Community, not council, is at the heart of our town

This article first appeared in the Ludlow Advertiser on 7 February 2019.

There are two models of councillors and councils. One is that they run a town or parish. I have met too many councillors who think they have power in their local areas.

I have a different model in my head. I see the job of councils and councillors as greasing wheels to make life easier for residents. That involves planning. Troubleshooting. Reacting. Advising. And when we have money, funding. Along with battling policy decisions that will harm our town.

We have brilliant examples of this in Ludlow.

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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.

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Former toilet on New Road, Ludlow makes bid to become a coffee shop

The recent redevelopment of the toilet on New Road has turned an eyesore into a useful building. When planning permission was given, its use was restricted to a shop or sandwich bar. Now the owners also want permission for it to be used as a café or restaurant. There is likely to be a mixed reaction to this. Some will welcome a new outlet. Others will be concerned about parking and damage to existing businesses.

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Plans for housing on former Whittle bus depot in Ludlow need a lot of improvement

Autumn Fields is to be the name of a development of 18 detached and semidetached homes if plans for the former Whittle bus depot in the former quarry on Fishmore Road gets planning permission. The site already has outline permission for up to 20 homes.

There is no issue in principle with the development of this site and I welcome these plans from Wellington based housebuilder Clutton Homes. However, currently it is proposed that five houses will have access from Fishmore Road. Given the traffic on Fishmore Road, it would be better for all the houses to have access from within Autumn Fields. The proposal to provide zero affordable housing because of the future costs of maintaining the rock face also needs to be challenged. There are no plans for sustainable drainage.

This is application is a good start but much more work is needed to get this development right for Ludlow and to meet planning policies. If changes can’t be agreed, the application should be determined by the South Planning Committee.

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New development sites for Shropshire – just two of 64 potential housing sites in Ludlow made it through to the local plan

Last year, Shropshire Council issued a call for landowners and developers to suggest sites for future residential and employment development. Several hundred sites were put forward. Most were rejected.

In the Ludlow area, 64 sites were submitted. Enough land to build nearly 7.000 homes. Half the sites submitted were in Ludlow, or adjacent to Ludlow in Ludford and Bromfield. Just two of the 63 sites were approved for inclusion in the current local plan review. A further 20 sites were assessed as having long term potential for development. They could accommodate more than 3,100 homes.

This article looks at those sites that made the grade, those that didn’t, and those the planners think could be built on after 2036. I think we need to go further and allocate a garden suburb to be built between now and 2060.

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