It’s a heatwave, so let’s talk about snow

In the middle of a prolonged hot spell, snow is not on many people’s minds. But it was on the mind of Shropshire Council’s Place Overview committee yesterday when it met to discuss how the council responds to snow emergencies. Among the plans are a pilot snow warden scheme.

I began calling for snow wardens in 2013. In May this year, Shropshire Council accepted a cross party motion asking the council to look into the case for a warden scheme. Now it looks like we can get on with it in preparation for the next cold winter.

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It’s Rural Housing Week – Shropshire Council must commit to building more affordable and smaller housing

“Housing is the first social service.”[1] But Shropshire’s housing statistics make an uncomfortable read. They suggest we are not providing the housing social service our residents need.[2]

It’s Catch 22 here in Shropshire. Over the years, we have built homes that are larger than average. That means that four in ten homes in the county have two or more spare bedrooms. Many older people would like to downsize but they can’t find suitable smaller housing in the villages and market towns they live in. That in turn means that growing families can’t move into bigger homes. The shortage of smaller houses means that younger people cannot afford homes near where they live and work. It also pushes up rents and prevents people getting onto the housing ladder.

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Another night of damage at Ludlow’s Eco Park. Enough is enough. Shropshire Council must act

Last night, young racers caused significant damage to the surface of the Eco Park park and ride site. There was also much spinning of vehicles on the Eco Park over the weekend. This is not new. But neither the police of Shropshire Council seem interested in tackling the problem.

In Ludlow, we have a long term problem with young racers. The police seem to prefer them to be at the Eco Park where they do not disturb town centre residents. We had a clampdown on young racers last year but this now seems to be off the police’s radar. Viv Parry and I have received several complaints in recent days. We are both appalled by the continual damage, littering and fly-tipping.

Continue reading “Another night of damage at Ludlow’s Eco Park. Enough is enough. Shropshire Council must act”

SaTH launches a consultation to “temporarily” close rural maternity units permanently

Today Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust launched a six week consultation on the future of rural maternity services. It has kept this very quiet. The review follows the extended closure of MLUs in Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Oswestry.

Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East, says: “It’s almost a joke. It is so typical of the way that SaTH is working.”

[More…]

Tracey continues:

The midwife led maternity units have been closed for births for weeks. Now SaTH has launched a consultation intended to make the closure for births permanent.

SaTH may try to pretend that the closure of MLUs for births is temporary. The reality is that it will be permanent. It may blame a shortage of staff. The reality is that SaTH itself has created that shortage. SaTH may plead that women are “preferring” to give birth in Shrewsbury or Telford. The reality is that rural mothers have had no choice where to give birth because SaTH has constantly closed the rural midwifery led units at short notice.

I am lost for words. We have been here before. We have been backwards and forwards time and time again on closures and consultations.

But SaTH has not listened to anything said so far. Rural mothers around the county have shouted loud that they want to give birth locally. They have organised protest marches. But the health trust has not listened to anything the mothers who love the maternity units in Ludlow, Bridgnorth and Oswestry.

Families in rural areas deserve first class local maternity services. We have had that service until just a few years ago. The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust now wants to withdraw midwifery led maternity services from rural areas.

The time is long overdue for SaTH to recognise that it is also the Shropshire hospital trust. It must serve us all, not just Shrewsbury and Telford.

It will be a huge blow to rural life if mothers are permanently banned from giving birth in our community hospitals.