Category: Heritage

Ludlow’s collapsed town wall should be registered as a Monumental Failure and become a tourist attraction

Next Thursday 18 February 2021, it will have been eight years since the town walls fell at the back of St Laurence’s. There is no sign of the repairs beginning this year. What hope is there of the collapsed section being completed before the tenth anniversary? Almost none in my opinion. I would like to be proved wrong. The failure to repair one of Ludlow’s principal monuments is an embarrassment to our town. St Laurence’s churchyard is still disfigured by Herras fencing. It’s a disgrace. Unless there is action soon, we should perhaps register the collapsed wall as a Monumental Failure and make it a tourist attraction. A blue plaque declaring: “Here lieth the town walls. Resting in pieces since 18 February 2013.”

The 1824 St Leonard’s Clive Arch on Corve Street is collapsing – should it be partly demolished?

Many will have noticed that the gateway at the entrance to St Leonard’s Churchyard has been covered with scaffolding for a while because the top of the arch is beginning to tilt forward towards Corve Street. A functional rather than architecturally distinguished construction, the arch commemorates the consecration of the burial ground, gifted by Viscount Clive to St Laurence’s, on 27 August 1824. St Laurence’s Parochial Church Council is now proposing to remove the arch, leaving two stone pillars supporting the cast iron gate. The Clive Plaque will be relocated nearby. The Clive Arch is Grade II listed for its historical value. That means there is a presumption against any major changes, including partial demolition. On the other hand, it will cost a lot of money to rebuild the arch. Money that could be used for other purposes.

Dinham Hotel to close and be converted into apartments if plans approved

These plans have been long expected. One of our upmarket hotels is to be converted into residential accommodation. The plans are to create seven dwellings, five in the hotel building and two in the grounds. There be only minor alterations to exterior of the building. Number 9 Dinham, currently Elliots Bistro will be converted back into an independent house. This is a well thought out conversion. It will though be sad to lose this venue from Ludlow’s town centre.

King Street is to reopen tomorrow, Monday – we now need to look at longer term solutions to our town’s traffic problems (reopening delayed to Tuesday)

Update Monday evening. Without notice to the town council or anyone else, Shropshire Council decided not to lift the road closure on King Street today. A meeting was needed with contractors as the council no longer does hands on work like moving barriers itself. Instructions needed to be entered onto a database. The computer will trigger an action by contractors and no doubt instructions will be passed on to subcontractors. Not for the first time, I wonder how much public money is spent on managing contractors who manage subcontractors… rather than just doing the job with in-house council staff. It is time Shropshire Council brought highways work back in-house.  Ludlow Town Council has announced the Buttercross repairs are complete and King Street will reopen tomorrow, Monday. That will relieve traffic pressure, including HGVs, from Dinham and Linney where they have caused damage. King Street will remain closed between 10am and 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays to promote social distancing in the Narrows. We now need to think about managing traffic in the town centre and across Ludlow as a whole. This will not be as straightforward as we might wish. But a big debate on how we ease Ludlow’s traffic…

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Historic England recommends Shirehall should not be listed paving the way for its demolition and sale

Yesterday, Historic England issued a decision on the listing of Shirehall on Abbey Foregate. The secretary of state has decided not to list the 1960s civic building. He has said he is minded refusing a certificate of immunity to prevent the building being demolished but that is now a technicality unless there is a legal challenge to the refusal of listing. The decision will clear the way for the 10-acre site to be cleared for housing and Shropshire Council can put the money towards its shopping centres which very soon will have absorbed more than £60 million of public money. That money could have provided at least 250 social homes. But the council leadership is saddled with the centres which are only worth two-thirds of the money the council paid for them three years ago and that is its priority for spending.   Update: After I published this post the Twentieth Century Society published an article supporting the listing of Shirehall.

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