Tag: Ludford Question

Council tax in Ludlow to go up 4% for a Band D property in Ludlow from 1 April but Ludford still gets a cheap deal

It’s that time of the year again. This morning, Shropshire Council agreed to council tax rises for the next financial year. Band D households in Ludlow will pay £2,030.25, up from £1,945.34 this year – a rise of 4.4%. Council tax has four components. By far the largest is Shropshire Council’s charge, which is 74% of your council tax bill. The police commissioner takes 12%, Ludlow Town Council 9% and fire and rescue 5%. Most of Ludlow’s expansion will be in Ludford parish which charges just £32.78 as its parish precept. The Ludford Question can only be resolved by merging Ludford and Ludlow into a single council. That could lead to an additional £90,000 income a year from the combined parish precept once the planned new housing is built.

Shropshire Council on Thursday unanimously agreed a 3.99% increase in council tax. This is made up of a 2% dedicated increase for adult social care and a 1.99% increase for general spending such as highways. This will take the Band D charge for 2020/21 to £1,443.62. To this must be added £102.25 for fire, £225.20 for police and £174.27 for Ludlow Town Council. This will take the total council tax for a Band D property in Ludlow to £1,945.34, an increase of 4.3% over last year. Ludford residents will pay £149.60 less than Ludlow residents, even though they rely on Ludlow for services. A Shropshire Council review that begins in 2021 will review this.

We must build an 1,800-home Ludford Garden Suburb by 2065 to ensure that Ludlow thrives

We can just bury our heads in the sand and hope housing development doesn’t happen. But we can no more hold back housing than you can stop the tide. Ludlow will expand. Half the town hates that. The other half thinks it is essential. Shropshire Council’s local plan has ambitious growth targets for the county but these pose dangers for a town like Ludlow which has seen decades of unplanned, incoherent growth. We need to bring an end to “Beetle Drive” planning in Ludlow. We can’t continue adding one limb at time. We must begin planning for a Ludford Garden Suburb and ensure that we leave a legacy that generations can be proud of. It might take fifty years to build. But that’s okay in the landscape of planning. Especially if it’s a well-designed landscape.

It’s the season for deciding the council tax we will pay from April. Last year, Ludlow Town Council raised the precept, it’s share of your council tax, by 24%. This year the rise will be 19.5%. That means that the precept will have gone up by half in just two years. As with last year, this looks to be largely an anticipatory rise to cover the cost of taking on services from Shropshire Council and extra staff. But so far, the town council has yet to take on these extra services or appoint a deputy town clerk.[1] That, along with delays to vital repairs to the Guildhall, seems to be the main reason why the council has failed to spend 25% of its budget this year.

Ludlow Town Council is considering a request from Shropshire Council to take on a broad range of services. These could cost an extra £1 million a year and hike the precept in the town from around £100 a year to more than £300.[1] The alternative could be closure of the library, leisure centre, visitor information centre and other services. This will discussed on at the full council meeting on Wednesday night. This could well be the most important meeting the town council has held for many years. The transfer of services raises what I call the “Ludford Question” – should the cost of the devolved services be imposed on Ludlow council taxpayers alone or spread more widely?

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