Ludlow is running out of spaces for business – urgent action is needed

I have already written on the problems that engineering company Flowfit has had finding premises for expansion. It had hoped to move to the biodigester site but in recent weeks, Shropshire Council has ruled that out. The ground breaking biodigester closed in 2012 and has only had sporadic use since. Shropshire Council now says it will not decide on the biodigester’s future until the end of 2023, more than a decade after the facility stopped processing food waste. At least one other light engineering company was eyeing up the site. But it has now been sterilised for two and a half years. Council officers have told companies that employment land is in demand in South Shropshire. I am now asking for urgent action on providing employment land in Ludlow.

Dark day for Shropshire as local plan narrowly voted through in council meeting shambles

The Greens were in the gods, the sound system was in the pits and the Speaker was stage left. As for Robert Tindall, he exited Theatre Severn stage right in Shakespearean style. Robert, Tory councillor for Cleobury North, was dismissed from the Southern Planning Committee in a callous act by the council leader just because he voted for what his constituents believed in. It was a dark day for Shropshire. The wrong plan for our county. And the wrong approach to democracy for our modern age. It confirmed that planning in Shropshire under the current Tory regime is about politics, not policies.

Covid Watch 153: Rates of Covid infection in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin rising faster than nationally

Just as it looked like the rates of infection in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin were slowing a little, they are now soaring up. Cases of Covid-19 are growing by around 70% a week in Shropshire and 75% in Telford. That’s much higher than in England as a whole, where rates are increasing by around 30% a week. The growth in infection is among children of school age and young adults. No area of Shropshire or Telford is now free of Covid-19. That includes south west Shropshire where rates have gone from zero at the beginning of June to 102 per 100,000 people in the week to 11 July. Tomorrow, Freedom Day, has been called a gamble. It is certainly beginning to look like a gamble that could backfire. They should support shopworkers by keeping the wearing of face masks compulsory in indoor retail outlets and make mask wearing compulsory on public transport.

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.

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