Month: September 2021

Covid Watch 161: Anti-vaxxers are targeting Ludlow schools

Those that don’t agree with vaccinating children are targeting our local schools and schools across the country. They are using a fake NHS checklist to tip the balance in parents and cares minds against vaccination. It is clever propaganda campaign because it looks convincing. It is an insidious and dangerous campaign because it aims to undermine confidence in the way that public health officials are trying to bring the pandemic under control. The fake form asks whether the parent/carer or clinician understands the answer to ten  statements. No clinician would ever complete this type of assessment. Mention of a clinician is added only to make this bogus exercise look like the real stuff. Caron Morton GP, partner at Stations Drive Surgery, is concerned that this propaganda will discourage parents from having their children vaccinated: “I am saddened that patients and parents are exposed to this level of misinformation and fear. I’m happy to speak to any concerned parents and patients about the vaccination programme and vaccine.” Schools are sending out warnings to parents about this misinformation.

Ironbridge: Shropshire Council turns down complaint on voting irregularity

We are still digesting the outcome of the decision to approve 1,075 homes with infrastructure on the former Ironbridge power station site at Buildwas. The vote in being challenged on more than one ground. The four councillors who voted against the scheme had objected to one of those voting in favour doing so despite being about of the room for part of the discussion of the application. That complaint has now been rejected, with the chief monitoring officer on the grounds that a court would not judge the decision irrational (Wednesbury unreasonable). It is a thoughtful response to our complaint and we accept it. However, we are now calling for clear guidance that any councillor that leaves a planning committee meeting during discussion of an application cannot take any further part in the discussion or most importantly vote.

Covid Watch 160: Highest ever infection rates in Ludlow

Infection rates reached the highest recorded level in Ludlow last weekend at 520 cases per 100,000 people. That means 57 people living in the town tested positive in the seven days to 19 September. That is 63% higher than the previous high rate in July. And it is 44% higher than the rate across Shropshire at the same date. There were higher infection rates in Cleobury Mortimer (1,076 on 19 September); Harlescott Grange (923); and Ellesmere (801). In Shropshire, rates are now climbing with a current infection rate of around 430, up from around 310 at the beginning of the month. The growth in infection is largely among school age children. In Shropshire, 62% of the 1,303 cases in the week to 19 September were among people under 20 years of age. Vaccination is now being offered to children aged 12 to 15 and that should reduce rates. Is the Ludlow Food Festival a factor in the increase in Ludlow? There is no data on that but Ludlow is unlikely to be different from elsewhere in the county with infection mainly spreading through children.

Shropshire Council deputy leader resigned after online abuse

Social media is the expression of all of us. Collectively and individually. Even if people don’t participate its impacts cannot be ignored.   Social media is all of us on the internet, on phones, laptops, smart speakers and an ever growing number of devices. It is almost as everyday as conversation. Except social media is not like conversation. Any abuse in conversation is usually sporadic. On social media it can be relentless. This commentary comes from someone who has engaged with online communication since the late 1980s. I get abuse as a councillor but not as much as some others. Steve Charmley, the deputy leader of Shropshire Council has just resigned citing online abuse. The question for those in public life is how we cope with the flack and the abuse. And can we limit it?

Ironbridge: Crucial Much Wenlock traffic report withheld – it stinks

The biggest planning decision in Shropshire Council’s history is edging towards becoming a scandal. I would not be surprised if it ended up in court. One of the reasons councillors originally rejected the application for 1,075 homes was because of the increased traffic pressure on local roads, especially the Gaskell Arms Junction in Much Wenlock. Now we learn that a crucial report on traffic impact on the Gaskell Arms Junction was not made available by Shropshire Council to committee members and the public before the meeting, even though it was commissioned to inform the planning committee. It is unacceptable that a report produced to inform councillors was published two days after they made their decision on Monday. This stinks of bad practice and poor planning management.

Back to top