Month: January 2015

Zero waste centre plan for Ludlow bites the dust as Shropshire Council sells site (updated)

Update Shropshire Council is currently completing sale of the site to Flowfit, a local business which supplies hydraulic components and hydraulic systems. Main article Perhaps it was inevitable. Certainly there was hope for a while. But yesterday we heard that plans for an environmental enterprise and education zone on Coder Road won’t go ahead because Shropshire Council has sold the site. This is not the end to Cwm Harry’s involvement in Ludlow or Coder Road. But once again, Shropshire Council has gone for the cash. Adam Kennerley of environment charity Cwm Harry has been coordinating plans for a Zero Waste Enterprise and Education Zone on the former highways depot site for several months. He gained the backing of Ludlow’s MP Philip Dunne, as well as us four unitary councillors for Ludlow and Clee and host of environmentalists.

The examination of the council’s local plan for delivering housing and employment sites (SAMDev) is going well. The plan is now expected to be adopted by the council, after amendments, in the summer. Many other councils have been told by the planning inspector to suspend or halt the examination midway through the examination, usually because the plan does not provide for enough housing.

We already struggle with mobile phone signals across much of the south of the county. Fast broadband doesn’t get much beyond the towns and larger villages. Now, South Shropshire is set to lose out on improved digital radio reception. The government has issued plans for upgrading DAB (digital audio broadcasting) transmitters around the country. The idea is that DAB coverage around the country will eventually match that of FM, allowing the government to achieve its long delayed ambition to turn off the FM signal (see this Guardian briefing on DAB). BBC Radio Shropshire is broadcast over transmitters owned and maintained by Free Radio. Free has no FM repeaters in south Shropshire. This means that the existing FM repeaters that relay BBC Radio Shropshire to the Clee and Ludlow area, and to Clun and southwest Shropshire, will not be replaced or upgraded to deliver DAB under the government’s upgrade plan.

Poll: Which supermarket would you like to see at Ludlow Rocks Green? (if it is approved)

I haven’t taken a view on whether this supermarket scheme will be a good or bad thing for Ludlow. But let’s just imagine it gets planning permission. Through the planning system, we can negotiate or insist on changes to the appearance of a store, the site layout and its design. But we can’t choose the retail operator. So, if we could choose which retail group occupied the store if it is ever built, which would you like to come to Ludlow? Would like a return of Harry Tuffins? Another Co-op? A bigger Tesco? A Sainsbury’s or Asda on the doorstep? A Lidl or Morrisons maybe? Waitrose anyone? Or would you prefer no store at all?

Ludlow town council tonight voted against proposals for an out of town supermarket at Rocks Green. Ludlow’s mayor Paul Draper opened the short debate. He said an out of town supermarket would be “disastrous for the town centre.” Pointing to the problems they had caused in other towns, he said: “Just look at Kidderminster and Leominster. And it won’t be long before Hereford follows them.” Councillors Tim Gill and Jim Smithers agreed, describing the way that out of town supermarket’s had destroyed town centres across the country. Councillor Smithers said the supermarket would not just affect trade at Ludlow’s shops but also the markets. Councillor Glen Ginger told the meeting: “I am 100% against this proposal.” He said that a lot of purchases in town centres are impulse buys, and impulse buys rely on footfall. “If you take away the footfall, you remove the impulse.” He pointed to the 200 car parking spaces at the proposed store, saying people would not come into Ludlow once parked there.

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