Category: Heritage

No date yet for Buttercross repairs – King Street to remain closed for a few weeks at least

Ludlow Town Council briefly discussed repairs to the Buttercross on Monday night. Councillors were told that stonemasons had been appointed and work had started on stone in hand. More stone has been ordered from Grinshill Quarry but there was as yet no date on delivery. There was no debate, though Councillor Viv Parry said market traders were giving false information about the closure and asked for someone to tell them to shut up. King Street cannot reopen until the Buttercross is repaired and that looks to be a few weeks away. At least the weather is warm. Lime mortar will not set below 5C and that is another reason for getting this work completed as soon as possible.

Council leaders worried that Shirehall will be listed by Historic England apply for immunity certificate (updated)

Without informing councillors, Shropshire Council has applied for a certificate of immunity to protect its Shirehall headquarters from being listed. Councillors only heard about this yesterday. The consultation by Historic England ends on Friday. Council leader Peter Nutting has said the decision to apply for a certificate of immunity is not controversial as the council decision in July on the future of Shirehall was quite clear. But councillors did not agree to demolish Shirehall. They agreed to stop work on the ambitious and expensive plans to remodel Shirehall and explore developing a new civic centre in Shrewsbury town centre. Demolition was not discussed. The secret move to get a certificate of immunity is typical of the current council leadership’s approach. Councillors are informed on a need to know basis and, in Peter Nutting’s opinion, most councillors don’t need to know.

Good (ish) news update on the damage to Ludlow Buttercross and closure of King Street

The repairs to the Buttercross could be quicker than I first thought. Ludlow Town Council is meeting potential contractors on Tuesday to give them a briefing on tendering. Shropshire Council’s conservation team has confirmed that any like for like repairs will not need Listed Building Consent. The repairs must be of Grinshill sandstone, which is still available. On the advice of structural engineers, King Street must remain closed to create space for Heras fencing. That fencing was put in place yesterday evening to create a safety zone for pedestrians and prevent any further damage to the Grade-I listed building. King Street will be closed for several weeks to come as a result.

Approval of Church Walk balcony undermines Ludlow’s historic environment – it’s a bad undemocratic decision

The third storey roof terrace overlooking St Laurence’s Church and the Reader’s House has been approved. It is an appalling decision. The town council objected. Ludlow’s conservation committee objected. Ludlow Civic Society objected. I asked for the decision to be made by the planning committee. All this was to no avail. Planning officers approved the scheme yesterday.   This decision, which in my opinion ignores court rulings about protecting the setting of historic buildings, was made after a secretive meeting by planning officers and the chair and vice chair of the Southern Planning Committee. That meeting decided to delegate the decision to officers who immediately approved the scheme. Did the chair and vice chair visit the site before they made that decision? We don’t know because the process is shrouded in secrecy but I doubt they did so. Shropshire Council’s planning system must be overhauled to give greater respect to local representations and the historic environment.

Roof terrace overlooking Church Walk would damage setting of St Lawrence’s Church and the Reader’s House

I have objected to plans to extend a third floor flat above Joules and the hospice shop, 9-10 King Street, with a north facing roof terrace. The balcony, which will be 10.5 metres (34ft) above ground level, would break up the established roofline. Residents or holidaymakers in the flat will overlook the bedroom windows of two of the new almshouses. They will gaze over the roof of the almshouses to St Lawrence’s Church and the 17th Century Reader’s House, both Grade I listed. Looking from Church Walk, the balcony will be in full view. It will also be seen from Tower Street. Legislation and case law make clear considerable importance and weight should be given to preserving the setting of listed buildings when making planning decisions. That is why this application should be rejected.

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