“A beautiful, historic boutique hotel in the heart of Ludlow” – plans for Castle Lodge to be aired

Castle Lodge, which sits outside Ludlow Castle and just off the Market Square, is about to get a makeover, if planning permission and listed building consent are granted. For years, this Grade II* building has been a rather curious museum of curiosities. With the main structure of the building dating back to Elizabethan times, it has been waiting for someone with a deep pocket to invest in its future. According to a report in the Shropshire Star, it was sold in 2018 for £650,000.

Now, a group of entrepreneurs have come forward with plans for its future. They plan a venue that is:

“Open to all. A great place to celebrate… or relax and sample everything the town has to offer. More than a hotel, also a tearoom, bar, family venue, lounge and an activity centre.”

The plans will be presented to Ludlow Town Council tomorrow night, 16 October, at 7pm.

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Shropshire Council is consulting on the future of its library services – I fear for mobile library services

Shropshire Council’s Library services were reviewed two years ago. The conclusion of that review was that three tiers of library would be established: Tier 1 Library Hubs in Shrewsbury and larger market towns, including Ludlow; Tier 2 Community Libraries in the smaller market towns such as Church Stretton; and Tier 3 Community Libraries in smaller market towns such as Craven Arms. Rural areas would be served by mobile libraries with 281 stops in all.

The new library strategy was to last for five years. But just two years into its implementation, Shropshire Council has announced another review. The council does not give a straightforward reason for the review. Rather, it says “we identified the need for a refreshed strategy that offers a robust vision with clear priorities for the library service of the future.” Given how stretched staff are within the council, and how stretched its finances are, it is inevitable that people are wondering whether the review presages another round of cuts. Otherwise why allocate so much staff time?

The council says it is committed to retaining the three tier library structure. But it hasn’t said it is committed to keeping mobile libraries. There will be a drop in session in Ludlow Library from 10am to 3pm next Wednesday, 9 October.

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Sidney Road Green is saved! The battle is over. A great early Christmas present for Ludlow

Ring the bells. Bang the drums. March the bands. The green space at the bottom of Charlton Rise has been saved! Social housing provider Connexus has told Ludlow Town Council that it will not proceed with its proposal for five bungalows on the green space on Sidney Road at the bottom of Charlton Rise. We must now move to protect this green space and its trees in perpetuity by getting it declared a town green. We should also plant a Norway Maple to replace the one that was felled three years ago.

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Alternative construction access proposals for Foldgate Lane housing development debated at site meeting

Representatives from Ludford town centre and Ludlow Town Council, along with Viv Parry and myself, met with Crest Nicholson on Monday to discuss temporary construction access to the Foldgate Lane development for a period of up to two months. There are three competing proposals. The developer favours access along and across Foldgate Lane. Ludford parish council wants access from the A49 through an underpass. Viv Parry and I have suggested moving the proposed T-Junction further south on the A49 to make it easier to build. Ours is a more complex proposal but it would be a more satisfactory long term solution. However, the developer does not wish to engage again with Highways England which has proved to be a difficult organisation to deal with. The Ludford proposal makes a lot of sense.

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Foldgate Lane housing development gets (almost) final approval – we can still improve the scheme and save dozens of trees

Yesterday, Shropshire Council planners approved the details of plans for 137 houses at Foldgate Lane after nearly five years of discussions (18/02413/REM). But the development cannot go ahead without yet another application to allow construction traffic to access. The housing is due to be accessed from a T-Junction on the A49. But due to the gradients on the site, this access cannot be built other than by construction traffic thundering along Foldgate Lane. Viv Parry, the Shropshire Councillor for the area, has said this is unacceptable. I agree. The lane is totally unsuited for construction traffic and we will oppose any application to allow this.

But we want to be constructive. By moving the T-Junction a short way south, the problem with gradients is resolved. Our scheme would also save much of the tree belt, where more than 100 trees are currently slated for felling. In our proposal, the T-Junction would be left turn only on leaving the site, reducing the risk of accidents on a high speed section of the A49.

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