Shropshire Council budget: Bus subsidies cut, park and ride fares up and new housing company burdened with debt

Shropshire Council has cut £48 million from its budget over the last three years under pressure of government cuts. It will need to cut, or in its words “save”, £18.5m next year. The council has now set out details of the proposed cuts and is asking for public comments.

The lengthy litany of cuts is grim. In this article, I look at buses and Shropshire Council’s plan for a new debt-ridden housing company. I also review other cuts that will affect how Shropshire Council works with local communities and will make Shirehall more distant from Ludlow than ever.

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A new approach to youth services in Ludlow starts next year – we are going to tackle the big issue of mental health

Mental health services are being cut back. It can take weeks, even months, for a young person to get a mental health referral. Often, they must go to Shrewsbury for a consultation. Many youngsters can’t or won’t do that.

Ludlow Youth Partnership wants to tackle this. We have partnered with the Children’s Society which runs the Beam emotional wellbeing service in Shrewsbury and Wellington. Our new drop in service launches in February. It is supported by a lot of organisations and is the first independent commissioning of the Children’s Society to provide emotional wellbeing services for young people in Shropshire.

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Foyer expansion planning gets go ahead from council planners

Shropshire Council planners have given planning permission for the demolition of Harvest House and its replacement by a modern 4-storey residential block with 11 apartments for young people (16/00761/FUL).

I support this development, as does the town council, but I wanted the scheme to go to the South Planning Committee for decision.

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Vital campaign to save Ludlow Foyer launches on #StartsAtHome Day

Today is a national day of action. #StartsAtHome aims to highlight the importance of supported social housing, including projects like the Ludlow Foyer. Young people have been out in the Market Square today, explaining how the Foyer is helping them get from a crisis into work, education and training. They are telling people that funding for the Foyer is under threat from national and local budget cuts. There is every danger that, despite its groundbreaking work, the Foyer will close in 2018.

Closing Ludlow Foyer would be crazy. It would mean that young people would end up on the streets and would not get the help they need to get a good start in adult life.

Please sign the petition urging Shropshire Council to protect funding for the Foyer.

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Two in five Ludlow people will be aged 65 or over by 2039. Are we glad to be grey?

The prospect of 40 new retirement apartments at Stone House has caused some consternation. Several people have commented that we should be concentrating on homes for young people, not increasing the retired population in the town. I have commented on this in a recent post.

We know that Ludlow’s population is older than average but what are the trends?

Over the last decade, Ludlow has become older at a slightly faster rate than Shropshire as a whole and at a much faster rate than all of England. New projections from the Office of National Statistics suggest that one-third of Shropshire residents will be aged 65 or over by 2039.[1] In some areas of Ludlow, more than a third of the population is already of this age. If current trends continue, 40% of Ludlow will be elderly by 2039.

The big question is does this matter? Should our town and county grow old gracefully or should we develop policies to encourage younger people to live and work here?

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