Month: July 2019

Plans for sixty-eight homes between Sheet Village and the Eco Park published

Shropshire Homes has submitted plans for 68 houses on the site east of the Eco Park. This site is allocated for housing and light industrial use. The site was given outline planning permission for an indicative total of 80 homes and light industrial use in September 2016. This is south of the site on which Western Power Distribution (WPD)  wants to build a new depot. This is an improvement to the outline proposals. The scheme sits well in the landscape and has a better use of green space. As always there are details to be resolved, such as whether the scheme will have a children’s play area and whether a power line will be moved.

Western Power apply to move out of Sandpits to a site by the Eco Park

This application has long been expected. Western Power Distribution (WPD) has operated from an unsuitable location in The Riddings, Sandpits for decades. Its 1960s depot is behind a new row of housing built on the site of the former tax office. WPD maintenance trucks must travel along St Margaret Road and Parys Road to leave the depot. Worse, they often travel past Ludlow Infants School when children are arriving or leaving. Now the company is applying to move to a plot between the Eco Park park and ride and Western Power Distribution’s substation on Squirrel Lane. This is a good move. Vehicle access will be through the Eco Park spine road. That’s also a good move.

I was not expecting this. South Shropshire Housing Group and its successor Connexus had ruthlessly driven through the application for five bungalows on the much loved green at the bottom of Charlton Rise. The housing association had felled one tree, planned to fell another, and take up half the green with bungalows. But Connexus has had a change in attitude. We heard this at Ludlow Town Council last night. Driving schemes through against the wishes of the community is no longer on the agenda of this housing association. The officers from the housing group said they needed to hear local views to make a reasonably informed decision about whether they should take this development forward or not. That’s a change of tune and it’s very welcome. We are a long way from halting the unwanted development but just when we thought there was no hope at all of saving this community green space, we have renewed hope.

Hedgehog highways and swift bricks must be installed in new developments, ministers say as they rush out announcements

New national planning guidance published on Sunday by communities secretary James Brokenshire orders developers to do more to protect wildlife. Ludlow Swift Group will welcome his insistence that developers install swift bricks in new homes. Pricklebums Hedgehog Rescue and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society will welcome the obligation for developers to install hedgehog highways. There is more to this guidance which strengthens requirements for developers and councils to seek a net gain in biodiversity when developments are built. This is a welcome announcement but there is wriggle room in the guidance and a lot will depend on local interpretation. Wildlife groups and communities will need to lobby Shropshire Council to ensure that its forthcoming local plan has the strongest measures possible to protect and enhance biodiversity. Those measures might include a “greening factor”.

Shropshire Council throws out plans for a community lottery – it is obsessed with major building schemes and is leaving rural communities behind

Shropshire Council has rejected the idea of a community lottery for our county. The idea, which I proposed in December 2017, was to create a county wide lottery framework to allow small organisations such as village halls to sell lottery tickets. Although the council’s deputy leader claimed then that the council was already looking at a scheme, it is only now that we have the council’s view a lottery is not on. I don’t buy its reasons for rejection – that it will divert money from other causes and that it will encourage gambling. The real reason is that it will not generate an income stream for the council and the council is not going to help communities unless it can make a profit. Shropshire Council has become obsessed with major building and investment schemes in the north of the county and has left rural communities behind.

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