Year: 2013

What a sad state the Co-op is in. In recent years it has abandoned its core values. It went hell for broke for capitalist style banking and almost went broke. The stores it owns nationally, like that in Ludlow, are badly run and struggle to compete with efficient stores like Tesco and Aldi. Now the Co-op’s group chief executive, Euan Sutherland has said that it can’t afford to pay a dividend. That’s a kick in the teeth for people who have stuck with the Co-op, even though it no longer offers the best quality or value in a town like Ludlow. Sutherland is outrageously encouraging people to spend more in the store though a discount scheme. If you spend £5 or more, you get a coupon worth 10% to spend by Christmas. If ever a scheme was designed to encourage people to spend beyond what they have, this is it. This is another sign that the Co-op has strayed from its ethical remit into the traditional supermarket territory of fleecing the poor. I generally got around a tenner at Christmas from the Co-op. To get that this year, I will have to spend £100 before Christmas. We’ve already paid a…

Read more…

After the debacle over Ludlow’s new hospital, there is concern whether South Shropshire will have adequate health provision. The NHS is now consulting nationally and locally on the shape of future health provision. The trend in the National Health Service is to provide more treatment at home, while concentrating acute services in major centres such as Shrewsbury and Telford. The danger is that the middle level services, built around community hospitals like Ludlow, will be squeezed out – not because they are not needed, but because they become relatively expensive to run. The NHS is now consulting nationally on the future of services, including here in Shropshire. Being a government body, the NHS can’t call a consultation a consultation. It brands it a “Call to Action.” You can read more about the issues for Shropshire here (PDF). It is vital that local and rural voices are not ignored. You make your voice heard through the online survey. It closes on 4 November. Or you can write to: Freepost Plus RTAA-XTHA-LGGC Communications & Community Relations Staffordshire CSS, Heron House 120 Grove Road Stoke-on-Trent ST4 4LX

These days, I edit and write for Liberal Democrat Voice, formally as Friday editor and but also at other times as news breaks or topics need to be discussed. This week has been typically busy, with zombie pubcos and vampire railways in the frame, as well as the vital issue of biodiversity offsetting. First up was an attack on the pubcos. These are the companies that took over large number of pubs in the 1990s. Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland raised the issue in a hard hitting speech in the Commons on Monday night and I reflected: QUOTE: Four years ago, I cried when the tenants of my local were forced out by a pubco. They’d had a brilliant first year. They’d made the pub a hub for the local folk scene and helped breathe new life into the community. But on New Year’s Day, their rent doubled. That was the price the pubco levied on their success, and it was an impossible demand. The pubco accountants cared not. The pub has struggled ever since. It’s up for sale, facing closure. Read: Casked Crusader battles zombie enterprises over “Great British Pubco Scam”. On Friday, I tackled the seemingly obscure topic…

Read more…

The Shropshire Star and BBC report yet more planning applications for greenfield solar farms in the county, including at Condover. I am not so keen on building solar farms in green fields. After all, one of the biggest industries is county is tourism and that relies on the beauty of green landscapes. Energy minister Greg Barker has made it clear that he wants solar panels on the roofs of car parks, warehouses, supermarkets and other sites where they will not interrupt countryside views. The government’s emerging strategy on solar farms says as much. Here in Ludlow we have a modern library which has southward gently sloping roofs. These are ideal for solar panels and they won’t one bit distract from the building’s beauty (or ugliness – take your own view on that). So wake up Shropshire Council. You could generate a lot of electricity, make money to run the Library and take the pressure off our green fields. There are lots of places we can put solar panels without eroding one of the county’s greatest assets, its green fields.

Consultation on Closure of Ludlow Tip

Shropshire Council has not yet made a final decision on closing the Amenity Skip and Recycling Centre at Coder Road – known as the local tip to you and me. But it is only putting forward three options: closure, part-closure and closure. And the staff have been given their notices, so its curtains for the current site. The council is currently consulting on three options: sale of the land conversion to an unmanned recycling bring bank site clearing the site and selling it to environmental charity, Cwm Harry, which is to take over the former biodigester site next door. None of the options involves keeping the site open for non-recyclables. On 4 November, a councillor from Oswestry will decide whether or not to close the Coder Road centre. He will propose the motion and second it. The vote is guaranteed to be unanimous as this Cabinet member will be the only voter. Not a single member of the public or the press is allowed to attend this meeting. We can’t watch him make the decision. We can’t talk to him. We can’t film him. There will there be no notes taken of that meeting. Nothing to say who said what….

Read more…
Back to top