Month: September 2019

Ludlow Town Council at last applies to upgrade CCTV in the town centre

The CCTV system in Ludlow’s town centre has long needed an upgrade. Dating back to 2003, the current cameras are low resolution. Faces cannot be recognised on the recordings. Discussions have been underway for a while about replacement cameras. Now Ludlow Town Council is ready to go ahead. First, the scheme needs planning permission and an application has now been lodged with Shropshire Council (19/04207/FUL). This is a like for like replacement meaning there will be no impact on the town centre’s historic landscape. Ludlow town centre is a low crime area compared to the centres of Shrewsbury and Oswestry. But it is not crime free. Last May, 42 crimes in the town centre were reported to the police. Fifteen of these were classed as “violence or sexual offences”. An upgrade of the town centre’s CCTV is overdue and welcome. It will help keep Ludlow a low crime town.

Call for new national parks, though not in Shropshire – should we declare our own?

South Shropshire could benefit from extra funding under the umbrella of a new National Landscapes Service if recommendations of a report to the government published yesterday are accepted. There will be new national parks but not in Shropshire. My proposal last year to create a Shropshire Hills National Park failed to gain widespread support. A government commissioned review is calling for a new national park in the Chilterns and says that the government should also consider creating national parks in the Cotswolds and Dorset. I would not be surprised if other areas of outstanding natural beauty unilaterally declare themselves to be national parks. They will be following the footsteps of the Broads and London in doing so. Maybe we should do the same in Shropshire.

I have written about events at yesterday’s meeting of Shropshire Council, including the walkout by Tory councillors who could not stomach listening to an Extinction Rebellion protest. That’s ironic. The Tories walked out because they did not want to listen to a protest about the climate emergency. They were more concerned with getting on with the business of building motorways in Shropshire. The Conservative walkout was just ahead of the protests by millions of people around the world today at the lack of progress by our politicians on tackling the climate emergency. Many, but not all, politicians accept the threat of climate change. They just don’t understand the word emergency. Shropshire Council is a microcosm of the world’s approach to climate change. Do as little as possible as late as possible. Richard Davies from Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion was thrown out of the council meeting by the speaker who asked members to: “Treat [these people] with the contempt they deserve.” The Tories had a fixed look of contempt as they left.  Today Richard has provided a copy of his intended statement. You can read it below. I hope all members of Shropshire Council and town and parish councillors read it.

Refurbishment of Ludlow’s Feather Hotel is nearing completion and the new owners Crest Hotels have applies for an alcohol licence for the new bar, which will be located where the reception was before. Eyebrows are being raised at the application, which proposes selling alcohol, including off sales, until 2:30am at weekend and 1:30am during the week. This looks like a standard application put in by the company’s legal team to cover every option. I very much doubt that Crest will want to become an early hours boozer full of people who leave other pubs at closing time. I wish the Feathers well but this licence application should be resisted. The hotel’s management could change and the Feathers could easily become a focus for antisocial behaviour.  

I have never seen such disgraceful scenes at Shropshire Council since the chief executive confiscated cameras to prevent filming of a debate in 2015. Meeting in full session, the council faced protests on the climate emergency by Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion. As XR activists tried to address the council in guerrilla action on the behalf of our future, the Tory Speaker who oversees the meeting ordered all councillors out of the chamber. Like lambs being rounded up by a sheepdog, all the Conservative members filed out of the chamber with studied looks of disgust on their faces. Their action was a disgrace. The Speaker told councillors to treat the protest with the contempt it deserved as they were moved out by security. That was also a disgrace. This is deeply ironic because tomorrow millions of people will be walking out of schools and workplaces to protest about lack of action on climate change. Tory councillors walked out of a council meeting because they did not want to hear a protest about climate change!

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