Month: April 2020

Covid Watch 40: One third of coronavirus deaths in Shropshire have been outside hospitals – mostly in care homes

The grim statistics on Covid-19 infection and death rates issued by the government have always been partial. The daily announcement of hospital deaths has been a benchmark with which to track progress but it has never revealed the full picture. The Office of National Statistics has corrected that today by publishing a detailed breakdown on where the known deaths from Covid-19 have occurred. In Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, there were 96 deaths up to 17 April, of which 30 (31%) were outside hospitals. Nationally, the even sadder tally was 23,317 deaths for England and Wales, 25% not in hospitals, that includes 19% in care homes. These numbers are at last giving us a more accurate picture of the pattern of mortality. We need to understand these bleak statistics so we can target where our stretched resources are directed. Shropshire Council’s cabinet will face a record number of questions from councillors and the public tomorrow including on care homes. That is good news because the council’s scrutiny process has been suspended.

Covid Watch 39: Virtual meetings to attend this week – Shropshire Council cabinet and Ludlow Representational Committee (updated)

Shropshire Council’s cabinet meets on Wednesday at 11am. Public questions must be submitted to the committee secretary no later than 11am this morning 27 April. Councillor will also be asking questions. Other items on the agenda are safeguarding arrangements and a pension deficit in West Mercia Energy. The questions look like being the most interesting part of the meeting. Ludlow Town Council’s Representational Committee meets on Wednesday at 7pm. It will begin with representations from the public, followed by the unitary members question and answer session. Planning matters and an update on road closures will follow.

Covid Watch 38: Ludlow calls for free parking until October to help our town recover from coronavirus

Ludlow Town Council, Ludlow Chamber of Commerce, and the Shropshire Councillors for Ludlow and Clee have written to the leader of Shropshire Council to call for free parking in the town’s car parks to be extended. Free parking is available across all car parks owned by Shropshire Council until the end of June. Councillors and traders in Ludlow are calling for that concession to be extended until the end of October. No one expects trade in rural market towns to instantaneously spring back into life as lockdown ends. We need to do everything we can to support our independent shops and traders until the town’s retail economy gets back on its feet. Without that retail economy, Ludlow will not be Ludlow.

Six additional homes to be squeezed into the high density Fishmore Quarry development which lacks open space

Shropshire Homes has applied to squeeze more homes onto the former quarry site on Fishmore Road. It currently has approval for 73 homes and the plans are to add an extra five. This will give this a brownfield site a density of 43 dwellings a hectare. The Foldgate Lane greenfield development is by contrast a mere seven dwellings a hectare. Fishmore Quarry will provide just 4.5 sqm of accessible open space for each household. Foldgate Lane will have 850 sqm of accessible open space per household. It is a tale of two housing estates and a tale of our times. Urban brownfield developments are getting ever more crowded, often less attractive, while attractive spacious greenfield developments sprawl outwards across open countryside.

Covid Watch 37: Clarifying car parking at Mortimer Forest – all car parks are closed

In my newsletter yesterday morning, I said that Vinnalls Car Park at the Mortimer Forest was open. It had been all weekend. But this seems to have been the result of guerrilla action not a change in policy by Forestry England. The car park was duly closed off again. My apologies for the misinformation and causing confusion. Vinnalls Car Park will be closed for the duration. There is a lively debate going on Facebook about the closure of car parks. I have received a flood of emails and several phone calls. At the heart of the discussion is the interpretation of the government statements and the regulations that form the body of the law and underpin public policy. I’ll return to that in a later article.

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