Category: Shropshire Council

Ambitious £120 million dream for Shropshire Highways (updated)

Update: Shropshire Council has agreed to persue this strategy. Do highways chiefs dream of tarmac sheep? There is certainly a lot of dreaming going on in Shirehall. In the May elections, the Conservative group promised an extra £10 million a year for highways for the next four years. At the time, the council said it would find the extra money from grants, extra government funding, cuts to other budgets and the council’s diminishing reserves. The council has “found” this year’s £10 million by raiding the broadband, commercial and drainage budgets. Even so, ten million pounds proves to be little more than a drop of a rainwater in a flooded pothole. Highways chiefs estimate it will cost £600 million to bring Shropshire’s highways up to scratch. In your dreams on getting that much. Instead, Shropshire Council is aiming to “investigate a highway investment strategy of between £60m and £120m” over the next five years. That is still dreamy stuff in when local government finances are stretched and getting more so.

Shropshire Council is lagging other councils on highways fault reporting. The online reporting system is clunky. It can be difficult to describe where the fault is especially in rural areas where postcodes can cover such wide areas, they are next to useless. But now the council is adopting Fix My Street as its main portal for reporting highways problems. Fix My Street also covers a lot more than potholes. I would recommend this for reporting problems because it allows residents and councillors to see whether problems have been reported before, whether they have been fixed and whether there are more problems in some areas than others.

Decent highways for Shropshire? Are you kidding?

It’s Wimbledon. Surrounded by screens I am watching a couple of games at once. John McEnroe is commenting. He is famous of course for his comments on court. “You can’t be serious man. You cannot be serious!” This came to mind because of an open letter from Steve Charmley earlier in the week. He is the deputy leader of Shropshire Council who backed a £5 million annual cut from the highways budget under Peter Nutting’s leadership. Now he has nothing but good news about highways. Our roads are to be manicured as perfectly as the lawn of Centre Court. There will be more money and better and longer lasting repairs. We have been promised this before. Shropshire Council’s leadership has rarely delivered on highways promises. Can Charmley deliver? Is he serious?

The Burford Question: How will pressure on services in Tenbury be resolved?

Last Friday, MPs, councillors and others grouped on the historic Teme Bridge between Tenbury and Burford. Richard Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Clee and myself, joined Ludlow MP Philip Dunne and Harriet Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, along with representatives from south of the Teme to discuss what might becalled the “Burford Question”. Burford is planned to expand by around 170 homes. Tenbury is growing also. That’s putting pressure on services in Tenbury, including GPs and schools. In this post, Richard Huffer talks about the problem that are mounting up and what the solutions might be. Should SC transfer money from Shropshire’s community infrastructure levy fund to help improve Tenbury’s services? More radically, should Burford move into the Malvern Hills district and into Worcestershire?

Roadworks and train delays across Ludlow and Craven Arms over the summer (updated)

Update. King Street will not be closed on 2 and 3 July. The Broadgate roadworks are expected to be completed on 5 July. It is roadworks season. Longer days. Better weather. The need to catch up after the epidemic. The Conservatives election pledge to fix the county’s potholes. Work to connect developments to the road system. Much needed maintenance of rail networks. All are contributing to a summer surge of fixing and upgrading. The Broadgate has been closed for emergency works. And it is not known when they will be complete. I have asked that King Street is not closed at the same time. There will be closures on Sheet Road and Sandpits, as well works to patch up poorly executed resurfacing on Dinham and Linney. The level crossing on Long Lane in Craven Arms will be closed for an upgrade, leading to disruption to rail services and traffic.

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