Islabikes is a growing company based on the Ludlow Food Centre site in Bromfield. It wants to expand and is apply for a permission for works to adapt a unit on Lower Barns Business Park south of Ludford village. These low-key works involve new windows and a glass door to Unit 10, a new porous-surfaced car park, a bike shed and a children’s bike test track. This looks a very good application from a significant Ludlow employer.
Numbers dug out by a Bridgnorth resident reveal that the north of the county gets the lion’s share of Shropshire Council’s capital investment. The spend per head in Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Market Drayton is ten times as high as in Ludlow. We get barely more than a quarter of the money that goes to Bridgnorth. Ludlow has gained just 1% of the capital spend across the county.
This is not for want of trying. In May, us unitary councillors submitted a proposal for investment in Ludlow to Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting. Three months later he has still not found time to come to our town to discuss it.
The Mayor of Ludlow and I held a meeting with Shropshire Council’s portfolio holder for transport, Steve Davenport, on Monday to discuss proposed increases in parking charges.
We were not told by Councillor Davenport that the final cabinet papers on charges had been agreed more than three hours before he arrived in Ludlow. Those papers say that proposed charges in Ellesmere, which Davenport represents, will not go ahead. They give concessions on charges in Shrewsbury, as demanded by Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council. Coincidentally, Councillor Nutting is also the Mayor of Shrewsbury.
Ludlow has been shafted. Utterly shafted.
It is not a surprise that the remaining members of the government’s Social Mobility Commission have resigned this weekend. Anger has been growing for months that the government has been distracted from improving individual lives by the demands of Brexit.
Shropshire is one of the worst areas in England for young people to get out of the trap of struggling households and poor education. Last week, the county was ranked the 237th worst out of 324 local authorities for social mobility. Just a year before, we were at rank 185. We have skidded downwards.
The Ludlow and Clee Local Joint Committee (LJC) is to hold a special meeting on 30 November to discuss Shropshire Council’s draft local plan. This sets out ambitious policies to expand housing and employment across the county.
Ludlow councillor Andy Boddington is chairman of the LJC, says:
“This opportunity to debate our ideas about the future of the county. Shropshire Council’s new plans aim for economic growth and building nearly 1,500 homes a year across the county. Much of this will be in the north and east of the county but we also need to work out what is best for the more rural areas, including Ludlow.”