Month: January 2020

Half the country will celebrate tonight but only history will show whether Brexit was the right decision

What are you streaming tonight? The 1740s Rule Britannia with its jingoistic slavery era language? “Rule, Britannia! rule the waves. Britons never will be slaves.” Or the slightly later Ode to Joy, an anthem that celebrates collaboration over conflict: “This kiss to all the world!”? Ode to Joy is the theme of a united Europe that has put wars within our continent behind it and is a force for good in the world. It’s also currently No 1 on the UK download charts. Perhaps instead you are singing Auld Lang Syne, which reverberated around the European Parliament two days ago after the withdrawal bill passed. We must put the rancour and division of the last few years behind us. But we can’t go back to the future. We need to forge a new role in the world. A role that is neither divisive nor self-centred. Protecting our own interests but working for the wider good of our planet. Tackling climate change, inequality, violence and war. We had more strength to achieve those aims within the EU. Now, we are on our own, desperately wanting to be in the company of others but no longer in their company.

Parking review now delayed until April!!

Confusion has reigned throughout the week over whether Shropshire Council would go ahead with its parking review at the Performance Management Scrutiny Committee yesterday afternoon. I had complained that the paperwork had not been published and there would be no time to study it and hold local discussions. Discussions led to me believing that the review would be delayed until the March meeting. But then I was told the review would go ahead as planned on Wednesday. There was still no paperwork. Just before 5pm on Tuesday, more than 130 pages of paperwork were quietly published. Before I had time to download them, Shropshire Council’s committee server went offline. There was no access to any committee papers until 11am the next morning. With the committee meeting beginning at 2pm, I could only skim read the papers while on the train to Shrewsbury. I needn’t have bothered.

It seems barely a few moments ago since I published a statement from Shropshire Council that the long promised review of the impact of regime of parking charges introduced in November 2018 is to be delayed until March. That was based on an email from the Chief Monitoring Officer at 2:31pm. Alas, in the short time I was taking the dog and cat for a walk, all has changed. The Chief Monitoring Officer emailed at 3:35pm to say the review will take place as planned on Wednesday morning. There is no paperwork for this meeting. It will not be possible for unitary and town councillors to discuss what the council is planning beforehand, let alone the traders who are being penalised by the high street parking charges. Is Shropshire Council just trying to keep us guessing? Possibly. But I think it has just descended into chaos. It can no longer service its central democratic function. Democracy is essential for all public funding. The climate of discussion, debate and challenge is central to the way that local government runs. Papers now routinely arrive late for meetings. Too often councillors receive unrecorded verbal briefings. Democracy is difficult. Running local services in the…

Read more…
Shropshire Council defers review of punitive parking charges in Ludlow until 18 March

A recent survey by Ludlow Town Council reported that more than half of independent traders in the town have seen a drop in footfall and turnover since the new parking regime came in in 2018. The annual review of the new parking regime was due to be discussed at the Performance Management Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday morning. But no paperwork has been published. None of us in Ludlow know what changes Shropshire Council is planning to make to this punitive parking regime that is punishing town centre trade at a time when high streets all over the country are struggling. I don’t know whether it is good news today or not. But the review of the parking strategy due on Wednesday morning has been delayed until 18 March. Why the paperwork is not ready I do not know. This review was due last November but the general election got in the way.

Back to top