Month: February 2016

The Ludlow Foyer is highly regarded for its work with young people. It provides a secure and supported pathway from a difficult childhood into work and independent accommodation. But it could well close as local and national spending cuts bite. The Foyer provides low cost rented flats for fifteen young people (aged 16-25) who are continuing education, starting training or a job. The level of rent, currently £212 a week, means that many residents rely on benefits to secure their accommodation. The cost is worth it. Young people at the Foyer are supported by key workers. They sign up to a training plan and are supported into work. Young people arrive in difficulty and leave with greater confidence. In money terms alone, this will lead to lower social costs later in life. But most importantly, young people will have been given a boost that will improve their life chances and wellbeing. The Foyer has been helping young people since 2000. But it is now facing the threat of closure because the finances no longer stack up in a period of cuts.

Ludford Bridge was hit hard by a reversing truck last Sunday night and has been closed since. The truck, on its way to resurfacing works for a supermarket, had failed to get through the Broadgate. It’s not the first HGV to have been forced to reverse the length if Lower Broad Street. But the driver was well out of kilter and smashed into the bridge beside Walkmill and then drove off as through nothing had happened. The good news is that Shropshire Council’s highways team has identified the truck responsible and the council intends to pursue for all costs. Shropshire Council has this week instructed its design consultants Mouchel to proceed with repairs. The paperwork is not in place but the priority is to get the bridge repaired and open again. So far so good.

The countdown is on. From April Fool’s Day 2017, Shropshire Council is predicting that it will no longer be able to fund youth services in the county. Even if it can find money, it will not be enough to fund youth support at the level we are used to or that we need. The future of Ludlow Youth Centre remains uncertain. We want it to be transferred to community ownership to keep it safe for future generations. But we worry that Shropshire Council is planning to move yet move staff into the building, making it more of an office and less of a youth hub. We need the squatters out so that it can become a dedicated youth centre again. Money and bricks and mortar are not the only issues we face.

One of the main routes in and out of Ludlow, Ludford Bridge was damaged on Sunday night, when it was hit by a reversing truck that had tried to get up Lower Broad Street. The damage to the bridge is much worse (see photos below) that I thought when I visited in the early hours of the morning. It is likely to take three to four weeks to repair. At any other time of the year, the closure of this bridge would have a major impact on trade. But we do need the bridge open by the time the tourist season opens at Easter. Whether the work can be completed in four weeks is bound to depend quite a lot on the weather. There is no estimate yet for the costs of the works. We collecting evidence about how the incident happened. This was an mishap caused by bad driving and the bill for repairs should not fall to council taxpayers.

Update Shropshire Council has issued an update. It seems that Ludford Bridge will be closed for up to three weeks. Main post Last night (Sunday) a vehicle smashed into Ludford Bridge. I don’t know the circumstances (but thanks to town councillor Tim Gill for alerting me). The bridge has been closed to vehicles by Shropshire Highways. Pedestrians and cyclists can still cross the bridge. The diversion is via Sheet Road. Part of the parapet adjacent to Walkmill has been knocked into the river. The damage doesn’t look structural but it must have been quite a hard hit to do this much damage.

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