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 21%. 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. 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.
We don’t yet know how much council tax will rise next year. That will be decided in February but we have some early clues. Shropshire Council’s financial plan assumes a rise of 3.99%, though it may be tempted to take advantage of a government offer made just before Christmas to add an extra 1% to the bill.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is proposing an increase of 4%, though the government has since said he would be allowed to raise half as much again. The Fire Service and Ludlow Town Council have yet to declare their plans.
The town council is asking people what they think of the town and what services should be funded in the future. The responses will contribute towards the rewriting of the town plan and setting the budget for the next few years. A short online survey on the town plan asks what people like and dislike about Ludlow and what they would like to change. The council will also host consultation events. Questionnaires on the budget for are being delivered to every household. Again, there is an online survey.
Next Wednesday, Claremont Planning Consultancy is to present their outline plans for 200 homes south of Rocks Green to Ludlow Town Council. The development is in Ludford parish. The town council has little to no influence over the development. Most future development is expected to be in Ludford, not Ludlow. We need to merge Ludford and Ludlow councils to ensure that the future of our town is planned coherently.
Here is what we know so far on the application, followed by my comments of getting planning better organised for Ludlow.
The town council has made a last-ditch attempt to prevent the closure of Brand Lane next Monday to Wednesday until a better plan for managing the resulting traffic chaos is in place. The closure is for three days, 24-hours a day to connect electricity and water to a single house. This is excessive. Buses and HGVs are to be rerouted over the Whitcliffe, a proposal that will not work.
The town council’s letter to Shropshire Council is reproduced in full below. It ends by saying: “The Town Council demands that Shropshire Council recognises the importance of the tourism economy of Ludlow and finds an alternative way forward.” That’s spot on.