Day: 18 March 2014

Shropshire Council has set out its final plans for development areas across the county, a project known as SAMDev. It is asking for comments on the soundness of the plans by 28 April. I am not happy with these proposals and neither are people I’ve spoken to in Ludlow. We are going to end up sprawling across green fields before brownfield sites with planning permission have a single house built on them. We are likely to see housing built beyond the bypass, while huge sites like the former brickworks on Fishmore Road remain empty. SAMDev proposals for Ludlow (numbered right) If the SAMDev document is approved, we will get housing development at Rocks Green and at the Eco Park, without any clue how these will eventually join up. If we are to have a new suburb beyond the bypass, and I’m not convinced we need it any time soon, we should plan it properly. It should be a garden suburb with lots of open space. And maybe the suburb should be limited to the Sheet area. Development proposed between Sheet and Foldgate Two-thirds of respondents to a Shropshire Council consultation disagreed with plans for housing south of Rocks Green. Indeed,…

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As a newly elected Shropshire Councillor, I’m wondering when I will be able to attend my first council meeting as Councillor for Ludlow North. Council Speaker, Councillor David Lloyd, has cancelled the council meeting planned for 10 April 2014. He says there is no need to call councillors to Shirehall, as the only item on the agenda could wait until the May meeting. If the funding crisis over our Buttercross museum is not resolved tomorrow, I planned to ask a question at the council meeting. I won’t be able to do that now. Council meetings are opportunities for councillors to put forward motions for debate. The public can ask questions. Council meetings should be where councillors make decisions in public in a democratic fashion. The reason that there is nothing much on the agenda for the April council meeting is that all decisions are made behind the scenes, often by a lone councillor in a meeting from which the public and press are excluded. In the year from May, Shropshire Council is planning just five full council meetings – down from seven this year. It will hold just six cabinet meetings public – down from 12 this year. Democracy must…

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Shropshire Council is turning its back on an agreement to help fund the move of our town museum to the historic Buttercross and create a heritage interpretation centre. In doing so, the council is not only threatening to halt the new museum project, it is damaging ambitions for the Assembly Rooms. The museum move is a win-win project. The Buttercross will give the museum a fantastic permanent location and it will put good use to a currently empty building. The Assembly Rooms can then use the space to help achieve its ambitions to become a cultural hub for the town. Now the plans are in disarray. The town council had agreed with Shropshire Council that it could spend a £120,000 grant by the end of June 2014. Last week, Shropshire Council said the funding, under the Market Towns Revitalisation Programme, must be spent by the end of March. That can’t be done. The Buttercross is a Grade I listed building. It is simply not possible to complete a project like this in little more than six months as Shropshire Council is demanding. There was unfortunately no discussion of the issue at last night’s town council meeting. Greg Ginger caught the…

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