Storm Dennis: Criticism of councillors and town council as it discussed the flood on Monday

Most members of Ludlow Town Council attended the extraordinary meeting of Ludlow Town Council on Monday evening. Viv Parry was very critical of other councillors for not turning out to help on Sunday 16 February. Glen Ginger took a different view and said only trained people should help in an emergency. But councillors overall though the town council could do more, including completing its emergency plan, work on which seems to have stalled. There was agreement that there could be improvements to flood defences on Temeside. I told the meeting we need to do work on the Lower Corve also.

The head of the Environment Agency today made a barnstorming speech on flooding. He is making the right noises about tackling the climate emergency. That’s welcome. But he still thinks housing can be built in high risk flood areas. Sir James Bevan didn’t speak about his own agency applying the lax national planning rules in a lax manner. According to a joint investigation by the Guardian and Greenpeace’s Unearthed news unit, 764 homes in our county have been built in Flood Zone 3 – which has the highest risk of flooding – between 2015 and 2018. That’s one in twenty homes built in Shropshire.

BBC Radio Shropshire and the Shropshire Star are reporting that Clive Wright, the chief executive of Shropshire Council, has been told to leave by the ruling Conservative group on the council. No one is surprised by this. The antipathy from Peter Nutting, the political leader of the council, towards Clive has been evident for a long while. The body language between Nutting and Clive has in recent months has made it clear they no longer work as a team. In Shropshire Council’s now traditional style, Clive Wright has gone immediately. In the middle of a flooding crisis. That’s lousy management. Not by Clive – but by Nutting and the out of touch Tory group on the council.

Shropshire Council made national headlines with its decision to pay a highway consultant £1,000 a day to fix its highways management and resolve the plague of potholes. Lib Dem councillors on the council have called for Steve Davenport, the cabinet member for highways, to resign. He says he will not resign and the consultancy money will come from his underspent staff budget. Want he hasn’t explained is why the council has assessed itself as a top performer on highways allowing it to draw down Whitehall funding, even though it has been underspending. If Shropshire Council is a top performer on highways “then I’m a banana”, as Ian Hislop once infamously said.

Two seats were up for election after the resignations of Councillors Tony Mahalski and Nicola Paton. Rod Naysmith from Downton View was been elected to represent Clee View on Ludlow Town Council unopposed. Phillip Adams from Corve Street and Hillary Hall from The Angel battled it out for the Whitcliffe Ward. Congratulations to Philip who won by 14 votes last Thursday. The turnout was 22% and 226 ballot papers were issued. Philip received 118 votes, Hilary 104 votes. Four votes were declared void.

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