Author: andybodders

Thursday was a good night for the Lib Dems in Shropshire and beyond

The political news of the week has been the by-election wins in Tiverton and Honiton, which fell to the Lib Dems, and Wakefield, which fell to Labour. This of course had no impact on Boris Johnson, forever imperious, impervious and delusional. He wants to be leading the Conservatives and the country until the mid-2030s. Locally, the Lib Dems were also successful. Along with wins in Kingston upon Thames and Waverley, Shropshire Lib Dems took the seat in Highley vacated by independent Dave Tremellen. Mark Williams victory takes Lib Dem numbers on the unitary Shropshire Council to 14, the second largest party. This was a hard fought campaign for a seat the Conservatives wanted to win, after they lost 12% of their seats in the 2021 all up council elections including the then council leader who was ousted by a Lib Dem. Late last year, the Conservatives lost the North Shropshire constituency to Helen Morgan.

Food banks and posh nosh

On Monday, the Conservative Party held its summer party fundraiser. The top lot was dinner with Boris Johnson and his rivals Theresa May and David Cameron. The Dinner of the Century – so-called to avoid inviting Johnson critic John Major – went for £120,000. This was of course a fundraiser and at such events silly things go for silly prices. But the symbolism cannot be missed. Three prime ministers tucking into posh nosh with someone who has £120,000 in spare change while people are struggling to feed themselves and queuing for the food bank. News of the Dinner of the Century broke on Wednesday, the day before 36 Shropshire organisations, including councils, food banks and support groups, published an open letter on the cost of living crisis. They are pleading for more help for rural communities, for longer term help and for those in relative comfort to think of ways they can help others.

Plans for solar farm at Brick House Farm, Greete published

Plans have been published for a solar farm at Brick House Farm, Grete (22/02565/FUL). The 54-hectare solar farm would have a capacity of around 49.9 MW, generating enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity needs of approximately 15,000 homes. The developer, Bluefield, expects to begin construction of the site in 2023 if it gains approval from Shropshire Council. Bluefield says the Greete site was chosen for its seclusion, relatively poor soil quality and access to the grid. The proposal includes biodiversity and landscape enhancement measures, including hedgerow planting and filling gaps in existing hedgerows. Sheep may also be grazed underneath the solar panels. The project is expected to contribute about £10 million in business rates to Shropshire Council over 40 years. A community fund of about £150k will be established to invest in local projects and initiatives.

Rail services through Ludlow disrupted and suspended for a week

There seems little prospect of this week’s rail strikes being called off. Although workers at Transport for Wales are not striking, many at Network Rail are. As Transport for Wales uses Network Rail services, almost all its services will be cancelled on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, will be subject to some cancellations and overcrowding. Overcrowding is also expected today and on Monday 27 June. The advice is not to travel.

Why are these homes empty asks Tracey Huffer?

Nine homes remain empty in a new development off Cold West Drive. The four-bedroom homes have been empty since August 2019 and there is no sign of them being sold and occupied any time soon. Tracey Huffer Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East said: “I am utterly appalled that we have had nine new homes in Ludlow standing empty for nearly three years. There have been extraordinary delays at Shropshire Council and I don’t know why the council has not taken up the offer of an indemnity in case of a claim by any owner of the small strip of land which is holding up selling the houses. The houses are ready for sale. People want to buy them. One potential buyer has already had to pull out losing their deposit. “This is a disgrace when we have a housing shortage of all types in Ludlow.” Development of this site has long been troubled. The site was originally acquired for the A49 bypass and sold off when it was no longer needed. The original planning permission in 2001 was for five dwellings. In 2005, approval was granted for ten dwellings with the detailed planning permission signed off in 2008. In 2011,…

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