Foldgate Farm housing application runs into trouble over heritage, ecology and trees

Shropshire Council’s conservation team have called for a redesign of the development of five detached dwellings in the orchard of Foldgate Farm on Foldgate Lane because the applicants have not followed advice given before the application was submitted (19/01940/FUL). Ecologists at the council have called for the scheme to be rejected for failing to meet local and national policy requirements. The council’s tree team have called for the scheme to be rejected or revised because it ignores pre-application advice and does not comply with local and national policies.

That is a hefty set of criticisms. The plans will need to be revised or face a risk of rejection. We are already seeing extensive destruction of a biodiverse landscape along the A49 with the Crest Nicholson development. More trees will be planted to compensate but they will not become a biodiverse environment for a couple of decades. If this development is to go ahead, it must reduce its impact on heritage and the environment.

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Petition against hedge netting passes 200,000 signatures. Ludlow protest planned. RSPB takes tough stance against netting. Please write to your MP

Last night, the petition against the growing practice of netting hedges and trees to prevent birds nesting passed 200,000 signatures. It is still growing.

Campaigners are to meet to protest against the hedge netting at Rocks Green at 11am on Sunday 14 April, SY8 2DS. More than 6,000 people have joined the Facebook group, Nesting not Netting!

Ecologists and the RSPB have issued a new statement advising against netting and, should it be deemed necessary, for inspections every three hours.

I have written to Ludlow’s MP Philip Dunne asking him to act and attend the forthcoming debate in parliament.

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Parliament to debate banning netting of hedgerows after petition hits 100K signatures

All eyes have been on the Revoke Article 50 petition, which will comfortably pass 5 million signatures. Another petition I have been supporting aims to ban developers from netting hedges. The aim of developers is to ‘prevent’ birds nesting before hedges are cleared by bulldozers and trees felled with chainsaws. Netting is an ugly practice. It not only looks ugly but it traps all manner of wildlife.

At just after 10.00am on 24 March, the petition passed 100,000 signatures. That means it will be considered for a debate in parliament. We must all lobby our MPs to ensure that debate happens.

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We live in an growing biodiversity desert – Rocks Green developers are making it worse with hedge netting that traps birds (updated)

Over the last couple of weeks, green netting has been put over hedgerows at Rocks Green. The aim is to prevent birds nesting. It will not work. Hedge nesting birds will get through the gaps in the netting with ease. When I visited yesterday morning, I could hear birds within the netted hedgerow. I could not see any nests but I would be surprised if there were none. This is in breach of planning documents submitted by the developer that says hedges will not be removed during the nesting season. But that is exactly what they are planning.  

We live in a town that is biodiversity poor. Many of the fields around Ludlow resemble east of England prairies.

We have some biodiversity havens around Ludlow. The Teme SSSI. There are biodiverse rich broadleaf areas across the Mortimer Forest including the Whitcliffe. That’s despite the intensive conifer plantations in the main forest area. But south of Ludford village, the landscape resembles an East England prairie. It’s not better across much of the Plymouth Estate from Dinham Bridge to Bromfield. East of the A49 bypass, Ludford is biodiversity poor.

That’s why we must make every stride we can to protect birds – and hedgehogs.

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The future of Shropshire is Place Plans – The plan for Ludlow proposes relocating all health services to one site

On 21 March, parish, town and unitary councillors meet to discuss the Place Plan for the Ludlow area. It is dry stuff but Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting made it clear at the last council meeting that money will be pumped into Shrewsbury and Oswestry but the only way that towns like Ludlow will get money is through the Place Plan. This money will mostly, come from developers or grant funding. Shropshire Council is not proposing to chip in a penny.

This is one of the worst prepared documents I have seen in and around public service over decades. It has been written in Shirehall with no knowledge of local geography or needs.  

Buried in the document is a proposal to relocate all health services in Ludlow to one site. That may not be a bad idea but it needs discussion beyond committee rooms. That’s why I am publishing the draft Place Plan today. We need a public consultation on these proposals, including the proposal for Ludlow to fork out cash to upgrade a sewerage works in Oswestry.

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