New road safety work will include a calming scheme outside Ludlow Infants School in Sandpits

Shropshire Council intends to carry out fifteen road safety schemes around the county this year. The list includes long needed traffic calming outside Ludlow Infant and Nursery School in Sandpits Road. The decision follows site meetings where parents, governors and councillors have pressed the case for action to reduce the risk of accidents on this busy road. It is hoped that the work will take place in the autumn.

Another scheme to provide a crossing on Old Street for children and parents at St Laurence’s School is not yet scheduled and is likely to be some way off.

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Why is the county getting two more empty homes every week? We need urgent action

There is a rule of thumb in housing. It is much easier to give permission to build new homes, most of them on green fields, than to bring empty homes back into use. Empty homes are a growing problem here in Shropshire where the number of homes empty for at least six months is increasing at the rate of two a month. We have a bigger proportion of our housing stock empty than England as a whole.

There were 4,460 empty homes in Shropshire last year, 1,654 of which had been vacant for more than six months. The waiting list for social housing stood at 5,227 households at the beginning of the year. One effective way of reducing that would be to take urgent action to bring more empty homes into use. But Shropshire Council seems to have given up on empty homes.

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Shropshire Council reconsiders bus cuts – that’s good news but we await the details

Update

On 12 June, the Cabinet agreed the following:

Local Bus Services

  • To not implement the reduction or removal of services as consulted, but where the consultation feedback has highlighted genuine efficiencies or cost pressures those will be focussed upon.  
  • To amend the Council’s 2019/20 budget and reduce the planned reduction in the public transport budget from £405,000 to £180,000.

Future Public Transport Services

  • To commence a review of the current operation and future opportunities for, improved public transport services across Shropshire, including reviewing concessionary travel and the opportunities for bus franchising.

The Cabinet also recommended increases on some Shrewsbury park and ride charges but deferred other increases until they have been reviewed.

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Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency on Thursday – but its leader would not agree to emergency action

On Thursday, Shropshire Council voted to declare a climate emergency. It was a good move and a late negotiated amendment got a deal on the table. But the Tories insisted that the “emergency” was taken out of “climate emergency” by removing all references to the target date of 2030. It was the best we could get through in the face of opposition from the Conservative leadership who refused to accept any deadlines for action. There will be opportunity for negotiating dates and a move from the council’s environmentally destructive business as usual approach over the next sixth months. I wish we could have got to that point on Thursday.

The final motion was drafted by me and revised in cross party talks minutes before the meeting began. It was approved unanimously. The Labour motion and Green amendment were defeated despite support from many Conservatives.

There was a huge public attendance, with well over one hundred people attending the public protest before the meeting. Many sat in an overflow room watching a livestream during a less than inspiring debate.

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Shropshire Council want to cut planning committees because Tories can’t be bothered to give up one day a month – it’s an attack on democracy

Update 20 May 2019. Shropshire Council has agreed to merge the north and central planning committees from September. Many councillors voted against the move, including – as far as I could see – all members of the South Planning Committee. The south committee is south for now but the executive has made no secret of its desire to progress to a single committee for the entire unitary area.

Original article

The South Planning Committee is safe from the latest Shropshire Council attack on democracy – for now. But council leaders are determined to merge the two committees that cover the Shrewsbury area and North Shropshire into one. The justification is very thin. The paperwork makes it clear that the council’s ambition is a single planning committee for the entire county. They also want to make more decisions behind closed doors rather than in a democratic forum. And part of the justification is that Tory councillors are reluctant to give a day a month to serve on a planning committee. I think it is also to ensure that the Tories have control of all three planning committees.

This is an attack on democracy. Planning one of the most important functions of any council. It is one of the most public facing duties and one where residents are most closely engaged with decision making.

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