Category: Shropshire Council

Tories chuck inquiry into ambulance crisis into the long grass

The inquiry will never happen now. A motion for an inquiry into the current ambulance crisis was kicked into touch today by Shropshire Council Conservatives. A wrecking amendment was presented by Dean Carrol, he is the Conservatives’ chief attacker of everything from the opposition even though he does not have the health remit. The amendment was backed by council leader Lezley Picton who seems to live in different bubble to the rest of us believing everything is being done while nothing much is being done. This was an occasion when Shropshire Council could have shown leadership across the community at a time of crisis in our health services. Instead, the Tory leaders whinged and bleated. Tory councillors voted like sheep – they are told how to vote at council and are punished if they disobey. The result is that the only body that can lead the inquiry we urgently need has abdicated responsibility. No. It’s worse than that. It has abdicated leadership. This is a Conservative council that administrates. Writes policies that are like cotton wool. Dreams of reconstructing Shrewsbury town centre and building grand new roads. But it can’t cope with the crisis of our times. Health. As exemplified…

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Shropshire Council loses bid for £98m Bus Back Better funding

News broke yesterday that Shropshire Council had lost its bid to the Bus Back Better fund. It is shocking news that Shropshire will not get a penny to support its struggling bus services. The county’s bus services are in urgent need of upgrading to an age that is moving to zero carbon. That must include putting more buses on the road, more frequent buses, electric buses and transport hubs that are fit for the 21st century. The council’s bid was in a glossier and shorter on targets that some successful bids. The endorsement from MPs might not have helped. When did they last get a bus in Shropshire? Or the council leadership for that matter? And why wasn’t a joint bid submitted with Telford and Wrekin (which aslo failed to gain funding). It is time the time the two councils worked together rather than competing. Buses are too often seen as a drain on the public purse. They should be seen as an essential public service. If people can get to medical services, the shops and to friends, they will be healthier and happier reducing costs to public services.

Council tax in Ludlow due to increase by more than four per cent in April

Ten days ago, Shropshire councillors agreed the council tax for Shropshire. For Band D properties in Ludlow, the charges from 1 April will be: Shropshire Council: £1,574.60 (+3.99%) Shropshire Fire Authority: £106.27 (+1.99%) Police and Crime Commissioner: £249.66 (+3.94%) Ludlow Town Council: £198.13 (+7.7%). Combined, the four taxes give an overall rise of 4.2% in for householders in Ludlow from 1 April. The Band D charge in Ludlow will £2,115.17 before the energy rebate and any discretionary relief. All Band A-D households will get a £150 rebate, with additional payments to the poorest households that do not pay council tax or are in higher bands.

Big Bang Shrewsbury redevelopment plans are too risky – the council should move to the Guildhall

It is the stuff of dreams. It is also the stuff of nightmares. A radical redevelopment of Shrewsbury town centre between Pride Hill and the River Severn is expected to cost at least £77 million. Most of this money could come from loans expected to cost council taxpayers around £4m a year. The scheme will involve the sale of Shirehall and a construction of a new civic centre on Raven Meadows in a building that will cost more than £37m. Shropshire Council is being too ambitious. It has a poor track record having purchased three shopping centres which have since plummeted in value from £51m to £12m in just three years. It is now desperate to do something with the closed Pride Hill Centre, the failed Riverside Centre and the crumbling Raven Meadows car park. There are less risky approaches to the one the council is taking. The council and key staff could relocate to the Guildhall. The University of Chester could relocate into an entertainment, leisure and education complex on Pride Hill and Riverside.

New £77m plans for Shrewsbury Riverside will starve public investment for the rest of county

Next Wednesday, Shropshire Council’s cabinet will discuss plans for redeveloping the riverside area of Shrewsbury on Smithfield Road. This follows a public consultation a year ago, which highlighted the need to prioritise pedestrian and cycling access and to tackle climate change. The proposals from Shropshire Council involve spending £77m building 270 homes, a multi-agency hub and offices with 500 spaces for workers, the Pride Hill Leisure Centre (cinema etc.), offices, a hotel and a Transport Hub – a multistorey car park with 400 spaces plus bike racks to you and me. I wonder how many of spaces will be reserved for cabinet members and council directors as they are currently at Shirehall? Smithfield Road will be closed and become a green park alongside the River Severn. Traffic will be diverted along Raven Meadows, which the public documents call New Smithfield Road. The Riverside Centre and the Pride Hill Shopping Centre will be demolished. The council, which is rapidly running out of money, will have to raise the £77 million it needs for this scheme through loans. That could cost council tax payers more than £4 million in interest payments. And, it goes without saying the council’s limited funds are going…

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