We need a new market towns initiative across Shropshire to promote our rural economy – we are proposing a new fund on Thursday

It is time we had capital funding to improve our smaller market towns, not just in Shrewsbury and Oswestry.

I have put forward a motion for next Thursday’s Shropshire Council meeting aiming to establish a capital fund for investment in the smaller market towns including Ludlow.

We must keep our smaller town centres alive. That will benefit residents and visitors. It will also ensure that Shropshire Council maintains its income from council tax and business rates.

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Islabikes to move from Bromfield to Ludford to accommodate growth

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.

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Oswestry and Shrewsbury get most of Shropshire Council’s investment cash – Ludlow gets a few crumbs

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.

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Ludlow is shafted by the Mayor of Shrewsbury on parking charge hikes

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.

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Social mobility in Shropshire is in free fall – we are failing young people

It is not a surprise that the remaining members of the government’s Social Mobility Commission have resigned this weekend.[1] 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.[2] Just a year before, we were at rank 185. We have skidded downwards.

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