Category: Shropshire Council

Changing Ludlow – Sainsbury’s, Greggs and much more housing

Is the biggest news in town the opening of Sainsbury’s on 30 November? Or is it the arrival of Greggs on King Street? Or the current construction of 400 new houses around the town with a few hundred more to come before the decade is out? As everyone can see, out town is changing. After a couple of decades during there has been little expansion to our town, development is going ahead with gusto. The developments bring benefits including more retail and much needed new housing but will also increase the pressure on our roads and the increase strain on services. Yet, we have no plans for how to manage this over the next few decades. Will these developments also change the character of our town? Or will we welcome absorb the new developments, the new people and new shops?

Ironbridge: Ruling that late report on Gaskell Arms Junction traffic was immaterial

I can’t say I am happy with this. The fundamental rule on planning is that committee members must consider all the evidence before them and that should be all the available evidence. But a report written for the committee on traffic at the Gaskell Arms Junction was not available until two days after the Southern Planning Committee approved the application for redevelopment of the former power station site at Buildwas. I challenged this but that challenge has now been rejected by the chief monitoring officer who says if councillors had seen the report, they would not have made a different decision. That’s wrong in my book. It is not for officers to judge what the committee might or might not have done if they had seen the report. Planning committees must weigh the planning balance. They cannot do that if a report commissioned for members is withheld until after decisions are made. It is clear that the legal officer responding had not read the reports but had “been assured” by the officers who pushed the report though committee. This is broken planning.

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.

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