffirm our support to tackling climate change.
  3. To ask the Leader to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to encourage Government to be ambitious in its plans for carbon reduction targets, aiming for carbon neutrality.
  4. Attach carbon emission appraisals to all policy reports.
  5. Create a Climate Action Partnership of stakeholders and the wider community, to partner with the Council to provide advice, support and encouragement to public, business and charitable organisations to adopt similar policies and practices across the county. This is to be taken and considered by the appropriate Task and Finish Group
  6. To review its progress on addressing the climate emergency annually, with a view of setting an ambition target for Shropshire Council to be carbon neutral.

The changes to Motion 4 are in bold.

Amendment from Julian Dean, Green Party

Again, this was an amendment to the Conservative Motion 4. It was narrowly defeated with opposition, independent and several Conservatives voting for it.

Add to ‘Therefore this Council resolves to:’ new points as below

To ask the relevant portfolio holder to bring forward to Council, by December 2019, details of a new Corporate Climate Change Strategy for approval, with target dates for achieving both 50% reductions in carbon emissions, and then achieving or exceeding ‘Carbon Zero’ in Council controlled operations, under Scope 1 and Scope 2 (from the internationally recognised Greenhouse gas protocols). 

To require the relevant portfolio holder to bring forward planning policies, either by way of amendments to the Core Strategy, or in the form of Supplementary Planning Documents, that will ensure housing and employment site development is ‘Carbon Zero’, or Carbon Zero ready for switching over from fossil fuel heating systems. Such policies will need to form part of the submission for inspection of the Local Plan Review in 2020.

To require the relevant portfolio holder, in consultation with the task and finish group, to bring forward an action plan by the end of the council year for i. the implementation, monitoring and – if required – further development of the Corporate Climate Change Strategy (including Scope 3 emissions); and  ii. For working towards a Zero Carbon county, in collaboration with the Marches LEP, private and third sector organisations, housing associations, private landlords and the wider community.

The Labour Motion

A recorded vote was taken on the Labour motion, which was defeated. In favour: 23. Against: 37.

That this Council welcomes the setting up of a task and finish group to examine the Council’s response to Climate Change following the motion adopted by Council on 13th December and we also affirm our commitment to:

  • Carbon Emission Appraisals being attached to all reports,
  • The designation of a Director level Carbon Champion,
  • The creation of a Climate Action Partnership of stakeholders and the wider community.

However, given the conclusions of the IPCC and more recent scientific research findings we believe that Shropshire Council should be more active in its role in providing local leadership and as an organisation meeting rigorous carbon reductions targets.

Therefore, this Council declares that there is a Climate Emergency and calls upon the Cabinet to bring forward proposals within the current calendar year to ensure that all operations within the Councils control are Carbon Neutral by 2030.

Furthermore, we resolve to provide advice, support and encouragement, however possible, to county-wide public, business and charitable organisations to adopt similar policies and practices.

Shropshire Council want to cut planning committees because Tories can’t be bothered to give up one day a month – it’s an attack on democracy

Update 20 May 2019. Shropshire Council has agreed to merge the north and central planning committees from September. Many councillors voted against the move, including – as far as I could see – all members of the South Planning Committee. The south committee is south for now but the executive has made no secret of its desire to progress to a single committee for the entire unitary area.

Original article

The South Planning Committee is safe from the latest Shropshire Council attack on democracy – for now. But council leaders are determined to merge the two committees that cover the Shrewsbury area and North Shropshire into one. The justification is very thin. The paperwork makes it clear that the council’s ambition is a single planning committee for the entire county. They also want to make more decisions behind closed doors rather than in a democratic forum. And part of the justification is that Tory councillors are reluctant to give a day a month to serve on a planning committee. I think it is also to ensure that the Tories have control of all three planning committees.

This is an attack on democracy. Planning one of the most important functions of any council. It is one of the most public facing duties and one where residents are most closely engaged with decision making.

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Alice the Dodo is going to the climate emergency protest at Shirehall on Thursday – are you?

The dodo was once a flightless bird. Now it is little more than a legend and the butt of jokes. That happened after western colonisation of Mauritius introduced predators, including humans who shot the helpless bird. Fast forward to 2019. A UN panel warns that we face a biodiversity crisis with a million species in threat of extinction. Last month, CO2 levels in the atmosphere reached a level not seen since humans existed. It is time to declare a climate emergency and Shropshire Council will do that on Thursday. My fear is that the council will adopt a motion that slaps itself on the back and declares business as usual. We need urgent action not token gestures.

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