Shropshire Council’s chaotic scrutiny meeting ignored the 18% downturn in trade since parking charges were hiked in Ludlow

On 5 June, the Performance Management Scrutiny Committee met to discuss the controversial changes to parking charges. Committee papers were sent out just 26 hours before. I doubt that all committee members had read all ten documents. Officers also sprung a huge amount of crammed onto overcrowded slides on a hard to see screen. I am not convinced that any member of the committee was adequately briefed for the decisions they were to make. Certainly not the chair of the committee who was unaware that officers had proposed a series of recommendations.

The committee and officers seemed to be oblivious to the evidence gathered by Ludlow Town Council that shows independent trade is down by 18% in the first few months of this year compared to last year despite the milder weather.  

The committee agreed to review the extent of the Red and Blue Zones. Residents with on-street permits will be able to park in car parks and may also be able to apply for a second permit. Owners of a holiday let will be able to apply for an on-street parking permit for guests. Tickets purchased on a phone will be 10p cheaper.

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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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Final planning application submitted for 67 houses on Fishmore Road quarry

Shropshire Homes has submitted a detailed planning application for 67 dwellings, including four blocks of three-storey apartments on the former quarry site on Fishmore Road (19/02060/REM). This follows outline approval for 74 dwellings on the site granted in February 2019.

The site layout is heavily constrained by the former quarry, its mudstone cliffs and a buried quarry face – which the developer calls the “High Wall”. Because the ground above the High Wall could subject to movement, it will be a car parking area.

This site needs developing and it is good to have plans come forward, especially as many of the homes are small.

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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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Pigeon fouling at Ludlow Library shows Shropshire Council’s neglect – doesn’t anyone have a mop and bucket?

I have had several reports about the growing pile of pigeon poo outside the front door of Ludlow Library. The library is owned by Shropshire Council but the council seems incapable of resolving the problem, even though the mess has been developing for weeks and council staff pass it six days a week. As do hundreds of residents and children. The council’s environmental protection team say they can’t help with clearing up this health risk. The council will need to bring in a contractor. The simple short-term solution of a mop and bucket doesn’t seem to be available.

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