Category: Shropshire Council

Developer of Linney House lodges appeal before the latest two planning applications have been decided

At the end of last year, developer James Hepworth lodged yet another application for housing in the gardens of Linney House, this time for four homes. The previous application for eight homes lodged in March 2019 had not yet been decided. It still hasn’t been decided so Mr Hepworth has asked the planning inspectorate to decide the application. He is within his rights to do so but it takes the decision out of local democratic hands. I have asked for both applications to be considered by the Southern Planning Committee. In the instance of the eight homes now being appealed, the committee can only give an indicative opinion, the decision it would have made. This will be passed to the planning inspector in Bristol. I have rarely seen such a weak case for an appeal. The scheme is well designed and will be an attractive place to live. But it is the wrong place and is not needed in a town which already has planning permissions for nearly 750 unbuilt homes.

Shropshire Council publishes order to close King Street to vehicles on Friday and Saturday 10am to 3pm

Today, Shropshire Council published the orders to close King Street during the middle of the day on Fridays and Saturdays. The closure will come into force next Friday, 26 June. There has been a lot of debate and confusion about this road closure. Many people want King Street with its “narrows” closed at peak periods seven days a week (see my poll). Others did not want it closed at any point, especially owners of town centre businesses. Ludlow Town Council wanted High Street closed as well. Then Shropshire Council unexpectedly decided to close King Street seven days a week. After something of a rumpus, the council decided to restrict the closure to two days. Which what we agreed in the first place. We must now see how this goes. We need to talk to businesses, residents, shoppers and visitors about how the closure helps them or whether it hinders them.

Shropshire Council still hasn’t put the emergency into climate emergency – I despair at its slow pace

Shropshire Council must have been taking lessons from Sir Humphrey Appleby. You will remember him as the permanent secretary who advised and cajoled the hapless James Hacker. When the politics of the moment were tough and when decisions were stalled by inaction and indecision, Sir Humphrey would recommend a review, a committee, anything that would not disrupt the inertia that drives all bureaucracies towards their natural state of inaction. That is all too often Shropshire Council’s approach to the environmental issues of our day. The council declared a climate emergency in May 2019. But we learnt from Shropshire Council’s scrutiny meeting a week ago that the council’s action plan on climate change will not be considered by the council until September, 18 months after the climate emergency was declared. Any council that took climate change seriously, would have presented its plan at last December’s meeting, or at its meeting in February.

Shropshire Council agrees to limit road closures for coronavirus in Ludlow and spins the reason why

As I explained this morning, Shropshire Council had made something of a mess of introducing road closures to promote social distancing in Ludlow. Today, the council issued a press release, which I copy below. This abandons any idea of closing High Street at any point. It also abandons the idea that King Street should be closed seven days 10am to 3pm. The closure would only be on Friday and Saturday. The press release says this is “following concerns raised by local councillors and the town council”. That’s spin worthy of Alastair Campbell. It is now clear that despite two town council meetings formally agreeing Friday and Saturday closure only, Shropshire Council decided that it would go for a seven day closure regardless. It was only under pressure over three days that Shropshire Council backed down.

Shropshire Council withdraws seven day closures for King Street and High Street in favour of agreed two day closures for King Street

The last seven days have not been Shropshire Council’s finest hours. Especially for its highway’s managers. Last Thursday or thereabouts, it issued an experimental traffic regulation order closing King Street and High Street every day of the week between 10am and 3pm. On Friday afternoon it issued a press release confirming the closure from Monday morning. Only yesterday afternoon, did highway’s managers admit that the experimental TRO was wrong. We had agreed closure on Fridays and Saturdays during the middle of the day. And only for King Street. Not for High Street. Not for Sunday to Thursday. The result of the confusion is that the agreed King Street road closure, Friday and Saturday, 10am to 3pm, will not be in place until next week.

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