Ludlow Town Council calls for Castle Street tree to be felled and replaced – I agree

The council’s Representational Committee discussed the application by Shropshire Council to fell a tree in Castle Street car park last night. Agreeing with revised advice from its tree warden, the town council said that the tree could not be rescued as the base of the trunk had begun to rot after water penetrated through the split fork, which is close to the ground. Strapping the tree or selectively cutting its limbs would not therefore work. The council accepts the tree must be felled. But the tree warden and the council want the roots grubbed out and a semi-mature native species tree planted to replace the Norway Maple.

Having received independent advice, I completely agree with this approach. This is a change from my previous position of wanting the tree managed and saved. The biggest challenge will be ensuring the replacement tree is well maintained throughout its life.

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Ludlow Town Council has tonight declared a Climate Emergency. It’s a good move. Now the hard work starts

Tonight, Ludlow Town Council joined more than one hundred other councils in declaring a climate emergency. This is great news. The council adopted a straightforward motion:

Ludlow Town Council declares a Climate Emergency, with an aim of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. It commits to identifying ways in which it can support this objective and to explore, with the community, the development of a Ludlow Town Council climate change strategy, and to consider establishing a Climate Action Partnership.

Now the hard work begins. The council will need a to review its policies and practice to meet this objective. Not all at once. But over the next few years it must buy power that is carbon neutral, use vehicles that are carbon neutral and promote polices that are carbon neutral. It must ensure that it promotes biodiversity wherever it has an influence and scrutinise planning applications for their impact on climate change.  

Ludlow made a great step forward tonight. I congratulate council members for so decisively declaring a climate emergency.  

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Shropshire Council to review damaging parking charges next Wednesday – will it listen?

There is no longer any doubt that the parking regime introduced last November is damaging Ludlow’s independent traders. Ludlow Mayor Tim Gill told BBC Radio Shropshire last week that trade was down 13% before Christmas and 16% after Christmas. This was despite the mild winter. Roger Curry, owner of Bodenhams, told the station the new charges mean that people are always in a rush and don’t linger long enough to spend money (begins at 1:47).

These comments come ahead of a review of the parking regime imposed on our town by Shropshire Council last November. That regime increased on-street parking charges in the town centre to £1.80 an hour and the charge in Castle Street car park to £1.00 an hour. The pop and shop concession was reduced to from fifteen to five minutes. Charges on the Linney and Coronation Avenue substantially increased.

Next Wednesday, 5 June, a Shropshire Council committee will conduct the first review of the charges. Please let me know any additional comments you have before then.

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Heritage at Risk: It has been six years since Ludlow town walls fell – still they lie fallen

Two years ago, I wrote about the delays in repairing the collapsed town wall behind St Laurence’s Church. This Monday, 18 February, is the sixth anniversary of the collapse. No repair work has been done. The churchyard behind the church remains an ugly mess that damages the setting of the Cathedral of the Marches. Saplings are growing out of the collapsed wall face weakening the historic monument further.

We have one of the most complete town walls in Europe. But neglect and overdue repairs have led Historic England to add Ludlow town walls to its Heritage in Danger list. The town council should be ashamed of this.

Ludlow Town Council is crawling alone at snail’s pace in arranging the long overdue repairs. I fear I may be still be writing about this on the tenth anniversary of the collapse in February 2023.

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Councillors reject charges for A-Boards and call for local enforcement of pavement hazards

Shropshire Council has been flirting with plans to licence every A-Board in the county. Those ideas didn’t get through the Place Overview Committee yesterday. Everyone agreed that a licencing and charging scheme was the wrong approach. Instead, the committee asked officers to work with local councillors and communities to draw up clearer guidance on where A-Boards can be placed to ensure safety of pavement users, including those with limited mobility and visual impairment.

We agreed it would more effective for responsibility for “policing” of A-Boards should be devolved from Shropshire Council to town councils.

This is good news. Shropshire Council should not overregulate and we should manage the day-to-day business of the town ourselves.

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