Shropshire Council loosens its restrictive rules on recording council meetings

Back in May, I was not alone in castigating Shropshire Council for actions “worthy of a totalitarian state” when it confiscated cameras from members of the public at the beginning of a council meeting. Now it has backed down. The new guidance was issued three days after my colleague, councillor Vivienne Parry submitted a question about the confiscation for the full council meeting on 23 July.

The new guidance is shorter and in line with government legislation put in place last October. The previous guidance had permitted video and audio recording by the public without notice, but not by the media or commercial interests. Use of still cameras was restricted to the first five minutes of a council meeting and required notice two working days beforehand.

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Freedom of information and ip&e – FoI is not ‘bizarre’ as council leader claims

Shropshire Council is busy transferring many of its staff and services to its wholly owned company, ip&e. This company still must respond to freedom of information requests, in almost the same way that Shropshire Council does even if those requests are ‘bizarre’ in the eyes of council leader Keith Barrow.

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Shropshire Council in democratic failure after illegal confiscation of cameras at council meeting

In a move worthy of a totalitarian state, yesterday Shropshire Council confiscated cameras from members of the public attending its council meeting. It also prevented recording of the meeting. In doing so, it was in breach of national statutes which clearly state that recording should of meetings should be allowed without hindrance. I find it unbelievable in an age of supposedly open government that cameras were confiscated. The banning of recording was not legal. I can’t see that taking cameras away from members of the public was legal. Shropshire Council should make a public apology for its anti-democratic actions.

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Ludlow North polling station has moved to Mascall for many voters

If you live in Ludlow North your polling station may have moved from the Library to Ludlow Mascall Centre. Details are on your polling card.

In previous elections, voting took place in the library. But when Shropshire Council moved staff from Stone House into the library, no thought was given to what would happen on polling days.

In recent months, we have discussed several options for polling stations in the town centre but most proved suitable or unavailable. The final decision was to move the polling station for Whitcliffe and Corve wards to the Ludlow (Bishop) Mascall Centre. This will not be as convenient as the Library for town centre residents but it does have a good sized car park. The 722 and 701 buses also stop directly outside on the way back into town.

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General election: Are you registered to vote?

The voting registration system has changed and the head of the household can no longer register other members. That’s likely to mean that a number of teenage first time voters will have failed to register.

You can check whether you’re registered to vote by calling Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9015 or by emailing elections@shropshire.gov.uk.

It might also be worth checking you are still registered if you have recently moved house.

It is now easy to register online: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You will need your National Insurance number.

The deadline for registering to vote in the May general election is 20 April. The following day is the deadline for registering for a postal vote. If you want someone to vote on your behalf, a proxy vote, the registration deadline is 28 April.