Month: August 2016

Ludlow injuries unit closed again – we fear our community hospital and rural health services are being closed by stealth

Guest post from councillor Tracey Huffer. One of the vital services that Ludlow Hospital provides is the minor injuries unit (MIU). People go there to be patched up or seek advice, alleviating pressure on overstretched A&E services in Shrewsbury, Hereford and Telford. For the last three days, the MIU has been closed due to staff shortages. It reopens today (Sunday). This is not the first time the hospital has struggled for staff. The MIU has been closed at short notice on at least three other occasions in the last six weeks. I am worried that the closure is just one symptom of the decline of rural health services in Shropshire and Ludlow. I very much fear that Ludlow Community Hospital is being closed by stealth. The way we are going, we may well see the loss of many of rural health services in the coming months.

Design for Joules in King Street looks good but do we need a Ludlow town centre design guide?

We have known for a while that the upmarket clothing chain is planning to move into the former Shoe Zone premises on King Street opposite the Bull Ring Tavern. Now, the company has published plans for a new shopfront. Shoe Zone has long been a blight on our historic streetscape. It was popular for the cut price shoes it sold and we need cheaper clothing retailers in town. But its facia was the ugliest by many a mile. The design being put forward by Joules is a splendid improvement (16/03568/FUL). But, given the decision to approve an overly dark scheme for Crew Clothing, I think it could be time the town to developer a design guide for shop frontages and street furniture.

“Silly Season” arrives in Ludlow as Shropshire Council issues parking fines and then says challenge them

The media have named this time of the year the “silly season”. The Westminster political types have jetted away on their holidays, leaving newspapers with column inches to fill and broadcasters facing empty slots. The Olympics has spewed out stories over the last two weeks but now, even sporting stories are just about stretched to their limit. Mind you, Heather Wheeler MP for South Derbyshire has declared that the British Empire had won the Olympics. That’s true silly season stuff. Congratulations also to Edinburgh for coming up with a story about a knighted penguin, which is also a brigadier. And continuing the Scottish theme, the Telegraph reports that playing the bagpipes can be fatal. The article doesn’t mention that listening to bagpipes can be fatal too. Shropshire Council, not to be outdone, has come up with a true silly season story just for us here in Ludlow. It is issuing parking tickets and then inviting people to challenge them.

Ludlow unitary councillors are calling for an immediate suspension of the night time crackdown on parked vehicles in Ludlow town centre. Since the 5 July 2016, Shropshire Council’s civil enforcement officers have issued more than one hundred penalty charge notices (PCNs) after 6pm. The crackdown has caught offenders blocking access. We welcome that. But it has also penalised tourists who are not sure where to park and residents who have parked at the same location in the town centre for years. This heavy hand approach, initiated without any discussion with local representatives, is in danger of damaging the evening economy of the town. The councillors, Andy Boddington, Tracey Huffer and Vivienne Parry, a calling for a halt to the current enforcement campaign, except where people are parking dangerously or impeding disabled access.

Oak trees on Whitcliffe Common to be felled after Shropshire Council lodges no objection

Ludlow is no stranger to controversy. We are a busy town, medieval in origin with a streetscape to match. We are also a working and tourist town, and one that is proud of its green credentials. As a rule of thumb, a local councillor’s inbox is dominated by emails on new developments, parking and trees, followed closely by litter, dog poo and other antisocial behaviour. This month it has been trees dominating my inbox. The proposal to fell two semi-mature oaks on Whitcliffe Common to ensure that locals and visitors can enjoy the view towards Ludlow has stirred a lot of people to make passionate arguments for and against (16/03003/TCA). I am not in favour.

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