The Forestry Commission has published plans for “new opportunities” in the Mortimer Forest to the south of the town. It promises “benefits for day and overnight visitors, including new and improved paths, trails, natural play, habitat enhancement and a viewpoint for all to enjoy.” That will include 68 holiday chalets in the heart of the forest and a £2.8 million boost to the local economy. I am concerned that this will spiral into a Centre Parcs for Ludlow. The case for the development is overstated.
This article first appeared in the Ludlow Advertiser.
Many people have received first class treatment from the NHS, including myself after a recent stroke. Regrettably, that is not everyone’s experience. It is no secret that our health system is creaking at the seams.
“We have had a good discussion”. Those were the concluding remarks of the chair of Shropshire Council’s Place Overview Committee this morning. And with that, the scrutiny committee voted not to intervene in a parking policy that is set to damage our town. This means we will have the highest parking charges in the county outside Shrewsbury. And they will apply on-street in the town centre until 8pm. In all other market towns, charging will end at 6pm. These charges are being introduced, we were told, with the support of Ludlow residents.
Last month, Shropshire Council announced changes to parking charges across the county, including Ludlow. (See my earlier blog for the details.) Charges in the town centre will increase while charges for parking around the centre will generally fall. Time limits on parking will be abolished on the streets and in the car parks. This move, and the high charges on town centre streets, will damage local trade, as will reduction of free pop and shop parking to just five minutes.
Late last month, Shropshire Council concluded its controversial deal to purchase three Shrewsbury shopping centres from an offshore trust. The price was £51 million. The Shropshire Star called the deal “an extraordinary and historic purchase” and described the council as “brave”. Bravery is one thing but I suspect this purchase to be unwise. If I had £51 million in my pocket, I wouldn’t invest it in shopping centres. I’d use the money to improve the social fabric of our county by building council housing.