I couldn’t attend the meeting of the South Planning Committee on 1 August. The committee considered three applications to build ten bungalows in Ludlow. Only one application for four bungalows was approved.
Shropshire Council planners have given planning permission for the demolition of Harvest House and its replacement by a modern 4-storey residential block with 11 apartments for young people (16/00761/FUL).
I support this development, as does the town council, but I wanted the scheme to go to the South Planning Committee for decision.
Today is a national day of action. #StartsAtHome aims to highlight the importance of supported social housing, including projects like the Ludlow Foyer. Young people have been out in the Market Square today, explaining how the Foyer is helping them get from a crisis into work, education and training. They are telling people that funding for the Foyer is under threat from national and local budget cuts. There is every danger that, despite its groundbreaking work, the Foyer will close in 2018.
Closing Ludlow Foyer would be crazy. It would mean that young people would end up on the streets and would not get the help they need to get a good start in adult life.
On a recent night, I was contacted on Facebook about a 16-year old sleeping rough on the streets of Shrewsbury. This young woman was vulnerable and needed safeguarding. I advised my Facebook contact to take the youngster to Shrewsbury Ark, a drop in centre for the homeless and vulnerable. Once there, she was re-engaged with the support network from Shropshire Council that had been trying to help her. She is now in a hostel and I hope that she gets the help she needs.
This youngster had dropped through the system. It is very hard to engage with council officials and family, and even with friends, when your life has plummeted into the crisis that is homeless. That’s why the help given by the Shrewsbury Ark is so important.
Now, the Shrewsbury Ark is going to do a lot more to help rough sleepers.
This is an update on my post last week on Shropshire Council’s appalling record on reducing the number of empty homes into use. The stark statistic is that we are getting an extra eleven long term empty homes every month across Shropshire. That’s appalling when people are crying out for decent homes to live in. It is disgraceful that we are building new housing on unpopular sites when there are now 1,615 long term empty homes across Shropshire.
Across the rest of England, the number of empty homes is decreasing. Shropshire is one of the few local authorities bucking the trend by allowing homes to remain empty at a time of growing housing need.