Covid Watch 174: Mortality misinformation in letter in today’s Shropshire Star  

I was surprised to read a letter in today’s Shropshire Star that claims that only 17,000 people have died from Covid-19. This is a complete misinterpretation of information provided by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). It is correct that only 17,371 people had Covid-19 registered as the only cause of death up to September 2021. But the reality is that disease has led to more than 140,000 deaths in the UK. The letter, which I hope will not be published on the Star website, seems to be from someone opposed to vaccination, including those in health and care settings. It is part of a meme of misinformation from those determined to oppose vaccination with disregard to public health. I have written a letter to the Star responding to the misinformation. I am really concerned that distortion of statistics in this way will increase vaccine hesitancy. This pandemic is not over yet and we need to ensure as many people are protected by vaccination as possible.

Ludlow Town Council to challenge Shropshire Council on pavement gritting

There have already been falls on icy pavements around the town this winter. A couple of weeks ago, a police officer sent the town council a memo on a fall by an elderly man on the sloped footpath from the Library to the Foyer. He had fallen on the icy path and had banged his head, causing a deep cut and extensive bleeding. He was concussed and it was possible that his hip was broken. He was cared for by the police officer and members of the public until paramedics arrived an hour later. Shropshire Council claims it grits priority pedestrian routes around the county (after gritting the roads) but we don’t know what the priority routes are. Ludlow Town Council on Monday agreed to ask Shropshire Council for urgent discussions to establish priority pedestrian routes in Ludlow for gritting. It will also ask Shropshire Council to provide details of the pedestrian routes that it prioritises in the area during ice and snow events.

Ludlow Town Council votes to oppose spending on North West Relief Road and Civic Centre

The North West Relief Road (NWRR) is possibly this county’s most controversial project. Conceived 40 years ago, the four mile road skirting around the edges of Shrewsbury is the sort of road that might have been build 40 years ago. It will bulldoze through precious biodiverse landscapes and confirm the commitment of Shropshire Council to the fossil fuelled era. Although the plans for the road are not within the remit of Ludlow Town Council, it was asked to comment on Shropshire Council’s budget for 2022/23. Shropshire Council is having to raid its reserves to balance books, while facing a liability of at least £30 million to top up the budget for the road which will cost at least £100 million. At the same time, Shropshire Council is proposing a new civic centre in Shrewsbury at a cost of around £37 million. Ludlow Town Council on Monday agreed to object to so much capital funding going into Shrewsbury at the expense of other areas of the county. It has called a community investment fund to support communities across the county, including by creating jobs that protect our county’s environment and its economy.

New councillor sought for Ludlow Town Council after Graeme Perks resigns

We were surprised but after two decades as a member of Ludlow Town Council, Graeme Perks unexpectedly stood down yesterday. The Mayor of Ludlow is to write to Graeme to thank him for his 20 years’ service on the council. Ludlow Town Council published a notice of vacancy for Gallows Bank Ward within hours of the resignation. A new councillor could be elected through a by-election, in which case ten signatures from the ward must be submitted to Shirehall by 11 February. If a by-election is not called by electors, a new councillor will be co-opted by existing councillors. That is likely to take place on 7 March.

St. Laurence’s School applies for classroom expansion

Shropshire Council has applied for planning permission for a modest expansion of St. Laurence’s Church of England Primary School (22/00158/FUL). The school was built in 1991 to the standards of the day. The alterations will create learning spaces that are more in line with current DfE recommendations. Two cramped classrooms will be increased in size, providing safer and more suitable spaces for learning, along with a larger support space. The project will also provide an improved and safer circulation in this part of the school building. This is a welcome project. The aim is not to provide additional school places but to improve the learning environment for current school numbers. Any need to increase the capacity in Ludlow’s primary schools to take on extra pupils from the new housing being built within and on the outskirts of Ludlow in the coming years will be reviewed in the autumn.

Back to top