Bashed Belisha Beacon is just the latest instance of street furniture wrecking in Ludlow

Ludlow seems to have more than its fair share of street furniture bashing. I have lost track of how often street furniture in the town centre is bashed and broken. Signs on Castle Street, bollards at Bodenhams and on Old Street. It’s an expensive business. A coach company that demolished the Bodenhams bollard was sent a bill of £1,000 by Shropshire Council for a replacement. And it is not so long ago that Ludford Bridge was battered by a truck delivering tarmac for resurfacing at Tesco.

Now, a Belisha Beacon on Foldgate Lane outside the Co-op has been demolished. It is a curious incident. The junction is wide. Either a car came around the corner from Sheet Road and completely missed the junction – the road is 8.5m wide at this point and 25m wide at Sheet Road. Or someone reversed over the zebra crossing to hit the Belisha. It was certainly a hard knock and the vehicle must have been damaged. I asked the police if a traffic accident was reported. They said no.

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Shropshire Council’s management of highways challenged by whistleblower – questions about performance and monitoring to be asked tomorrow

Shropshire Council’s highways contract with Kier is not hitting many of its performance targets. The council is making the usual excuses. The weather was bad. Err, welcome to Shropshire. It pleads there were teething problems with the contract. Keir has a turnover of £4.5 billion. Shropshire Council has a budget above half a billion. How come these giants struggle to introduce a highways contract that costs £21m a year?

A whistleblower has submitted evidence that Shropshire Council does not properly monitor its highway contractors, Kier and WSP. The whistleblower, a Senior Quantity Surveyor who worked as a contractor for the council, said his complaints were not investigated. That’s a contravention of the council’s whistleblowing policy. Questions are to be asked in a council committee tomorrow.

The quality of Shropshire’s highways affects everyone. In 2018/19, 12% of the county’s B and C roads needed maintenance, well above the national average of 5%. It is time to stop making excuses. It is time to ensure that council taxpayers get bangs for their bucks. It is time to end the bangs and bucking people experience travelling on the county’s rural and urban roads.  

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Pothole plague is more down to the catastrophic collapse of our roads than the severe winter

I was amazed to hear a spokesman for Keir tell BBC Radio Shropshire last week that the winter just past was “one of the worst in living memory.” Nonsense. It doesn’t compare with 2009/10, which was the coldest winter since 1979. I remember both.

We didn’t get as many potholes in 2010. That was because our roads were in a better condition.

Now far too many of Shropshire’s roads are at the point of catastrophic failure because of constant budget cuts. It only takes a spell of nasty weather, and that’s normal in this part of the world, for potholes to breed like a plague of rats. You only need to drive along Sheet Road to witness this.

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This winter weather didn’t help but the eruption of potholes this Spring is also down to Shropshire Council’s neglect of highway maintenance

It has been bad winter but not exceptional. But the last few months have proved near fatal for the county’s roads. After years of neglect, it doesn’t take much bad weather for Shropshire’s roads and pavements to fall apart. The Shropshire Council cabinet member for potholes, Steve Davenport, says he has “never known things to be so bad.”

The council’s new highways contractor, Keir, is working “flat out” to repair potholes using central government cash. It has done repair work here in Ludlow in recent days. That is welcome and long overdue. But Shropshire Council has slashed its road budgets by £5 million this month and will axe another £5 million next April. And patching roads is only a short term fix to long term neglect.

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Should Ludlow become a 20mph town?

It is time to slow down the pace of driving in our town.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a conference in Shrewsbury on 20mph speed limits. I was spurred to attend by our very active campaign by local green group, Ludlow 21. Its members want all residential streets in Ludlow to be 20mph. According to a survey of nearly 500 people, four-fifths of residents want a town-wide 20mph limit on local streets. Even more want a 20mph limit on their streets.

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