Month: January 2020

This article was first published on Lib Dem Voice and got a mixed reception… Last week’s report from the National Audit Office contained no surprises. But it was still devasting for High Speed 2. The complexity of the project was underestimated. Costs are ballooning. Value for money is deflating. The political uncertainty surrounding the project, especially the northern sections, will load more costs. It is “impossible to estimate with certainty” how much HS2 will eventually cost, the auditors conclude. But it will be north of £100bn. That dwarfs into insignificance the cost of a third runway at Heathrow. The drain on public finances is not the main problem. HS2 is environmentally destructive. Far from being green, it will destroy centuries old biodiverse landscapes. It will take a century for the scheme to pay back the carbon and environmental costs of construction.

The proposed exclusion zone for vehicles in Ludlow’s town centre will benefit no one except Shropshire Council’s coffers from yet more parking fines. It is overkill. Heavy handed regulation of the type in currently vogue in Shirehall. We don’t need this. There is a recognised problem with inconsiderate parking in the market area. There is also a problem with drivers not knowing where they can park or where they will get a penalty charge notice. But this doesn’t need to be solved with the over the top scheme Shropshire Council is proposing.

Plans for Budgens redevelopment get slammed by Historic England

An inspector for Historic England has laid into the plans to redevelop Budgens with retail units on the ground floor and apartments above (19/05380/FUL). The conservation watchdog wants the developer, Morris Property, to “bring forward a more sympathetic scheme better suited to this prominent site.” The intervention from Historic England is surprisingly strong. It usually does not more than remind councils of their legal responsibilities. There are some merits in its complaints. But it doesn’t seem to understand the need for a prominent building on this important gateway into Ludlow town centre.

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