Shropshire Council agrees to buy a shopping centre, build a road, refurbish its offices but not build council housing

Yesterday, Shropshire Council agreed in private session to buy the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside shopping centres. BBC Radio Shropshire is suggesting that the purchase price is £60 million. The day before, the cabinet agreed to spend £300,000 on consultancy fees to examine refurbishing Shirehall at the cost of more than £18 million. If the government approves the North West Relief Road around Shrewsbury, the council will chip in £21 million and pay for any overspend. In the same breath, it is aiming to raise £1.2 million a year by imposing contributions to council tax on some of the poorest in our county.

This cruel imbalance in spending and taxation partly arises from political ambitions and dogma. It also arises from spending cuts and the obscurity of local government accounting rules that prevent us spending capital receipts on services.

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Should we run a county lottery to replace community funds that Shropshire Council won’t now provide?

Public funding for the community sector is sinking fast. Our youth budget is miniscule. Discretionary grants are evaporating. Faced with similar gaps in funding, some councils have launched local lotteries giving up to 60% of the ticket price to local good causes chosen by residents. It is time that we considered running a lottery for Shropshire. At next Thursday’s Shropshire Council meeting, I will be asking council officers to investigate the case for a countywide community lottery.
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Shropshire Council leader speak on future of Ludlow Assembly Rooms tomorrow

The Assembly Rooms are only one item on Ludlow Town Council’s agenda tomorrow. But it is one of the most important. Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting will tell us about the future of our community and arts venue. He will also speak on the county’s economic strategy. I for one don’t know what that strategy does for Ludlow. Of more immediate interest to many people in the town, he will describe his vision for the future of the Assembly Rooms. The meeting is at 7pm tomorrow in the Guildhall.

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Ludlow Town Council launches consultations on future services

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.

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Shropshire Council leader to join debate on services and parking in Ludlow on Thursday, 14 September

Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting will be travelling to Ludlow for a public discussion on public services in the area. The meeting will be hosted by the Ludlow and Clee Local Joint Committee on Thursday 14 September from 7pm. From 6pm, the meeting will also feature an exhibition on proposed changes to car parking charges and length of stay in Ludlow.

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