Category: Transport

Conservatives are promising fantasy money for highways – Floreat Salopia Ollam Foraminis?

The Conservatives have promised an extra £40 million for highways if they are re-elected. At a committee meeting early in the month, council officers confirmed that this money could not be found within the planned budget but will have to come from grants, extra government funding, cuts to other budgets and the council’s diminishing reserves. The £40 million is fantasy money, not a commitment. The Conservatives have cut £10 million from the highways budget over the last two years. They have been able to make up a bit of ground through one off government grants for potholes and to repair highways after severe weather. But the road network is so decayed in many areas, especially rural roads, the council is not managing catchup. Perhaps it is time to change the county’s motto from Floreat Salopia to Floreat Salopia Ollam Foraminis. (Please excuse my cod Latin. Corrections welcome in the comments!)

Signs have been out on the A4117 advertising a road closure between Monday 19 April to Friday 7 May inclusive. Cue concerns about traffic chaos, complaints about rat running and a heavy postbag for Richard Huffer and myself. We have been discussing the proposals with Shropshire Council officers who have worked hard over the last few days to reduce the impact of the “carbon neutral” resurfacing plans. It was initially proposed that the A4117 would be closed during the day. It has now been agreed that the works will now take place overnight only. Details of signage and barriers to discourage rat running along Squirrel Lane is being negotiated. The road through Caynham was due to be resurfaced at the same time, which was have made problems much worse. That project has now been pushed back until the A4117 work is completed.

Shropshire Council to use council meeting to smooth over highways problems ahead of 6 May local elections

Despite the clear restrictions on what council business can be conducted in the run up to an election, Shropshire Council’s administration has scheduled a meeting on its contractors’ performance on highways maintenance next Tuesday. It seems that the council is not aware that highways are a political issue and a battleground in many council areas around the county. Among the reports to be considered by the Place Overview Committee next Tuesday is one on the struggling highways contractor Kier, the company responsible for delivering highways repairs at a cost of £27m a year. The report admits to three years of failings but makes the case improvements are being made. This is a smoothie view of highways. If only our highways were smooth.

Covid Watch 140: Ludlow town buses back to normal from Thursday 1 April when vax shuttle ends

Bus services have been disrupted in recent weeks to give priority to the shuttle bus between Ludlow and the Racecourse vaccination centre. From Thursday, the 701 and 722 will revert to their previous timetables, with each running every half an hour from Ludlow Assembly Rooms. The vaccination programme at Ludlow Racecourse is due to slow due to a reduction in vaccine supplies in April. The vax shuttle will be suspended. It might be reinstated later but it has been little used. It was the right idea but there was little demand. I am not convinced it should be reinstated at the expense of the town service.

Shropshire Council gives little hope that Shrewsbury bus station will be retained when Smithfield is redeveloped

Shrewsbury’s bus station and the bus layover bus are the essential for the operation of bus services in and out of Ludlow. Fears that the bus station will be demolished were raised when Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council published the latest stage of the Big Town Plan. This suggested that the bus station would be replaced by housing and people coming into Shrewsbury by bus will change to a town bus at a park and ride site. Now there are suggestions that Shropshire Council is having a rethink but it only committing to a “facility” not a bus station. If a modal shift in the way that people travel in and out of Shrewsbury town centre is to be achieved, buses should be at the centre of the Big Town Plan. Bus transport should shape development, not be squeezed into the margins.

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