Category: Heritage

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.

Harp Lane ‘pothole’ repairs are a shambles and distract from our town’s heritage

It is good news that Shropshire Council has received an additional £11.6m of government pothole funding. It is good news that it has fixed around 3,500 potholes. But it is bad news that it has just slapped down crude tarmac repairs on Harp Lane defacing our historic town centre. And it hasn’t got on with other important town centre work we need done before we emerge from lockdown. Harp Lane is cobbled. Tarmac has no place. I am told the repairs are temporary. But as we know from the decaying state of the Grade II listed cobbles on Broad Street, Shropshire Council is not good at cobbles. I don’t think these repairs are an emergency and a decent job should have been done first time around.

Happy unbirthday to Ludlow town walls – seven years after the collapse repairs are still not scheduled

Seven years today Ludlow town walls fell down at the back of St Laurence’s churchyard. 18 February 2013. At a crowded public meeting a few days later, Shropshire Council cabinet member Martin Taylor-Smith told Ludlow that money was not an issue. The unitary council had the money in reserves. The wall would be repaired and soon. Alas! That proved to be misleading. What followed was a lengthy dispute between Shropshire Council, St Laurence’s Church and Ludlow Town Council about who was responsible for paying for the repairs. Two and a half years and a lot of legal bills later, it was agreed that Ludlow Town Council had to foot the repair bill. Now it looks like the wall will not be rebuilt before the tenth anniversary of collapse.

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