Month: June 2015

ip&e – Shropshire Council’s ****** company keeps itself ******

Three years after it was founded, Shropshire Council’s private company ip&e is finally making itself public. It has a new website. This looks cute as a sales pitch. It falls short on explaining what the company is up to. It doesn’t say what it might deliver for the people of Shropshire rather than its hoped for clients. We need to know this information. Shropshire Council owns this company – though there are no rules stopping it being sold to the likes of Serco and Capita. Shropshire Council only owns this company on behalf of the electors of Shropshire – you and me. So surely we should expect to know what’s going on with ip&e? Alas no. The company does not hold annual general meetings. It publishes its accounts as required by law, though you can’t find them on either Shropshire Council’s website or that for ip&e (here they are). It does produce a business plan – but you are not allowed to see that.

Heritage objections lead to delay on Ludlow solar farm decision

Plans for a 33-hectare solar farm near Ludlow have been put on temporary hold after objections from Historic England and Shropshire Council’s historic environment team. The South Planning Committee was due to make a decision on the solar project at its meeting on 16 June. But after the responses from heritage bodies, which said that the heritage assessment provided with the planning application is “inadequate”, Kronos Solar has asked for the application to be deferred until the next meeting of the planning committee on 14 July. The Whitton solar farm proposal is still scheduled for the agenda of the 14 June South Planning Committee meeting.

Heritage experts say plans for solar farm outside Ludlow should be refused or deferred

Kronos Solar has submitted plans for a 33-acre solar farm adjacent between Henley Hall and Ledwyche on the outskirts of Ludlow. Now heritage experts say the scheme should be rejected or deferred because the assessment of the impact of the development on heritage assets, especially Henley Hall park, is inadequate. Historic England says it is currently “unable to support” the scheme. In its comment published yesterday, Historic England says: The proposed development is situated directly adjacent to the Grade II Registered Park and Garden Henley Hall, which itself contains a number of listed structures including the Grade II* Henley Hall and the Grade II listed Park House. The proposed development falls within the setting of Grade II Henley Hall Park. We consider that given the extent and nature of the proposed development, and its location immediately adjacent to the boundary of the Registered park, the proposed development would cause harm to the significance of the heritage asset as a consequence of development within its setting.

Planning decisions are a matter of balance, weighing up the positive benefits of a proposal against any negative consequences – called “the planning balance”. Until a couple of years ago, there was a tendency to give insufficient weight to heritage and conservation assets in judging this balance. This was despite the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Section 66 of the Act[i] says: In considering whether to grant planning permission for development which affects a listed building or its setting, the local planning authority or, as the case may be, the Secretary of State shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.

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