Month: May 2019

European elections: In Shropshire the news was the rise of the environmental and progressive vote, as well a win for the Brexiteers

The votes for the European Elections have been counted. In the West Midlands, the Lib Dems are back with one MEP. The Greens are growing in strength with one MEP. Three MEPs were elected to the Brexit Party displacing UKIP’s three MEPs. Labour did badly and the Conservatives much worse. Under the D’Hondt system of proportional representation, that gives one seat each to the Conservatives, Greens, Labour and Lib Dems. The Brexit Party has three seats with a bigger vote share than UKIP achieved. In the West Midlands, the Conservatives and Labour lost 19,504 votes compared to the 2014 Euro elections. The Lib Dems and Greens gained 18,687 votes. The collapse of the Conservatives from 32% to 12% in a county that some regard as Tory stronghold is not just a reaction to the incompetent way that its politicians have managed Brexit. It shows diminishing faith in the three Tory MPs in our county. There is no doubt that the big news of this election is the rise of the six-week-old Brexit Party. But the growth of the

Final planning application submitted for 67 houses on Fishmore Road quarry

Shropshire Homes has submitted a detailed planning application for 67 dwellings, including four blocks of three-storey apartments on the former quarry site on Fishmore Road (19/02060/REM). This follows outline approval for 74 dwellings on the site granted in February 2019. The site layout is heavily constrained by the former quarry, its mudstone cliffs and a buried quarry face – which the developer calls the “High Wall”. Because the ground above the High Wall could subject to movement, it will be a car parking area. This site needs developing and it is good to have plans come forward, especially as many of the homes are small.

Shropshire Council declared a climate emergency on Thursday – but its leader would not agree to emergency action

On Thursday, Shropshire Council voted to declare a climate emergency. It was a good move and a late negotiated amendment got a deal on the table. But the Tories insisted that the “emergency” was taken out of “climate emergency” by removing all references to the target date of 2030. It was the best we could get through in the face of opposition from the Conservative leadership who refused to accept any deadlines for action. There will be opportunity for negotiating dates and a move from the council’s environmentally destructive business as usual approach over the next sixth months. I wish we could have got to that point on Thursday. The final motion was drafted by me and revised in cross party talks minutes before the meeting began. It was approved unanimously. The Labour motion and Green amendment were defeated despite support from many Conservatives. There was a huge public attendance, with well over one hundred people attending the public protest before the meeting. Many sat in an overflow room watching a livestream during a less than inspiring debate.

Climate emergency – the motions debated at Shropshire Council

We always knew the opposition motions would be defeated, even though they got support from several Conservatives. The focus was therefore on strengthening the Conservative motion through a cross party amendment. In a second article today, I will report on the meeting itself. This article publishes the two amendments and one motion that were discussed in the council chamber. Amendment to Motion 4 from the Lib Dem Group This amendment to the original Tory motion was accepted unanimously. Recognising that there are three motions and one public petition, we seek to amend Motion 4 to ensure that the council treats climate change as an emergency and accelerates its actions. The council cannot act alone. It must work with citizens, businesses, the wider public sector and national government to accelerate action on climate change. This Council believes that Climate Change presents a serious threat to humanity with the potential impacts on weather systems and biodiversity being catastrophic if allowed to continue to increase unchecked. Urgent action is needed to prioritise the climate emergency that we face. Local authorities have an important role to play in encouraging behaviour changes that will help to reduce emissions both locally and further afield. It can…

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Update 20 May 2019. Shropshire Council has agreed to merge the north and central planning committees from September. Many councillors voted against the move, including – as far as I could see – all members of the South Planning Committee. The south committee is south for now but the executive has made no secret of its desire to progress to a single committee for the entire unitary area. Original article The South Planning Committee is safe from the latest Shropshire Council attack on democracy – for now. But council leaders are determined to merge the two committees that cover the Shrewsbury area and North Shropshire into one. The justification is very thin. The paperwork makes it clear that the council’s ambition is a single planning committee for the entire county. They also want to make more decisions behind closed doors rather than in a democratic forum. And part of the justification is that Tory councillors are reluctant to give a day a month to serve on a planning committee. I think it is also to ensure that the Tories have control of all three planning committees. This is an attack on democracy. Planning one of the most important functions of…

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