Shropshire Council puts up council tax but drops extra parking blitz at dispiriting meeting

Shropshire Council met on Thursday morning. Council taxes will go up 4.2% in Ludlow. We learnt that income from parking and the Shrewsbury shopping centres is below claims. Huge cuts to bus subsidies were approved. But a bid to slap yet more penalty charge notices on cars has been quietly dropped.

That was the only good news. My motion on funding for market towns was blocked and Heather Kidd’s on greater transparency in planning suffered the same fate. A public question on climate change was ruled out of order as was the point of order on why the question was ruled out of order.

Did I say dispiriting? It wasn’t that good.

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It was a slip in wording but it killed off a public question on climate change because Shropshire won’t confront the subject

Shropshire Council refused a public question on climate change at Thursday’s meeting. Why? The questioner had made a minor mistake. He had asked for the answer “before” not “at” the meeting in his email, though not in the question itself. The question was ruled out of order minutes before the meeting, even though the question had been submitted two weeks before. That stinks of political interference in the democratic rights of electors in Shropshire. When Councillor Julian Dean, the only Green Party member, raised the matter as a point of order, the Speaker ruled the point of order out of order. That stinks of political interference.

Nothing shows more clearly Shropshire Council’s progressive disengagement from electors and its disinterest in climate change than this.

This article is based on information from Green Party Councillor Julian Dean.

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Shropshire Council paves the streets of Shrewsbury and Oswestry with gold and throws crumbs to rural areas

Yesterday, the Conservative group on Shropshire Council blocked a bid to create a fund to boost the health of market towns. While Shrewsbury and Oswestry are being put forward for up for £25 million each of government money, market towns look likely to only get money from a levy on developers. Shropshire Council bought three Shrewsbury centres at a cost of £51 million. Income from the centres is 11% below target just one year after purchase. Millions have been spent on roads in the north of the county and the council is committed to another £20 million plus for the Shrewsbury North West Relief Road.

Fellow Lib Dems and I proposed to set up a working group to look at capital fund for market towns. But the Tories were whipped into voting against this proposal. Peter Nutting even said he wasn’t certain he could find the money!

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We need a new market towns initiative across Shropshire to promote our rural economy – we are proposing a new fund on Thursday

It is time we had capital funding to improve our smaller market towns, not just in Shrewsbury and Oswestry.

I have put forward a motion for next Thursday’s Shropshire Council meeting aiming to establish a capital fund for investment in the smaller market towns including Ludlow.

We must keep our smaller town centres alive. That will benefit residents and visitors. It will also ensure that Shropshire Council maintains its income from council tax and business rates.

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Council tax to rise overall by 4.2% for Ludlow residents from April

Next Thursday, Shropshire Council will vote to raise council tax by 3.99%, the maximum allowed without holding a referendum. This will take the payment for a Band D property to £1,388.23. There will be a rise of nearly 10% in the police precept and 4% in the fire precept. Most parish and town council precepts will rise, though not in Ludlow where the precept has risen by 48% since April 2017. Overall, Ludlow residents will see their combined council tax and precept bill rise by 4.2%.

Ludlow Council tax charges from April 2019

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