Month: June 2018

We need affordable housing in Shropshire but will lose out because of a government statistical trick

The government has announced that it will allow local councils to borrow more £1 billion to build new council houses. Not a penny of this will be available to Shropshire. This is yet another blow delivered by Westminster. Most housing developments in our county do not pay affordable housing contributions after ministers decreed that small developments should be exempt from the levee. Now it is using a statistical trick to bar us from accessing funds to build new council housing. Shropshire needs 6,000 additional affordable houses to bring it up to the national average provision. That would all but wipe out the county’s housing waiting list. But rural areas like ours are not on the government’s radar.

Highway repairs to top agenda at Ludlow public meeting on 5 July

You can’t get away from potholes and failing road surfaces in Ludlow. Sheet Road, one of main access roads into town, is falling apart from one end to the other. Pedestrian crossings are barely visible because crossing stripes haven’t been painted in years. New potholes appear almost every day. The contractors who maintain the A49 between Ludlow and Bromfield admit it “is breaking up and in poor condition.” The state of our local roads in Shropshire will be the topic of discussion at a public meeting in Ludlow on 5 July.

Why is no progress being made on tackling empty homes in Shropshire?

Every day we hear about the housing crisis. Politicians tell us we must build more housing urgently. Yet they say next to nothing about empty homes. There are more than 600,000 empty homes in England, enough to cut the housing waiting list by half. Here in Shropshire, there are 4,375 empty homes. That’s more than 3% of the county’s housing stock. If they were brought back into use, they could provide homes for four in five of the households on the waiting list. More than a third of the empty homes in Shropshire have been vacant for six months or more. It’s shocking that nearly 200 council and social homes are empty.

Yet another burglary in our town – we have a 44% higher burglary rate than the rest of Shropshire

The night before last, Busybodies Childcare Centre next to the police station in Lower Galdeford was broken into. Fortunately, nothing was stolen though a door was badly damaged. The police response, when the crime was reported this morning, was swift. An officer came from Kidderminster and scene of crime officers were also dispatched to the site. It is always bad when a crime occurs. People feel violated and less confident. Along with businesses, they are also hit in the pocket. It is a shame then, that Ludlow has a higher rate of crime per head than the rest of Shropshire.

Extended closure of rural maternity units is an excuse to close them permanently – it’s wrong

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust today announced that the rural maternity units at Ludlow, Oswestry and Bridgnorth are to remain closed for births indefinitely. This decision has been made ahead of a public consultation on the future of the MLUs. It is obvious that SaTH intends to close the three MLUs permanently. It claims that 98% of women are “choosing” to give birth elsewhere. Of course this is so. The rural MLUs are rarely open for births. This has been a cynical exercise to shut the MLUs by stealth.

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